People in Idaho, Vermont and North Carolina pay some of the lowest auto insurance rates in the nation, according to the InsWeb website. But even if you and your spouse live in a state known for it's low auto insurance rates, don't assume you can't wrangle a better deal to give you some breathing room in your budget. Not only can you find policies that leave more cash in your pocket, you may also be able to find auto insurance coverage that better fits your lifestyle.
Everyone likes a discount because it means more money in their pockets. Now that you're living with someone else, you may be able to qualify for discounts you couldn't previously. Some insurance companies offer multiple-policy discounts, such as if you insure more than one vehicle. Also, many companies provide home and other types of insurance policies that allow customers to qualify for a discount. Other discounts include those that apply to good drivers, people who have taken driving safety courses and people who work in certain professions, such as teachers. It pays to shop around to see what kind of discounts you can snag that fit your lifestyle.
Variety of Coverages
Not every auto insurance provider can be everything to everyone, and your current company may not be able to serve you as well as you'd like. For example, if a rock flies up and shatters your car's windshield and your insurance company doesn't offer full glass coverage, you'll have to pay the deductible on your comprehensive policy before your insurance will kick in. That could stick you with a bill of $500 or more. While you won't be able to do anything about that situation, it's a lesson learned. When people feel that their insurance provider can't cut it, they look elsewhere for one that can.
Upside-Down Auto Loan
It's not fun, but sometimes people end up owing more on their car than it's worth. This is called being upside-down in your car loan. Unfortunately, with some auto insurance companies, if you total your car, you'll only get enough cash to cover the car's value -- not what you owe. Car owners who have a situation like this can look for an insurance provider that either offers gap insurance -- to cover the cost between the value of the car and what is owed -- or a replacement cost endorsement that would pay the full cost of replacement for the vehicle, including paying off the balance of your loan in some cases.
Some auto insurance providers base your premiums on your credit score. The lower your score, the higher your premium. Thankfully, not all providers use this method. People fall on hard times and sometimes their credit score suffers. Having their auto insurance provider jack up their rates in response puts an extra strain on their finances. Auto insurance providers who base premiums on credit scores may find that some of their clients look elsewhere for coverage. If you happen to have a stellar credit score, and your current company doesn't evaluate you on that basis, you may want to check out a company that does to see if you can save money.
Some auto insurance providers offer 24/7 customer service, which is the ultimate in convenience. No matter what day of the week or time of the day -- or night -- you can reach someone to help you handle your issue. An independent agent may not be available in your time of need, which can make you want to bang your head against a wall. Also, if the way you are treated by the agent or representative is rude or dismissive, or you feel that claims are handled poorly or inefficiently, you may want to change providers.
Based in Texas, Cynthia Measom has been writing various parenting, business and finance and education articles since 2011. Her articles have appeared on websites such as The Bump and Motley Fool. Measom received a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.