Savings tips: car insurance

Savings tips: car insurance

Everyone who's ever owned their own vehicle can understand the need for this article: car insurance payments can weigh heavily on anybody's finances. So it makes sense that individuals would want to take every possible opportunity to keep those costs as low as humanly possible.

Luckily for everyone, car insurance costs don't stay the same across all individuals. The price of your policy and your premiums is determined by a large set of variables weighed and analyzed by your insurance companies – and you can alter those variables in your own favor, if you're so inclined. 

Think about insurance costs when you're buying your car

One of the biggest mistakes that many people make in regards to car insurance is that they only think about the costs of the policy after they buy their car. So they spend most of their available funds on the vehicle itself, only to find that their new sports car, for example, is going to require massive insurance costs on the side. That's why you should always investigate the overall cost of insurance before buying the car itself, so that you can be sure – even with the policy expenses – that owning the vehicle will fit into your budget comfortably. If you don't think about insurance until after you've purchased a vehicle, you may find that you've bitten off more than you can chew. 

Whenever possible, upgrade your vehicle's safety services

When you take out a home insurance policy, everything that helps to prevent eventual damage to your home – for instance, windows and roofing that will help to defer damage caused by inclement weather – will help to lower the overall cost you have to pay. The same is true for cars. Whenever you invest in something that will protect you or the vehicle in the case of an accident, like additional airbags, that's going to lower the amount the insurance company expects it will have to pay in case of an accident. Those savings get passed right on to you: by improving the safety features in your vehicle, you can have a direct effect on the amount you have to pay every month for car insurance. 

Invest in roadside assistance coverage

Say you're involved in an accident, and your car is covered by an insurance policy, but you don't have access to any roadside assistance coverage. Now you're going to have to pay, in full, for a tow truck, or a new tire or any other service that your car may require while stranded on the side of the road. Roadside assistance services that come with your auto insurance might add a little money on top of your normal payments – but that's nothing when compared to the costs you may incur if you ever require roadside assistance but don't pay for it as part of your insurance package. 

Protect your credit score

One of the factors that has an influence on your car insurance costs has nothing to do with driving at all! As the expert quoted below will explain, your credit score can have a pretty significant effect on the overall amount you end up paying to the insurance company to help protect your vehicle.

"Many insurers use credit-based insurance scores," Mike Barry, spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute, told Bankrate in an interview. "It's a contentious issue in certain state houses … (but) insurers will say their studies show that if you're responsible in your personal life, you're less likely to file claims."

So if you're looking to keep those premium payments to an absolute minimum, don't just think about how you can drive safer – think about how you can improve your financial situation in other areas of your life, too. If you can get a higher credit score, you'll be getting lower car insurance payments along with it!

If you can, consider carpooling

Car insurance costs are determined by the likelihood of your vehicle being involved in an accident. The less you drive your vehicle, the less likely you are to be involved in such an accident. 

"Most companies track mileage," Art Scott, a retired insurance agent, explained to Bankrate. "Anything under 7,500 miles is considered the pleasure rate — and that's the lowest. Up to about 13,000 miles is a medium rate, and anything over that is a higher rate."

Think about driving into work. If you're driving into work five days per week, the miles are going to add up pretty quickly. If you team up with co-workers so that you each only have to drive into work once or twice per week, however, your overall miles driven will be much lower. When you carpool, you're cutting down the number of miles you drive on a weekly basis by a significant margin – and that, like the other tactics listed here, can help to bring your car insurance policy costs to a brand-new low.