Finance Quick Answers
How can I lower the cost of my auto insurance?
Different auto insurance companies offer different combinations of discounts and terms, and rates vary by area. Some of these tips for reducing your auto insurance may apply to you:
- Drive safely. The one thing that affects your rates most is your driving record. Every moving violation you get and every accident you cause exposes you to the risk that you will have to pay a higher premium or that your policy will be cancelled.
- Drive less. Some companies will offer a discount if you drive less than a certain amount each week. Joining a carpool or using public transportation might lower your premium. Your agent or broker can tell you about any such discounts offered by your insurer and how you become eligible.
- Shop before you buy. The Missouri Department of Insurance website has an auto insurance discount guide at http://insurance.mo.gov/consumer/auto/. It includes an auto rate guide for major auto insurers in 50 different zip code areas of Missouri. Ask friends and neighbors who they recommend or do not recommend as an auto insurance agent or broker. Consider at least three different insurers and ask them how they can save you money over their competitors.
- Choose your car carefully. Certain models are known to be lower risk to companies, so they are cheaper to insure. Ask your agent for a list of cars that qualify for lower rates due to their lower risk.
- Raise your deductible (the amount you will have to pay before the insurance company covers your damages). The higher the deductible you are willing to accept, the lower the premium you will pay.
- Reduce or eliminate your collision or comprehensive coverage when your car gets older. Find out how much your car is actually worth and be sure the insurance premiums you pay are less than what you'd get if your car were damaged beyond repair.
- Insure all the cars you own with the same company. Many give multi-car discounts.
- Get older. If you are younger than 25 and male, your rates will fall considerably when you turn 25. Females younger than 25 also will see their rates drop when they turn 25--but not as much. Marital status makes no difference in rates for males under 25, but females under 25 can get lower rates if they are married.
- Get good grades in school. Some companies offer discounts to students whose grade point average is above a certain level. Ask your agent.
Brenda Procter, M.S., Consumer and Family Economics, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia
If you'd like to learn more about this and other personal finance topics, the University of Missouri offers 'Personal & Family Finance,' a correspondence course, through the Center for Distance and Independent Study (800-609-3727). Information about this course is available at http://cdis.missouri.edu/CourseInfo/DetailCourseInfo.asp?1985.
Last update: Tuesday, July 22, 2008