It pays to ask about insurance discounts
It never hurts to ask.
That's never been more true for people looking to slice their auto insurance bill. Americans are missing out on millions of dollars of potential savings on their auto insurance plans simply because only 16 percent of Americans are asking about discounts, according to a study from Princeton Survey Research Associates International .
Discounts can stem from various things, including good grades for a student driver, getting married or completing a defensive driving course.
A married 20-year-old could save 21 percent more than a single person of the same age if they ask about a marriage discount, CNBC reported . However, only 13 percent of recently married adults told their insurer about their matrimony, the survey stated.
Other discounts can be earned for having no commute or a short drive to work, paying renewal bills in advance, holding a bachelor's degree or other higher degree, or working certain types of jobs such as public service: fire fighters, police offers, teachers, etc.
Most people just aren't sure what they could be saving, and their checking accounts are smaller because of it, Laura Adams, a senior analyst with InsuranceQuotes.com, told CNBC.
"The first issue is awareness," Adams said. "A lot of consumers just don't realize that discounts are available. They think the rate is the rate, and there's no way to move off that."
Raise that deductible
Too many Americans get locked into their deductible without any second thought, Bankrate reported . The source stated consumers generally don't even consider changing their deductible after their initial discussion with an insurance agent. But as a vehicle ages, they might want to raise their deductible, which can yield a lower monthly insurance premium.
Safe drivers in particular should consider jacking up their deductible to garner lower premiums. Those worried about an auto emergency should take the savings they receive from a higher deductible and put it in a side account for any unforeseen vehicle issues, Bankrate reported.
State by state
Some states even offer discounts. In California, a driver could slice as much as 25 percent off his or her bill by earning a low mileage discount for driving 5,000 miles per year instead of the average of 15,000. The average insurance premium in California is $750, according to InsuranceQuotes.com. California was the top state where automobile users net the biggest savings for driving low miles.
"Any time you can go back to your carrier and say, 'I'm driving fewer miles, please re-rate me,' it's worth it," Adams said.
The District of Columbia, Alaska, Alabama and Hawaii rounded out the top five saving places for those who drive 5,000 miles or less per year. All five offer savings of at least 9.7 percent, according to InsuranceQuotes.com.
Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute, told InsuranceQuotes.com the less miles one drives, the less of a chance they will be involved in an accident.
But some states don't offer much reward for driving less. North Carolina offered nothing, while Utah, Texas, Connecticut and Rhode Island put forward paltry savings of 3 percent or less for low-mileage drivers.
Those who drive quite a bit but would be interested in scaling back to save money should consider carpooling to work, or occasionally taking public transit, according to Bankrate.
Be honest with insurers
While some people fudge their numbers to receive a low-mileage discount, this can really come back to bite drivers who get into an accident.
Insurers will ask policy holders to report their odometer's reading upon receiving a low-mileage discount. If an accident occurs and the person is over their mileage limit, that can be viewed as insurance fraud, according to InsuranceQuotes.com.
. Have low mileage? You may qualify for a 17% car insurance discount
. For a better auto insurance rate, just ask
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