It can be discouraging when the price of your auto insurance increases, whether due to an accident, citations, additional drivers, or whatever it might be that bumps up the cost. But car insurance is mandatory in Texas. As such, there are things you can do to lower your car insurance premiums. Hard times aren’t permanent. You just have to take the initiative to lower your premiums instead of waiting for car insurance companies to do it for you. On that note, take a look at these six ways to lower your auto insurance premiums in Texas.
Ways to Lower Your Insurance Premiums in Texas
If you haven’t yet done so, consider the tips mentioned here to see if you can decrease the amount you pay for car insurance.
1. Pay Your Premium Upfront, Not Monthly
After filling out the details about your vehicles and your driving record on your car insurance application, you may notice that you’re asked how you would like to pay: monthly or upfront. You will likely also notice that if you add up the amounts of the monthly payments, they’re a little more expensive than the upfront payment is. This is a discount that you get for paying in advance. If you can front a six-month or annual premium payment right away, it’s a smart decision that saves you cash even if you decide to switch insurance companies during the time your policy is in place.
If you do decide to switch, know that your insurance company needs to refund you for any days left on your policy. You will not lose any money by paying in advance.
2. Take a Look at Your Vehicle’s Added Safety Features
Just like all drivers aren’t treated the same for the sake of determining auto insurance premiums, neither are all cars. And it makes sense if you think about it. For example, if you have a 20-year old car, it is highly unlikely that it has many of the safety features that cars manufactured today have. For that matter, your insurance company may wrongly assume that it doesn’t have features like anti-lock brakes or passenger airbags to keep you safe.
Take a moment to look at your car’s manual for its safety features. Call your insurance company and see if they have those features checked on your policy. Chances are that this could save you at least a little bit of cash in the long run. Anti-theft devices, for example, might lower your bill if you live in a high-risk area. Even if it is just by a little bit, every dollar counts.
3. Keep Your Miles Low
The more you drive, the more risks you’re exposed to on the road and the more miles you put on your car — thus exposing your vehicle to wear and tear. If you are ever faced with a decision to work closer to home, it could lower your premium, as some insurance companies offer discounts for people with short commutes. In fact, you’ll notice during the application process that they’ll ask not only what your primary purpose for driving is, but also how many miles you commute to and from work. If anything changes in that regard, like if you start working from home, be sure to let your insurance company know that you’ll no longer be driving to and from work each day.
4. Shop Around for Rates
The tricky part of shopping for auto insurance in Texas is that you don’t know what rate you’ll get until you actually apply with different insurance companies. That’s because rates can vary greatly from one company to another. Some insurance companies specialize in insuring drivers who’ve encountered some hiccups and need to get back on their feet. Other insurance companies cater to a different type of client and aren’t as welcoming of risk. If you get a quote that’s too high, move on to an insurance provider that may be more accommodating.
Another helpful tip is to actually talk to an agent if the online application doesn’t take into account specific discounts or if it doesn’t address any violations that may be on your record. Sometimes talking to a live person can clear things up better, so the agent can make accommodations based on your specific situation.
While shopping for rates, see if there are any discounts for bundling your policies. For example, you may save on your premiums if you bundle your auto insurance with your renter’s insurance.
5. Keep Your Points Low
Texas uses a points system. That means that points accumulate on your driving record for any driving infractions you’re responsible for, such as speeding tickets or driving under the influence (DUI). Those points stay on your record for three years, and the more points you have, the more you’ll pay for insurance. That’s because insurance companies will look at your driving record and assume you’re more likely to file a claim than other drivers in their pool of insured drivers.
According to the Texas point system, as described by Drive Safely, any moving violations you’re responsible for will add two points to your driving record. If a moving violation causes an accident, you’ll have three points tacked on to your record. If you accumulate six points or more within a three-year period, you’ll have also to pay surcharges, so make sure you keep your points low — ideally at zero — in order to keep your auto insurance premiums low.
Keep your points low by taking the following precautions:
- Never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition to the points you’ll accumulate, you’ll also be fined $2,000 and could spend up to 180 days in jail for the first offense. You’ll also risk losing your license.
- Stick to the speed limit. Going 10% over the speed limit will add two points to your driving record. Those points increase if you speed in a school zone or construction zone.
- Drive cautiously! Being accident-free is always ideal.
6. Try to Remove Points from Your Record
Although you can’t remove driving infractions from your record, you can at least try to remove points. For example, if you’re given a ticket and have the option of a court hearing, go. At least then, you can explain your side of the story. They may reduce the points, but you may still get stuck paying a ticket.
Additionally, accept any offers to take a defensive driving course. They not only refresh your driving skills, but also show the court and insurance companies that you’re taking proper steps toward being a less risky driver.
Keep Your Auto Insurance Premiums Low in Texas With Baja
Baja Insurance is understanding of the fact that everyone makes mistakes. We specialize in matching drivers who are labeled as “high-risk” with affordable auto insurance. Contact us for a quote to see how we match up.