Could a few small changes to your driving habits make a big difference for your household budget?
Believe it or not, the answer is “yes.” And the impact of said changes could be smaller than you have any reason to believe.
The single most important move you can make to reduce your auto insurance costs and right-size your coverage is to switch to a known provider of high-quality, low-cost auto insurance policies, say insurance professionals at companies like California-based Freeway Insurance.
But there’s much more you can do in the near future to control your auto insurance costs and create more space in your budget for the finer things in life. Let’s take a dive into a dozen tweaks that you can make — starting today.
Consent to Remote Monitoring Over a 30- to 60-Day Period
This is the wave of the future, literally. Most big-name insurance companies now offer hefty discounts in exchange for consent to remotely monitor driving activity. Or, to be more precise: Drivers who consent to remote monitoring over periods of time may qualify for hefty discounts if said monitoring proves that they’re safe, conscientious drivers who avoid unnecessary risks, such as driving in the wee hours of the morning or braking too hard.
If you’re leery about installing a remote monitoring device in your vehicle and letting your insurer peek under the hood of your driving habits, skip this step and proceed below.
Drive Slower (And Observe Posted Speed Limits)
What’s the surest way to increase your auto insurance premium without getting into an accident?
Incur a moving violation, of course. Speeding tickets and other moving citations are virtually guaranteed to raise your premium if and when your insurer finds out about them (and they will, eventually).
The solution is simple: Observe posted speed limits and generally obey traffic laws. Your fellow drivers will thank you, as will your budget.
Avoid Hard or Sudden Braking
Brake slowly and smoothly whenever possible. It’s not only more comfortable for your passengers — it’s safer for those around you. Don’t assume that your position at the front of the queue absolves you of responsibility in rear-end crashes. If investigators determine that your braking speed or some other unsafe maneuver is to blame, you could be held liable, with potentially disastrous consequences for your insurance premiums.
Accelerate Slowly and Steadily
Yin, meet yang. Accelerating slowly, steadily, and at proper distance (see below) is every bit as important as braking smoothly. Rapid acceleration can lead to loss of control, especially on slippery surfaces, and may lead to rear-end accidents when the vehicle in front of you fails to behave as predicted. At intersections, accelerating slowly may help avoid T-bone crashes (side collisions), a particularly dangerous type of accident.
Maintain Proper Following Distance
Maintain more than adequate distance from the car in front of you. At 70 miles per hour, two car lengths won’t cut it. If you’re unsure about best practices around following distance, check your state’s driving manual. Be especially conscientious at night and in inclement weather; in both settings, the minimum safe following distance is higher. Remember: The safer you follow, the less likely you are to be involved in a rear-end accident.
Maintain Proper Posture and Sightlines
Don’t laugh. Keeping both hands on the wheel, looking at least 12 seconds ahead on the road, and sweeping your eyes to check for roadside hazards are all essential safe driving practices. In rural and suburban settings, car-on-animal crashes are significant drivers of property damage, injury (and loss of life), and attendant insurance premium increases.
Eliminate Distractions From the Cabin
This isn’t only between you, your household budget, and your insurance company. It’s a matter of personal safety. You have an obligation to yourself, your passengers, and your fellow drivers and pedestrians to devote your full attention to what’s happening outside your vehicle — not your smartphone or in-cabin infotainment system. You may also have an obligation to the law; check local hands-free laws to be sure.
Always Signal Before Turning or Changing Lanes
This is another important safety measure that’s likely to prevent premium-boosting accidents and moving violations. Always, always, always signal, even (especially!) when you have the road to yourself. And don’t forget to check your blind spots.
Don’t Drive During the Wee Hours of the Morning (If You Can Avoid It)
The period between midnight and sunrise is, statistically, the most dangerous time to be on the road. Natural light is low to nonexistent, animals abound, and your fellow drivers are more likely to be sleep-deprived or inebriated. If and when your insurance company learns that you regularly drive overnight, your premiums may rise.
Don’t Drink and Drive
This should go without saying, but DUIs remain distressingly commonplace. If you plan to imbibe, have a plan to get home that doesn’t involve you driving your own vehicle (or relying on a driver who has also been drinking). Having a DUI on your record will complicate your efforts to find auto insurance at any price and could result in loss of current coverage.
Don’t Drive After Consuming Medication That May Affect Your Response Times or Perception
Alcohol isn’t the only intoxicant that drivers must avoid. Prescription medications known to affect judgment and reaction times are also no-nos, as is cannabis. If you’re not sure about the medication you’re currently taking, consult with your doctor.
Think Before You File a Claim
Finally, think carefully before filing your next insurance claim. To be clear, you’ll have no choice but to file a claim in most circumstances involving other vehicles or pedestrians. But if your car experiences a minor break-in that causes no damage, or a minor single-car accident that produces nothing more than a cosmetic dent or two, the hassle — and likely premium increase — won’t be worth the trouble.
Are You Paying Too Much for Car Insurance?
If you’re making any of the mistakes on the list above and your auto insurance company knows about it, the answer is probably “yes.”
You won’t get out of your artificially high premiums overnight, of course, but adjusting your driving habits and committing to safer, more responsible automobile usage will make all the difference in time. Here’s to turning over a new, more affordable leaf today.