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Saving on Car Insurance

By Cary Anderson

Car insurance is one of those unfortunate expenses that you cannot really avoid. Of course, one option is to not have a car. That’s probably an option people do not consider as much as they should. But assuming you fall into the 98% of the population that probably cannot get by without an automobile, how do you save money on car insurance?

First, figure out what you need.

Find out your state’s minimum required car insurance. Some states require less coverage than others. Maine and Alaska require quite a lot more insurance than most other states. On the other side of the coin, states like Oklahoma, Louisiana, Florida, and California do not require a great deal of coverage.

But should you get more?

The state minimum required coverage will keep you legal on the road, but it might not protect you very much in the event of an accident. The consequences of not having enough coverage could mean being sued by another party and having to pay hefty expenses out of pocket. Sometimes insurance companies will offer you a considerable amount of coverage in addition to the state minimum for what amounts to just a few dollars per month.

Shop around.

Once you know the exact amount of insurance coverage you want to buy, start shopping around for quotes from various insurers. Do not buy car insurance directly from the in-house salesman at the car dealership. The quotes those guys offer are usually about double what you can probably get from somewhere else.

Shop around online and call various insurance salesmen in your area. Make it clear to them the exact coverage you want and ask for a quote on that coverage. If you sound even the least bit uncertain about what type of coverage you’re looking for, they’ll probably try to convince you to buy more. Be very clear, even a little rude if you must, and tell them you’re only looking for a quote on the amount of coverage you have specified.

Don’t forget to call all of the major national insurers like Geico and Progressive as well. These places are usually able to offer you a much lower rate than your local insurance guy.

Avoid the upsale.

Just about every single insurance salesman on the planet is going to try to get you to buy more insurance products when you’re purchasing car insurance. They’ll throw sales pitches at you for why you need life insurance or renters insurance or fancier car insurance. The more insurance they sell, the more money they take home. They’re pretty well motivated to say whatever they have to in order to increase the chance of selling another insurance product. It’s okay to be very blunt with these people and tell them that you’re simply not interested. And if they do start to persuade you into buying some other form of insurance, have them provide you with everything their package offers so you can do your homework and compare their rate to other companies. Never just buy an insurance product without first comparing rates.

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