Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Aug 1, 2021

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Study after study has shown that most of us are happy with our car insurance company. We don’t deal with their claims departments every day. We just generally pay our annual premiums and assume we’ll be taken care of in the event of an accident.

That means most of us don’t switch insurance companies very often, and it isn’t unusual for some drivers to never change insurers, even if they’re paying way too much for what they’re getting. Sometimes you do pay less with loyalty and other discounts, which makes it hard to switch even if you want to. But some drivers could save and get better options by switching. On average, more than two million of us do switch insurers online now.

A premium price on a policy may be worth it for peace of mind, but in general, it isn’t difficult to find multiple options for the average driver. Even drivers with a complicated driving record can find insurers to cover them. Their insurance fees will just be higher.

But we’ve got tips that can ensure a bit more green stays in the wallet or checkbook at the end of the month, even while staying with your current car insurance company. You can do any of them today, including:

5. Quote Your Policy Right Here, Right Now

This can be a difficult step for many consumers to make, especially if they’ve received excellent customer service and fast claims resolution service over their time with the car insurance provider they currently have. Even a quote may seem like an unnecessary step. Don’t worry, your current insurance company won’t know if you check rates.

Lots of car insurance companies, big and small, provide good to great customer service on average. There are a couple of standout performers every year in the industry. If you’re with one of those companies, you probably couldn’t be pried away no matter the savings.

Because there are so many providers with near identical records in that regard, you’ve probably got a number of possibilities that you’d find similar levels of satisfaction with. You’ve got nothing less to lose than a couple of minutes of your time and a few hundred subtracted from you policy premiums. Insurers don’t generally charge extra fees as part of the initial cost. They’re trying to get you to switch, not drive you away with high costs.

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4. Negotiate With Your Insurer

You can play too. All business transactions are available for negotiation, and car insurance is no different. As we’d mentioned earlier, most of us are very satisfied with our insurance providers. Some are absolutely stellar, and their customer service seem worth a premium.

So while you may not want to switch providers, it’s well within your rights as a customer to ring up your car insurance company or drop by your agent’s office for a little negotiation.

Armed with quotes from other car insurance companies for the same or higher levels of coverage, you can simply let your insurer know that you’ve given leaving some thought, and wondered if they could match what you’ve been quoted. Don’t forget to mention the years you’ve been a customer, lack of claims and driving history and even how you’ve always had your payment in on time.

Obviously, if you’ve had recent claims or moving violations, or if your credit has worsened in the past year, you may not have much room to negotiate, and getting huge savings may only happen if you switch insurers. But if you’re a good driver, you’ve got nothing to lose, and a bit more money in the checking account at the end of the month to gain.

And if the subject isn’t brought up as your insurer tries to get you a better rate, don’t forget to ask if you’ve got every single discount available to you.

3. Bump Up Your Deductible Amounts

If you have a less than clean driving record or you’re a new driver, you probably don’t want to consider this, unless of course, you have the cash to spare if you do end up filing a claim. If you have a stellar driving history and always have the extra funds available, you really can shave a substantial amount from your policy premium by raising your deductibles.

You essentially assume more personal financial risk by raising your deductible, taking it away from your insurer. If you’re a safe driver, you may be willing to assume more risk. Just remember not to bite off more than you can chew.

Don’t forget – never make a claim on your policy that isn’t significantly above your deductible amount. You’ll see substantial savings for paying small claims out-of-pocket instead of paying hundreds more each year for your policy premiums for three to five years. Even if your deductible is $1,000 and your damage is $1,500, you could be paying an increase in premiums for years.

2. Buy/Lease a New Car

Did you know that many used cars offer a significant pricing premium? We’ve even seen situations where a year-old preowned car is priced higher than a new current model year of the same make.

Used car pricing – and potential profit – aside, the type of car also has a tremendous impact on the premium you’re charged.

So while it may seem counterproductive to spend money in order to save money, if you’re the type who trades cars every two or three years, getting another one may indeed save you money if you select the right car. Many newer cars also have extra safety features that drive down your premiums.

Models with historically high costs of repair, higher fatality or injury rates simply cost more to insure, period. You and your passengers being safer not only saves you money, but can possibly save your own life, too.

Saving your life and having a lower policy premium should be enough to convince you, but there’s also the total cost of ownership (TCO) over a five year period. TCO can see wild swings of thousands of dollars up or down from model to model and from class to class.

Chances are you’d end up keeping it longer than that half a decade, so you’ll also want to consider the quality ratings for the particular make and model as well. Don’t forget, some models simply have higher resale value. So give historical pricing there more than a glance, too.

Keep in mind, this is for those that have completed a search process and know the handful of models that are serious considerations. If the calculations work out in your favor, you could drive away and save not simply hundreds on car insurance, but even a few thousand dollars over the time you own the new car.

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1. Sign Up for a Defensive Driving Course

All of us experience life with its own unique wrinkles, and not all of us are natural born drivers. Even if you are a good driver to start with, you’ll still gain valuable insight into avoiding collisions and watching out for number one – meaning you and your passengers.

Successful completion of a defensive driving course can gain you a substantial discount because on the risk scale, because your insurer knows you’ll leave it a much better driver. In fact, we’d suggest folks go as far as intensive, advanced driving courses, including schools like those offered by Skip Barber and Bob Bondurant. After all, taking a course can not only help save you big money, but also leave you more money in your checking account.

If you want to take a quick and dirty way out, there are even some online only “driving courses” that insurers provide discounts of up to 10 percent on. Just for completing a “diving course” on the Internet. We’d still say opt for signing up for ones that give you time behind the wheel. Classes may even save you from a big accident later on.

What’s The Big Picture?

Even if you take advantage of one or more of these suggestions, it’s important to keep a clear picture of all the things that go into how an insurer comes up with your policy premium and that all insurers – every single one of them – has it’s own underwriting formula, which is why none of them ever seem to come up with an identical premium.

Just like the ownership costs of your car, the costs of insurance have to account for many things. Your car price doesn’t determine fuel costs, but fuel costs determine operating expenses. Likewise, the price of your car doesn’t determine safety, but safety can affect your insurance rates.

Your credit record does impact premiums with most insurers, but not always at an equal rate. This is one area where obtaining multiple quotes can demonstrate wild swings in policy pricing. So if you’re credit challenged, giving quotes a go may just convince you to switch.

The same goes with making certain you’re always paid up with your insurer. Habitual late payers can see their policies not being renewed, giving a driver no choice but to switch insurers.

In the end, there’s one thing you can do that will gain you the lowest premiums possible: be a responsible driver. Lots of individual items go into making one superior behind the wheel. Keep on being as safe a driver as possible, don’t rack up moving violations or claims and just continue that trend day after day, month after month, year after year.