You’ve probably heard about super cheap auto insurance online or from watching television commercials. If you’re like most of us, you’ve probably wondered in $19/month auto insurance is for real. The truth is that it might be for real, but you need to make sure you understand what you’re getting with rock-bottom insurance prices.
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the average cost of auto insurance varies dramatically from one stat to the next. In New York, the average annual premium is $1,047, and in California, it’s $800. Even California’s average premium racks up to over $60 per month, so what gives with extremely cheap insurance coverage?
Paying just $19 a month for insurance is usually only possible if you have a car that’s not worth very much in the first place, or if you have a ton of discounts from an insurance company, or if, surprise, you have really terrible coverage that could leave you hurting in an accident. One time that auto insurance prices may actually be this low, though, is if you’re not actually driving your car. If you have a great convertible that you only use during the summer time, talk with your insurance agent about changing your coverage for the winter months instead of just carrying the same coverage year-round. You might be surprised at how much money you can save on monthly premiums during those non-driving months!
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If you’re looking for lower car insurance premiums, there are a few lifestyle and driving changes you can make to get them, including the following:
- Moving closer to your school or place of work, so that you drive less on a daily basis.
- Living in a safer area of town. (Look into this one next time you’re apartment shopping!)
- Boosting your credit rating.
- Getting married young. (Marriage status doesn’t normally lower premiums for the under-25 crowd.)
- Raising your deductible. (Make sure you can still manage it if an accident happens, but this is one surefire way to get lower premiums.)
- Getting older. (It’s inevitable, but when you hit major age milestones like twenty-one, twenty-five, and even forty, remind your insurer to check if it will lower your premiums.)
These little changes may not net you $19 a month insurance, but they may dramatically lower your premiums. Plus, just shopping around to make sure you’re getting the best possible insurance coverage around is a great way to make sure you aren’t paying more than you ought to for car insurance.
Whenever you do get a deal on car insurance that seems too good to be true, be aware that it just may be too good to be true. Some companies offer amazing discounts that net you great insurance savings, but it’s always wise to actually read over your policy to ensure you have the proper coverage. Here’s what to look for:
- Know your state’s coverage minimums, and make sure you’re meeting them. If you move, make sure you double-check your new state’s coverage minimums, as well, since they can vary quite a bit.
- Protect your assets. Even moderate car accidents can cause well over $100,000 in damages, and if the injured parties decide to sue, you could be on the hook for that. If you don’t have any assets, it may not be a huge problem simply because there won’t be anything for another person to take, but if you own a home, a business, a retirement account, or pretty much anything else, it’s better to pay more to ensure that your assets are protected in case of an accident.
- Be sure you can cover your deductible. Raising your deductible is a good way to lower your monthly premium payments, but it’s not a good idea to raise it above what you can pay. Always try to have your deductible in savings so that you can pay out in the event of an accident. Otherwise, you risk being without a car while you save money to pay the deductible before it can be repaired.
Raychel Davis is a social media advocate helping consumers find the best gas credit cards this summer at CreditDonkey. She says, If your coverage really covers your basis, see how low you can get it to go! $19 a month car insurance may be for real as long as you have at least minimum coverage, can pay your deductible, and are protecting your assets in the event of a crash!