With 2015 coming to a close, people are beginning to think about what 2016 will be like. Many set New Year's resolutions to improve themselves. Most people focus more on health and wellness than on financial resolutions, according to a survey by Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America. However, setting financial goals for the new year could be a good idea.
One way to do this is to make sure you're getting a good rate on your auto insurance. This is an expensive payment every car owner is required to make, but there are ways to reduce the amount you pay. As the year draws to an end, your auto insurance likely is, too. Now is the best time to review your plan and decide if you need to make a change.
Step 1: Evaluate your needs
Every state requires that drivers have car insurance. However, the extent varies state to state, The Wall Street Journal explained. The minimum amount of insurance a state requires is a good place to start, but in the event of an accident, you might wish you had more. According to Insurance Information Institute, 12.6 percent of drivers don't have car insurance. If you get into an accident with one of these people, having insurance against poorly insured drivers will cover the expenses that your health insurance might not cover. The Wall Street Journal advised getting Bodily Injury Liability to help with this, as it will give a certain amount of money toward the person or people in the other car.
While making sure you have everything you need, also check to see if you're paying for things you don't need. For instance, Personal Injury Protection is a good idea, though many of the things it covers are also covered by health or disability insurance you may be getting through your employer. If you already have one of these, then look into reducing your PIP insurance.
Step 2: Shop around
Once you know what you need out of your car insurance, begin to compare quotes from various providers. Many people don't realize they can save money by signing with another company, Bankrate explained.
"A lot of us are creatures of habit. I've been with the same company since 1983," Melvin Butch, a Michigan-based attorney, told Bankrate. "But if you shop around, it literally could save you anywhere from 5 to 50 percent a year."
When doing this, inquire about each of the products you already determined you will need. Rates will likely vary from company to company. Bankrate advised people to thoroughly research a company before switching policies, though. Check out their complaints ratio to determine how customers have responded to the carrier after an accident in the past. While saving money is important, it's also crucial that your car insurance provider will provide top service when you really need it.
"Many insurance providers offer discounts you could qualify for."
Step 3: Ask about discounts
Many insurance providers offer various discounts that you could qualify for. However, some won't clue you in unless you ask about them specifically, according to Money Talks News. If you are in college, there could be a discount for that. Similarly, if you have a teen on your policy who gets good grades, you may qualify for some savings. Or, if that teen goes off to college and won't be driving your car anymore, ask about taking him or her off your policy.
Additionally, there are discounts for the way you drive; if you don't drive much, you could qualify for low-mileage savings. Or, if you haven't been in any accidents, you could be eligible for a reduced rate.
If you truly don't drive a lot and if, when you do, you are a safe driver, you may benefit from switching to pay-as-you-drive insurance. This is done through either a device or your On-Star or other communication system program in your car, depending on the insurance you have. This will record the amount you drive, how hard you brake, the hours of the day that you drive, among other data sets, depending on the insurance provider. You could wind up saving money by choosing this option.
Step 4: Make your decision
Once you have done all your research, you are well prepared to change your insurance provider, reduce your insurance plan or keep everything the same knowing you are getting the best deal for the best insurance. If you do choose to go with another company, make sure you tell your current provider about the change. Also, be careful not to have any gaps in coverage. This could hurt your chances of actually being able to sign onto your chosen company at the rates you were quoted.
To make sure you have found the best insurance for you and your car, compare rates at CoverHound's website.