For most consumers, car insurance is a monthly expense that can represent a major drain on finances. Fortunately, there are a number of ways in which individuals and families can reduce their auto insurance costs while maintaining quality coverage on their vehicles. Here are ten easy tips that can save consumers big money on their car insurance premiums.

1. Comparison shop
A number of online sites offer detailed information on coverage and rates for various auto insurance companies, making it simple to compare the various options. Additionally, some insurance companies provide detailed quotes not only for their own services, but for some of their direct competitors; this can allow consumers to quickly obtain the information they need to make an informed and cost-effective decision. Friends, family and colleagues at work can also be valuable sources of information on insurance policies, rates, and quality of service.

2. Consolidate to save
Consumers who insure their homes with the same company that provides coverage for their vehicles can receive discounts on the cost of all their insurance premiums with that company. This is also true to a lesser extent for policy holders who cover more than one vehicle with the same company; while not all insurance companies offer these discounts, they can add up to considerable savings over time.

3. Shop before you buy
Comparison shopping for insurance should also include comparing rates for various vehicles. Higher insurance rates associated with some cars and trucks may relate to safety issues, increased risk of theft, or greater repair costs. By checking into the relative costs to insure various vehicles under consideration for purchase, consumers can manage their car insurance costs while maintaining solid coverage on all their vehicles.

4. Maintain reasonable coverage
The amount of coverage required for a brand-new pickup or car is significantly different from that needed for an older vehicle. In most cases, comprehensive and collision insurance coverage is required by lenders as a condition of financing, and is recommended for newer vehicles even if they are bought outright; this ensures that the vehicle can be repaired or replaced in the event of a catastrophic accident. The same is not true for older vehicles with minimal value, since the cost of repairs may well exceed the value of the car or truck. By dropping unnecessary coverage on vehicles that are approaching their trade-in or end of life date, it is often possible to save hundreds of dollars on unnecessary insurance costs.

5. Increase the deductible
Higher deductibles can make a big difference in the overall cost of car insurance. Deductibles, simply put, are the amounts consumers must pay before the insurance company begins to cover the repair or replacement costs. Typically paid directly to the company before any coverage is applied, most deductibles range from $250 to $1000 per instance; lower deductible amounts can cost significantly more than higher amounts. By setting aside cash specifically to cover a higher deductible, consumers can often reduce the monthly cost of car insurance considerably and save money in the long run.

6. Change the location
Car insurance premiums can vary significantly from area to area depending on the risk factors including potential for theft and overall desirability of the neighborhood. In some cases, moving less than a mile can significantly reduce or increase car insurance costs. Consider also the distance travelled each day to and from work and other responsibilities; by reducing the amount of time spent driving each day, consumers can benefit from more free time and enjoy lower insurance premiums into the bargain. Taking public transportation when possible can also reduce the overall miles driven per year and help to cut costs. While reducing drive time is not an option for all insurance customers, it should be considered as an important factor in the overall cost of car insurance.

7. Join the crowd
Many large employers, consumer groups, and other organizations offer their employees and members the chance to purchase auto insurance through a group plan. Group plans offer rates that are typically around 10% lower than standard auto insurance, and in some cases may offer even greater discounts for consumers who remain enrolled for a prolonged period of time. Not all car insurance customers are eligible, but for those who can qualify through affiliation with a business, organization, or alumni association, group rates offer significant savings on auto insurance.

8. Credit where credit is due
More and more insurance companies are using credit scores as a basis for analyzing risk and determining the premiums consumers pay for car insurance. By doing some basic repair work on their credit reports, consumers can sometimes realize significant savings on their auto insurance and avoid higher premiums as a result of credit difficulties in the past.

9. Maximize available discounts
In many cases, consumers are eligible for a number of discounts on car insurance premiums that may not be immediately obvious. Here are a few of the most common discounts offered by major auto insurance companies:
• Discounts for higher deductibles
• Multi-car discount
• Driver training and defensive driving course discounts
• Three years without an accident
• Three years without a moving violation
• Good student discount
• Loyalty discount for long-term customers
• Air bags, anti-lock brakes, and other safety equipment
• Anti-theft devices, including car alarms
When investigating these discounts, consumers should bear in mind that the company offering the greatest number of discounts may not offer the overall lowest price. It’s essential to compare the bottom line price after all discounts have been factored into the car insurance premium rate.

