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11 Ways to Save on Car Insurance

As you work to build your net worth, protecting your nest egg is a critical part of your total financial picture. While we often view car insurance as being able to fix or replace our own damaged vehicle, even more important is protecting your other assets in the event of a large liability lawsuit.

Of course, the cost of car insurance can get out of hand. Be sure that you are doing everything you can to educate yourself about insurance and obtain the right coverage. Here are some tips to save money on your insurance. In addition, there are some tips to protect your car and the occupants, often services offered by insurance companies.

Tips to Save Money on Your Car Insurance

1. Etch Your VIN. I just received a postcard from my agent offering free VIN etching. It makes your vehicle 64% less likely to get stolen. Avoid a stolen car and you’ll avoid a claim.

2. Install In-car Cameras for Teens. Two studies examining teen driving [1] with the use of in-car cameras saw a 70% reduction in teens risky driving behavior. Our insurance company offers these cameras free to policyholders with 16-year-olds. You can be sure that my tots will have these installed 14 years from now!

3. Check All the Discounts. Check the list of discounts that your insurance company offers. Be sure you are taking advantage of all the ones you qualify for. Here are some common ones to look for:

  • Car safety features: Air bags, automatic seat belts, anti-theft devices, and anti-lock breaks.
  • Good students: Teens with good grades.
  • Accident free: Multiple years with a clean record.
  • Senior citizens: Discounts for older policyholders.
  • Driving habits: Low mileage or a short commute.
  • Renewal discounts: Rewards customers who have stayed with the same insurance company for a long time.
  • Multiple cars: Discount for insuring all your cars with one carrier.
  • Training classes: Defensive driving and driver training classes.

4. Shop Around. We saved $500 per year [2] on one policy, just by getting quotes from multiple companies. Just make sure you stick with a company that is financially stable [3].

5. Consolidate Your Policies. Many companies offer you a discount on your car insurance to insure your house or other policies.

6. Keep a Healthy Credit Score. Find out when your credit report is ordered. I prefer to have a great score when my insurance company checks my credit. You can call your agent to ask when it will be ordered and how often.

7. Drive a Low Risk Car. When you are in the market for a new car, check the crash test ratings [4] for safety. In addition, see the insurance loss data by make and model [5] to get an idea of which cars are the least and most expensive to insure based on industry data.

8. Take on More Risk. You read everywhere that you should get a higher deductible, but why? Your ultimate goal is not to insure against scratches and dents. Rather your goal should be to insure against something that you cannot afford to happen. Save money each month to cover the cost of a $750 brush with a pole. Use insurance to cover the cost of a $400,000 accident.

9. Partially Insure Yourself. This is for collision only. Avoid collision insurance on a really old car worth less than $2,000. Chances are you’ll end up paying more in premiums than the car is worth. Just make sure before you drop the coverage that you have the money in the bank to replace it if it is totaled.

10. Understand the Laws. You’ll need different coverage based on where you live. Most states have a traditional tort liability system. Negligence determines who will pay. However, if you live in a no-fault [6] state, you need to understand how it works and why you’ll need different insurance coverage.

11. Buy an Extra Car. You’re never going to believe this, but when my husband was younger, we actually saved money by purchasing a third car. It was a junker that was probably only worth a few hundred dollars. The premium on our other cars dropped significantly and the cost to insure the junker was dirt cheap. Bottom line: we came out ahead. It pays to think creatively!

Feel free to add your own tips in the comments.