Money Matters

How to Get the Best Car Insurance Rates & Discounts

September 23, 2019

All auto insurance companies have competitive rates. However, some companies are catered to low-risk drivers, and others are cheaper for high-risk drivers. Although Sally from Accounting swears by Insurance Company A, you may find that Insurance Company B offers better rates. It’s not because Sally is a terrible person who wants you to pay more for insurance; it may just be that she’s a high-risk driver while you’re a low-risk driver.

To ensure you’re getting the best and cheapest auto insurance policy possible, don’t just rely on Sally’s advice. Instead, do your research and read these people’s anecdotes. Car insurance discounts are in your future—I can feel it.


Take a Defensive Driving Class

“Years ago, I took defensive driving classes at a local police department. The classes ran about 90 minutes each, once per week, for a full month. After completing the course, I received a certificate and faxed it over to my auto insurance agent. That discount knocked about $25 off my monthly premium, and the class was $25.” – Jacob

Check for defensive driving courses in your area here.


Try an Alternative Insurance Company

“I used to think only the big-name insurance companies were worth getting quotes from. Then a coworker of mine told me to look into some local insurance agencies. I was skeptical at first—until I saw how much cheaper their quoted rates were. I saved 50% on my yearly car insurance by switching, and I really feel like I can trust my new agent.” – Meghan

In addition to USAA and local insurance branches, try some more uncommon insurance companies, like Auto-Owners Insurance, Metromile, or Root.

I’ll take it one step further: Ask your current insurance company for your Declaration Pages. Copy them as PDF documents. Then email insurance companies to ask for a full “apples to apples” comparison with all their available discounts applied. This should make the process of switching insurance companies much simpler.


Drive Fewer Than 12,000 Miles

“My work commute used to put about 20,000 miles on my car each year. Apparently, that’s more than average, which resulted in my insurance premium going up. When I accepted a new job closer to home, my mileage dropped to about 8,500 per year. I informed my agent of this change, and I saved 20% in premiums!” – Jocelynn

Mileage plays a role in your insurance rate, as does your home and work location. If you live or work in busier metro areas, like Kansas City, you may notice that your insurance is high. If you move to a quieter area, or begin working somewhere with fewer commercial properties, your insurance costs may be lower.


Improve Your Credit

“After a rough few years of financial struggles, I noticed that I was unable to get a low rate on car insurance. I was informed that my credit score was too low, making me a risky driver to insure—even though I’d never had an accident or made any claim prior. Over the course of 18 months, I fully paid off my debt and car loan, caught up on my mortgage, and saw my credit score spike up to 700. I then requested new quotes from insurance companies and the rates were half of what they were before.” – Peter

Some drivers don’t know that their credit history impacts their insurability. If you have any poor marks on your credit report, you should seek to resolve them. One good way to raise your credit is to finance a car and pay on time every month. After 9 months of on-time payments, you should begin seeing your credit score increase.


Be Monitored

“I’ve always been a very good driver, yet my insurance company was unable to get my premiums lower. I inquired about one of their newer programs that monitors driving habits, and signed up on the spot. I installed an app and added a little gadget in my car, and once the data came in, after a few weeks, I received a very substantial discount in the neighborhood of 30%.” – William

Several auto insurance companies have these types of programs available. Progressive’s Snapshot technology is one of the more popular options, but I recommend asking your current agency if they have something similar. It doesn’t hurt to ask if you qualify.


Raise Your GPA

“I work full-time and go to school part-time at a local community college. When I purchased another used car, I noticed that my insurance costs nearly doubled. I spoke with my agent and discovered that I wasn’t taking full advantage of all my discounts, including the one for having a good GPA. I sent her my college transcripts and that took $20 off each month.” – Rochelle

Student discounts are excellent ways to reduce your car insurance premiums. If you have a GPA north of 3.00 and are in school at least part-time (usually 6 credit hours per semester), you most likely qualify. But you’ll need to inform your agent that you want this discount applied, as they won’t automatically know that you’re an academic all-star.


Drop Unnecessary Coverage

“When my, frankly, awful car finally died, and I purchased a newer one, I began to research car insurance policies. I found out that I’d been paying hundreds of dollars per year for comprehensive and collision coverage on a vehicle that wasn’t worth hundreds of dollars. Never again…” – Chris

If the amount you pay in premiums equals the cash value of the car it’s covering, consider lowering or eliminating the unnecessary coverage. Typically, you’ll want to look at dropping the following:

  • Collision – This covers damage to your car caused by hitting a mailbox, a fallen tree limb, or slamming into a parked car on your way to Denny’s.
  • Comprehensive – This covers damage to your car caused by theft, vandalism, hail, flood, fire, or a band of raccoons that turn your cabin into their own den of evil.
You will, however, want to have liability and uninsured motorist coverage in your policy. These are required by law in Missouri, as they should be.


Raise Your Deductible

“I’d always thought having a lower deductible was best. As I got older and became more confident in my driving ability, I asked my agent what I could do to reduce my premiums. She recommended raising my deductible from $100 to $1000. I’m glad I did! For the last 3 years, I’ve not been in an accident and have saved much more than the $900 difference in monthly premiums.” – Adam

One of the best ways for good drivers to lower their vehicle insurance costs is to increase their deductible. I suggest building up an emergency fund with your savings until it matches the new deductible amount, just for peace of mind.


Check for Employer Discounts

“Once I’d started my career, I discovered that my new employer offered a great car insurance discount that saved me 15% on my policy. I didn’t even have to do anything other than give my agent the group access code!” – Sara

In addition to employer discounts, other groups, associations, and organizations will have special insurance plans available. Check with your HOA, credit union, or any charitable organization you contribute to.


Bundle Up

“As an insurance agent, the first piece of advice I give people is to find any way to bundle your policies together. If you have renter’s insurance and car insurance through different agencies, combine them. The more policies you can bundle together, the better the discount. There’s no better way to reduce your premium than a good bundle.” – Matt

Not only is bundling better for your wallet, but it’s also easier to manage your policies. You’ve got just one agent and one number to call when you need help filing a claim or asking for policy changes. Fewer hoops to jump through is always a plus.


Have your own success story about lowering your car insurance costs? Leave a comment and let’s chat about it.



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