by Yolanda Vazquez
With gas prices on the rise, not to mention registration fees and the price of vehicles themselves, virtually everyone is looking at ways to contain the cost of driving. And our FYI reporter Yolanda Vazquez is certainly no different; so she did little research into another key operating cost, insurance. And what she found could help keep those premiums from breaking your bank.
VIDEO: Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there...
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: We’ve all seen the commercials about ways to lower your car insurance premiums.
VIDEO: ...You're good...
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Most are pretty clever and worthy of a few chuckles… but they do pose a valid question. Are you paying too much for your car insurance?
RENITA PREVOT: In this day and age, there's a lot of people, who are trying to save as much as they can on car insurance. And our goal is to help them with that.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: State Farm agent Renita Prevot says before you begin to comparison shop, you should first review your policy with your current insurer. Once you determine the level of coverage you need, ask about a higher deductible.
RENITA PREVOT: I tell you when you’re looking at deductible—it’s an individual choice—what are you comfortable taking out of your pocket, should you have a claim?
YOLANDA VAZUEZ: This first cost-saving tip is likely to lower your rate. In fact the insurance information institute says increasing your deductible from $250 dollars to $500 could reduce your premium by 15-30%. And upping it to $1,000-- could save you 40% or more.
The second cost-saving tip is to get rid of any unnecessary coverage. If you have an aging vehicle with no lienholder, Prevot says you might want to consider taking comprehensive and/or collision coverage off your car.
RENITA PREVOT: What I do is tell people is to look and see what is the value, or what do you think your car is worth.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: As a general rule, it’s not cost effective to keep comp and collision if your car is worth less than a few thousand dollars. You can check with NADA guides or Kelley Blue Book to determine your car’s current value.
The third cost saving tip is to do a discount double-check. Some car insurance companies, like State Farm, offer discounts to drivers who put fewer than a predetermined number of miles on their vehicle each year—so ask about a low mileage discount.
And then there’s multi-line discounts, if you have other types of insurance with your company. And don’t forget about good student and good driver discounts. Being accident free like me could save you money.
While a good driving record is important so is being safe on the roads.
KENT KRABBE: …obey the laws, drive safely, don’t be aggressive, don’t text and drive, don’t drink and drive obviously…
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: Kent Krabbe, executive director of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund, says accidents are the biggest single contributor to high insurance premiums.
KENT KRABBE: …So be safe on the roadways…
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: He also recommends researching auto rates on a particular car before you buy and check to see if there are any discounts for certain safety features or anti-theft devices like car alarms or electronic tracking systems.
KENT KRABBE: Many insurers give discounts for highly rated, safe vehicles, and also sometimes more costly to insure vehicles more prone to theft.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: And if you still feel like shopping around, here's tip number four: get at least 3 quotes, but don’t shop on price alone. It’s important to consider the company’s reputation, customer service and reliability.
RENITA PREVOT: It's not necessarily about being cheaper and lower. It’s about-have you got the right coverage? Are they going to be around when you make the claim? Because that's really what you are purchasing when you're buying auto insurance.
YOLANDA VAZQUEZ: So while these catchy commercials may lure you in-do your homework to make sure saving a few bucks won’t cost you in the end.