HOUSTON – If you have had to renew your auto insurance in the last year, you probably received a bill for at least 10% more than what you paid last year for the same or less coverage. Hopefully, you didn’t just pony up the extra cash and renew because there are some “ways 2 save” on car insurance. We are looking into what you need to do.
How can I save money on car insurance?
Nearly every major car insurance carrier received approval to raise their rates across the board this year. It may feel like you’re being penalized if you haven’t even filed any claims. But with a little homework, you can save some money or at least not have to pay more.
You may drive the same car on the same streets, with no accidents. But your premiums shot way up.
“Anywhere from on the low end, from eight to 10%, as high as 20%, you’re gonna see the rates go up,” said Jessica Fuentes with Brazos Insurance Agency in Richmond.
#1 Always look for better car insurance options
Fuentes said one of the biggest mistakes you can make is not shopping around.
“Never just pay your renewal, always try to re-shop it,” she explained.
Independent brokers like Fuentes can check rates for you with multiple companies for free.
“Let us do the legwork, you know, we’ll run all the different quotes, we’ll show you the top three, and you can kind of decide which best fits your needs best,” Fuentes said.
And it might be worth checking with various broker agencies since often they will work with different companies.
#2 Besides brokers, check directly with companies
Did you know agents who work directly for insurance companies like Allstate or State Farm may be able to offer you policies independent brokers can’t? So check both.
Here we spelled out what you need to know when making changes to your auto insurance. So check this before making those calls.
#3 Consider lifestyle changes you have made when shopping for car insurance
Even if you’re driving the same car, think about what has changed since you last renewed. Do you now work from home and drive less? You could get a low mileage discount.
“If you’re driving less than I believe 8,000 miles a year, then you qualify with most carriers for that low mileage discount. So that is worth mentioning to your agents,” explained Fuentes.
Do you have a child away at college on your policy? If they didn’t take their car, you can get a discount. If they did take their car and they get good grades like a 3.0 GPA or higher, they can qualify for a good student discount.
#4 Keep tabs on your credit score
Have you recently improved your credit score? That can also save you money.
“For most of the big carriers, they’re checking what’s called your insurance rating which is pretty loosely tied to your credit score. So if you have better credit your insurance will reflect that, and you’ll have better rates,” said Fuentes.
#5 Consider letting car insurance companies monitor your driving
Apps and monitoring devices that let insurance companies see how you’re driving can also save you up to 20%. They’re called telematics and Fuentes says some carriers will even give you a discount upfront just for trying it out. But make sure you are actually a good driver.
“Are you doing a lot of fast accelerations? Are you doing a lot of hard breaking? And then what time of day, are you driving? So if you’re driving a lot late at night, that may not be the best option for you,” she explained.
RELATED: More details on allowing companies to track your driving.
Should you take the car insurance offers that come in the mail?
Fuentes said one of the biggest mistakes that consumers may when it comes to car insurance is taking those car insurance offers you get in the mail, calling the company, and saying sign me up, without making sure the coverage and deductibles are the same as what you currently have.
Consider paperless billing, paying in full
And while you will save some money by opting into auto pay and paperless billing, you will save the most if you can pay your policy in full instead of making monthly payments.