Paying for high-priced car insurance can overdraw your personal savings, especially in this economy. Comparing price quotes is a smart way to cut your insurance bill. Insurance companies such as GEICO, Progressive and Allstate persitently shower you with catchy ads and consumers find it hard to ignore the flying pigs and cute green geckos and find the best price available.
Many Things Influence your Rates
Smart consumers have a good feel for the different types of things that come into play when calculating your car insurance rates. Knowing what influences your rates empowers consumers to make smart changes that can help you get lower car insurance prices.
- Proper usage rating affects rates – The higher the mileage driven in a year the more you will pay for car insurance. The majority of insurers apply a rate determined by how the vehicle is used. Autos used primarily for pleasure use qualify for better rates than vehicles that are driven to work every day. Double check that your car insurance declarations sheet is showing the correct usage for each vehicle.
- Safer cars cost less to insure – Cars with high safety ratings tend to have better insurance rates. Safe vehicles reduce injuries and better occupant protection means lower claim amounts passed on to you as lower rates.
- Clean credit earns discounts – A driver’s credit score is a big factor in determining your rates. If your credit history is lower than you’d like, you could pay less to insure your by improving your credit score. Drivers with good credit tend to file fewer claims and have better driving records than drivers with poor credit.
- Always keep insurance in force – Driving your car without having proper coverage can get your license suspended and as a result your rates will increase for letting your coverage lapse. Not only will you pay more, but being ticketed for driving with no insurance will get you a revoked license or a big fine.
- An active claims history can cost you – If you are a frequent claim filer, you can definitely plan on either a policy non-renewal or much higher rates. Insurance companies in Montana give lower rates to people who do not rely on their insurance for small claims. Auto insurance is intended for major claims that would cause financial hardship.
- Do you need those extra coverages? – There are a lot of add-on coverages that you can get tricked into buying if you aren’t careful. Things like personal injury protection, accidental death and additional equipment coverage are examples of these. These may sound like a good investment when you first buy your policy, but now you might not need them so remove them from your policy.
- Performance makes a difference – The make and model of the vehicle you are insuring makes a big difference in your rates. The most favorable rates are generally reserved for small economy passenger cars, but other factors influence the final cost greatly.
Companies offer discounts so take them!
Insuring your fleet can be pricey, but you may find discounts to help offset the cost. Some discounts apply automatically when you complete an application, but a few must be specifically requested prior to getting the savings. If you don’t get every credit possible, you’re paying more than you need to.
- Discounts for Safe Drivers – Drivers who don’t get into accidents may receive a discount up to 45% less than drivers with accident claims.
- More Vehicles More Savings – Insuring multiple cars or trucks on one policy may reduce the rate for each vehicle.
- Club Memberships – Participating in certain professional organizations is a good way to get lower rates on your policy.
- Anti-lock Brake System – Vehicles equipped with ABS or steering control prevent accidents and will save you 10% or more.
- Pay Now and Pay Less – If you pay your entire premium ahead of time rather than paying monthly you could save 5% or more.
- Military Rewards – Having a deployed family member can result in better rates.
- Multi-policy Discount – If you have multiple policies with one company you will save approximately 10% to 15%.
- Life Insurance Discount – Companies who offer life insurance give a discount if you purchase auto and life insurance together.
- Driver Safety – Taking a defensive driving course can save you 5% or more depending on where you live.
- Resident Student – Children who are attending college and do not have a car can be insured at a reduced rate.
Drivers should understand that some credits don’t apply to the entire cost. Most cut the cost of specific coverages such as comp or med pay. So even though they make it sound like adding up those discounts means a free policy, you’re out of luck. Any amount of discount will bring down the cost of coverage.
For a list of providers with the best car insurance discounts in Montana, follow this link.
Do I just need basic coverages?
When choosing the right insurance coverage, there really is no single plan that fits everyone. Coverage needs to be tailored to your specific needs so your insurance needs to address that. Here are some questions about coverages that may help highlight whether your personal situation will benefit from professional help.
- Is my babysitter covered when using my vehicle?
- Am I covered when driving someone else’s vehicle?
- Do no-fault laws apply in Montana?
- Can I afford to buy a different vehicle if my vehicle is totaled?
- What is covered by UM/UIM coverage?
- Do I need motorclub coverage?
- Should I drop comprehensive coverage on older vehicles?
If it’s difficult to answer those questions, you may need to chat with an agent. If you don’t have a local agent, fill out this quick form or click here for a list of car insurance companies in your area. It’s fast, free and can provide invaluable advice.
Additional information can be found on the website for the Montana Commissioner of Securities and Insurance through this link. Montana consumers can get help finding coverage, discover disciplinary actions, and find out which companies have the most complaints.
A tidy conclusion
As you go through the steps to switch your coverage, don’t be tempted to skimp on critical coverages to save a buck or two. In too many instances, an insured dropped liability coverage limits and found out when filing a claim that the savings was not a smart move. Your goal should be to buy a smart amount of coverage for the lowest price while not skimping on critical coverages.
Low-cost car insurance can be purchased from both online companies as well as from independent agents in Lewistown, and you need to price shop both to have the best chance of lowering rates. Some car insurance companies don’t offer online price quotes and many times these smaller companies only sell through independent insurance agents.