As I’ve written so many times in previous articles on cars, I’m not a “car guy” – a.k.a., a car expert. But I’m always excited to find ways to reduce the cost of car ownership in any way possible. This includes car insurance. We’re required to have it by law (though not here in New Hampshire), so it’s very much a necessary evil. Keeping the premiums to a minimum is practically a civic duty.
If you’re like most drivers, shopping around for car insurance is something you do every two or three years. It only takes a significant increase in your premium by your current carrier, and you’re off to the web or the phones looking for a better deal. There are different ways to find the cheapest car insurance – here are five of them:
1. Get Referrals From Other People
Everyone who drives a car has car insurance, right? (OK, not everyone – otherwise there’d be no need for uninsured motorist provisions.) But the point is, there’s a wealth of people all around who can give you input about the car insurance company that they’re using. Pick their brains and see what they can tell you.
The one thing that you really want to become aware of is a pattern of the names of certain insurance companies coming up repeatedly. People don’t usually get emotionally attached to their car insurance companies; if there are a lot of people using a particular company, it’s almost certainly because they have something close to the best rates.
If you’re going to use referrals as a strategy to find the cheapest car insurance, make sure that you ask as many people as possible. One or two people doesn’t constitute a reliable sampling, and it’s entirely possible that they have low car insurance rates because they have squeaky clean driving records (and maybe you don’t), or because they have some other advantage in their profile.
2. Check With Your Current Life or Homeowner’s Insurance Company
Insurance companies will often give you a discount on a car insurance policy if it is bundled with other policies that you have with them. Examples include life insurance, homeowners insurance, business insurance, and sometimes medical insurance.
Contact companies that you already have such policies with, and ask them to give you a quote for car insurance. That could turn out to be the lowest premium rate you’ll find anywhere.
3. See Which Companies Are Advertising Most Heavily
This is actually a double-edged sword. The company could be advertising heavily, then charging higher premiums in order to pay for all of the advertising. Or, they could be advertising heavily because they’re serious about expanding their business in your area. If that’s the case, they may also have very low car insurance premiums.
It’s important to understand that insurance companies both enter and exit given markets at different times. One company may be expanding its business in your area, while another is reducing their exposure. One of the best ways for them to do this through premiums. The company looking to expand their business will likely have lower rates to attract more customers. The company looking to pull back may raise their rates to scare off new customers.
It’s something of the game in the industry, but it’s one that can benefit you if you play it right.
4. Car Insurance Comparison Websites
At some point in the car insurance shopping process you will want to get a wider view of the companies available in your market area. The best way to do this quickly is by using car insurance comparison websites.
A site such as The Zebra can show you exactly which companies are offering coverage in your area. Or you can search for top rated insurance companies in your state. That will enable you to shop from the comfort of your home. You can just fill out some information on the site, and the car insurance companies will come to you.
In that way, you’ll spend less time searching out companies with the best premium rates, and more time deciding which one will work best for you.
5. Call Around to Various Car Insurance Companies
You can also do an old-school general search of the car insurance market in your area. You can do this by compiling a list of insurance companies that provide car insurance in your state, then called each one individually for a quote.
This is a tedious process, but if you prefer live phone contact to email – and you have plenty of spare time on your hands – calling around will be the way to go.
How do you find the cheapest car insurance?