HARTFORD, Conn. (WFSB) – All this month we’re offering ideas on how to save money and make money in these tough economic times.
We previously talked about saving on your home insurance, now we’re taking our advice on the road, with car insurance.
Running Victor Auto Body Works in Middletown for nearly 70 years means Tyler Rok doesn’t just hear the engines all day.
He also heard everything you could imagine from customers about their car insurance policies.
“9 times out of 10 when they leave us they ask which insurance company they should go to next because there are a lot of caveats in some insurance companies that are only disclosed in accident,” explains Rok.
Although Rok can’t tell us which company he would choose, he, along with other experts, told us how you can save on your monthly premiums, while still getting the coverage you need.
SHOP, WATCH REVIEWS:
The first advice: shop around and pay close attention to reviews.
“I would really look at Consumer Reports, look at BBB, what kind of complaints are going on for certain insurance companies before making a decision,” Rok says.
COMPARE RATES, THINK OF THE CAR YOU BUY:
Loretta Worters of the Insurance Information Institute says you want to compare rates every year, and especially before you buy a car.
“Some cars are more expensive to repair, more often stolen,” says Worters.
For example, the 2000 Honda Civic and the 2004 Honda Accord.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, these are the cars most likely to be stolen in Connecticut, which would increase your premiums.
INCREASE YOUR DEDUCTIBLE:
One way to lower your premium is to increase your deductible.
“You can probably save about 20% on your insurance if you raise the deductible significantly,” says Worters.
But be careful, be sure to first check how much the state requires you to have coverage and how much you could afford to cover if you have an accident.
Here are the rules for CT: https://bit.ly/3zyVLTO
DISCOUNTS AND DRIVER PROGRAMS:
The good news is that there are a variety of car insurance discounts.
In some cases, you can benefit from reductions ranging from 10 to 30% by enrolling in the driving program of your insurance company.
That’s only if you’re a good driver, says Peter Kochenburger of the UConn Insurance Law Center.
“It literally measures the way you drive,” says Kochenburger. “How fast am I braking? Am I doing a lot of left turns rather than right turns? Am I speeding up? They make a game out of it. Okay, if I brake easier, can I reduce my premium even more? It gives you information so you can do something.“
Tyler Rok says his son has personally made big savings.
“He went from about $200 a month because he’s only 19 to $160 a month because of his driving habits,” Rok says.
DROP A COVER:
Depending on the age of your car, you might consider removing coverage you don’t need.
Collision and property and casualty insurance is often where people make changes.
“You want to be careful because the cost of used cars has increased dramatically over the past few years since the pandemic,” says Rok.
If your car is worth less than your deductible plus the amount you pay for annual coverage, ditch it.
Collision and complete never pay more than the value of the car.
“The old saying goes that if your car is 10 years old, your agent tells you you don’t need a collision anymore. An average 10-year-old car today is worth over $10,000,” Rok says. “There should be a new set of rules with the agencies saying 15 is maybe when you want to eliminate collision. When it goes down to around $3 or $4,000.
What about the removal of rent reimbursement coverage?
This is the option that provides reimbursement for a rental car in the event your car is being repaired due to a covered claim or accident.
Our experts wouldn’t.
“Most of the time it won’t save you a lot of money.”
And as a mechanic, Tyler Rok says that’s where customers need their insurance the most, but then they find out that saving those few dollars a year leaves them with no choice.
“People come in and find I don’t have a rental,” Rok says.
But when it comes to roadside assistance, “if you already have a Triple A card in your wallet for roadside assistance, I would say don’t get any type of roadside assistance through your car insurance policy, because you will sit on the road 5 times as long as you do for Triple A.
Remember that you are the one on the road, so you have the final say.
“It’s your car, it’s your choice,” says Rok.
If you have further questions, the Autobody Association of CT can help. They can be found here: https://abaconn.org/
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