Car insurance is one of the biggest annual expenses in many people’s lives, amounting to an average of around $1,000, according to CES data between 2011 and 2012 (it may be even more now.) Therefore, it’s important to watch out for discounts and breaks that you might be eligible for, as there are several opportunities that drivers can take advantage of to cut down their annual premiums.
There are many discounts out there that — like tax deductions — you either may not of known about, or known that you were applicable for, and for those trying to rein in annual spending, car insurance might be a great place to start. Here are eight common car insurance deductions, that many, if not all major auto insurance providers like Allstate (NYSE:ALL), State Farm, Progressive (NYSE:PGR), and others will offer.
1. Multi-Policy Discounts
First and foremost, there are big benefits to getting all your belongings insured under one policy holder. House, renters, car, motorcycle, ATVs, snowmobiles, et cetera — if it’s insured, you’re best off getting everyone on one policy with the same provider, as there are discounts for adding lines. These discounts vary by provider, but sometimes even policies like life insurance can be applied.
2. Multi-Vehicle Discounts
Think of this discount as buying in bulk: the more units you insure, the cheaper each unit’s coverage becomes. If you’re living in a household that has more than one vehicle, and they’re on different plans, get them on the same policy if possible — you’ll save money in doing so. For new drivers, sticking on your parents’ plan will also save money with the multi-vehicle discount, that is if they’ll allow you!
3. Good Grades Discount
Students! If you are getting decent grades in school and own a car, make sure you’re looking into the good grades discount! Insurers seem to know that college kids are likely struggling on a financial front, and theory (along with some data, most likely) suggests that students with good grades are generally more responsible overall, and responsibility turns into savings with the right provider — though virtually all of them will offer this discount. Just show proof within 30 days of your good grades, and your premiums will go down.
4. Defensive Driving Course and Clean Record Discounts
The school of thought behind the defensive driving discount is that defensive drivers are involved in fewer accidents, and fewer accidents means the providers don’t have to pay out as much in claims. Defensive driving classes are available just about everywhere, and not being involved in accidents at all can pay off in a big way. “You can save up to an amazing 40 percent with some insurance companies just for having a good driving record,” CarsDirect.com said. But, “that means that you can’t have any accidents or tickets on your driving record for 3 years or over.”
5. Paperless Billing and/or Automatic Payment Discounts
Virtually every major insurer examined by Bankrate (via Cars.com) offered money off your premium for switching to a digital format, and for scheduling automatic payments that hit either a credit or debit card, or bank account in lieu of mailing in a paper check. As insurance companies aim to go fully digital, they appear to be willing to reward their clients for helping out with the cause.
6. Low Mileage Discounts
The logic behind this discount is pretty sensible: the less a car owner drives, the less risk there is for an accident and resulting payout by the insurance company. Providers enjoy lowered risk, and as a driver, you can benefit from their desire to keep risk to a minimum by limiting the number of miles that you drive per year. Some providers will require electronic monitoring to be eligible for this discount, but it’s certainly worth asking about if you don’t drive a whole during the year — or have alternatives (public transportation) available to you.
7. Anti-Theft Discount
Believe it or not, vehicles can be cheaper to ensure just by coming equipped with an anti-theft device — which virtually every new car does these days. If your vehicle doesn’t have one, installing one will make you eligible for the discount, which CarsDirect.com says can amount to 15-20 percent off your tab. Essentially, the risk of theft is so diminished by installing the device that it will make a noticeable difference on your annual premiums.
8. Long-Term Customer Discount
Simply staying with your current insurer over a long period of time will help you save money with many providers, which may or may not be triggered automatically. If you know — or at least feel like — you’ve been with your current insurer for a reasonably long period time, it’s certainly worth asking your agent about. Being on good speaking terms with your agent will likely benefit you in this case, if the discount isn’t applied automatically.