There are some age-old things we can do to lower our auto insurance premiums, pandemic or not.
Here is a helpful list.
1: Examine Your Driving Habits
If you are driving fewer miles than usual, that might have an impact on your auto premium. Lajdziak says if you are still working from home, it’s worth looking at how your vehicle usage has declined.
“Consumers should pay close attention to their driving habits, if that has significantly changed, and if they expect that change to remain for the longterm,” he said. “That may mean significantly less miles than before, which could lead to lower rates if the consumer was previously a high-mileage driver. In that case, contacting your insurer and adjusting the miles you typically drive can have an impact on premiums.”
Drivers can also ask their auto insurance provider about usage-based plans. These plans monitor driving habits and vehicle usage by way of telematics devices.
“Available through most carriers, usage-based plans can offer somewhat real-time relief to those driving less or driving safer,” Lajdziak said. “Interest in such programs has increased as a result of COVID-19, given consumers still expect to be driving less in the future, whether to remain working at home or simply because they want to spend less time in public.”
Ruiz cautions that while driving less can work in your favor; it’s not a universal guarantee. “Just because a customer’s mileage decreases doesn’t mean other risk factors disappear,” she said. “Numerous factors determine a driver’s auto insurance premium, including claims and credit history, years of driving experience, and marital status.”
2: Ask About Discounts
The most common discounts include safe driver, good student, military service, customer loyalty, and the number of safety features on your vehicle. According to NerdWallet, there is no single provider with “the best” discounts. Instead, jump on the phone and ask your provider about discounts if you haven’t lately. If you have a clean driving record, a long history with the company, or are regularly acing your exams, let them know.
“Consumers can and should re-examine what discounts they may be eligible for now that they were not when they originally purchased their policy,” Lajdziak explained. “Every insurer offers discounts, but they are often only presented to consumers when they purchase the policy.”
If you have watched TV or listened to the radio sometime in the last century, you have probably heard an ad about savings via bundling. Well, those ads are right, according to Ruiz. “Customers should contact their insurance professional to discuss potential auto policy discounts, which can be achieved by bundling home and auto coverage with the same insurer,” she said.
#3: You Are What You Drive
What you drive will determine your insurance rate. You will shell out more for a sleek, fast convertible versus a casual sedan. If you are vehicle shopping right now and want to lower your insurance rate, it’s worth researching makes and models that have a good track record in this area.
“When it comes to what you drive, nothing has changed very much, even with COVID-19,” Lee said. “If you want to drive a sports car, you’re still going to pay a lot to insure it.”
4: Be Sober & Stay Alert
Your driving history plays a role when it comes to auto insurance premiums. If you are a genuinely reckless driver, you may be required to carry SR-22 documentation, even if you don’t own a car.
In Automoblog’s past work with the Michigan State Police and the California Highway Patrol, three main things put motorists at risk: speed, distraction, and impairment. Concerning the latter, prescription drugs are also problematic, even though we don’t realize it. When the labels recommend not operating heavy machinery, we tend to think of construction and factory equipment. Still, we should extend that definition to include our automobiles.
Drive slower, put the phone away, and designate a sober driver. Doing so will have benefits well beyond a lower car insurance rate.
5: Don’t Cancel Your Coverage
While it might be tempting, driving less isn’t justification for canceling your auto insurance. If you are pulled over without proof of insurance or get in an accident, you could find yourself in a world of trouble. Lee recommends calling your provider and being honest with them if you are having trouble paying your premiums.
“You can also look at dropping coverages you maybe don’t need at the moment,” she added. “You will save a lot of money by dropping to liability only, for example.”
“We recognize that this can be a tough time for many people across the country,” Estes added. “Agents are a great resource for customers and can you help review things like coverages and deductibles, and that you’re receiving discounts that may apply to you. Many agent offices are still running virtually and can assist customers via phone or email.”