There are things we cannot change. For example, as we get older we may move into a higher-risk grouping when it comes to operating a moving vehicle. And since you can’t stop the clock, the increase in some insurance rates is just something you’re going to have to live with, unless you can find better rates with another company. But there are certainly ways you can avoid rate hikes associated with accidents and other conditions.
Here are some surefire strategies to keep your auto insurance rates in an affordable range.
Follow the rules of the road.
Traffic violations and accidents are two of the most common causes of auto insurance rate hikes, and to a large degree, they’re within your control. You are the one who decides whether or not to speed, blow stop signs, or park near a hydrant. And if your insurance rates increase, as a result, you have no one to blame but yourself. The same is true if you are misbehaving behind the wheel and you cause an accident. Not all accidents are your fault, but when they are, don’t be surprised if your premiums increase.
Whether you’re fiddling with the radio, you’re texting while driving, or you’re scolding the kids in the back seat, taking your attention away from the road for even a few moments can spell disaster. And then there are all of the other drivers you need to watch out for. You never know when you’ll come across someone who is driving drunk, tired, or distracted. And of course, weather conditions can play a role in your safety on the road, as well. But when you’re alert, aware, and anticipating problems, you should be able to avoid most accidents and the insurance rate hikes that are sure to follow.
Don’t miss payments.
When you pay late or let your insurance lapse, you’ll not only incur fines, but you could prove to your insurer that you’re a risk (a financial one, anyway). And that could cause your rates to go up. Insurers reward responsible adults with low rates and discounts, so give them every reason to believe that you fall into this category.
Keep your car.
Any time you buy a new car, you should expect an increase in your insurance. After all, your provider may have to pay for repairs or replacement in the event of an accident, and a newer or more luxurious vehicle will obviously cost more in these instances. However, the longer you hold on to the vehicle you have, the lower your insurance premiums will sink, especially after you’ve paid off the car loan and you can get rid of gap or other additional coverage. If and when you decide you need to upgrade your set of wheels, take the time to get rate quotes on the vehicles you’re interested in. You may be able to find one that coincides with similar premiums.
Read the fine print.
Your car insurance costs are all spelled out in your contract, so if you want to avoid having your dues bumped up you need to make sure you understand the specifically stated cases in which your rates could increase. If you don’t understand the legalese, ask your insurance provider to explain the finer points, or consider speaking to a lawyer for clarification if you’re worried your insurance provider is mincing words. When you choose a reputable company like Allstate, State Farm, or Great West Casualty Company, you shouldn’t have to worry about such issues. But the onus is on you to make sure you understand the policy you purchase.