Danetha DoeBy Danetha Doe

In normal circumstances, it’s difficult to negotiate car insurance with your provider. That’s because car insurance companies have created complex systems to determine monthly cost, factoring in a driver's history, their credit score, age, gender, geographic location, and the type of vehicle insured. But during unprecedented times – like if you’re not driving because of a stay-at-home order – you may be able to make a case for a lower rate.

Additionally, there are several tried and true ways to save by finding discounts with your current provider, or by switching to a new provider – and we’ve covered those here too.

1. Request a break during unprecedented times

Some insurers gave out refunds in the second quarter of 2020 because many drivers were staying at home more. If you’re not driving much, consider contacting your agent to remind them about the refunds some competitors have given. Ask if you’re eligible to receive a similar break.

You could also emphasize the fact that you are driving much less. That makes you a lower risk to insure and justifies a lower premium. You may consider telling your company that the premium you’ve paid is too high based on the fact that you were hardly driving. Another similar strategy could be to at ask for an adjustment in the amount of mileage that’s factored into a premium.

2. Consider a suspension if you have multiple vehicles

If you have multiple vehicles on your policy and you’re not driving one of them, one of the other great ways to lower car insurance is to ask for suspension of coverage for vehicle. For instance, if you and your spouse have two cars but are no longer commuting, consider suspension for one vehicle. Many insurance companies will suspend liability coverage so that the car is covered while it is sitting at your home, but not being used for driving. It’s one of the major ways to save on insurance premiums.

3. Shop around every six months

For many people, there could easily be a half dozen or more auto insurers in your area. Instead of contacting insurers directly to get a quote, trust Patelco to guide you. Visit patelco.org/insurance to get started comparing today.

Whenever you’re looking for lower car insurance, though, be careful to understand the policy you are getting. You might be getting a cheaper rate but have a much bigger deductible, or be getting some other benefit change. Make sure you understand if you are being offered lower car insurance with the same coverage or different coverage. Ask questions and read the policy details.

4. Ask about other discounts

Once you’ve compared rates, check around for further discounts. Most car insurance providers offer discounts based on a range of things – from good grades to green vehicles to owning a home, among others . Visit the insurer’s website or call an agent to find out more about the discounts they offer.

5. Remove unnecessary insurance coverage

We do not recommend skimping on collision coverage (which covers the cost of repairing damage to your car) or raising your deductible to reduce your monthly premiums. However, we do recommend you consider removing items such as roadside assistance or rental reimbursement to save money on your monthly payments. Consider carefully whether these benefits are offset by the monthly cost. Some benefits, such as roadside assistance, may already be provided by your car manufacturer or dealer, so don’t pay extra for something you already have.

6. Bundle your insurance policies

If you own a home or have renter’s insurance, reach out to your provider about options to bundle your insurance. If you have boat, motorcycle, or umbrella, coverage, bundling these with car insurance can have an even greater impact on the price than a renter’s policy alone. The bottom line is that how to reduce car insurance often comes down to getting other coverage through the same company.

If you need to find other ways to cut your monthly expenses and balance your budget, Patelco wants to help. Visit patelco.org/FinancialJourney to set up up a confidential one-on-one call with one of our Certified Financial Specialists. They can even help answer your insurance questions, or point you to the right resource.

About the Author
Danetha Doe is the creator of Money & Mimosas, a site dedicated to helping you achieve financial freedom without having to live too frugally. She’s also the star of the Webby Award-winning TV series Going for Broke, produced by Ashton Kutcher, and has been recognized as a personal finance expert by the Wall Street Journal and Fast Company. Her work has been featured in Elle, The Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, and NBC.