HARTFORD, Connecticut (WFSB) – All month long, we’re offering ideas on how to save money and make money during these challenging economic times.
We talked to you earlier about saving on your home contents insurance, now we’re going to hit the road with car insurance with our tips.
If Victor Auto Body Works has been running in Middletown for nearly 70 years, Tyler Rok doesn’t just hear engines all day.
He’s also heard everything you can think of from customers about their auto insurance policies.
“9 times out of 10 they leave us, they ask which insurance company to go to next because there are a lot of caveats with certain insurance companies that won’t be released until you have an accident,” says Rok.
While Rok can’t tell us which company to choose, he, along with other experts, did tell us how you can save on your monthly premiums and still get the coverage you need.
LOOK AROUND, LOOK AT REVIEWS:
The first piece of advice: shop around and pay close attention to reviews.
“I would really look at Consumer Reports, look at BBB, what kind of complaints are going on for certain insurance companies before making a decision,” says Rok.
COMPARE PRICES, CONSIDER WHICH CAR YOU BUY:
Loretta Worters of the Insurance Information Institute says you want to compare rates every year, especially before you buy a car.
“There are certain cars that are more expensive to repair, more that are stolen frequently,” says Worters.
For example, the 2000 Honda Civic and the 2004 Honda Accord.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, these are the cars most likely to be stolen in Connecticut, which would increase your premiums.
INCREASE YOUR OWN RISK:
One way to lower your premium is to raise your deductible.
“You can probably save about 20% on your insurance if you increase the deductible significantly,” says Worters.
But be careful, be sure to check first how much the state requires you to have coverage and how you can afford to have coverage if you have an accident.
Here are the rules for CT: https://bit.ly/3zyVLTO
DISCOUNTS AND DRIVER PROGRAMS:
The good news is: there are several car insurance discounts.
In some cases, you can qualify for discounts, from 10 to 30 percent, by signing up for your insurance company’s driver program.
That’s only if you’re a good driver, says Peter Kochenburger of the UConn Insurance Law Center.
“It literally measures how you drive,” says Kochenburger. “How fast do I brake? Do I make a lot of left turns versus right turns? Do I speed up? They make a game out of it. Okay, if I brake more easily, can I lower my premium even further? It gives you information so you can do something.“
Tyler Rok says his son personally saw big savings.
“He went from about $200 a month because he’s only 19 to $160 a month because of his driving,” says Rok.
LOWER SINGLE COVERAGE:
Depending on the age of your car, you may be looking at dropping coverage you don’t need.
Collision and comprehensive insurance is often where people make changes.
“You want to be careful because the cost of used cars has skyrocketed in recent years since the pandemic,” says Rok.
If your car is worth less than your deductible plus the amount you pay for annual coverage, drop it.
Collision and hull never pay out more than the car is worth.
“The old saying was that when your car turns 10 years old, your agent told you you don’t need a collision anymore. The average car today, 10 years old, is worth more than $10,000,” says Rok. “There should be new rules with agencies saying after 15 years might be the time you want to remove the collision. If it comes down to about 3 or 4 grand.’
What About Dropping Rental Fee Coverage?
It is the add-on that provides reimbursement for a rental car in the event that your car is repaired as a result of a covered loss or accident.
Our experts wouldn’t.
“Usually it won’t save you much money at all.”
And as a mechanic, Tyler Rok says this is where customers need their insurance most, only to find that saving those few dollars a year leaves them with no choice.
“People come in and find out I don’t have rent,” says Rok.
But when it comes to roadside assistance, “if you already have a Triple A card in your wallet for roadside assistance, I’d say don’t get help through your car insurance, because then you’ll be on the road 5 times as long as before Triple A.
Remember, you are the one on the road, so you have the last word.
“It’s your car, it’s your choice,” says Rok.
If you have more questions, the Autobody Association of CT can help. They can be found here: https://abaconn.org/
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