Fall is the beginning of car dealers’ end-of-year clearance sales, when millions of Americans will be buying new cars. Yet only one-quarter of drivers annually review their insurance coverage, and most don’t know how to reduce their costs. Peter Merritt, of Robert T. Kirkwood, Inc. Pleasantville NY offers sound advice to all drivers:
Before you hit the road this spring, consider this: Sitting down and discussing coverage with a Kirkwood Insurance agent is free. It can ensure that you are getting the best deal possible on your auto policy; and it may even keep you and your family safer.
Talk with your insurance agent before you buy a car. Theft frequency, repair costs, and passenger protection can significantly affect insurance rates.
Consider where you live. Rates vary widely, even by county. Theft and vandalism rates, police response time, local road and traffic conditions, the quality and cost of medical care, and litigation rates are factors that may affect the cost of auto insurance in a particular area.
Regularly review your policy to make sure that you are not over or under insured. In the last year, one-in-four auto insurance consumers have not reviewed his or her auto coverage.
Use higher deductibles to lower premiums. Insurance is designed to protect consumers from major financial losses. How catastrophic a $500 loss is depends largely on a consumer’s income level or savings. Certain consumers should consider the cost-benefit of a higher deductible—the amount for which you accept responsibility before the insurer pays anything. The savings can be used to increase liability coverage limits that protect you from claims made by others. Choosing a higher deductible of $500 to $1,000 can reduce your premium by 10% or more, but may not be feasible for those who cannot afford to cover the higher cost.
Buy a low-risk car that is not a top theft target. Consumers can check the auto theft losses by make and model through the Highway Loss Data Institute’s Web page: www.carsafety.org.
Take advantage of discounts. Most, if not all, agents and companies offer premium discounts, and 85% of auto insurance consumers say they take advantage of them. Depending on the insurance company, consumers can often lower their rate by 5 to 35%. Below are some of the most popular discounts:
- · Good driver/accident-free;
- · Multiple cars on one policy;
- · Anti-lock brakes ;
- · Airbags;
- · Multiple policies with one insurer;
- · Passive restraints;
- · Anti-theft devices;
- · Drivers’ education;
- · Good student;
- · Senior citizen/retiree;
- · Non-smoker;
- · “Away at School;” and
- · Good credit history.
Always shop around. Using Kirkwood Insurance, we sell insurance for more than 10 different companies, can save you time and money.
Stay with standard companies as long as your driving record allows. Non-standard insurers are often viewed by standard insurers as insurers of last resort.
Kirkwood Insurance is located in Pleasantville, NY. We sell insurance for Westchester, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Nationwide.