Consumer Alert from the NAIC:
Tips for Saving Money on Auto Insurance
Auto insurance is an important - and oftentimes, mandated - purchase
for most Americans. According to the National Association of Insurance
Commissioners (NAIC), the average annual auto insurance premium nationwide
in 2000 was $687 per vehicle. Here are some tips from the NAIC to help
you get the best value for your auto insurance dollar.
- Maintain a Good Driving Record
Companies charge safe drivers (i.e., free of at-fault accidents
or violations) lower rates for automobile insurance. Each company
has different guidelines to determine what price an individual
will be charged.
- Comparison Shop
It pays to shop around before buying insurance, since prices can
differ among companies. In addition to cost, you should also
carefully consider other factors such as service, dependability
and the financial condition of the insurance company.
- Give Complete, Correct Information
When you call for a quote or fill out an application, give complete
and correct information. Since your premium quote will be based
on this information, it is very important that your information
be as accurate and complete as possible.
- Ask About Discounts
Ask your agent or company if you are eligible for any discounts.
Here are some discounts that may be offered:
- Two or more cars on a policy
- Participation in driver education courses
- Good student driver under age 25
- Mature driver (between 50 and 65 years of age)
- Airbags or other safety equipment
- Anti-theft devices
- Auto/home insurance on same policy or with same company
- Verify Your Information, Policy
When you receive your insurance policy, check that the information
used to determine your premium is correct. In particular, you
should verify that:
- Your mailing and/or home address is correct
- Each vehicle is properly classified
- All discounts to which you are entitled are applied
- Your vehicle(s) make and model are correct
- All drivers' age/birth date(s) are correct
- Consider Revising Coverage, Deductibles
You may reduce your auto insurance costs by raising the deductibles
on physical damage (collision and comprehensive) coverages. Be
sure to review your current deductibles to determine whether
you can afford to absorb a larger portion of your loss in the
event of an accident. Also, consider lowering or eliminating
physical damage coverages on older vehicles - unless a lienholder,
such as a bank, requires it.
- Consider Cost of Insurance Before Buying a Car
Insurance companies usually charge higher premiums for cars that
cost more to repair or offer occupants less protection from accidents.
Companies may also charge more for cars that tend to cause more
damage when involved in accidents, such as certain sport utility
vehicles (SUVs). Cars with high theft rates, such as sports cars,
also cost more to insure.
- Regularly Review Your Policy; Update Accordingly
Regularly review your policy to make sure the basis for your premium
is as accurate as possible. Here are some factors that can affect
- Adding or removing a vehicle from your policy
- Replacing an older vehicle with a newer one
- Adding or removing a driver
- Increasing or decreasing the number of miles driven each
- Moving to a new address
- Get More Information
For more in-depth information, order a copy of the "Consumer's
Guide to Auto Insurance" from the NAIC at www.naic.org.
If you believe you have been treated unfairly in shopping for auto
insurance or in getting a claim paid, please contact your state
insurance department. You can link to your insurance department's
Web site by visiting www.naic.org. Click on "State Insurance Regulators
Web Sites," then click on your state.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is a voluntary
organization of the chief insurance regulatory officials of the
50 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories.
The overriding objectives of state regulators are to protect consumers
and help maintain the financial stability of the insurance industry.