Do get a copy of your driving record
Have a copy of your drivers license record before shopping for car insurance. Many of us have errors in our driving report that drive up our auto insurance rates. In the newspaper, a clerk of the court admitted they had a 20% error rate, and said it was normal. Just like your credit history determines your car loan approval, your driving record determines how expensive your auto insurance will be.
Car Insurance Discounts
Everyone wants a bargain, especially as car insurance goes up every year. There are discounts if we can satisfy some basic criteria. Make sure you ask your insurance agent if you qualify for any of these discounts.
Auto Insurance Discounts You May Qualify For
Automatic Seat Belts
Automatic seat belts are those annoying belts that choke you when you close the door. Some companies might discount up to 30% off Personal Injury Protection and Medical Payments coverage if the driver and passenger sides have air bags and automatic seat belts.
Some companies give discounts off the Comprehensive premium when an active anti-theft device is present. This usually means a burglar alarm. Some companies may discount more if the alarm arms itself automatically when you turn off the vehicle.
Some companies give drivers under age 25 who complete a state approved drivers education class up to 10% off on Bodily Injury, Property Damage, Medical Payments, Personal Injury Protection and Collision coverage.
Sometimes if you're a safe driver, usually 3 years with no points, you qualify for additional savings on different types of coverage. The insurance company will let you know. Usually on your insurance bill you'll see something that says "Your premium reflects the maximum discount allowed for safe driver".
Multi-Car or Home & Car
If you insure 2 or more vehicles on the same policy some companies may give you a discount. They may be equally generous if you have your home and both cars insured with them as well.
Some insurance companies classify certain cars as "Safe Cars", meaning there's statistical data to suggest that there's less risk of injury by way of design, air bags ABS, etc. Find out if your car qualifies for this discount.
Choosing the Right Insurance Company
You now have most of the information you need to make a decision. However, there is something more to consider. Is the insurance company reliable?
Here are things to consider before you reach a decision:
- Visit your state's department of insurance and check consumer complaint ratios and basic rate comparison surveys.
- Get in touch with local body shops or dealerships you trust and ask which insurance companies they recommend.
- Check out the financial strength ratings for an insurance company by referring to the Standard & Poor's ratings.
- Look over J.D. Power and Associates' consumer satisfaction surveys reviewing auto insurance companies.