Feb 14, 2020

There are some factors that insurance companies use when determining your rate that aren’t negotiable. They will look at things like your age, your marital status, where you live, and what kind of car or truck you drive.
That doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to lower your rate, though. Here are five things you can do right away to try to lower your auto insurance rate and put more money in your wallet.

  1. Take a defensive driving course.

  2. Avoid moving violations.

  3. Increase your deductible.

  4. Shop around for the best rates.

  5. Ask for discounts.


1. Take a Defensive Driving Course.

With a New York DMV-approved Defensive Driving course you can receive a mandatory 10% reduction on the base rate of your auto insurance for 3 years. All you have to do is take the Defensive Driving course and present the certificate of completion to your insurance company. If you currently have driver violations, successfully completing a defensive driving course can also qualify you for up to 4-points off of your license.
Many courses are available online and offer a timeframe within which you must complete the course. This allows participants to start and return to the course as they are able within that period. When selecting a course, be sure to confirm that it is approved by the New York DMV for insurance reduction.


2. Avoid moving violations, and know what to do if they occur.

A moving violation is any violation that occurs while your car is in motion. This includes incidents like driving while intoxicated, failure to signal for turns or lane changes, failing to drive within a single lane, driving over the speed limit, and failure to stop at a stop sign. Moving violations will usually result in a surcharge to your insurance premium if they remain on your driving record.

According the New York DMV, points will stay on your record for 18 months from the time of the offense. Delaying a case for longer than 18 months does not prevent points being assessed. No matter when you are found guilty, the DMV will go back to the date of the offense and measure 18 months before and after that date of offense to count up your points.

New York State DMV

Sometimes you can have a moving violation dismissed by taking a defensive driving course, but that depends on the jurisdiction and the severity of the violation. Alternatively, you may be given a probationary period (also known as a deferred adjudication option). This means that, if you have no other violations in a set amount of time, you may be able to avoid having the violation go on your driving record. Of course, the best course of action is to follow all traffic laws; this will ensure that a moving violation won’t increase your insurance and helps keep you safe on the road.

3. Increase your deductible.

Your deductible is what you are required to pay if you file an insurance claim. Your deductible must be paid before your insurance kicks in. Very often, people will opt for a lower deductible to save money but increasing that amount can lower your insurance rates.
Increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 can save you 15-30%.1 Bump that amount to $1,000 and the potential savings go up to 40%.1
Before increasing your deductible, make sure you can afford to pay it. Take a look at your budget. Do you have enough cash on hand to cover your deductible amount if you needed to file a claim? While a higher deductible can lower your monthly payment, it doesn’t make sense to do so if you don’t have room in your budget to afford it. 


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4. Have your insurance shopped periodically.

We get it. Very few people are excited to shop for car insurance. It’s one of those tasks that often gets pushed until “next time.” It’s important to know, though, that insurance carrier rates go through what’s called ‘underwriting cycles’ where they each raise and lower rates every few years to adjust for losses.
Shopping for insurance when you’re up for renewal helps you to avoid getting stuck with higher and higher rates. You may be able to find similar or even better coverage at a more competitive rate. And with easy online comparison tools, it doesn’t take much time to request quotes from several carriers.


5. Ask for discounts.

Most insurance carriers offer discounts for things like:

  • Zero accidents

  • Multi-car policies

  • Good student record

Combining your car insurance with your other coverage, such as renter’s or homeowner’s insurance, may qualify you for additional discounts on all of your coverage.

There are even affinity programs available, meaning membership within certain organizations may qualify you for insurance discounts. Ask your current provider what discounts are available, and when you shop for quotes be sure to find out what other carriers are providing as well.

  1. Nine Ways to Lower Your Auto Insurance Costs. Insurance Information Institute. https://www.iii.org/article/nine-ways-to-lower-your-auto-insurance-costs. Accessed 21 January 2020.


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