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Auto Insurance Discounts

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auto insurance buying guideThere are many kinds of discounts on auto insurance.

You can qualify for discounted prices based on what you drive, how you drive, even what organizations you join. But don't expect your insurance company to volunteer information about all of the discounts they offer.

Do your homework and ask what's available.

And don't limit yourself to what's listed on their company Website. If Company A offers a discount for having full front-seat airbags but Company B doesn't, ask Company B for the discount anyway. Even mention that one of the competitors is offering the discount already. You might be able to get the discount from Company B even if it's not listed as a discount they offer.

When it comes to setting a price, auto insurance is about as flexible and negotiable as buying an auto itself. If you come to the conversation knowing the facts and what's available from multiple companies, you are in a better position to haggle a better deal for yourself.

Educational Discounts

Driver's Education Discounts — Young drivers who complete a licensed driver's education course may quality for an auto insurance discount. These can be especially useful since younger drivers often pay very high rates.

Defensive Driving Discounts — State accredited driving safety classes like Comedy Guys Defensive Driving cover a wide variety of driving-related topics that can make you a more knowledgeable and safer driver. That's why most insurance companies offer discounts to people who've taken such a course. The usual discount is 10% for three years, but this can vary so ask your insurance provider for details.

And, just to alay some worries, taking a defensive driving course does not prevent someone from taking the class again to get a ticket dismissed. For example, if you take our class in January to renew your insurance discount but then get a ticket in February, it is still possible to take the class again to have the ticket dismissed and removed from your driving record, provided the court in question approves.

Good Student Discounts — Many companies offer some kind of good student discount, which lowers costs for all teenagers with a B average or better. Depending on the company, the discounts can be as much as 20 or 30%. Companies make offers like these because they realize that new drivers very often stay with the first insurance company that covers them.

Resident Student Discounts — The policy holder doesn't always have to be the student. Sometimes it's enough to be the parent of a student. For drivers who have a kid in school at least 100 miles away, some auto insurance companies offer a resident student discount.

I guess the thinking is that you'll be doing a lot of extra driving, visiting the little darlings on campus. Yeah, college students love surprise visits from the parents, don't they?

Driving Behavior Discounts

Accident-free Driving History Discounts — If you've been driving for an extended period of time with no collisions, then you've proven yourself to be a safer risk for your insurance company and, therefore, deserving of lower rates. Most companies offer some discount of this type, but you must ask each company for details. Geico, for example, will let you save up to 26% on most coverages if you've been accident-free for five years,

Moreover, many companies have an some variation of Accident Forgiveness program, which will let you keep this reduced rate even if you're involved in a crash after you're insured with them.

Low Milege Discounts — Some companies offer discounts to drivers whose annual mileage is lower than average or who carpool to work.

Deductible Rewards — Some companies will decrease auto insurance deductibles over time based on maintaining a safe driving record. Allstate, for example, offers $100 off of the deductible at signing plus an additional $100 off for each subsequent year without a collision. As always, this guide is just a guide: for the actual legal details, consult the auto insurance company in question.

Passive Restraint Usage Discounts — In the past, there were insurance companies that offered discounts for drivers in vehicles with factory installed passive restraints such as safety belts and air bags. This is perhaps becoming less common as those devices are becoming standard, but it's worth asking about discounts like these when shopping for your auto insurance.

Vehicle Safety Equipment Discounts — Safer drivers are less likely to collect on insurance policies, and vehicle safety equipment is designed and installed to keep the driver and passengers safer. So it makes logical sense that insurance companies want their policy holders to have and properly use the safety equipment on their cars.

Below is a list of some of the vehicle safety equipment that could earn you a discounted price on your auto insurance. As always, ask your insurer about the details of any discounts they offer.:

  • Side Air Bags
  • Full Front-seat Air Bags
  • Factory-installed Anti-lock Brakes
  • Anti-theft Protection
  • Daytime Running Lights

Driver Discounts

Older Driver Discounts — Often retired, older drivers probably don't have a daily commute which forces them into heavy traffic twice a day, five days a week. And they don't drive like kids: namely, racing around as fast as traffic will let them, changing lanes abruptly and without signaling. For these and other reasons, Older drivers are often safer than the general public, statistically speaking. Which means they can be a safer risk to insurance companies and, therefore, qualify for a lower rate.

Organizational Discounts — Some auto insurance companies have worked out special deals with various organizations to offer reduced rates to their members. Geico, for example, has a list of more than 250 organizations, the members of which get some kind of discount. The list includes such diverse groups as Mensa International, the National Geographic Society, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, and Kappa Sigma Fraternity. Check out the Geico Website for details.

Military Discounts — There are companies which, even if they don't offer other organizational discounts, offer discounts to policy holders who are currently serving in the US Armed Forces.

Customer Loyalty Discounts

Multi-car Discounts — This one is easy to understand. Buy coverage on more than one car from the same insurance company, and you may qualify for a discount.

Multi-policy Discounts — Maybe you only have one car, so the multi-car discount is not for you. But you may still receive a multi-policy discount if you get multiple policies from the same companies, such as getting auto insurance, life insurance, or home owner's/renter's insurance all from one place.

Early Signing Discounts — Actually, this is more of a “customer DISloyalty discount.” To qualify for this discount, a customer has to switch from Company A to Company B before their policy with Company A expires. In other words, Company B will pay you to abandon Company A.

Renewal Discounts — This is an insurance company's incentive for customers to now change their insurers. In the simplest terms, your rates lessen slightly every time you renew, so that you have less reason to go somewhere else.

 

But insurance companies aren't stupid: they know that many people keep the same insurer out of simple inertia, and they don't work hard to reward that. At least once a year, do some comparison shopping for auto insurance rates. If you find a better deal somewhere else, go back to your insurance company and see what they'll do about matching the offer or at least making you a better offer than you currently have. You may find that you magically qualify for a renewal discount you haven't been getting.

Next: Switching Insurance Companies


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