With household budgets cut to the bone, more and more consumers are shopping to find the best car insurance rates available. There is no question that a carefully planned insurance strategy, coupled with a handful of quotes from competing insurance companies, can lower your car insurance rates by a few hundred dollars -- or enough to cover one of your monthly car payments!
So how do you plan the ideal car insurance strategy? Here are five tips to get you started:
1. Donít get caught with a lapsed policy. As soon as your policy expires, you fall into the "uninsured" category of car insurance buyers. This means you will have a harder time getting insurance and are likely to get charged up to 20% more than somebody who has a steady history of insurance coverage. So shop for car insurance rates 30 days before your policy expires. This also provides you extra time to find and compare the best car insurance rates.
2. Pay your premium in full. If you pay your car insurance premiums on an installment plan, your premium probably has a finance charge built into the cost. Some companies charge $15-20 for the privilege of carrying a few hundred dollars for 90 days. In that case, you may actually save money by charging your premium on your credit card. Also, ask your car insurance carrier if they offer a "fast payment discount."† Some companies actually provide a discount if you pay your full premium within 10 days.†
3. Think twice about "first accident" forgiveness. You already know that there is no such thing as a free lunch -- the same is true of car insurance. You may actually be paying a higher upfront premium for the privilege of avoiding that first accident, but why pay for something that hasnít happened yet? Ask your insurance company what that same policy would cost without the first accident forgiveness. Itís possible youíre better off without it.
4. Install an alarm or vehicle recovery system. Anything you can do to reduce the chance of theft is going to reduce your car insurance premium, by as much as 10%. Insurance companies know which alarms work best and they value vehicle recovery systems the most. The system and installation can be fairly pricey, but they pay for themselves based on the premium discount. Ask your agent about the discount and then shop for a reputable system. Some name brands are LoJack, VehicleRECOVER, Mobileguardian, or GMís OnStar.†
5. Shop online for multiple car insurance quotes. Itís a fact of life -- competition breeds lower prices. With so many car insurance companies begging for your business, it only makes sense to compare as many of them as possible. The old fashioned way was to use a phone and yellow note pad, but that can take time and gets confusing. These days, itís easy to shop for the best car insurance rates online, usually by filling out just one form at one website.
By implementing as many of these tips as possible, youíll be able to confidently and easily shop for the best car insurance rates. But remember, the clock is ticking -- so get started before your current policy expires!If you're ready to start shopping, you may want to visit the website recommended below to find your best car insurance rates.