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Money Matters: Experts share secrets to lowering car insurance
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Car insurance can be costly, but there are ways to reduce a premium without leaving the consumer at risk.
To start, take a defensive driving course. The six-hour course can save 10 percent for three years. You can either take the course in the classroom or online.
“I believe they give you 30 days to get it done. You’re doing the wash, you can then go and do an hour of the class and come back to it later,” Nationwide agent Stephen Massa said.
Encourage teens to hit the books. Massa says many companies offer what's called a good-student discount.
“If their grades are at least a B-average or higher, you'll get a discount. That's an incentive to make your kid study,” Massa said.
Other strategies involve playing with the numbers a bit. Tobie Stanger of Consumer Reports says one way to lower your bill is to raise your deductible.
“If you were to go from a $200 deductible to a $500 deductible, you might be able to save as much as 30 percent,” Stanger said.
Also, as your car gets older, certain aspects of your policy might cost more than the car is worth.
“We recommend that you consider dropping collision and comprehensive when the annual premium is about 10 percent or more of your car's book value,” Stanger said.
One area experts say never skimp on is the uninsured/underinsured motorist policy.
“Should you get into a crash and the other person doesn't have insurance, this portion of your insurance policy is going to cover that,” AAA manager Robert Sinclair Jr., said.
It also covers members of your family should they be involved in a vehicle accident, even if they're not in the car. While most people have the minimum $25,000, Sinclair says that's probably not enough.
“You can spend a day in a hospital and rack up $25,000 worth of coverage. You probably should have a half-million to $1 million worth of coverage,” Sinclair said.
While there are plenty of discounts out there, in the end, the number one way to save money on car insurance is simply to drive safely.
“No accidents, no tickets. If your record is clean, you're going to get a better shot of getting a really low rate,” Massa said.