Drivers who live in Michigan pay some of the highest car insurance rates in the country. It’s mainly because of a provision found in the states no-fault law that mandates insurance companies give unlimited coverage for medical expenses stemming from car accidents.
However, drivers can still save money by doing it the smart way.
Talking to a real person is best
“More and more people want to be quick and do things on their phone,” said Jim McDaniels, a Farm Bureau agent and the owner of McDaniels Insurance Agency. “It pays to talk to somebody who knows what they’re doing.”
Whether it’s in person, over the phone or by email it’s always good to talk with an agent. This helps to make sure you’re insured properly. It’s also a better way to make sure you’re maximizing your discounts.
Bundle if you can
You’ll get a discount with just about every insurance company if you bundle your car insurance with home insurance or renter’s insurance. The discount will apply to both the car insurance and home insurance.
Stay in touch with your agent
“A lot can happen in your personal and financial life in a year, so it’s good to check in with your agent about once a year or so to see where you can make changes”, said Stacy Lewis, an agent with State Farm.
“If I don’t know your situation, I can’t find you a discount,” Lewis said.
When buying a car think about its safety features
The most common discounts come from back-up warning options, lane changing and anti-lock brakes. There’s not any certain car you should avoid when buying.
Shop till you drop
“There’s never one that’s the best. There’s so many factors,” said Paul Rathbun, the president of the Rathbun Agency in Lansing. “It’s not a bad idea every two to three years to shop around.”
Talk to people you know
“Ask friends, family and coworkers about their insurance companies and whether they’ve had good experiences working with their insurers after a loss”, said Tom Humphreys, director of Risk Management and Insurance at Olivet College.
Just finding out what their rate is doesn’t help you.
“There are many factors that go into determining insurance rates, which makes it difficult to compare one person’s rate to another. Insurance companies base their rates on your credit history, driving record, your commute and vehicle, among other factors”, Humphreys said.
“You can’t really compare one person to another even if you’re neighbors across the street with similar cars, similar driving records,” he said.
Before filing a claim think first
“It’s good to be strategic about filing claims, Humphreys said. Most insurance companies look at claims histories to determine rates, so policy holders should weigh whether filing a claim makes sense long term”, he said.
“You really want to save the claims for something significant,” he said.
Lower doesn’t always mean better
“Shopping for insurance isn’t like shopping for a new sweater. A cheaper policy doesn’t mean you’re getting a better deal”, Humphreys said.
“You don’t want to try to save a few pennies that could cost you a lot later on by cutting coverage,” he said.
Always drive safely
“This is sort of a no-brainer”, Humphreys said. Speeding tickets and violations can really effect your car insurance rates. It really depends on the insurance company.
Haley Hansen, Follow her on Twitter @halehansen
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