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How to Lower Your Car Insurance Rates

Car insurance is a necessary expenditure for all drivers across the country, because it is a legally mandated form of coverage. Auto insurance premiums can be a significant burden on the monthly budget if you do not work hard to keep them in check. There are several ways to lower your car insurance rates and minimize the cost of this important coverage in line with your budget.

How Your Insurance Profile Affects Your Rates

The one thing you have the most control over as a car insurance customer is your insurance profile. The specific characteristics you have as a driver and a consumer have a very significant effect on your automobile insurance rates. These characteristics have nothing to do with the car you drive or the insurance company you choose to contract with for coverage. Your historical performance as a driver out on the road has a strong bearing on your profile, as does your credit rating and your insurance coverage history.

Your driving performance has nothing to do with winning races. In fact, it is tied to quite the opposite sort of driving behavior. Your driving history is taken into account, including any moving violations or other citations you may have received. Your claims history as a whole is a strong indicator to insurers of the risk you represent as a potential customer. For this reason, keeping your record clean is of the utmost importance.

Always bear in mind the long-ranging financial effects of speeding tickets and accident claims. Drive cautiously and defensively to reduce your risk of having to file a claim or getting pulled over. Always wear your seat belt, and always drive with the understanding that you have to watch out for other drivers as well as yourself. People have more distractions now than they ever had before; talking on the phone, text messaging and even watching TV are all behaviors associated with high-risk driving. You should not only avoid these sorts of behaviors for yourself, but also be on the lookout for risky driving in others to prevent becoming involved in accidents.

Like your driving record, your credit rating represents a glimpse into the insurance risk you represent to providers. Statistics show strong links between good credit and low rates of claims, so a strong credit rating can go a long way toward securing an affordable auto insurance package. To maintain your credit rating, pay your bills on time, don't overextend yourself, and keep your balances low. It is really important to realize how far-reaching the effects of your credit score can be. Missing a few payments on an installment loan can cost you much more than just the late fees. Work hard to maintain your credit and you will be rewarded financially in many ways, including your car insurance premiums.

Your insurance coverage history is another factor in your control. Do not let coverage lapses cost you money down the road. It is understandable for someone who is short on cash to be tempted to let their coverage lapse, but the long-term cost of increased rates tends to far outweigh the momentary relief presented by skipping a payment or letting your coverage expire. Add to this the potential cost of a citation for no insurance, and the financial benefits of maintaining current auto insurance become even more evident.

How the Car You Choose Can Influence Your Rates

Besides taking extra care to build a positive insurance profile as a driver, you can also lower your car insurance costs simply by choosing an inexpensive automobile to insure. One good strategy is to factor car insurance costs into your buying decision in the first place. While you are price shopping for cars, also compare costs of coverage for each vehicle you are considering. This way you can really know for sure whether you can afford that big truck or sports car you've always wanted. Many drivers come home with a new vehicle thinking they had stayed within their budget, only to experience sticker shock of a different kind when their insurance bill comes due.

Finding the Right Insurance Company-and the Right Policy

Avoiding this sticker shock is a lot easier when drivers do their homework on their auto insurance and make sure they are aligned with a reputable insurance company that can give them a fair and reasonable price on their coverage. The natural first step in achieving the goal of an affordable policy is to find the right company to work with. There are many companies out there lining up to compete for your business. Your task as a consumer is to figure out which one will do the best job of providing you with the right level of coverage at the right price.

It can be discouraging to face the prospect of sifting through the nearly limitless options available for insurance coverage online. With so many companies to choose from and so much sales rhetoric to wade through in the hope of finding some nugget of truth behind the endless claims of low prices, many customers end up making the mistake of settling for the first low price they come across. This is an easy trap to avoid if you rely on sites like this one, a free guide to connect you with top quality companies offering service in your area. Start with a narrowed field and work from there, and it will be much easier to make an informed choice without getting discouraged or pressured into a hasty decision.

Once you have the right company in mind, the rest is fairly simple. Getting the coverage details straight on your personal auto insurance policy can really save you a great deal of money off the top. For example, although a typical auto policy comes with a default coverage and deductible package, there is no reason you have to agree to purchase that package as-is. Customers are free to adjust both coverage and deductibles to save on their premium. If you are insuring an old car not worth a whole lot of money and you own the car outright, it doesn't make financial sense to carry comprehensive and collision coverage on the vehicle. A more sensible and economical option is to carry minimal coverage; just enough to get it registered and out on the road.

Discounts are another avenue worth exploring when putting together an auto insurance plan, because they can yield significant savings without any cut in coverage. For example, a young driver could explore a good student or alumni discount. Membership in civic and professional organizations, carpooling to work or driving low miles, and being claim-free are some of the many other possibilities worth looking into. Discount packages can often add up to tremendous overall savings for drivers; and their availability should certainly be factored in when you are choosing between companies.

Automobile insurance is an expense that can drain significant funds from our monthly budgets, but we do have the power to exert our influence as customers and work to minimize these costs. By monitoring your driving behavior and making smart vehicle and insurance choices, you can more effectively manage your car insurance costs.

 

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