Insurance is supposed to help you out with finances, not burden you with hefty costs. And if you’re not doing everything you can to get the best deal for yourself, well, you’re after your own peace of mind (and wallet).
But insurance agents are so sleazy (and there are so many options out there) — how can I possibly get the best deal without going on looking forever?
You’re right. Too many options (and information overload) increase the likelihood that you’ll miss the ideal deal for yourself. But here are 4 ways to reduce the chance of missing out!
Search in advance (and in the right places).
We mean way in advance — even before you buy a car. You should include insurance costs (along with license and registration) in your total car costs because that’s going to help you budget better.
But that’s not the only benefit. You should know that car insurance premiums are affected by the car’s price, model, and safety features. So knowing what each car would cost in terms of insurance before you buy it would help you choose the right car (and stay within your budget).
Also note that if you choose a model with great safety features and a good safety record, insurance companies are more likely to give you a discount for that. So make sure you prioritize safety features while buying a car to get a better deal on insurance. For the exact amount of discount and other information, you can get the facts here from NRMA.
It’s also important to look in the right places when searching for insurance. And online websites that compare different insurers are an excellent place to start because they give you a bird’s-eye view of what the major insurers around you are offering. Other places you could look include government websites, and recommendations from friends and family. But don’t hesitate to look around for as long as you need to!
Reduce the need for insurance.
As silly as it sounds, this is one of those brilliant yet simple ideas that people simply overlook. We mean, think about it — the reason you’re getting insurance is to prevent your bank account from taking a serious hit in case of an accident.
But if you can reduce the risk of accidents (or theft and other kinds of car damage), you can actually buy cheaper car insurance and save a considerable amount of money.
Apart from safe driving, adding anti-theft equipment like a car alarm and immobiliser, and parking in designated spots like a garage can reduce the risk of damage to your car (and the need for expensive insurance).
Even if you’re not willing to take the risk that comes with a cheaper insurance option, adding safety and anti-theft devices to your car is still a good idea. That’s because just like with car models with increased safety features, insurers will give you increased discounts if you buff up a not-so-safe model with safety devices.
Know the various types of discounts.
There are a lot of discounts (just like the safety devices one above) that insurance companies offer, but often these are not as openly advertised as you’d like.
This is why it’s always a good idea to push your insurer to give you the best rate. Ask for discounts politely but openly, and let the agent know that you’re very comfortable with switching to another insurer — he might pull up additional discounts for you.
One discount to know about is loyalty discount, which is given to long-term customers. If you’ve been a long-term customer, make sure you inquire about this one (and you’re probably going to get it).
If the mileage of your car is not high (maybe because you carpool to work), companies will sometimes offer you a discount for this. And it makes sense — the less you drive you a car, the lower the chances of it getting damaged in an accident!
Then, you might also get a discount if you’ve had a clean driving record (or if you’ve taken a drivers education course). So if you’ve been driving for a number of years and haven’t had any traffic violations or accidents, make sure to let your insurer know and see if they can offer you a better deal.
Finally, if you belong to a company, club, association, alumni group, or any other group in general, make sure to ask the relevant person if the group has partnered up with an insurer to avail discounts for the members.
Increase your deductible.
The deductible is the amount you have to pay out of your own pocket before your insurance kicks in and is usually decided at the time you purchase the policy. And while a higher deductible sounds risky, it will reduce your insurance cost considerably. But before you increase your deductible, make sure you’ve got your finances sorted out (in case there’s a claim)!
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