Whether it’s groceries, computers, cars, or even shopping for a new dentist, most of us try to be informed and wise consumers. After all, trying to save some money is just a no-brainer. Shopping for car insurance is, in many respects like shopping for anything else: you want to get the right product (coverage) for the right price.

Unfortunately, too many try to save a small amount of money by not getting the coverage they need. When shopping for auto policies, be a smart comparison shopper; keep a pen handy and make sure you are getting quotes for the same types and amounts of coverage from each carrier you shop.

Comparison shopping is not the only way to save money on your auto insurance. In his book, “The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Automobile Insurance in Florida,” Doug Dykes highlights seven ways you may be able to trim your auto insurance bill.

  1. Clean driving record. It’s understood that you really don’t have a choice regarding whether or not you are in a crash. But, the longer you can go without any accidents, the more the insurance companies will reward you. Drive defensively.
  2. Remember your credit rating. Insurance companies are looking at your credit rating these days. Keeping a good credit score may well help with your insurance rates, too.
  3. Start before you buy your vehicle. Here we consider modest vehicles versus muscle cars. Insurance companies look at many factors when rating insurance policies. White Honda Accords are probably going to be rated lower than Red Corvettes. So consider shopping and asking about insurance costs before you purchase your vehicle.
  4. Do not let your insurance coverage lapse. Insurance companies like good track records. Coming to them with no insurance or with a policy that has just lapsed is not always best.
  5. Ask about different deductibles. The deductible is where you insure yourself. If you have a $500 deductible on your collision coverage, then for the first $500 you are self-insured. Naturally, if you bear more of the risk and up your deductible to $1,000 then your cost of insurance should decrease. However, it is not recommended that you have any deductible on your Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage.
  6. Bundle. If you own your home, ask about any discount you can receive if your homeowner’s insurance and your automobile insurance are with the same company.
  7. Ask about discounts you qualify for. Renewing customer discount? Are you in a low-risk occupation? Tell them about all the safety features your car has. Antilock brakes? Airbags? Automatic seatbelts? Anti-theft systems? Low-mileage discount? Senior citizens discount? Don‘t be afraid to ask, you won‘t know unless you do.

If you want to demystify auto insurance and become an informed auto insurance shopper, click here for a copy of Doug’s book “The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Automobile Insurance in Florida.” Plus, it’s free!

Douglas Dykes is a Board Certified Civil Trial Attorney at the firm of Syfrett, Dykes & Furr in Panama City, Florida. Email Doug: DDykes@Syfrett-Dykes.com