July 20, 2012

10 Ways to Save Money on Your Car Insurance

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


July 19, 2011

12 Ways to Save Money on Gas

I wrote this article about four years ago when I worked for “the other company”. I’m slowly trying to transfer and rewrite some of my content for my own site. A friend messaged me on facebook today and wanted to know if I had any tips for saving money on gas and so this was a good reason for this article.

With gas prices so high right now, we could all use these tips.

1.  Drive sensibly.  Aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration, braking) wastes gas.  Driving sensibly can help increase your gas mileage by 5% for around town driving and 33% at highway speeds.  Someone said that you should drive like you have a hot cup of coffee on your dash. 

2.  Observe the speed limit.  Gas mileage usually decreases rapidly at speeds above 60 mph. 

3.  Remove excess weight.   Avoid carrying unnecessary, heavy items in your car which will reduce your mpg.

4.  Drive at a constant speed.  I use my cruise control a lot because I can set it and not worry about my speed going up and down.  This saves gas and also avoids me getting a ticket.  I wouldn’t recommend using cruise control in the mountains or hilly areas. 

5.  Turn off your air conditioner.  Running the a/c uses more fuel.   July is one of the hottest months in the south so this tip is impractical in extreme temperatures.  When the temperature is 85 or below, I enjoy rolling down the windows.  Try to park your car in the shade so that it doesn’t get so hot inside the vehicle.

6.  Keep your engine tuned.  Fixing a serious maintenance problem, such as a faulty oxygen sensory, can improve your mileage by as much as 40 percent.

7.  Check and replace air filters regularly.  It saves gas and improves mileage.

8.  Keep proper tire pressure.  Under inflated tires lower gas mileage.  Properly inflated tires are safer and last longer.

9.   Reduce the drag.  Avoid roof racks and bicycle racks when traveling.   Place items in the trunk if possible.

10.  Avoid unnecessary idling.   It wastes fuel and pollutes the air.  If possible, schedule your commute from work during the least busy times.  I remember when I worked in Blacksburg, I really had to watch the times that I left work.  Waiting an additional 10 minutes could cost me an additional 30 minutes of commute time.

11.  Schedule your errands more efficiently.  I try to do all my errands on one side of town in one day that way I’m not driving all over the place.  This saves time and money.

12.  Consider a fuel efficient vehicle.  I’m not saying to run out and buy a new vehicle.  The cost of a new vehicle will be more than gas.  If you’re looking to purchase another vehicle, consider one that is more fuel efficient.

What other gas saving tips can you add?

image (c) Karen Weideman