Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Recession Era Car Insurance: Get Aggressive About Discounts

In these tough economic times, cutting expenses isn’t just good sense, it’s a must. Drivers can’t do without car insurance; the law won’t let you. But there’s no law that says you have to pay through the nose when insuring your auto. When you start looking for an auto policy, remember these key points to do some deep “discount diving.”

  • Not all discounts are obvious.

  • Everyone knows that insurance companies like things like passive restraint systems and anti-theft devices, but most customers don’t know that in assessing risk, insurers also look at education and employment. People in the science and math fields, as well as engineers, have the lowest risk profiles and can actually get discounts of 10 to 30 percent on their policies. The same is true for educators, which is fairly common knowledge, but farming is the next lowest associated risk occupation. Bring it up. It never hurts to ask.

  • Service and experience are valuable.

  • Active duty and retired military personnel are eligible for discounts of 2 to 15 percent. (Service men and women who are going overseas can also decrease their coverage on stored vehicles.) Retirees often qualify for discounts of up to 45 percent if they have a good driving record and are members of AARP.

  • Buying in volume works for insurance too.

  • Taking out more than one type of insurance policy with the same insurance company is sure to garner discounts. Look for family rates if multiple drivers are to be insured, and ask about special programs for teen drivers. Some companies have new insurance products that will lower rates for drivers in this high risk category if a GPS tracking device controlled by the parent is installed on the vehicle.

  • Defensive driving isn’t just for when you get a ticket.

  • Often policy holders who will agree to take a defensive driving class will qualify for lower premiums. Now these courses are available online or via DVDs that can be rented in most video stores, minimizing the inconvenience. These days, the few hours spent on the course are well worth the dollars saved.

    By aggressively seeking out little known discounts, being prepared to comparison shop for coverage, and not shying away from negotiation, insurance customers can reap the benefit of big savings. In the midst of a recession, when you’re lucky to be able to meet the car payment, there’s no reason to pay unnecessarily high rates for your auto policy.