Dear wise elder,
Can you give any tips to help seniors lower their auto insurance premiums? I just got a 15% increase on my auto insurance and am looking for ways to save money.
Fixed Income Frank
Sadly, auto insurance rates have risen dramatically over the past year as the pandemic has abated and more Americans have returned to the roads. But, there are many ways to lower your premium. To find out what discounts are available to you, contact your auto insurer and find out about these options as well as any others that may be of benefit to you.
Low mileage discount: Most insurers offer discounts to customers who drive a limited number of kilometers each year, which is generally beneficial for retirees who drive less because they don’t commute to work every day. These discounts usually come into effect when your annual mileage drops below 7,000 or 7,500, which is significantly lower than the typical 12,000 miles most Americans drive per year.
Discount Ed drivers: Many states require insurance companies to offer defensive driving discounts – between 5% and 15% – to drivers who take a refresher course to hone their safety skills. These courses, offered by AAA (aaadriver.online/register/roadwise) and AARP (aarpdriversafety.org), cost $ 20 to $ 30, and can be taken online.
Supervised driving discount: Many insurers offer discounts depending on how and when you use your car. To achieve this, the insurer would provide a small monitoring device that you would place in your car to track things like your acceleration, braking habits, driving speed, phone usage, and when you are driving. Drivers are rewarded between 10 and 50 percent for safe driving and for not driving late at night.
In addition, many insurers also offer discounts to drivers who have not been in an offense or accident for three years or more.
Membership discounts: Organizations you belong to may also reduce your insurance premium. Insurers offer discounts through professional associations, labor unions, large employers or member organizations such as AAA, National Association of Federal Active and Retired Employees, AARP, etc. You might even enjoy savings depending on which college you attended or which fraternity or sorority you belonged to decades ago.
Package policies: If your auto policy is issued by a different company than the one that insures your life or home, call each insurer and ask if bundling the policies would be cheaper.
Improve your credit: You may be able to lower your auto insurance premium by paying your bills on time and reducing your debt load. Insurers look at how their customers manage credit to get a picture of risk and price policies. Better rates are given to those with good credit scores, usually 700 or more.
Increase your deductible: While it’s not good for everyone, paying a higher deductible could save you a lot on premiums. For example, increasing your deductible from $ 200 to $ 500 could reduce the cost of your collision and your comprehensive coverage by 15-30%. Switching to a $ 1,000 deductible could save you 40% or more.
Consider your car model: If you are shopping for a new vehicle, ask for an insurance quote before deciding what to buy. Some vehicles are safer and cost less to repair than others. Insurance companies collect data about each make and model and use it to determine how much to charge customers.
Comparison shop: To find out if your current premium is competitive with what other insurers charge, or to help you find another provider, you should shop around. Online brokers such as InsuranceAuto.com, TheZebra.com and QuoteWizard.com allows you to enter basic information, such as your age and the make, model and year of your car, to compare insurance company rates.
Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, PO Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org. Jim Miller is an NBC contributor Today show and author of “The wise elder” delivered.