During these tough economic times, Virginia drivers are looking for ways to pinch pennies and cut costs. One area of your budget you may have overlooked is your auto insurance premium. To make the most of your dollars and cents while at the same time ensuring you are protected if you get into a car or truck accident, consider these four hot insurance tips.
Tip#1 – Your Make and Model can Make or Break Your Premium
When shopping for a new car, many people carefully research their prospective purchase, looking into the safety ratings and resale values of a variety of makes and models. However, the insurance rates for different model vehicles aren’t always taken into consideration. What many drivers don’t realize is that their choice of car or truck can influence the price they pay their insurance company for coverage.
If you’re contemplating a new purchase, make a call to your insurer to find out if your premium will change should you buy the new vehicle. The difference may be negligible, but better to find out upfront if the change is going to be substantial. What makes the difference, you ask? Insurance companies collect statistics on how safe and accident-prone various make and model vehicles are and how much they cost to repair after a collision. If you happen to buy one considered ‘risky’, your premiums could go up – even if you are a safe driver.
Tip #2 – Save Money by Paying Up Front
You may wonder how forking over a big lump sum to your auto insurance carrier will save you money in the long run. Well, some insurers charge extra to allow policyholders to pay over time. Insurance companies offer various ways for drivers to pay their insurance bills. You can often pay monthly, quarterly, or on a six-month basis – but you might have to pay extra.
Find out if your insurance company charges a “fractional premium” fee to break up your payment. If you can pay less often – or all at once – you may be able to save yourself a substantial amount of money. The bonus is that you are less likely to miss a payment if you pay everything at once.
Tip #3 – Good Credit Means Good Rates
It seems like you can’t do anything in this country without good credit, so it should come as no surprise to find out that your credit score can also affect your insurance premium. Insurance companies will often consider your credit history when determining your premium, as studies show a direct correlation between your credit score and how likely you are to file a claim.
To minimize your credit score’s impact on your auto insurance premiums, keep an eye on your credit reports and keep your credit clean. You can get one free credit report each year from each of the three reporting agencies by visiting the Annual Credit Report website.
Tip #4 – Don’t Let Risky Friends Drive
We all have one of “those” friends – the guy or gal who makes our life interesting with their risky antics and unbelievable behavior. While this friend of yours may be entertaining and fun to be around, don’t let them borrow your car or truck. The last thing you want is for your insurance premiums to go up because your crazy friend got into an auto accident and injured somebody while borrowing your car.
Keep in mind that it isn’t just your wild friends who could be a problem. You are liable for any accident caused by an individual borrowing your vehicle, no matter how nice or safe you think they are. While it may seem selfish, to protect your insurance your best bet is to not lend your car to anyone at all.