First off, let’s go over some of the typical discounts that auto and renter’s insurance companies give to safe drivers (those drivers not involved in a major collision for a set length of time, or not living in a high-risk area.) Already mentioned was the age discount. Safe drivers can usually negotiate for lower car insurance rates starting at as young as 18 years old. The following birthday tiers are 21 and 25. These discounts are generally small, just enough to make the consumer feel as though they shouldn’t need to shop around because they’re already getting a deal. That isn’t usually the case, however. At all three ages, a safe driver should continue shopping around auto insurance at least once per year. You’re almost guaranteed to come up with a good quote on the same coverage that will likely beat the price you’re paying now. Give your agent the benefit of the doubt, however, and take the quote to him or her, and see if they’ll beat it. They just might.
Another discount that is occasionally overlooked by unwary consumers is what is called a “multiple line policy.” These policies may not necessarily be one policy, but several policies with the same company. For instance, you might carry your auto, renters, and life insurance with ABC insurance company and get a discount for all three.
Other discounts that may become available as your life changes are discounts when you get married, discounts if you drive your vehicle fewer than 5,000 miles per year (making it a recreational vehicle in the insurance company’s eyes), carpooling, and driving an older car. Discounts can also include parking your vehicle in a garage, and renter’s insurance can be reduced by having deadbolt locks installed on doors not already so equipped, having more than one fire extinguisher in the apartment, or even something as simple as having smoke alarms in every room.
Changing coverage on an older car can also significantly reduce your yearly auto insurance premium. If your car is more than 10 years old, you need to consider reducing your collision coverage to be more in line with the value of the vehicle. In many cases, the cost of repairing these cars would exceed the value of the car, making it more economical to simply replace it.
Negotiating with your insurance company to receive a lower rate on your auto and renter’s insurance is one of your rights as a consumer. In order to be successful, however, you need to have competing quotes from other insurers who are offering the exact same coverage that you carry now. When you’re in negotiations with insurance, you can’t compare apples to oranges and expect to get a serious response. Keep yourself informed about the discounts you may already receive as well as the discounts you may not be getting, and then go negotiate a lower insurance rate with visions of victory!