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Auto Shopping Tips

Most consumers seek to save as much money on car insurance as possible without losing vital coverage. Below are some pointers to help you get the best deal.

1. Comparison Shop

Prices for the same coverage can vary by hundreds of dollars from company to company, so it pays to shop around. Surf the net, ask your friends or call your state insurance department for ideas about companies and agents to contact. You should get at least three different quotes. But don’t shop solely for the best price. The insurer you select should offer both fair prices and excellent service. Quality personal service may cost a bit more, but provides added conveniences, so talk to a number of insurers to get a feeling for the quality of their service.

2. Ask for Higher Deductibles

Deductibles represent the amount of money you pay before you make a claim. By requesting higher deductibles on collision and comprehensive (fire and theft) coverage, you can lower your costs substantially. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 could reduce your collision and comprehensive cost by 15 to 30 percent.

3. Drop Collision and/or Comprehensive Coverages on Older Cars

It may not be cost effective to have collision or comprehensive coverages on cars worth less than $1,000 because any claim you make would not substantially exceed annual cost and deductible amounts. Auto dealers and banks can tell you the worth of your car.

4. Buy a “Low Profile” Car

Before you buy a new or used car, check into insurance costs. Cars that are expensive to repair, or that are favorite target for thieves, have much higher insurance costs.

5. Take Advantage of Low Mileage Discounts

Some companies offer discounts to motorists who drive fewer than a predetermined number of miles a year.

6. Consider Insurance Cost When Making a Move

Costs tend to be lowest in rural communities and highest in cities where there is more traffic congestion.

7. Find Out About Automatic Seat Belt or Airbag Discounts

You may be able to take advantage of discounts on some coverages if you have automatic seat belts and/or airbags.

8. Ask About Anti-Lock Brakes

Anti-lock brakes improve steering control and stability when a car is brought to a stop, thus reducing accidents. Some insurers have a nationwide discount in place for cars equipped with the brakes.

9. Inquire About Discounts

Some insurers offer discounts for things like no accidents in three years, drivers over 50 years of age, driver training courses, anti-theft devices, good grades for students and having more than one car insured with that company.