Just recently, I received a bill to renew my car insurance. I glanced at the bill and was getting ready to make a payment when I noticed something — this time there was a pay in full discount amount. I began to look over my bill more closely. Normally I pay a $3 monthly installment fee so that I can make payments for my auto insurance. Considering I don’t have to plunk out $450-600 at a time, I didn’t think the $3 per month was too bad. But when I factored in the pay in full discount, it makes a big difference.
By paying the full amount up front, I was able to get a discount of $39.90. Also, by making the full payment I avoided paying an extra $18 in monthly installment fees. This made my savings a whopping $57.90. Quite a bit a difference, don’t you think?
Here’s a few ways to save on your car insurance:
1. Ask for a pay in full discount such as the discount I received. If you can’t afford to pay the full six months, perhaps you could afford to make two payments – half up front and half later. It doesn’t hurt to ask.
2. Ask for other discounts. Some insurance companies offer discounts for military or students with good grades. Periodically we call our insurance company and ask for discounts. We have been with them for about nine years. When I call them I ask for a good driver discount. We’ve had no tickets or wrecks so we are considered safe drivers. Or you could ask them for a loyalty discount. There are all sorts of discounts available. You just need to ask.
3. Compare prices. It pays to shop around and compare prices of different companies. Be sure you’re comparing similar coverage though. It wouldn’t be a good deal to save $25 and not receive the coverage you need.
4. Ask about a higher deductible. Some financial advisers will tell you to always get a higher deductible. I would have to disagree with that one. Compare, compare, compare. We have a zero deductible and there wasn’t much difference in price. Don’t assume that it will be way cheaper to get a higher deductible, but then again, it could be. I would recommend making a list of companies you want to call and writing notes on prices for different types of coverage and deductibles and then comparing rates. An hour of your time could save you hundreds of dollars.
5. Check into a company’s reputation. With all of the online rants and reviews, it is fairly easy to research a company. Also, ask around to your friends and locals. Find out who they use and if they are pleased. It’s not a good deal if you are with a company that won’t answer your calls or help you when you need it.
6. Carry multiple policies with the same insurance company. Many companies offer a discount if you hold more than one policy with them. You could have your homeowners, renters, or life insurance policy with that company. Ask if they have a multiple policy discount.
7. Drive a low profile car. Some cars have a reputation for speeding tickets and trouble and therefore the premium for them is higher. Annual reports are available that list the most stolen cars in the country.
8. Keep your credit in good standing. Until recently, I didn’t realize that insurance companies check your credit regularly. A few months ago we received a letter from our insurance company stating that our rate would be higher because of an issue on our credit report. We did some investigating and found an incorrect claim that we had to dispute and get corrected. Without the insurance credit check, we wouldn’t have known about the error or that insurance companies check on people.
9. Maintain a safe driving record. This one seems like common sense, but a ticket or accident could really raise your insurance rates. Pay attention to speed limits and school zones. If you do get a ticket, see if you could take a safe driver course to reduce the points and insurance premium.
10. Drive less. Some insurance companies offer low mileage discounts for those that carpool or drive a low amount of miles each year. I once received the discount because I worked less than five miles from my house.
Making calls, comparing rates, and asking for discounts can save you hundreds each year. Make sure you have enough coverage and be safe.
What other tips do you have to add?
image (c) Karen Weideman
March 5, 2011
Each year I procrastinate getting my taxes done. All of the itemizations and deductions are confusing and many times overwhelming. Thankfully, I have an established relationship with an accountant in our area. She is so nice and doesn’t mind me emailing her with questions. All of this craziness is making a flat tax sound all the more appealing. Why do we all have to go through this each year? But that’s another rant for another day. Back to this whole tax mess . . .
The adoption tax credit has changed, there are rules about purchasing a new home, selling a home, and what if you receive a monthly housing allowance?
If you’re the common man (like me), this sounds like a foreign language to you. Don’t give up just yet. You want your taxes done correctly and you want to receive your money without delay. Forms that are filed incorrectly can delay refunds.
All of these new laws and extended tax credits make it really hard for a person to file their own taxes. I am known for being a thrifty tightwad money saving cheapskate, but here’s one time I cringe and shell out the money to a professional.
Of course, there are some ways to save money on your tax preparation expenses. Have your papers organized and deductions itemized by category. Don’t make the tax preparer search through your papers. Since they usually charge by the hour, this will only cost them time which costs you money.
Remember that the IRS has set up a handy YouTube channel to help answer some of your questions.
Will you hire a professional this year?
image sxc by YM