Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific car insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. She also specializes in automa...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert

UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020

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Car insurance companies determine the cost of insurance by calculating risk. People who pose a higher risk of being involved in an accident will pay higher rates in order to compensate for future claims. People who are unlikely to be involved in auto accidents will pay the lowest rates. Risk categories are fluid, and people may become classified as high-risk drivers after just one or two at-fault collision claims. Even someone who is an otherwise safe driver may be stuck paying high insurance costs after a single accident.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the cost of insurance even if you are not a perfect driver. Over time, car accidents and other points against your license will roll off and your rates will begin to decrease once more. In the meanwhile, here are 10 ways that you can reduce the cost of your auto insurance even if you are high risk.

Avoid Future Accidents

Just because you’re a high-risk driver doesn’t mean that you need to take risks. Each accident, ticket and DUI conviction counts against the insurance policy independently. This means that your rates can increase with every incident, and if you continue to engage in risky driving behaviors the policy will be canceled entirely.

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Multi-Policy Discounts

Insurance companies will offer discounts to people who carry multiple lines of insurance with a single company. If you don’t already carry your homeowner’s, renter’s, boat or motorcycle insurance through the same company as your auto, consider transferring the policies to a single carrier so that you can enjoy a sizable discount.

Good Student Discounts

Many high-risk drivers are high school or college students. These young people don’t have a lot of driving experience, so insurance companies must rely on statistics to determine the cost of their insurance. Statistically, good students tend to be safer drivers and more reliable in general, so insurance companies reward good academic behavior. If you have a 3.0 GPA or higher, you can send copies of your transcripts to the insurance company each semester to maintain this discount.

Drive an Affordable Car

Of course, if you already have a car, it may not be an affordable option to buy a new car just to reduce the cost of your insurance. If you’re looking at buying a new car, however, it’s a good idea to buy one that will be affordable to insure. Minivans are some of the cheapest cars to insure; sedans, pickups and SUVs can all be very affordable as well. Just avoid luxury vehicles, sports cars and expensive foreign vehicles, all of which can be more expensive to insure.

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Install an Anti-Theft Device

If you live in an area where theft is prevalent, installing a car alarm or other sort of anti-theft device into the vehicle can save a substantial sum from your auto insurance. Even in other parts of the country, anti-theft devices will help to reduce the cost of auto insurance and help prevent theft and vandalism.

Improve Your Credit

Credit scores are being used more and more by insurance companies to determine how trustworthy a customer is. People with good credit are perceived as being more dependable, and people with a long history of paying insurance premiums will make more attractive customers to insurance companies. If your credit needs improvement, focusing on repairing it can help you reduce the cost of your auto insurance and also help qualify for loans, financing and other financial assistance.

Modify Your Coverage

Dropping unnecessary coverages, reducing the limits of liability and increasing the amount of your deductible can all work to lower the cost of your auto insurance. Before making any changes to your policy, be sure that you don’t drop it below state requirements. Also choose a deductible that you will be able to reasonably pay. There is no point in carrying full coverage insurance if you cannot afford the deductible after an accident.

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Buy Your Vehicles in Cash

If you do decide to purchase a new automobile, you can save money on the car itself as well as your insurance premiums by buying a used car and paying in cash. If you finance a car purchase, the lien holder will require you to carry full coverage auto insurance in addition to gap insurance. The vehicle will also be more expensive to repair, leading to a high-cost insurance. Instead, buy a used car that’s a few years old. You will have more flexibility in choosing coverage and can spend less on insurance.

Take a Driver’s Education Course

Many cities offer defensive driving courses through the DMV or local library. These courses may cost a small fee to attend, but once you complete it you will be able to send proof of completion to the insurance company and reduce the cost of insurance. Be sure to ask the insurance company if they have any recommendations for courses that would reduce the cost of auto insurance.

Comparison Shop

You may be spending too much for auto insurance. By submitting the form for a free quote online, you can check with other insurance companies that will offer similar coverage at a lower price despite your driving history. By comparison shopping online you can find the best deal and change to a new company if necessary.

The best way to save money on auto insurance is to focus on safe driving habits. By maintaining the best possible driving record, you can ensure that you’ll qualify for the most competitive rates. Even if you can’t get a safe driving discount, however, there are numerous ways to save money on car insurance. By taking advantage of discounts and customizing your policy to suit your needs, you can obtain the coverage that you need at a price you can afford.