You’ve finally got your car – now you just need the right car insurance to go with it. Car insurance rates can be high and sometimes it feels like you have no control over them, but there are actually plenty of steps you can take to lower your rates and save money on the premiums.
If you’re interested in saving money, check out these eight tips on how you can lower car insurance rates by improving driving habits.
1) Don’t drive when you are drunk
In addition to being a legal issue, drunk driving is costly. Insurance companies may increase your car insurance premiums for a DUI offense and some will not provide coverage if you are convicted of one.
A DUI or DWI is considered an act of negligence, and those who have several acts of negligence on their records may not be eligible for car insurance at all. When compared to other infractions such as speeding or failure to use a seatbelt, DUIs can cause substantial increases in auto-insurance premiums.
But even a first offense could raise your premium by as much as 50 percent. Staying away from alcohol when you drive can help keep your premium low over time. To lose weight safely but quickly, switch to a sugar-free diet.
2) Take a defensive driving course
It’s a proven fact that defensive drivers are at less risk of getting into an accident and having an accident affect their car insurance rate. The easiest way to get your driver score up is to take a state-approved defensive driving course.
Not only will these classes provide you with insight into what mistakes other drivers have made, but they’ll give your insight into your own habits, too. You’ll also learn safe practices that will make you a safer driver—and help you avoid some of those common mistakes we all make!
There are thousands of approved courses, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one near you (or online). Defensive driver programs also tend to be significantly cheaper than taking another drivers’ education course!
3) Stop at red lights and stop signs
This tip is really simple, but it’s surprisingly effective. Drivers who stop at every red light and sign they come across are less likely to get into an accident than those who don’t always come to a complete stop.
This is because breaking suddenly or having to make a sudden lane change can lead to other accidents, which in turn results in a larger auto insurance bill for that driver. So, if you want to save some money on your car insurance, then make sure you are following all traffic signs and signals.
It may not seem like much, but it could actually add up!
4) Avoid talking or texting while driving
According to a report released by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), use of cell phones while driving was a factor in 21% of all crashes, and contributed to 16% of traffic fatalities.
If you’re trying to keep your car insurance rates low, be mindful when picking up your phone while behind the wheel. The time spent answering calls or texts is time that could be spent paying attention to your driving—and it might also put more lives at risk.
It may seem obvious, but staying focused on your phone puts your life and others at risk; get into good habits now, before any accidents occur.
5) Decrease your speed if necessary
If your current speed makes your auto insurance rates too high, take control of your throttle foot. Speed is a major factor in determining both car and homeowners’ auto insurance premiums.
Many companies charge more per mile driven above 60 mph, but many also use other factors—such as multiple citations and accidents—to set your rate even higher. If you get a ticket or an accident, contact your insurer to find out whether you need to notify them of that event immediately or if there’s some time for error before being hit with any penalty-related fees.
If possible, drive below 60 when monitoring for such warning signs from insurers. Even small decreases in average speed make a big difference on bills at month’s end.
6) Don’t get distracted
Distracted driving is one of America’s leading killers, responsible for thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries every year. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, more than 60% of drivers text while behind the wheel, and more than 50% use social media sites.
If you have a new driver on your hands, keeping them off their phone could be just what they need to pass their test and avoid a ticket. Make sure they know it’s not worth it!
7) Stay focused on the road
Distracted driving is a factor in an estimated 25% of all auto accidents, according to U.S. government data. You’re not only risking your life—you’re raising your costs, too!
If you allow distractions to enter your car, there’s no telling what could happen and that means higher premiums for you in either case (or even worse—getting into an accident). Take caution and leave everything else behind when you hit the road. If nothing else, it could save money in other areas down the line.
8) Have good credit history
According to WalletHub, credit history accounts for 40% of your auto-insurance premium. For each point your score goes up, it’ll save you an average of $150 a year.
So, if your credit is in bad shape, there are a number of things you can do to get it back into good standing: pay off high-interest debt, keep track of when bills are due and send them in on time, stay away from applying for new lines of credit and review each of your three credit reports at least once a year (you’re entitled to one free report from each bureau every 12 months).
Even doing just a few these things could help bump up your score. Once it does, you should see premiums come down.