Whether your policy is brand new or you've already renewed it countless times, when it comes to insurance, controlling your rates are important. Fortunately for customers, policy rates aren't entirely set in stone. Using these tips, you'll hopefully be able to keep premiums low by avoiding unnecessary rate increases and taking advantage of discounts whenever possible.
No Accident Is Too Small To Report
It's a common misconception that you don't need to report an accident to your insurance company if you and the other party involved are satisfied that no damage occurred. However, if you choose to just pretend nothing happened to avoid getting a mark on your insurance record, it could come back to bite you.
Sometimes, damage to the car or to a person's health may not be apparent until days or even weeks after the accident happens. If a hidden problem becomes apparent to the other party, they may end up pursuing you and your insurance company for legal damages. If you failed to report the accident when it happened, your insurance company could very well choose not to honor their end of your policy. This would mean that not only would you have to defend yourself alone in court, but you'd also have to pay any damages out of pocket.
Even if your insurance company decides to honor the policy and handle your claim like normal, you'll likely see an increase in your premium as a result. When the company thinks you might lie to them or withhold information pertinent to accidents, you'll end up feeling it in your wallet.
Discounts Are Practically Guaranteed...If You Ask
Not everyone realizes when they discuss rates with their insurance company that discounts are available for just about anyone who asks. Companies will usually bend over backwards to get or keep a customer, so all it takes to get a small rate cut is talking about it. You might be able to drop unnecessary coverage from older, lower-value cars, for example. Or, if you don't drive very often, you may be able to have rates lowered on cars that go less than 10,000 miles per year. Membership to other groups or company clubs may also qualify you for various discounts. Members of AAA or AARP, for example, can typically get a less expensive policy due to partnerships between these clubs and the insurance companies.
If you don't qualify for any easy discounts, you may still be able to get your price lowered slightly by shopping around. After you do your research, present your insurance company's representative with an offer for a similar policy at a lower price, and tell them that you may have to switch plans if you can't get a discount with the current company. It may not always work, but this can get you a small discount in some cases.
Cash In On Your Good Driving
Are you an exceptional driver who easily avoids accidents? You may be able to trade on your driving skills to get a price cut. The first thing you should do is ask about accident forgiveness for any past issues. Some companies will automatically forgive your first accident, and others may forgive older fender benders if you've been accident free for several years. Once the bad marks are cleaned off of your record, you should see your rates go down at least slightly.
If you've recently been in an accident but you want to keep your rates low, you can ask your insurance company about lowering rates when you attend driving school. Many companies will give you a credit or a permanent discount if you attend driving lessons voluntarily.
For those who are feeling more futuristic, some insurance companies offer a black box discount for very safe drivers. For a temporary period of time, the insurance company installs a black box in your car that measures things like how often you speed, how much you drive overall, how long you take to stop, and even in some cases whether you drive more on highways or small roads. Using this information, insurance companies can confirm for themselves that you are a safe driver, which means your rates should go down significantly.
Don't feel helpless when it comes to your car insurance rates. With safe driving, discounts, diligent accident reporting, and communication with the insurance company, you can hopefully keep your premiums affordable and your mind worry-free, no matter what destination you pick. Click here for more information about this topic.