(Originally Posted on Reviews.com)
Getting older and becoming an adult means a lot of things. Exciting experiences, opportunities to learn new things, exploring the world, and meeting new people. It also means taking control of things that you may have depended on your parents for, like budgeting and navigating your health and car insurance. To make this transition easier, the team at Reviews.com recently released a guide to auto insurance that breaks down auto insurance in order to make it understandable and accessible to everyone.
How much should I be paying for auto insurance?
The short answer? It depends! Auto insurance premiums vary state-to-state depending on a variety of factors. For instance, drivers in Florida pay almost $600 more than the nationwide average. According to Esurance, statistics like local accident rate, state-required coverage, and property crime rates all have an impact here.
To see how your premium stacks up, find your state on the Reviews.com auto insurance page. Remember that these are yearly rates and that your current policy likely is a 6-month agreement, so you’ll need to be sure you’re comparing the proper time spans.
The long answer? Auto insurance premiums are tricky. On the one hand, we’re all on a budget and nobody wants to pay more than they have to for coverage. On the other hand, skimping can mean the difference of thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars of out-of-pocket costs in the event of an accident. Below are the basic areas of coverage that you need on your policy. NOTE: This isn’t to say that all other coverage is extravagant, rather, these are the options you need to have on your policy.
So what can I skip? This is a very personal decision that depends on your behaviors as a driver, your needs as a consumer, and your general comfort level with saying “no” to certain types of coverage. For reference, however, The Wall Street Journal suggests skipping extra insurance options such as towing insurance, particularly if you’re already a member of an auto club like AAA.
Saving on your premiums
Ask for discounts. Insurance providers make their money off of how much you pay them on a recurring basis for your coverage. Taking you on as a customer and retaining you long-term is important to them, and they’ll do what they can to ensure you stay. So when it comes to discounts, it doesn’t hurt to ask! Insurers often extend discounts for good students and accident-free customers, but other factors like recently paying off a vehicle or even losing your job may also make you eligible for discounts.
Help yourself. One of the most basic premises of auto insurance is that the price goes up when you make claims. To prevent this from happening, take on small fixes yourself. Replacing somethings mall like a side mirror may take a few hours out of your weekend and a few bucks out of your wallet, but it may ultimately save you dollars off of your recurring premium, which definitely adds up!
Be a better driver (seriously). Studies show that the average driver gets in an accident every 18 years, so you’ll likely need to use your insurance about three times in your life. Imagine you could see into the future and determine how to prevent that accident from happening — ultimately preventing out-of-pocket costs and the expense of a higher premium. Avoid texting while driving, speeding, and engaging in road rage to ensure you’re doing everything in your power to avoid an accident and save money.
What do you think? Do you have any other tips for choosing your auto insurance? Leave a comment below. And make sure to visit Reviews.com for more tips on products from the latest Bluetooth headphones to the best Nerf gun on the market.