Consumer Corner

6 Ways to Cut Car Insurance in the New Year

When was the last time you took a good look at your auto insurance policy? Most likely, the answer is 'never' - or at the very least, 'not for a long time.' You're not alone. The majority of folks renew their policy without giving it a thorough look, even when premiums rise. But those few minutes to review what kind of coverage you have with your independent insurance agent can save you money. Spring is the perfect time to look into possible changes and savings.

1. Don’t pay for more coverage than you need.

If your car is over, say, 10 years old, and you’re carrying collision and comprehensive coverage, you may want to look at dropping that coverage. You may cut your premium by 20 percent or more by doing this.

2. Bundle your policies.

Many insurers offer discounts if you buy at least two policies from them. A typical combination is car and home insurance policies. Discounts can be substantial.  It’s possible to receive as much as a 25 percent discount for bundling.

3. Ask for discounts.

You may be eligible for discounts based on age, driving record, memberships or other considerations. For example, drivers who are 55 and older typically qualify for a senior discount. If your household includes teen drivers, they may qualify for “good student” discounts.

4. Ensure your rates are based on accurate information.

Your car insurance company will determine your rates based on factors such as your age, driving record, geographic location and driving habits. But if something has changed that could reduce your rates, you’ll want to make sure your car insurance company knows about it.

You may be eligible for a lower rate if you’ve recently modified your driving habits. Example: You now work from home rather than at an office and are driving far fewer miles each week.

5. Purchase a low-profile car.

It’s more expensive to insure a vehicle that’s expensive to repair, popular with thieves or known for not having the greatest safety record. For a rundown of vehicles’ risk levels, visit the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s web site

6. Opt for safety gear.

You can qualify for a discount on many policies if you have air bags, automatic seat belts, anti-lock brakes and daytime running lights. An approved alarm system or other anti-theft devices can give you additional savings.

Bottom line:

check with your local independent insurance agent to see how you can improve your bottom line, with discounts that may apply to your specific policy.