As an independent Nashville insurance agent, I advise clients on almost all of it, from photographers hunting for affordable small business insurance to new moms looking for life insurance rates that still leave space in the budget for diaper-buying. But if I’m looking at bare statistics, more of you probably want car insurance savings tips than anything else.
Fun facts: Right now, about 70 million people have home or renters insurance in America, which, to be fair, is a whole lot of folks.
But there are about 222 million licensed drivers in the U.S., and about 87 percent of them are insured. So we’re looking at roughly 193 million Americans shopping for affordable car insurance. That’s a pretty big party. Would if I could help ‘em all.
If you’re looking for good and affordable car insurance in Nashville, I’d be glad to find a mix of options, compare/contrast and advise you. Just give me a call/email, or fill out this quick form for an online quote. (It doesn’t cost you anything extra in fees or in rates to have me do your legwork, either.)
But ahead/aside of that (or, even if you don’t shop for car insurance through Tucker Coverage), I’d like to share a few good tips/practices to keep in your back pocket. Some will feel pretty obvious, others not so much. All contribute to you getting the best possible rates for the car insurance coverage you need.
7 ways to cut your car insurance rates
1. Shop for car insurance
I’m not being ridiculous here; a recent study showed that almost 40 percent of U.S. car insurance policyholders have never shopped for a better rate. Never. What millions of drivers are doing, essentially, is buying a car insurance policy when they’re young and perceived as risky, then continuing with that coverage interminably, even when they’re established, responsible and “preferred risk,” and due much better coverage, usually at better rates.
Car insurance rates change all the time, and your circumstances usually do too — what you’re driving, where you’re driving, where you’re parking. It’s worth it to shop for car insurance regularly, at least once every year or two. Especially if I’m doing it for you — it won’t take any of your time, and you might save some cash.
2. Stay covered
This happens more with younger drivers, but: Keep your coverage current, and consistent. Periods of being uninsured can up your risk perception with insurers — this Value Penguin study showed that, in several states, drivers who’d let coverage lapse for more than a month paid an average of about 30 percent more each year. (If you’ve stopped driving/don’t have a registered car, don’t sweat this. But if you’re trying to cut corners by driving uninsured, this is just another of the many reasons that’s a terrible idea.)
3. Consider insurance prices when you’re car shopping
I’m not saying anyone should avoid buying their dream car just because insurance might cost more. But your specific car does figure in to what your rates look like, so if you’re trying to balance a budget, it’s worth considering what car insurance shopping will look like as you’re car shopping. Sports cars, luxury cars and large SUVs tend to cost more to insure, as do models that rank high on “most stolen cars” lists, while certain models with low claim histories or less horsepower tend to be cheaper. Cars that are a few years old are often cheaper to insure than the same brand-new model would be. Just stuff to chew on.
4. Take good care of whatever car you buy
The fewer claims you have to make, the better rates you usually end up with. So if off-street and especially covered parking is an option, it can be helpful. Especially in Nashville, capital of one of the Top 10 States For Hail Losses in the country, by the middle of 2017, and home of an 87 percent jump in stolen cars from summer 2016 to ’17.
Same goes for safe driving. Being a careful and conscientious driver is its own reward, but it helps on the insurance rates front too. Depending on the carrier, going a certain number of years without at-fault accidents or major violations can save you as much as 10 percent.
5. Bundle up
An obvious one that you’ve surely heard before, but using the same provider for your different insurance needs can help you save a bunch. Among the many providers I work with, savings from bundling policies like auto and home or auto and renters can range anywhere from 13 percent to 30 percent or more. Not too bad.
6. Get off the installment plan
Monthly insurance bills are a hassle, and generally end up costing you money unnecessarily. This is easy savings — setting up automatic/EFT payments can usually save you 2 to 3 percent or more, paying a policy in full often nets savings closer to 8 percent. Beyond that, going paperless can get you a discount with some carriers too. (Ask your auto insurance provider, or if you’re working with Tucker Coverage, ask me.)
7. Take good care of your credit
This is probably the least easy — or the least quick — of my tips, but it’s important well beyond insurance, obviously. Good credit makes a lot of things in life easier. But since we’re talking about car insurance: The New York Times found that a driver with really good credit (a score over 750) saved 40 percent, compared to the average.
Working with iffy credit, and not sure where to start on improving it? I wrote about a bunch of ways to improve your credit score here.
A lot goes into calculating insurance rates, but these are tried-and-true methods that have saved a lot of Nashvillians money on their car insurance.
Have other auto insurance questions, or need help finding a new policy? Call or email Tucker Coverage here, or to get started digitally, fill out this quick form for an online auto insurance quote.