Editor’s note: I love these tips because they’re not always the things people think about when shopping for car insurance. It’s more than just pencil to paper savings as commute time, driving habits, etc. do count! There are a number of ways to find affordable car insurance of which improving your FICO is one of my favorites. Why? In doing so, it simply means you’re paying attention to your debt to credit ratio, paying bills on-time and pursuing other healthy financial habits.
If you are considering a year-end car purchase, you will likely save money as dealerships offload last year’s models for 2015 designs. Regions Bank offers insight on the best month to buy a car, as well as tools to help you calculate a vehicle payment, compare two vehicle loans and evaluate whether to purchase or lease a vehicle. By doing a little homework before you head to the dealer, you are prepared and know exactly how much you can afford.
The same applies to auto insurance. Did you know that auto insurance companies look at the big picture when determining your monthly or annual spend? While some factors, such as age, profession and marital status will impact your insurance quote no matter what you do, there are lifestyle changes you can make to potentially lower your bill. These include:
1. Adjust Your Driving Habits
Information used to set insurance costs for cars comes from driving records. Traffic violations and convictions influence insurance rates for up to five years. Previous claims can also affect your standing. For minor fender benders, consider paying for smaller repairs rather than filing a claim. If you’re without traffic penalties, your rates may decrease over time, especially when working with an insurer that offers safe driving discounts.
2. Reduce Your Drive Time
The less you drive, the less likely you are to have an accident. That’s why some insurers offer low-mileage discounts. If you drive fewer than 7,500 miles a year, you might qualify for one of these lower rates. Consider looking for opportunities to reduce your mileage, such as taking public transportation or carpooling to work.
3. Analyze Your Ride
The type of vehicle you own also impacts your insurance costs. Rates are generally steeper for sports cars and high-performance vehicles. New cars also have insurance advantages due to safety features, such as airbags, automatic seat belts, and traction control – all of which can qualify you for further discounts.
4. Rethink Your Route
Your geographic location also affects insurance rates. The average cost for auto repairs, medical expenses, and incidents of theft or vandalism all influence regional insurance rates. For example, drivers in metropolitan areas typically incur higher rates because of increased traffic density and a larger percentage of uninsured drivers.
If you’re looking to relocate, it can be helpful to compare insurance rates as you consider your options. Understanding insurance costs and coverage in a new area can help you better forecast your budget—instead of getting hit with an unplanned expense.
When looking to cut your car insurance costs, your best bet may be to talk to an agent. But before you take on the burden of casting your net far and wide to find the right insurance for your situation, consider the benefits of an independent insurance agent helping you evaluate the policies, weighing the pros and cons of all your varied pricing options, and the associated benefits in coverage. These agents can provide constructive professional guidance as you search for the right insurance coverage at the right price. And they can save you valuable time and money in the process.
This post was sponsored by Regions Bank.
Photo credit: Peter Blanchard