10. Drive safely and within the speed limit
It may seem obvious, but driving at or under the speed limit and observing all traffic lights and cautions is the best way to keep car insurance premiums under control. By driving safely and observing the speed limits, consumers can avoid accidents and citations and save not only time and money, but lives as well.

Consumers can significantly reduce their overall car insurance costs by comparison shopping for the best rates and discounts, minimizing their drive time and mileage when possible, increasing deductibles, and driving safely and observing traffic laws carefully. These tips can help ensure the lowest possible car insurance premiums while providing consumers with high-quality coverage no matter where the road may lead.

Written By: Sarah Montgomery

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The stress associated with a motor vehicle accident can be quite overwhelming,but nothing compared to the trouble that a driver will have if they are not adequately prepared for the worst case scenario. Maintaining an appropriate level of car insurance that offers enough protection is perhaps the most critical component of properly planning for responsible car ownership. Even with good coverage, however, a consumer still needs to be aware of several important tips that should be followed in the event of an emergency.Immediately following an accident, a driver should immediately attempt to turn their vehicle’s ignition switch into the off position. Fire hazards exist even in minor accidents, and it is ultimately the responsibility of the individual to ensure that they have taken any possible precaution to reduce the risks. A common misconception is that vehicles equipped with OnStar or other accident reporting technologies will not function without power, but the simple fact of the matter is that these systems have backup power and will not be negatively affected by the disabling of the ignition. Any headlights or warning lights should be left on in an effort to warn approaching traffic.

A driver needs to assess their surroundings and determine if it will be safer to stay inside the vehicle or carefully exit. As long as there is not an urgent need to vacate the car, the next most logical step is to contact emergency services for assistance. Any injuries should be reported as quickly as possible to enable an ambulance to be dispatched at once. The dispatcher on the telephone will ask questions and attempt to decipher any specific needs for the fire department or rescue squad. Even in a minor incident, law enforcement must be dispatched as soon as possible to keep the scene safe and secure.

One of the most important things that drivers need to realize is that they do not need to communicate with the other parties involved unless it is to ensure that they do not require immediate medical attention. An admission of guilt or an apology can end up causing an individual an incredible amount of trouble if a lawsuit is initiated, so drivers should not talk about the accident until law enforcement requires them to do so. Witnesses may be reluctant to wait on the state troopers or highway patrol, and it is normally a good idea to gather any contact information when possible. If a motor vehicle accident does eventually lead to a court case, a consumer will want to know that they have multiple witnesses available that can support the chain of events leading up to the incident. Although the police report should be fairly descriptive with the details, it never hurts to take pictures of the actual scene of the accident. Even if the images are on a cell phone or other low resolution camera, a picture can help provide evidence that would otherwise simply be speculative in a court of law.

Vehicles with significant damage will have to be towed, and a driver needs to realize that it may be several days before they will be able to obtain access. Because most tow yards do not have complete shelter, personal belongings that are in the car may be exposed to the elements. An individual should make every attempt to gather their valuables while still at the scene of the accident, or at least make arrangements for someone to go to the tow yard as soon as possible. A comprehensive car insurance policy that has adequate coverage should provide some protection for valuables in this type of instance, but it is still the responsibility of the consumer to try and avoid any unnecessary damages or theft.

Dealing with the insurance companies after an accident can be remarkably easy with reputable insurers, but it can also prove to be quite difficult when trying to determine fault. A driver should be completely honest with their auto insurer and try and provide any information they can to help with the process. Any pictures or witness information obtained can be shared with the driver’s insurance company, but very seldom is it a good idea to collaborate with the other party’s insurer. Any questions should be directed to the car insurance company prior to making any decisions or agreements. The exact process that an individual will go through is going to determine on a wide variety of factors, and a good relationship with a car insurance provider will make a huge difference every time. Whether or not the vehicle can be fixed will also affect the procedures that must be followed. All insurers have their own adjusting methods, and some even allow preferred body shops to perform the entire appraisal of damage.

