CONSUMER ALERT: How to save on auto insurance

All this month we’re offering ideas on how to save money and make money in these challenging economic times.
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 11:54 PM EDT
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HARTFORD, Conn. (WFSB) - All this month we’re offering ideas on how to save money and make money in these challenging economic times.

We previously talked to you about saving on your homeowner’s insurance, now we’re taking our tips to the road, with auto insurance.

Running Victor Auto Body Works in Middletown for almost 70 years means Tyler Rok doesn’t just hear engines all day long.

He’s also heard everything you could imagine from customers about their car insurance policies.

“9 out of ten times as they’re leaving us, they’re asking what insurance company they should go to next because there’s a lot of caveats in certain insurance companies that are not disclosed until you have an accident,” says Rok.

While Rok can’t tell us what company he would choose, he, along with other experts, did tell us ways you can save on your monthly premiums, and still get the coverage you need.

SHOP AROUND, LOOK AT 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 I made a decision,” says Rok.

COMPARE RATES, CONSIDER WHAT CAR YOU BUY:

Loretta Worters of the Insurance Information Institute says you want to be comparing rates every year, and especially before you buy a car.

“There are certain cars that are more costly to repair, more that are frequently stolen,” says Worters.

For example, the 2000 Honda Civic and 2004 Honda Accord.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, those are the cars that are most likely to be stolen in Connecticut, which would increase your premiums.

RAISE YOUR DEDUCTIBLE:

One way to lower your premium is to raise your deductible.

“You can save probably about 20% percent on your insurance if you raise the deductible significantly,” says Worters.

But be cautious, make sure you first check how much the state requires you to have in coverage, and how you could afford to cover if you get in an accident.

Here’s the rules for CT: https://bit.ly/3zyVLTO

DISCOUNTS, AND DRIVER PROGRAMS:

The good news is: there’s a variety of auto insurance discounts out there.

In some cases you can be eligible for discounts, anywhere from 10 to 30 percent, by signing up for your insurance company’s driver program.

That’s only if you’re a good driver, Peter Kochenburger of the UConn Insurance Law Center says.

“It measures literally how you’re driving,” says Kochenburger. “How quickly do I brake? Do I make a lot of left turns versus right turns? Am I accelerating? They make a game out of it. Okay, if I brake easier, can I get my premium down even more? It’s giving you information so you can do something.``

Tyler Rok says his son personally saw big savings.

“He went from roughly $200 a month because he’s only 19 to $160 a month because of his driving habits,” says Rok.

DROP SOME COVERAGE:

Depending on the age of your car, you could look at dropping coverage you don’t need.

Collision and comprehensive insurance is often where people make changes.

“You want to be careful because the cost of used cars has gone up tremendously in 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, drop it.

Collision and comprehensive never pay out more than the car is worth.

“The old adage was if your car turned 10 years old, your agent was telling you you don’t need collision anymore. Today’s average 10 year old car is worth over $10,000,” says Rok. “There should be a new set of rules with agencies that say at the 15 year mark, is maybe when you want to take the collision off. When it gets down to around 3 or 4 grand.”

RENTAL REIMBURSEMENT:

What about dropping the rental reimbursement coverage?

It’s the add-on that provides reimbursement for a rental car in the event your car is being repaired due to a covered loss or accident.

Our experts wouldn’t.

“Mostly, it’s not going to save you much money at all.”

And as a mechanic, Tyler Rok says it’s where customers tend to need their insurance the most but then find out saving those few dollars a year has left them with no choice.

“People come in and they find out I don’t have any rental,” says Rok.

ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE:

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 kind of roadside assistance through your auto insurance policy because you’ll sit on the road 5 times as long as you do for Triple A.

Remember, you’re the one on the road, so you have the final say.

“It’s your car, it’s your choice,” says Rok.

If you have more questions, the Autobody Association of CT can help. They can be found here: https://abaconn.org/