The last thing any of us want is to look at our monthly bills and notice we're paying a little more this month than we were last month. Whether that's because we were using a little more electricity than usual, filling up that above-ground pool took a little more water than we thought or our insurance premiums have been bumped. So, what can we do to keep our auto insurance rates nice and low?
- Maintain a good credit score. Your credit score goes a long way to determining your rates. It may seem like an arbitrary connection, but remember, what your insurance is looking for is a low-risk individual to cover. Better credit tends to correlate with lower risk.
- Only file a claim when necessary. You want to avoid filing a claim when the amount doesn't even exceed your deductible, but even in instances where it seems to make financial sense, the rate bump following a claim can add up over time.
- Take a defensive driving course. Defensive driving courses and other advanced driving courses take less time than you think. Many of them can be completed in a single weekend, and in some states, discounts for defensive driving courses are mandatory. Call your car insurance agent to find out what courses your insurer offers discounts for.
- Reduce coverage on older cars. Liability is the only auto insurance required by law. If you're driving a new car, it makes no sense to go without full coverage. But if you're driving an older car, something that could be replaced for less than your current deductible, there's not much reason to worry about collision and comprehensive coverage anymore.
- Drive less. Perhaps the easiest way to reduce the likelihood of an accident: Just spend less time behind the wheel. The more time you spend on the road, the higher your odds of an accident. Many insurers offer a pay-per-mile option so that you can pay far less simply by staying at home or investing in a bicycle.
Any number of things can bump your car insurance rates, but the big one should be obvious: Accidents. Drive safe, pay your premiums on time, and it's going to be far less likely that you'll have to worry about your rates being raised.