A clean driving record, a vehicle with all the safety features, and how many years you have behind the wheel — these are just some of the obvious things that factor into your auto insurance. But they aren’t the only things that affect what you pay. Here are five out-of-the-box ways to put a cap on your premiums.
1. Improve Your Credit History
If you have a bad credit score, you may want to focus on improving this three-digit number. Not only will it make it easier to qualify for an installment loan or line of credit in the future, but it may also help you manage your auto insurance premiums.
Some insurers look at your consumer credit file to generate what’s called an auto insurance score. This score is based on the payment history of any installment loan reported to one of the three national credit bureaus. And like your consumer score, the higher the better.
Focus on how you can use installment loans in a way that adds positive history to your file. Start by reading this personal finance blog to help you understand how installment loans work. Then look to credit history tips here.
2. Take a Defensive Driving Class
Defensive driving classes won’t teach you how to Tokyo Drift like a proper stunt driver, but they will teach you all the tricks of the trade to prevent accidents.
Some insurers will give you a discount on your rates if you can prove you’ve completed these classes.
Just note — these courses can be costly, so always check in with your insurance company to see how they impact your premiums before you sign up. Not all insurers will give you a discount, or the discount they offer may not be worth the price of the class.
3. Get Married
Something as simple as getting hitched may lower your premiums because some insurers are under the impression a married lifestyle signals greater maturity. If you have a partner and maybe even kids, you’re less likely to drive recklessly with these important things in your life.
4. Move to Another State
If you’ve thought about moving across the country, now’s your chance. A change of scenery may result in lower premiums, provided you move to the right city.
- Avoid: Detroit, New Orleans, and New York City. These big cities have some of the most expensive premiums in the U.S.
- Consider: Winston-Salem, Greensboro, and Raleigh. Escaping the concrete jungles for smaller cities across North Carolina promises to lower your premiums.
5. Drive Less
The more time you spend behind the wheel increases your chance of a collision, so you may see your premiums spike as your mileage increases.
But that means the opposite may be true: learn how to reduce your mileage, and you’ll see your premiums drop. If you rely on your car for work every day, consider applying to jobs closer to your home or switching to public transit.
Insurance is expensive, but it’s not a good idea to drive without it. If you’re caught without proof of insurance, you might face hefty fines and demerit points. You’ll also be responsible for the full cost of an accident should you be at fault. Keep it instead and do what you can to lower your rates today.