Since time immemorial, the best way to save on auto insurance has been to shop at a better price every six months.
But sometimes you just like your current insurance company or don’t want to worry about the auto insurance policy change process.
I completely understand.
A few years ago my Mazda Miata was hit by a limousine and my provider went out of their way to fix it and help me maximize my insurance payout from the guilty driver insurance. In addition, their prices are reasonable and their customer service is excellent.
So, if you’re a fan of your current insurance company – or you just don’t have the time or energy to shop – here’s how to save on insurance premiums without switching.
4 ways to save on car insurance without changing providers
Saving without toggling may sound complicated, but it’s actually quite simple. Heck, you can turn off all four of the methods below with a single 15-minute phone call to your insurance company (although method #3 requires a bit of upfront work).
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
1. Update file information
It may sound mundane, but simply updating your personal information with your current provider can actually lower your premiums.
This is because all your insurance premiums come down to risk. And the more you look like a low-risk driver on paper, the less you pay. For example, if you’ve just moved to a quieter area, you definitely want your insurance company to know so they can factor it into your overall car insurance rate.
Other examples of life events that may result in a lower premium include, but are not limited to:
- Moving to a safer/less populated area.
- Moving to an area with less inclement weather.
- Improving your credit score (where we can help you).
Another major money saver that often slips away is when your latest carriage violation expires.
When you first bought an insurance policy from your service provider, they probably asked if you had any moving violations in the past three years. (“Driving Violations” are offenses such as speeding, running a red light, and failing to use a turn signal.)
If you’re like me, you probably had to take a breath and check [YES].
Well, if that displacement violation is over three years old, technically you [NO] ask this question now and you could save big on your premiums.
But since auto insurance companies aren’t thrilled about expiring traffic violations for you, it’s best to contact them by phone and update them on your driving record.
2. Directly ask them to find discounts for you.
Once you’ve updated your personal information (and let them know your move law violation has expired), it’s time to look for car insurance discounts.
Now you might think that you need to go to provider.com/discounts to get through the deep maze of discounts. But this method is slow, tedious, and can sometimes miss out on precious discounts.
Fortunately, there is a much better option: just ask a representative over the phone to find you a discount on car insurance.
In my experience, it seems that the big carriers know that their insurance discounts are plentiful and difficult to navigate, especially if you already have a policy, so their representatives are well trained and willing to assist you in your search. They usually ask you a series of questions to help you sniff out hidden discounts like a bloodhound.
They will not always find something, but at least they will do the job faster and more thoroughly than you or me.
3. Bring a competitor’s offer to the table
I hope you and your insurance agent are on good terms by now. You found new discounts and saved a few dollars.
At this point, you can fully thank them and end the conversation, satisfied and victorious.
However, if you want to go even further and potentially save even more money, you can play another gambit: throw your competitors’ car insurance rates on the table and ask them to match them.
Naturally, this will require you to get a few other offers (check out the best car insurance companies for young people to find out where to shop). But if you put in the time and effort, it can pay off handsomely.
If the thought of negotiating with your insurance company seems uncomfortable, there is a more collaborative way to raise the issue. Just say you want to stay with them so they can compare with the other guys.
After seeing a competitor’s bid, your provider can:
- Match it (cheers).
- Meet me halfway for a few more bucks (nice)
- Just say, “Sorry, we can’t help.”
If option no. 3, do not be surprised or disappointed. While insurance companies are still 110% able to negotiate claims payouts, anecdotally they are becoming less negotiable on premiums. The algorithm produces a number, and that’s what you pay… end of story.
Does that mean it’s not worth trying to negotiate at all?
Not at all. Because even when you try, something magical happens in the background.
Trying to negotiate can exempt you from the “loyalty tax”.
A “loyalty tax”, also known as price optimization, is a common practice where insurance companies use factors such as age, income, etc. to estimate how likely you are to take a better insurance rate and leave it to a competitor. .
Those deemed unlikely to seek a better deal are subject to a “loyalty tax” of up to 13%.
This is a shady and opaque practice, and no one knows exactly what qualifies you for a “loyalty tax” beyond the obvious (years of loyalty).
But it’s safe to say that a competitor’s offer will send a strong signal to your ISP and may well exempt you from their loyalty tax for years to come.
4. Adjust Insurance Levels
Exploring ways to save money with your current provider is also the perfect time to reassess how much auto insurance you really need.
To be clear, you definitely need some insurance – here are seven reasons why – but you could get away safely with less.
For example, if you used to park on the street and now park in a garage, you may not need this comprehensive coverage. If you have more savings these days and can afford emergency repairs, you can safely increase your deductible from $500 to $1,000.
Ask a representative on the phone if they can help you reevaluate the insurance levels you need based on your latest personal information. Naturally, you can also just follow my step-by-step guide on this topic and call them back right away.
Auto insurance companies are extremely competitive, and their methods of poaching policyholders from competitors give us plenty of reason to look at prices every six months.
Luckily, this competition also means that your current provider will work really hard to keep you. By making a short call to your provider to update information, find discounts, and reevaluate your coverage, you can save a lot on car insurance without changing providers.
Featured Image: Arti Medvedev/Shutterstock.com