You pay less on car insurance if you have a clean driving
record, drive a sensible and safe car, and are well past your teen
years. That only makes sense.
But there are some other ways to save, too. The thousands of
dollars you just spent on a high-tech
collision avoidance system
won't get you a discount -- but being a Tri-Delt just might.
Insurers offer scores of extra discounts, some of which have
nothing to do with your age, your car or the fact that you've
avoided speeding tickets. The opportunities to save vary by company
and state. Keep your eyes open for surprising deals, but don't lose
sight of the bottom line.
"Discounts sound good, but you have to look at the bigger
picture of how much the total premium is going to be," says
CarInsurance.com consumer analyst Penny Gusner.
You might qualify for a 10 percent discount at one company, but
actually save more by going with an insurer that offers coverage at
an even lower base price. Also, some insurers that offer multiple
discounts cap the total percentage you can save, Gusner says. And
you should look closely at the coverage itself to make sure it
provides what you need. (See "
7 gotchas of cheap car insurance
Bearing all that in mind, here are six weird ways to save. (Be
sure to check out CarInsurance.com's
guide to car insurance discounts
Married couples generally have lower car insurance rates than
single people, as long as they're good drivers. But
offers a discount of up to 30 percent even before the lovebirds get
to the altar.
You can qualify if you're engaged to be married within the next
12 months and you're between ages 21 and 29. You can still
get the discount even if your other half doesn't have Country
Financial insurance. The discount, available in 16 states where the
insurer does business, is designed to reflect the lower risk of
loss from someone who goes from being single to engaged, Country
Financial spokesperson Jeff Muniz says.
"We also want to stay competitive with a group of people we want
to do business with - and that's families," he adds. "Being engaged
is the start of many of life's biggest decisions, and we want to be
with our customers and offer them financial security no matter
where they are in life."
Be super smart
If you're brainy enough to belong to Mensa, then you can go to
the head of the class for a discount with Geico. Mensa is among
some 275 groups whose members qualify for up to 8 percent discounts
with the insurer. You have to score in the top 2 percent on a
standardized intelligence test to join Mensa. Not a good test
taker? No worries -- other organizations that qualify for discounts
with the insurer include professional associations, college alumni
groups, certain employers and fraternities and sororities. (See
"Discounts for churchgoers -- or beer makers.")
Like your insurer on Facebook
Esurance, an Allstate company, announced its Like to Save
discount last year in Texas and Arizona. During the quoting process
on the Esurance website, all you have to do is click the Facebook
"Like" button, and the discount is automatically applied -- 5
percent in Texas and 10 percent in Arizona. If you're a current
policyholder and have already "liked" the company on Facebook, you
can get the discount applied to your policy by calling the
Esurance got its start in Silicon Valley and sells direct to
consumers online, over the phone and through select agents.
"Our customers are digital natives -- consumers who are
self-directed, comfortable doing business online and are very
likely Facebook users, so it's a natural fit for us to offer this
type of discount," Esurance spokesperson Danny Miller says.
To encourage customers to go paperless, some insurers offer
discounts to those who choose to do business online instead of
through the mail. The discounts are typically between 2 percent and
5 percent if you agree to view your policy and bills online and pay
Driving an environmentally friendly car could earn you even
greater savings. Travelers Insurance offers up to a 10 percent
discount if you own or lease a hybrid vehicle.
Be an early bird
Here's one good reason not to procrastinate about buying
insurance. Some insurers let you save if you sign up for coverage
early. Farmers Insurance gives you a discount if you get a quote
for insurance at least seven days before the policy's effective
date and you had car insurance with another carrier with no lapse
in coverage. Allstate
gives you up to 10 percent off on auto insurance if you switch
early. Other insurers have similar deals.
Live in a retirement community
If you're 55 or older and live in an eligible retirement
community, you might qualify for a discount with Farmers Insurance.
The discount varies and isn't available in every state.