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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Finding the right car insurance policy takes much more time than just comparing premiums. You need the right amount of coverage and the right type of insurance before operating a vehicle. After all, what good is $100,000 in coverage if your damages are not covered?
If you are in the market for car insurance then you probably have seen numerous ads boasting how you can save up to $600 or a more by switching car insurance companies but how many drivers actually save the maximum amount and do they have to switch car insurance companies to realize this savings. Sometimes they do but sometimes it’s simply about learning how car insurance works to get the best deal. There are 6 main components of any car insurance comparison search and most of these factors are within your control.
Type and Amount of Coverage
This is probably the single biggest factor in how much your car insurance will cost. The more insurance you have the more it will cost. For owners of new vehicles or luxury cars it often makes sense to purchase $100,000 or more of full coverage car insurance including liability, collision, comprehensive and even. However for used car owners you may not need as much comprehensive car insurance and some policyholders even forget to remove certain types of coverage (like GAP insurance) long after the benefits of having such insurance exist.
The Type of Vehicle Insured
Sticker shock is not just a phrase used when buying a vehicle – it applies to car insurance also. The problem here is that many consumers decide to get car insurance after buying a new car only to find out that their new car insurance payments are much higher than previous ones. The logic behind this doesn’t make sense but there is a general consumer behavior to just assume car insurance is fixed and beyond their control, plus it’s not nearly as exciting as shopping for a new car with the big surround sound system.
Fact is car insurance is not fixed nor is it based solely on any one single factor. Obviously car insurance for an RV is different than family cars but similar vehicles costing the same amount can still be $500 or higher in difference to insure just based on the vehicle safety record and/or safety features. Your budget should be based on all the costs associated with owning the car and not just the car loan payment. Before entering any dealership or getting fixated on a particular vehicle always compare car insurance quotes and see how much auto insurance will cost first.
Your Credit Score
Unfortunately for most people buying a car is not a spontaneous decision. While lottery winners and millionaires can take the nearest exit and buy a new car just for the fun of it most of us have to work and budget. This means you are probably going to take some time comparing vehicles, reading car reviews and even choosing what color you like. During this time good idea is to pull your credit score and make sure there are no errors on your report. Consumers with good credit scores will get the best car insurance rates and those with bad credit will not feel the love from car insurance companies. Many credit report disputes are completed within 30 days so pull your report, dispute negative information and hopefully you can bring your score up before its time to apply for car insurance. Yes, we live in a world where one score can make a big difference!
The car insurance deductible is probably the easiest way to save money on car insurance. Most policies have a $500 standard deductible but increasing this to $1,000 or more can often save 10% to 15% on premiums. Changing your deductible is different than the vanishing deductible programs you hear about so understand how deductibles work and be prepared to pay the extra amount in the event of an accident well before buying car insurance. Never just accept the standard deductible without knowing your options to save money with a higher deductible.
How much do you drive?
Most car insurance policies assume you are going to drive between 10,000 and 12,000 miles a year but what if you work from home or commute another way to work? If you are using your vehicle part time then focus on getting part time car insurance. Some consumers save up to 50% or more buying a low mileage policy. Sit down and calculate a reasonable year of mileage for you and if it happens to fall under 7,500 miles a year then start inquiring about low mileage car insurance or pay as you go policies.
Compare Car Insurance Companies
Competition is huge in the car insurance industry and there are multiple companies who can provide similar coverage with similar customer service. Never just accept the first quote – there are reasons why people switch car insurance companies and you may just be surprised how vast some quotes different from others.