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How to Be an Insurer's Ideal Driver

By Compuquotes Team on November 10th, 2008

Auto Insurance

Auto insurance premiums can take up a hefty chunk of your monthly budget, but there are ways to reduce the amount you pay for auto insurance coverage. Here are seven tips to help you get your auto insurance company's cheapest premium rates.

1. Follow the rules of the road.
One of the things that will impact your insurance premiums - and impact it hard - is a moving violation on your driving record. Stay within the speed limit, stop at stop signs and remember to get your vehicle inspected at regular intervals to keep your registration and inspection stickers up to date. A moving violation on your driving record can increase your premiums for up to ten years. A DUI conviction can have a devastating effect on your insurance premiums.

2. Take a defensive driving course.
It's not just young drivers that will benefit from going to driving school. Many insurers will lower your premium if you take a defensive driving course. The insurance companies love statistics, and the statistics show that people who complete defensive driving courses turn out more courteous, less aggressive drivers who are far less likely to get into automobile accidents.

3. Stay in your job for more than three years.
Insurers, like banks and finance companies, have a picture of their ideal customer. The more stable and settled the driver, their statistics show, the less likely they are to take risks when driving. Fewer risks mean less accidents. Stick with your job, stay at your current address and get married, and you'll see your premiums decrease steadily with each step you take toward stability.

4. Move to a safer neighborhood.
There is, of course, an exception to the above rule. Insurers also look at the place where you garage your car when determining your premium. Inner city neighborhoods typically carry the highest penalties to your premium. A nice home in the suburbs will net you a substantial reduction in the amount you pay to insure your car, especially if you carry theft insurance.

5. Build a driveway, or better yet a garage.
Where you park your car also has an effect on your insurance premium. Parking on the street increases the chance that your car will take damage. Off-street parking will decrease your premiums. Having a garage, and using it regularly to park your car makes you a more careful driver in the eyes on the auto insurance company and that translates to lower premiums.

6. Pay for small repairs yourself rather than making a claim against your insurance policy.
If making repairs to your car after an accident will only cost a small amount above your deductible, it may be worth it to pick up the cost yourself rather than filing a claim. It may seem counter-productive - after all, you pay insurance to pick up those costs, don't you? However, many insurers now offer reductions in premiums and deductibles for remaining claim free over time. Do a bit of math and decide whether it's more cost-effective to pay a few bucks out of pocket, or pay higher premiums for years to come.

7. Review your policy annually and update it when necessary.
Don't just accept the renewal policy that you're sent each year on your anniversary. Instead, sit down and go over the policy to make sure that it still suits your needs, then take an hour or two to shop around and see if you can get a better deal with another insurer. Do this even if you plan to stay with your current insurer. If you find that you'd get a lower premium for the same coverage elsewhere, you may have a bargaining chip to bring your insurance premium down.

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