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Best Insurance Rates

Tips for trimming the cost of your auto insurance.

1. Get quotes from at least three different companies to compare prices and services.

2. Before purchasing a new car, read sources of information such as Consumer Reports magazine to see if the vehicle has a high accident rate or is popular with thieves. You also can write to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 1005 N. Glebe Rd., Suite 800, Arlington, VA 22201 and ask for the Highway Loss Data Chart.

3. See if you can get a package deal by buying your homeowners, auto and other insurance from the same company. You may also get a discount if you insure all of your family's cars with the same company.

4. Increase your deductible if you feel you can handle the out-of-pocket expense in the event of an accident. For example, increasing your deductible to $500, rather than the standard $250, will cut the cost of your insurance.

5. Consider dropping collision coverage as your car ages. There comes a point when your aged auto's book value is less than the cost of repairing it, and remember, the most your insurer may pay is the car's book value. You can find out the current value of your car from the N.A.D.A. Official Used Car Guide, available at most local libraries, bookstores or banks.

6. Drive safely and obey the speed limits. Don't drink and drive. A good driving record lowers your insurance rates. Always wear your seat belt.

7. Check to see if you qualify for any of the following discounts (which are not permitted in all states and are not offered by all insurance companies):

  1. Good driver. The definition of a good driver varies but usually includes those with no accidents or convictions on their records for the previous three years.
  2. Driver training and defensive driving courses. You may qualify if you have taken an approved driver education course. Call the National Safety Council at 1-800-621-6244 to see if a course is offered near you.
  3. Mature driver discount. For drivers between 50 and 65.
  4. Multi-car discount. For those insuring more than one car with the same company.
  5. Restricted mileage discount. For those who drive less than 7,500 miles annually.
  6. Anti-lock brakes discount. For cars equipped with computerized anti-lock braking systems.
  7. Passive seat belts and air bags discount. On cars equipped with factory-installed air bags and automatic seat belts.
  8. Anti-theft systems discount. For vehicles with devices that make them more difficult to steal -- for example, ignition- and fuel-cutoff systems, alarms, and hood- and wheel-locking devices.
  9. Good student discount. Sometimes offered for drivers under age 25 who have maintained a B average for the preceding semester in high school or college.
Auto Insurance Basics
Lowering Your Costs
Glossary of Terms
Rating Ins. Companies