Even though prices at the pump rise during peak driving season, you have other ways to keep more money in your wallet. It starts by calling your car insurer.
Auto insurers offer discounts for a variety of reasons that can reduce premiums by up to 40 percent. That’s good news for Americans, who as a whole are less satisfied with their car insurers, according to a recent study from J.D. Power and Associates. Much of that discontent is fueled by premium increases over the last 12 months.
According to the report, “The perception among some customers is that they have had an insurer-initiated increase, even though they have not experienced a specific incident or life change that could account for the price hike.”
But drivers can reduce those increases by asking if they qualify for the following discounts, which many major insurers offer. Don’t be afraid to shop around if your insurer is stingy with the discounts.
1. Full payment: Some insurers offer a discount for customers that pay their premiums upfront. For example, Allstate provides a reduction of up to 15 percent.
2. Early signing: If you switch to a new insurer before your old policy expires, your new insurer may offer a deal. For instance, Allstate offers a discount up to 10 percent when a policy is signed seven days before it becomes effective.
3. Safe driver/accident-free: Remind your insurer about your unblemished driving record to get a discount. At Travelers, that discount can be up to 23 percent.
4. Anti-lock brakes: Make sure your insurer knows about this safety feature in your vehicle. At Geico, customers can get 5 percent discount on the collision portion of their premium.
5. Passive restraint: Safety features like air bags or motorized seat belts may also yield their own discount. For example, at State Farm, they can add up to 40 percent off.
6. Military: Don’t forget to tell your insurer if you’re member of the armed forces. At Geico, you can get up to 15 percent off and up to 25 percent off if you’re deployed.
7. Senior/retired discount: Some insurers offer a discount to people after they retire or reach a certain age. Allstate provides one up to 10 percent for those 55 years old or older who are not looking for a full-time job.
8. Green car: Ask your insurer if it provides a deal for owning hybrid or alternative-fuel cars. For example, Travelers offers a discount of up to 10 percent.
9. Anti-theft: Some insurers offer anti-theft device discounts for factory-installed deterrents, while others may provide discounts for devices that are installed after you buy the car.
10. Driving courses: Older Americans may get a discount if they take a defensive driver course. Nationwide offers up to 5 percent off. Younger drivers may also get a reduction if they take a driver’s education course.
11. Low mileage: If you don’t log many miles on your car, you may get a discount. In some cases, electronic monitoring might be required. Safeco offers up to 20 percent off premiums if you drive less than 8,000 miles a year.
12. Daytime running lights: This safety feature gets you 1 percent off your premium at Geico.
13. Affinity/professional associations: Liberty Mutual, for example, offers 10 percent off if you belong to one of 14,000 different employers, alumni associations and professional associations.
14. Paperless billing or automatic payment: Allstate offers up to 5 percent off for automatic payments and up to 10 percent off after going paperless.
15. Multiple policies: You can save if you bundle your auto insurance with other policies, such as homeowners insurance, at the same insurer. State Farm provides reductions up to 22 percent if you have homeowners, renters, condo or life insurance with the company.
16. Loyalty: At Travelers, a customer of three straight years can get up to 15 percent off.
17. Multi-vehicle: State Farm offers up to 20 percent off if you have two or more cars in the same household insured by related individuals.
18. Good student: Liberty Mutual offers discounts for students under 25 with at least a 3.0 grade point average.
19. Distant student: If your child is away at school but is still on your policy, you may get a discount. Travelers offers one up to 7 percent off.
20. Homeowner: Even if you insure it elsewhere, you may get a discount if you own a home or condo. For example, Travelers offers a reduction up to 5 percent off.
21. Newer car: Insurers reward those who have newer cars. For instance, Travelers customers can qualify for a discount up to 10 percent for a car that’s less than three years old.