It may not always be possible to avoid an accident, but knowing what to do after the fact will certainly help a driver navigate through the process. Preparing for the worst is the best strategy when it comes to planning for disaster, and partnering with a strong insurance company is an excellent way to ensure that the adequate protection will be in place if it is ever needed.

Written By: Sarah Montgomery

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If you think that the occasional fender-bender or car wreck is an unavoidable part of being on the road, think again. By practicing safe driving habits, you can significantly reduce your risk of being involved in a car accident. All of the high-tech gadgetry in the world can’t make up for common sense, especially when it comes to maneuvering a two-ton vehicle down the road. Safe driving habits don’t always come naturally, though; in fact, some of them are so basic that many people overlook them altogether.Keeping a car insurance policy does not give you a license to be careless on the road. In fact, avoiding accidents is exceptionally smart when you have to pay for auto insurance. By remaining accident-free, you’ll enjoy lower rates and save a lot of cash. Ideally, you shouldn’t ever have to file a claim due to a car accident. While there’s no surefire way to avoid collisions and other mishaps on the road, there are many small but important habits that you can develop that can dramatically reduce your risk.

When it comes to safe driving tips, there’s a lot of conflicting advice out there. The following five tips, though, are ones that every driver should know.

Tip #1: Don’t Speed

When you speed, you lose. That’s true not only financially – speeders tend to pay through the nose for tickets and higher insurance premiums – but in terms of safety, too. Some cynical folks believe that speed limits are strictly in place so that local municipalities can collect fines; in reality, they’re in place to keep drivers safe. By sticking to the spirit and the letter of the law, you can reduce your risk of accidents while on the road.

In the long run, speeding doesn’t bring any real benefits to the table – but it brings plenty of risks. At most, you can only hope to shave a tiny bit of time off of your drive by speeding. According to studies, for every extra mile per hour that you drive, though, your odds of being in an accident increase by four to five percent. In other words, that minute or two that you save could cost you pretty dearly.

Tip #2: Wear Your Seatbelt

Most states have aggressive seatbelt laws these days. That’s for a good reason: Seatbelts really do save lives. The nanosecond that it takes you to click your seatbelt on dramatically reduces your risk of being seriously injured – or even killed – in a car wreck. Indeed, statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, have shown that up to 50% of car accident fatalities involve motorists who weren’t buckled up.

As a driver, it’s easy to get into the habit of wearing your seatbelt. It’s also your responsibility to insist that your passengers wear theirs, too. While you can’t force someone to wear a seatbelt, you can refuse to drive them around if they aren’t buckled up. Also, teach children to get into the habit of using a seatbelt right from the start. By the time they’re old enough to drive, wearing a seatbelt will be like second nature to them.

Tip #3: Keep Distractions to a Minimum

While driving, it’s critical to keep all of your attention on the road. These days, cell phones and texting are two things that tend to needlessly distract drivers. Flipping the radio to a different station is one thing; looking into your lap to compose a text message while hurtling down the freeway at 70 miles per hour is another. In the few seconds that it takes you to push the “send” button, the situation on the road could change drastically. Make it a point to keep cell phones safely packed away while driving. Keep your hands on the wheel – and your eyes on the road – at all times.

Tip #4: Assume the Worst About Other Drivers

Assuming that other drivers are being safe and conscientious is a recipe for disaster. The best rule of thumb is to assume that other drivers aren’t being careful at all. This is an important part of the defensive driving philosophy, and it will spare you from a huge number of accidents. Just because you’re staying alert and obeying traffic laws doesn’t mean that others are doing the same.

Four-way stops are notorious examples of this concept. All too often, one driver assumes that another will stop; after all, he’s approaching a four-way stop. If you do this – and the approaching driver doesn’t stop, as expected – you could end up in an accident. Don’t assume that anyone is going to do the right thing; wait before proceeding through intersections and be prepared to hit the brakes at a second’s notice. Assume that other drivers are texting, doing their hair, drinking and driving or otherwise not engaging in safe driving habits.

