Dear chess great,
Can you offer any tips to help seniors reduce car insurance premiums? I just got a 15 percent increase in my car insurance and I’m looking for ways to save.
fixed income franc
Unfortunately, auto insurance rates have skyrocketed over the past year as the pandemic eases and more Americans are back on the roads. But, there are plenty of ways to lower your premiums. To find out what discounts may be available to you, contact your auto insurance company and inquire about these options as well as any others that may benefit you.
Low mileage discount: Most insurance companies offer discounts to customers who drive limited miles each year, which is usually helpful for retirees who drive less because they don’t commute to work every day. These discounts typically start when the annual mileage drops below 7,000 or 7,500, which is well below the typical 12,000 miles that most Americans drive annually.
Drivers Ed Discount: Many states require insurance companies to offer defensive driving discounts — between 5 and 15 percent — for drivers who take a refresher course to hone their safety skills. These courses, offered by AAA (aaadriver.online/register/roadwise) and AARP (aarpdriversafety.org), cost between $20-30 and can be taken online.
Controlled driving discount: Many insurance providers offer discounts based on how and when you use your car. To get this, the insurance company will provide a small monitoring device that you put in your car to track things like acceleration, braking habits, driving speed, phone use and while you’re driving. Drivers are rewarded between 10 and 50 percent for driving safely and not driving late at night.
In addition, many insurance companies also offer discounts for drivers who have had no violations or accidents for three years or more.
Membership discounts: The organizations you belong to can also lower your premium. Insurance companies offer discounts through professional associations, trade unions, large employers or membership organizations such as AAA, National Association of Active and Retired Federal Employees, AARP, etc. You can even qualify for savings based on the college you attended or a fraternity or sorority you belonged to decades ago.
Package Policies: If your insurance policy is issued by a different company than the one that insures your life or home, call each insurance company and ask if grouping the policies would be cheaper.
Improve your credit: You may be able to lower your car insurance premium by paying your bills on time and reducing the amount of debt you carry. Insurance companies look at how their customers manage credit to get an idea of risk and rate policies. Those with good credit scores, usually 700 or higher, are offered better rates.
Increase your deductible: While it’s not right for everyone, paying a higher amount of the deductible can save you big premiums. For example, raising your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision cost and comprehensive coverage by 15 to 30 percent. Going for a $1,000 deductible could save you 40 percent or more.
Consider your car model: If you’re shopping for a new car, call for an insurance quote before you decide what to buy. Some vehicles are safer and cost less to repair than others. Insurance companies collect data about each make and model and use it to determine how much they cost customers.
Shop comparison: To see if your current premium is competitive with what other insurance companies charge or to help you look for a different provider, you should compare shopping. Online brokerages such as CarInsurance.com, TheZebra.com, and QuoteWizard.com allow you to enter basic details, such as your age and the make, model and year of your vehicle, to compare rates from insurance companies.
Send your key questions to: Savvy Senior, PO Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070 or visit SavvySraduate.org. Jim Miller is a contributor to NBC today Show and author “The Savvy Senior” the book.