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Top 5 Tips When Shopping for Car Insurance

Car insurance commercials hit it out of the ball park for me. From talking geckos to driving pigs and cavemen living in the modern day, the car insurance commercials have done their job well of imprinting their message in my brain. But, does it only take 15 minutes to save on auto insurance? Not exactly.

geico commercial

When you are looking for car insurance, it’s easy to make mistakes and end up either paying higher rates unnecessarily, or not getting enough coverage that you need. The lowest rate does not always translate to the best value deal. But, since we’re the Frugal Ladies, you know we’re also concerned with getting you a lower monthly rate.

How Can I Get the Best Car Insurance Rate?

First and foremost, you need to do some introspective work. Everyone’s situation is different, including your credit history and driving record. Start by looking up your credit score and seeing where you stand. It’s not unusual for there to be errors in the credit report and correcting those can have a positive influence on your car insurance quotes. Next, just be honest on your auto insurance applications because they will run a check on your driving record and you will look like more of a “risk” or “liability” if you don’t provide this information up front. The riskier you appear, the higher the rates climb.

Shop Around; Don’t Settle Right Away

We recommend getting 3-5 quotes as a minimum! Of course, car insurance chit chat is not the most compelling topic for most of us, but you need to put in the time and get a variety of quotes and details. The difference can truly be thousands of dollars each year! It is always advisable to speak to a representative on the phone after doing some online research, but if you feel more comfortable comparing quotes solely on the Internet, you can check out insurance comparison sites as a first step. MSN has an interactive comparison chart where you can even fill in your car make and model.

Please, Do Not Just Buy the Minimum

So many of us out there opt for the minimum liability coverage required by law to save money, but it ends up costing us much more should any damage, theft, or accidents happen. You have to cover the costs should any damage exceed your limits, which is why many people opt to pay extra for collision coverage, at the very least. These policies have a deductible and will pay out based on the current value of your vehicle, as opposed to what you paid for it. While some sort of collision coverage is recommended by most experts, you can certainly skip out of towing insurance (and instead take that extra money saved to join AAA or other auto clubs with roadside assistance).

Don’t Buy Without Understanding

It’s not you, it’s them. Truly, car insurance packages, products, and overall industry jargon are (perhaps purposely) hard to grasp. While it may seem futile to read through all that paperwork, you might be kicking yourself should you get into an accident and need to understand exactly what your policy will cover. Make sure the company you choose has available and helpful customer service support so you can go over your potential insurance policy in detail with a live person. Similarly, there are more and more car insurance review sites popping up that not additionally provide articles and resources for you to get more familiar with the terminology. Don’t wait until it is too late to understand your auto insurance coverage policy.

Discounts DO Exist!

Whether you are an individual or looking to also insure your teen kids, there are discounts available. However, you have to know what to ask and where to look. First off, you should be aware that car insurance companies will give lower rates and discounts to safer drivers. But, did you also know that some insurance policy providers will give discounts if your young driver has high grade-point averages? By turning to the same provider of your home insurance, you will likely also find discounts for sticking with them for your car insurance as well. A more recent trend is ‘pay-as-you-drive‘ auto insurance plans. Here, the costs are based on usage as opposed to the traditional factors of make and model of car, your driving record, age, etc.. While these plans are not yet mainstream, they are predicted to become more popular in coming years. Coverage is based on the number of miles driven and other data collected via GPS systems and even cell phone data! While privacy concerns have been raised, such ‘pay-as-you-drive’ plans can potentially save drivers 5% – 35% in insurance premiums. So keep a look out!

About Jessica J.

A native New Yorker, Jessica left behind the Big Apple almost 4 years ago to pursue new adventures around the world. Powered by caffeine and a relentless curiosity, she has now settled in Tel Aviv Jaffa with her husband, American cat, and a new appreciation for budget management.

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  • Casey

    Thanks for this realistic list of tips! We have gotten different cars since we were first together and really don’t think our current plan is the best for us, so all the advice we can get is well-appreciated. You are so right about not just buying the minimum! No one ever expects that anything will happen, but it does!

  • Jennifer Williams

    When you are shopping around, make note of the exact coverage you are looking for and tell the other company you found a cheaper rate elsewhere. Sometimes they try to beat it.

  • Maria Sinclair

    Fantastic tips! I have been with the same company for 16 years now!

  • Mary

    Thanks for these tips! My husband is an insurance agent, though not working as one right now so he’s in charge, but it’s good to know in case I’m ever in the position to make that decision. I’m dumb when it comes to understanding insurance, lol

  • Amberlee Cave

    When we got out car insurance we called about 20 different places before we found this one that was 50% cheaper. Even now when we call others to see if we can get lower rates ours is still way better.

  • Liisi Carr

    I leave all the car insurance to my hubby. He’ll shop around every 3-6 months to make sure we’re getting the best deals.

  • Jessica Hehir

    Great advice!!! We will never pay too much again. We just switched policies. We may look again in a few months.

  • Jennifer Van Huss

    Great advice! a friend told me today by switching insurance companies she is now saving $200 a month!! That is crazy!

  • malia p

    Great tips. It’s so important to shop around!

  • Garf

    My hubby takes care of all of our insurance stuff.

  • Jayne Townsley

    It truly did take me 15 minutes to save, seriously, hundreds of dollars with GEICO. I was so shocked that I called the number and asked if it was a joke or a trick.

  • Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

    So important not to buy just the minimum and to understand your policy and what your coverage is. Great tips!

  • Fabulous Perks

    Great tip! I’ve been with my company for quite a while now. Supposedly its the best rate for military personnels

  • Tory Blum

    These tips are all so smart! Will come handy when I get my first car cause I’m pretty young 🙂

  • Sheila Worthington

    Some of the important things every car insurance company provider are kept hidden. they never told their client everything until someone will ask them and looking for answer. This tips are really helpful for insurance buyer especially the first timer. Thanks for sharing this smart tips

  • Katherine Bartlett

    Great tips! And totally love Geico 🙂

  • It is so very important when you are insurance shopping to make very sure that you are comparing the same services and coverage. I have had more that one time where I thought I was getting what I had asked for, and there were some kind of differences and I had to comb through to figure it out. Be careful.

  • Kyle Wiley

    Great post. We’re definitely in somewhat of a golden age of car insurance. There are so many companies trying to get your business that theyre are plenty of opportunities to get the best price, if you’re smart. 🙂