Looking for an easy way to save some money?
A good place to start is your auto insurance policy, said Rick Rodgers, president of Rodgers & Associates, Lancaster, a certified retirement counselor and member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.
Oftentimes the auto insurance policy is one of the last things people think of, Rodgers said.
(Mirror photo by J.D. Cavrich)
Tiffany Leach of Saleme Insurance completes forms for an automobile insurance policy.
"Typically when you work with an agent, they never shop and never look at ways to reduce your premiums. It may be a good idea to shop for insurance yearly. You would be surprised how much money people can save. I know people who found out they could save 30 percent because they never shopped for it," Rodgers said. "A good place to start is to shop for insurance. It is easy and it doesn't cost anything but your time."
People may not be aware of the many discounts available.
"You can save 5 to 25 percent in discounts. There are a lot of discount programs based on safe driving, and there are good student discounts for the young drivers," said Dave Phillips, spokesman for State Farm Insurance. "You can get substantial savings with a multiple auto discount. A defensive driving course can be taken. More insurance companies are tracking mileage. With less mileage, you can get a discount."
"There are discounts that are available, but if you don't ask for them you can't get them," Rodgers said.
Increasing your deductible can lead to significant savings. Many people carry a $250 deductible, said Tiffany Leach, a personal lines client service agent at Saleme Insurance, Altoona.
"Why not consider increasing it to $500 or $1,000? The savings can help offset the premium and pay for itself in the long run, if you do not file a claim," Leach said. "We usually say start at $500 because that is where the discounts start. There is not much difference as far as the premium for $500 or $1,000 but $500 is much less than $250 or lower."
"Looking at your deductible is a good idea, but if you are going to increase it you need to make sure you can afford to pay the deductible if you have an accident," Phillips said.
Combining your auto and homeowners insurance with one company can also save money.
"Multi-lining can save about 17 percent on the premium," Phillips said.
Completing a driving course can also lead to a discount.
"Some companies offer a 55 or older safe driver course which can save you 3 to 5 percent and is good for three years. An AARP course is available at different times. If you complete the course, you are given a certificate which provides a discount for three years," Leach said. "Not every company offers that, but some do. We are an independent agency. We offer many different companies, about 12 auto insurance carriers."
The vehicle you drive may have an impact on your insurance costs.
"The year of the car can come into play. If you have an older car, you may not have a loan and you may not need to carry collision insurance. You may want to drop some of the coverage," Phillips said. "We suggest to our folks that they look at the safety ratings on the make and model. Some minivans and sedans are better if you have a collision; some models can be very pricey to repair."
Some people are going from a mid-1990s car to a newer car, and it is less expensive because they can get discounts for safety features on the newer models, Leach said.
"Things such as anti-theft devices, anti-lock braking system and having air bags," Leach said. "Typically older cars, if they are 10 years old or older, we tell people they may want to take off full coverage [eliminate collision.]"
Maintaining a clean driving record can also lead to savings.