Nobody enjoys getting auto insurance quotes. After all, it’s no fun to pay a lot of money for something you’re required to have. For many, their car insurance is too high, plain and simple. Even the legal minimum coverage can take a big chunk out of your budget.
For example, a study released by the Consumer Federation of America found that in 26% of the nation’s lower-income ZIP codes, the five largest auto insurance companies quoted good drivers an average of more than $1,000 a year for basic auto insurance.
But there are steps you can take if your auto insurance is just too high.
Re-examine your coverage
The more coverage you have, the more you’ll pay. Of course, having more coverage could help you in the event of an accident; it also protects you from financial liability if you are sued. But if you absolutely can’t pay your premiums, coverage is one thing you can trim.
First, consider raising your deductible, which is the amount of money your insurer will subtract from your final payout. Then consider cutting any optional policies, like comprehensive or collision coverage, especially if you have an older car. As a last resort, you may be able to lower your liability coverage. Keep in mind that almost all states have liability minimums, and buying only what you’re required could leave you vulnerable in an accident, especially if you have significant assets. Always check with your agent before changing your liability coverage.
Checking rates among insurers in your area is one of the best ways to save on car insurance. Though some companies will give you discounts for being a loyal customer, others may raise rates over the years, and there’s no way to know which kind of company you have without seeing what others charge. Every year around renewal time, ask your agent to pull a few quotes, or run your information through a quote aggregator to see how your insurer stacks up.
Look for assistance programs
Some states address the high cost of mandatory auto insurance with low-cost insurance programs. For example, if you live in California, have a family of four, and make less than $60,625, you can get insured for less than $472 per year. Keep in mind that although these assistance programs allow you to drive legally, they may provide less liability protection than the usual state minimum. New Jersey’s program for low-income drivers does not provide any liability coverage at all.
Cars are a vital resource for many Americans. Even if you live in a city with excellent public transit, having a car can expand your employment opportunities — but it can also be a financial burden.
If you’re having a hard time finding an affordable auto insurance quote online, try calling an independent agent. The agent might be able to suggest a better carrier or comb through your coverage for discounts and opportunities to cut costs.