You already know how much Billshark can save you on your bills, but there are lots of other ways to save yourself some money. One is on your car insurance. Since almost every state requires that drivers purchase insurance for their vehicle, or to at least post an annual bond in case of an accident, you know how costly it can be.
The bond option, allowed in 30 states, is not a good alternative, because if you’re at fault in an accident, you’ll have to pay for damage to the other driver’s car. And having no insurance at all still leaves you on the hook to pay up to $50,000 in liability costs and $25,000 for property damage.
So your best bet is insurance, which nearly all drivers opt to buy. But you can end up saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars on this pricey requirement if you know the following tips.
1. Talk to your insurer
If you’ve been with your insurer for some time, they may have instituted new discounts that you won’t know about unless you ask. Some of the more popular ones are reduced rates for:
- low mileage driving
- safe driving
- a college degree
- safety features (car alarm, traction control, electronic stability control, forward-collision warning, etc.)
- combining homeowner’s/renter’s insurance with car insurance
- insuring other vehicles like a motorcycle, boat, or RV
2. Keep your credit score high
The difference between a poor FICO score below 600 and a top credit score over 800 can mean as much as $2,000 a year to the average couple. Be sure to pay bills on time, don’t carry a large balance on unsecured debt like credit cards, and check your credit score annually at annualcreditreport.com.
3. Look into “pay per mile”
One of the newer features in car insurance is the practice of charging a low base rate with a per-mile charge (for instance, $29 a month and six cents a mile). If you don’t drive much, this could make sense for you. Metromile, Allstate’s Milewise, and Esurance all offer this option.
4. Increase your deductible
This tip is true for pretty much any kind of insurance. The more you’re willing to pay out of your own pocket in case of accident or loss, the less you’ll pay in premiums.
5. Get a group deal
Many insurance companies offer group rates through various organizations. Some of them are professional associations, unions, alumni groups, and large businesses. Ask any group you belong to if one of the perks of membership is reduced car insurance.
6. Be ready to walk
From your current insurer, that is. Once a year, make it a practice to check with at least three other insurers to find out how much you could save by switching. Ask about all the discounts listed above, then get a bottom-line figure and decide whether staying with your current insurer is worth it.
7. Drive safely
Black marks on your record such as accidents, speeding tickets, and DWIs will end up costing you dearly, as much as $1,000 a year for each incident, especially driving while intoxicated. Safe driving saves you money.
8. Install a spy
Anyone who uses a smartphone, social media, or the Internet should be used to being tracked, because those firms make money by watching everything you do. But when it comes to auto insurance, letting your insurer track you while driving can actually pay off. Several major insurers, including Progressive, Nationwide, and Allstate, offer a program in which you allow them to install a monitoring device in your car in return for lower rates. It provides them information on your driving habits (speed, braking, distance and time of day you drive, etc.) in return for an immediate discount, with more savings in the future if the tracking device determines you’re a safe driver.
9. Drop some coverage
Collision coverage (which pays to repair your car if you get into an accident) and comprehensive coverage (which pays if something unusual happens, like a tree falling onto your car) will only pay up to what your car is currently worth. So if you’re driving an old clunker, chances are you’ll pay more in collision and comprehensive premiums than you’ll ever be reimbursed by the insurance company. If you’re carrying collision and comprehensive coverage on a much older model, drop them.
10. Buy a better model
Besides the many factors listed here, insurance rates are also based on the model car you drive.
If you’re driving a flashy, expensive, or souped-up model, insurers figure you’re going to be drag racing it around town. If you’re driving a mini-van or a sedan without much horsepower, they assume you’ll be driving more carefully. So if you want to keep your insurance rates lower, next time buy a “soccer-mom” or “sedate businessman” model.
And for huge savings on your other bills, let our sharks sink their teeth into them. Remember, we save you money or you don’t pay us a dime!