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Most people can find better insurance rates with one hour of checking prices online or calling insurance companies directly.

Be truthful and accurate about all information provided

It is important to be truthful and accurate about where you actually live, your vehicle usage, and any pertinent life circumstances relevant to your auto insurance matters when answering questions during the insurance application process.

Make sure you are reporting the correct annual miles driven

Make sure the insurance company has your correct annual mileage. Many companies factor how much you drive into the price you pay, but they sometimes use a default mileage that is higher than most people drive. People who have retired, changed jobs, or lost a job often drive less than what the insurance company has on file. Call your insurer and make sure your premium accurately reflects how many miles you drive each year.

Bundle policies such as home and auto

Insurance companies will generally give you discounts in the range of 5%-15% if you have more than one policy, such as an auto and a homeowners or renters policy.

Ask about member discounts

Some insurers offer discounts to drivers who work for certain companies, are members of certain organizations (such as a professional association), or are alumni of certain colleges and universities. Check if your insurance company provides discounts for a group to which you belong.

Loyalty doesn't pay off

Some insurers use mathematical analysis to charge long time, loyal shoppers more than those that shop around. This practice is called Price Optimization and is a tool used to increase insurance company profits.    

Address credit reporting errors

Make sure your credit score doesn’t have errors, as credit scores play an outsized role in auto insurance pricing.

 

It may come as a surprise, but after analyzing two billion car insurance quotes over two years, Consumer Reports found insurance premiums often have more to do with your credit history than your driving safety record. In fact, depending on the insurance company, having an average or low credit score can raise your premium by hundreds or thousands of dollars each year. Even drivers with above average credit often pay much more simply because they don’t have excellent credit.

 

The Federal Trade Commission has estimated that about 20% of Americans have errors on their credit scores. Check your credit report to make sure there are not errors that are contributing to a lower than appropriate score, and contact the credit reporting agencies as well as your insurer if you find errors. If your credit score falls and your insurance premium rises because of life events such as medical emergencies, divorce, military deployment, death of a family member, a job loss, identity theft, or other factors out of your control, call your insurer and request an “extraordinary life circumstance exception.” If you get this exception, you can be protected from the premium impact of a falling credit score.

Reduce coverage or increase deductibles

Your insurance company will lower your premium if you get rid of certain coverages, such as comprehensive and collision (though you may be required to carry these coverages if you have a car loan or a lease), or increase the deductible (the amount of money you’d have to pay out of pocket following an accident). Consumer Reports advises that if your premium for comprehensive and collision coverage equals or exceeds 10 percent of your car’s value, you should talk to your agent about dropping coverage.  Increasing your deductibles can save hundreds of dollars per year. Be careful before deciding to reduce coverage, though, because you may need the coverages or not want to pay so much out of pocket in the event of a loss.

Drive safely

You know this already, but it’s always good to be reminded that your driving record is factored into your premium. 

Avoid gaps in insurance coverage

Insurance companies punish drivers with substantially higher rates if they ever have a break in insurance coverage. Unfortunately, insurance companies are allowed to do this even if you have a perfect driving record. Sometimes it’s impossible to maintain coverage (for example, if you don’t have a car), but many companies will charge you significantly less if you can avoid any breaks in coverage.

Get married, buy a house, get a higher paying job, or go back to school.

Sure, these are not simple changes – and have nothing to do with your ability to drive – but many insurance companies charge less for auto insurance if you do these things (and charge more if you are single, divorced, or widowed, rent your home, work in service or manufacturing, or don’t have a college degree). CPAN believes these are unfair pricing practices and should be prohibited in Michigan. 

Considerations when Insuring a Teen Driver – ask about Good Student Discounts and consider purchasing an older model vehicle.

Good Student Discount. If you have youthful drivers on your policy who are in school, you may be able to get a discount if their grades are good enough. Check with your insurer about a good student discount.

 

Consider not purchasing your teen their own car.  Insurers will assume that your teen is going to drive more with their own car and will charge you more.  Instead, allow them access to your car so insurers assume they won’t be driving very frequently.  If you do buy them a vehicle, consider an older model to lessen your costs.

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When choosing a car think about the insurance impact. 

Insurance companies charge different premiums for different automobiles and buying the right car can save money on auto insurance. Many insurance companies offer significant discounts on vehicles equipped with safety features such as air bags, anti-lock brakes, daytime running lights, and anti-theft devices. They may also charge less for a policy on a six-cylinder engine versus a vehicle with an eight cylinder engine. While looking to buy a car, you can ask your insurer to calculate the difference in rates among the cars you are considering. Both the National Highway Traffic Safety Institute and the Highway Loss Data Institute make it easy to find the auto safety data about vehicles that figure into insurance companies’ premiums.

The Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) has published a chart outlining the discount percentages by insurance company.

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If you shopped and saved, share your results on our Facebook page. By sharing your success, you will encourage others to shop and save.  The goal of Shop Your Policy is to motive every policy holder to better understand the insurance product they are required to buy, to safeguard themselves and their family by having the proper coverage in the event of an accident, learn that pricing for the same coverage can vary greatly among insurance companies, and to $AVE!