Car insurance. It’s a necessity, but it can eat up a significant portion of your monthly budget. The average driver in Alberta pays about $1,000 per year for coverage, but many people are paying more than they need to every month.
You should always review your insurance coverage annually, to determine whether changes in your life qualify you for lower rates or discounts. Talk with your agent about your policy and the factors influencing your rate, and whether any adjustments are in order.
1. You Recently Had a Birthday
It’s well known that younger drivers are more expensive to insure, due to their inexperience behind the wheel. The older you get, the less you pay for coverage, so if you have recently celebrated a milestone birthday, ask for a review of your policy. Getting older does have some benefits.
2. You Recently Got Married
Married individuals typically pay less for insurance than single people, so if you have recently tied the knot, check in with your insurance agent to review your policy. Not only are your rates likely to decrease due to your new marital status, covering both of your vehicles under the same policy will help reduce your rates.
3. You Don’t Have an Umbrella Policy
If you have your vehicle and home covered under different policies, you are probably paying too much. Insurers offer significant discounts to policyholders who combine their policies. Even if you are a renter, combining renter’s insurance with your auto policy can help you score a discount of up to 20 percent, so be sure to ask about your options. And if you have recently moved, be sure to let your agent know. Your address — and where you park your car — can make a huge difference in your premiums.
4. You Have Changed Jobs
Insurance carriers have run the statistical averages on nearly every possible factor that could influence someone’s driving record – and your occupation a significant indicator of your likelihood of having an accident or moving violation. People who work in “conservative” occupations like teaching and accounting tend to qualify for lower rates than other jobs. Higher risk occupations are those who tend to spend more time behind the wheel, such as salespeople and real estate agents. Ask your insurance agent if your job is influencing your rates, and if you have recently changed careers, notify the carrier and request a rate adjustment.
5. Your Driving Record Has Improved
Almost everyone has had an “oopsie” while behind the wheel. There’s no reason that a minor fender bender, or even a major accident, needs to haunt your checking account for years. Accidents that were on your driving record when you first purchased your policy may have fallen off, necessitating an adjustment to your rates, and if it’s been several years since your last incident, an adjustment may be in order as well.
While changes in your life are the biggest determinants of whether you qualify for a lower insurance rate or not, there are two other factors to consider when looking at your premiums.
6. You Didn’t Ask for Discounts
If you have a great auto insurance agent, he or she will automatically apply any discounts that you qualify for. However, don’t assume that you’re getting the best deal. Ask your agent if there are any other possible discounts, or if you could get a better deal with another company. Do your homework before meeting with an agent to learn which options are available, and don’t be afraid to mention anything you see missing.
7. You Aren’t Receiving Good Service
Finally, any policy is too expensive if you aren’t receiving good service from your agent or the company. If you can’t get anyone to return your calls, claims take forever to process, and your bill is riddled with errors or excess fees, it’s time to find another company. Paying less for auto insurance doesn’t have to mean that you have to put up with poor service. In fact, you could argue that paying a few dollars more for excellent coverage and excellent service from your agent is worthwhile.
Even if you are happy with your auto insurance coverage, take some time every six months to review your options. That’s not to say that you need to switch insurers every time, but there are so many factors that go into determining your rates that a slight change to any one of them can make a major difference in your monthly bill. Of course, the best way to keep your rates low is to avoid claims, so always drive safely.