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Save on auto insurance premiums
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Before your next auto insurance renewal date, check rates from competing insurance companies. All policies aren’t the same, and you could save hundreds of dollars per year.
To get your best possible rates:
• Consider bundling your homeowners insurance with your auto. You could get a lower rate for the additional business. At the same time, if you have a bundled policy and only want to change one of them, the remaining policy premium could go up.
• Be sure you get all your discounts. Passenger and side-curtain air bags, auto club membership, low annual mileage, professional group affiliation and other considerations can net you a lower rate. Even the type of job you have can help, if you’re in certain occupations. Ask if you’d get a discount for taking a defensive-driving course.
• Try to pay the whole period’s premium, usually six months. Most companies will hit you with extra charges for making monthly payments.
• Consider a larger deductible. If the premium difference between $500 and $1,000 deductibles is considerable, put away the extra $500 and go with the larger deductible. But beware of ever filing a small claim. Your rates will go up.
• Keep your credit scores high. It used to be that insurers would check the year and make of the vehicle, your age and gender, your driving history and your ZIP code to determine your auto insurance premiums. Nowadays they also check your credit worthiness. They’re not looking for whether you can pay the premiums — they want to know about the rest of your life. Insurance companies believe that if you have a low credit score, you’re more likely to file a claim. Additionally, if you have longstanding accounts, you’ll be considered more stable and less likely to file claims.
• Unless the savings are good, stay with the same company. That shows stability on your part, and you could get discounts for renewal. Call to ask before you cancel your current policy.
Before you take the lowest-cost policy, however, check out the company’s reputation. The J.D. Powers Web site rates auto insurance providers in a number of categories. See for ratings.
When you get the policy, read it. Be sure it covers what you signed up for, and at the price you were told.

Uffington does not personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column whenever possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to
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