Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Lowered Auto Insurance Cost

My auto policy renewal information showed up a few days ago, so I dug in looking for ways to reduce my cost. MA has fixed auto insurance rates and places like GEICO and Progressive don't insure here so shopping around doesn't net me much, but there are still ways to save.

My 2000 VW Jetta came standard with safety and anti-theft equipment that qualify me for a 25% air bag/automatic seatbelt discount and a 20% anti-theft discount. (Those percentages apply only to certain line items). I also discovered last year that I qualify for an 8% group discount because I got a degree at Northeastern University.

For the past two years, I have had no trouble qualifying for the lesser of the two annual mileage discounts, but it was not applied to my new policy and there was no form included with my paperwork to submit for it.

As far as my driving record, I used to be a step 9 (the best) but for three years I have been a step 12 due to a single speeding infraction. I rarely speed, but I was caught up in enjoying an absolutely beautiful warm early June day in '02...sunroof was open, club music was thumping and life was good. So good, I didn't notice I was going 40+ ...and sped right into a well known area where the limit drops from 35 to 20 in a hot Brookline second. I even tried to appeal and lost (he showed up! man!). In my 21+ years of driving that is my only ticket...ever. And it's been costing me every year since. Ouch.

My policy would cost me $1816 over the next year. Time to shave.

It's a pretty well known tip to up your deductibles if you can cover that large a repair. The past few years have been really tight money-wise and we probably couldn't have even afforded the $500 deductible at the time...anything would have had to go on the credit card for a while.

But this year is different. I changed the collision and comprehensive deductibles to $1000 and saved $273.

I wanted to make sure I am covered properly here, but my $100k limit for damage to someone else's property seemed high. Unfortunately, dropping to $50k only reduces my annual cost by $3. So I left that as is.

Low Mileage Discount
There are two tiers of this discount which applies to certain portions of the policy. 10% is given for annual mileage under 5000 miles, while 5% is given for mileage between 5001 and 7500. Our car was only driven between 6000 and 7000 miles last year, so once the paperwork is accepted, this saves me $66 and my new policy total will be $1477.

Multi-Car Discount
We thought we could add LaLa's truck to my policy and qualify for an additional (and partial) 5% discount which would amount to about $50. Turns out we'd have to be "married" to take advantage of that (any of the following qualifies: same-sex marriage, civil union, or registered domestic partnership). We're not up for marriage when it could be taken away at any time, I don't think MA has civil unions, and it would cost me $50 to register with the City of Boston as domestic Partners (power of attorney is a steal at $10!). This option was a bust for us.

SDIP Credits
My current step is 12 (15 + 2 for speeding - 5 for each incident free year in the last 6 years) but there is something called the "Credit point for single incident more than three years old" so according to my records, that would drop me to a step 11. I dunno...this part is voodoo-ish. My insurance company will follow up with the board that keeps these records to see if I am correct. A single point could still save me some good money, but I could be reading this wrong. Net savings TBD.

Net Savings: $339
Changing my deductibles gave me my largest reduction in cost and the low mileage discount helped a bit as well. Overall I saved nearly $30 a month over the coming year. If I can pay it all at once I can also save the 10-12 $1 per ETF fees (it's $3 for a paper bill).


  1. Great post. You prompted me to call my insurance company and ask about the low mileage discount. I only drive (my car) to and from work, which is about three miles away. It will not amount to much savings if it’s offered at all. Why pay more than you have to.


  2. Excellent! It's always a good feeling to cut costs on things you need.


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