Tip #5: Maintain a Safe Driving Distance

Nobody likes being tailgated. When you drive too closely behind other cars, your ability to respond swiftly and safely is dramatically reduced. There’s no telling when or if something will happen that will require the car ahead of you to slam his or her brakes. Countless accidents occur due to tailgating, so make it a point to maintain a safe driving distance. A good rule of thumb is known as the “three second rule.” While driving, choose a random stationary object on the side of the road. Note when the car in front of you passes it, then aim to pass it yourself after at least three seconds have passed. Double that time at night or in bad weather.

The preceding tips won’t guarantee that you’ll remain accident-free. However, they can significantly reduce your odds of being involved in fender-benders, wrecks and other mishaps. When you steer clear of that kind of trouble, you win in a couple of ways. First, you keep yourself and your passengers safe; second, you keep your car insurance rates low. What’s not to like about that? Keep these tips in mind to enjoy the best driving experience possible.

Written By: Sarah Montgomery

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Car insurance is a plan that a person pays for that will protect the car, driver, and sometimes passengers in the event that there is a car-on-car collision or a tree branch falls and breaks the windshield. After all, no matter how safely you drive, such issues are more than possible because accidents happen. No one intends to back up into a pole or guard rail, but it happens. Instead of shilling out major bucks for repairs every single time something happens, car insurance plans can cover such costs if you stay up to date on your payments and if you take the time to invest in the right type of coverage. The following are some of the many reasons for why you need to invest in a great car insurance plan.

Repairs are not cheap. After another car slams into yours, you can not just throw on a paint of coat and climb back into your car. Instead, repairing dents, broken windshields, and tires, among other things, can cost hundreds if not thousands of dollars. This is why you need car insurance. By paying a company a monthly premium or amount, you will then have financial protection if anything ever goes wrong. For example, you will not have to pay for each of these repairs. Instead, the insurance group will replace your windshield and tires and will help you deal with the aftermath of this accident.

Following an accident or issue, you may not even know where to turn for repairs. Stories about deceptive or scam artist mechanics have some truth to them. This is where a reputable car insurance company can play superman and really save the day. Such a business will no doubt know which mechanics and auto shops to turn to. In fact, when you are in need of repairs following an accident, the insurance company will often have recommendations for where to have your car fixed. This will save you a lot of time and energy and can help you be sure that your vehicle has been repaired.

Car insurance plans can protect your livelihood or career, too. If you have been in an accident, you may not be able to get to and from work. This can really impede on your income and your job situation. The right car insurance group will include not only the repair of your car but also a car rental if the repairs are reported to take more than a day or so to complete. Additionally, if you are injured while in an accident, the company may also provide you with some living expense money, especially if you prove that you can not work (i.e. if a doctor orders you to stay in bed). Even the smallest amount of money can make all the difference when you are trying to pay your bills while recovering from surgery.

Car collisions not only harm the car but can harm the drivers and passengers, too. Many types of insurance today not only cover car repairs but also medical bills. This can be incredibly helpful since a lot of people in the world do not have health insurance or because some health insurance plans will cover only specific types of things. Car insurance plans are something that can really protect your health when an accident takes place. This is something that you should not take lightly: car accidents can do everything from give a person whiplash to permanently paralyze an individual. Having coverage means that you and your passengers can receive the care you need after such an issue.

Accidents can be terrifying, even if it was not your fault or caused by something like slippery ice. Having a company to call is incredibly comforting. You should not have to go through all of this by yourself. Instead, having a group of experts to walk you through this experience is something that will calm you down and help you deal with an accident.

Protect your investments and invest in high quality coverage as soon as possible. This means that you can back out of your driveway without wondering how you will pay for repairs or recover after an accident. Life is moving at a fast rate: If you want to keep up and have a safety net in case of an emergency or issue, insurance is needed. This will give you peace of mind, ensure you can always pay for any necessary repairs, and will protect you and your passengers’ health, too. With a variety of plans and insurance companies available today, it is easy to find a solid insurance plan that is right for your budget, car, and lifestyle.

Written By: Sarah Montgomery

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