Since the beginning of time, the best way to save on auto insurance has been to simply shop around every six months for a better rate.
But sometimes, you simply like your current insurance company or don’t want to be bothered with the process of switching your auto insurance policy.
I totally get it.
A few years back, my Mazda Miata got hit by a limo and my provider went above and beyond to make things right and help me maximize my insurance payout from the at-fault driver’s insurance. Plus, their rates are reasonable and their customer service is superb.
So, if you’re a fan of your current car insurance company — or you simply lack the time or energy to shop around — here’s how to save on premiums without having to switch.
4 ways to save on auto insurance without switching providers
Saving without switching may sound challenging, but it’s actually pretty straightforward. Heck, you can knock out all four methods below in a single 15-minute phone call with your insurance company (although method no. 3 does require a little prep work).
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
1. Update your information on file
This may sound mundane, but simply updating your personal info with your current provider could actually lower your insurance policy premiums.
That’s because your car insurance premiums all come down to risk. And the more you appear like a lower-risk driver on paper, the less you pay. For example, if you just moved to a quieter area, that’s definitely something you’ll want your insurer to know so they can factor that into your overall car insurance rate.
Other examples of life events that can result in a lower premium include, but aren’t limited to:
- Getting married.
- Moving to a safer/less populated area.
- Moving to an area with less inclement weather.
- Improving your credit score (which we can help you with).
Another major money-saver that often slips by is when your latest moving violation “expires.”
When you first bought your insurance policy with your provider, they likely asked if you had a moving violation within the last three years. (“moving violations” are infractions like speeding, running a red light, and failing to use your turn signal.)
If you’re like me, you probably had to let out a sigh and check [YES].
Well, if that moving violation is now more than three years old, you’re technically a [NO] to that question now and you might be able to save big on your premiums.
But since auto insurance companies aren’t great about expiring moving violations for you, it’s best to give them a poke over the phone and update them on your driving record.
2. Straight up ask them to find discounts for you
Once you’ve updated your personal info (and let them know your moving violation has expired), it’s time to hunt for some car insurance discounts.
Now, you might be thinking this requires you to go to provider.com/discounts to navigate a deep maze of discounts. But this method is slow, tedious, and can sometimes let precious discounts slip through the cracks.
Thankfully, there’s a much better option: simply ask the rep on the phone to find a car insurance discount for you.
In my experience, it’s almost as if the major providers are aware that their insurance discounts are plentiful and difficult to navigate — especially when you already have a policy — so their reps are both well-trained and eager to help you look. They’ll typically ask you a string of questions to help you sniff out hidden discounts like a bloodhound.
They won’t always find something, but at least they’ll do a faster and more thorough job than you or I could on our own.
3. Bring a competitor’s offer to the table
Hopefully, by this point, you and the insurance agent on the phone have built a nice rapport. You’ve found some new discounts and saved a few bucks.
At this point, you can totally choose to thank them and end the call, satisfied and victorious.
However, if you’d like to go a step further and potentially save even more cash, there’s one more gambit you can play: drop a competitor’s car insurance quote on the table, and ask them to match it.
Naturally, this will require you to get a few other quotes (check out the best car insurance companies for young adults for some places to shop around). But if you invest the time and effort, it could pay off big.
If the thought of negotiating with your insurance provider feels uncomfortable, there’s a more collaborative way to bring it up. Just say that you want to stay with them, so you hope they can match the other guys.
Upon seeing the competitor’s rate, your provider may:
- Match it (yay).
- Meet you partway by knocking off a few more bucks (sweet).
- Simply say “sorry, nothing we can do.”
If option no. 3 occurs, don’t be too surprised or disappointed. While insurance companies are still 110% negotiable on claims payouts, anecdotally speaking they’re becoming less negotiable on policy premiums. The algorithm spits out a number and that’s what you pay … end of story.
Does that mean it’s not worth the effort to negotiate in the first place?
Not at all. Because even in the attempt, something magical happens in the background.
Attempting to negotiate can exempt you from a “loyalty tax”
The “loyalty tax,” aka price optimization, is a common practice where insurance providers use factors like age, income, etc., to assess how likely you are to shop around for a better insurance rate and leave them for a competitor.
Those deemed unlikely to shop around for a better deal are charged up to a 13% “loyalty tax.”
It’s a shady and opaque practice, and no one quite knows what qualifies you for the “loyalty tax” aside from the obvious (years of loyalty).
But it’s safe to say that plunking down a competitor’s offer will send a strong message to your provider and may very well exempt you from their loyalty tax for years to come.
4. Adjust your insurance levels
Exploring ways to save money with your current provider is also the perfect time to reassess how much auto insurance you really need.
To be clear, you def need some insurance — here are seven reasons why — but you might be able to safely get away with less.
For example, if you used to park in the street, but now you park in a garage, you may not need as much comprehensive coverage. If you have more savings these days and can afford an emergency repair, you may be able to safely raise your deductible from $500 to $1,000.
Ask the rep on the phone if, based on your latest personal data, they might help you reassess the levels of insurance you need. Naturally, you can also just use my walkthrough guide on the topic and call them right back.
The bottom line
Auto insurance companies are extremely competitive, and their methods for luring policyholders away from their rivals give us plenty of reasons to shop around every six months.
Thankfully, that competition also means that your current provider will work extra hard to keep you. By hopping on a short call with your provider to update your info, hunt for discounts, and reassess your coverage, you can save big on car insurance costs without switching providers.
Featured image: Artie Medvedev/Shutterstock.com