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January 06, 2015


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For many people, the start of a New Year brings resolutions, including how to save more money in the year ahead. One smart resolution is a review of your car insurance policy. New discounts, options for smart driving practices and an accurate reflection of your car’s value can save you hundreds annually.

CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts, which handles more insurance-related collision repair work than any other body shop network in North America, offers a few tips to help ensure your auto insurance premium dollars are spent in the most effective manner possible. In all cases, check with your insurance agent or carrier to see what is offered in your state.

1. If you have a clean driving record with no accidents and no violations in the last three years, you should qualify for a significant “safe driver” discount. If you don’t see a discount of this type on your declarations page that comes with your renewal, check with your agent or insurance provider.
2. Pay-as-you-drive insurance is a new way for the infrequent driver with an accident-free history of at least three years to save money. The less you drive, the more you can save!
3. Good driving habits can also turn into money savings with user-based insurance. Carriers like Progressive and Allstate offer technology tools that customers hook into the diagnostic port in their car. The tool pulls data from the car’s computer system and sends it to the company via a cellular network. The tool tracks the time of day the car is driven, the miles, the acceleration and braking. One carrier even tracks the number of times the driver exceeds 80 mph. After a short trial period customers can qualify for an initial discount based on good driving habits. After a longer period of tracking, (usually six months) the policyholder can qualify for even higher discounts based on their driving data. The average discount with one top carrier ranges between 10 to 15 percent.
4. If you have good or very good credit you may qualify for additional discounts.
5. If your auto and homeowner policies are with the same insurance company you probably qualify for another type of discount.
6. If you have young drivers on your policy who are good students, usually a B average or higher, you may qualify for additional discounts. There are also discounts available for participating in safe driving programs.
7. If your current vehicles have special accident avoidance systems like rear-view cameras, collision warning systems and anti-locking brakes, you may qualify for additional discounts.
8. If you own vehicle(s) whose combination of age, miles and current physical condition has deteriorated to a point of lower value it could be time to consider self-insuring these vehicles. This means removing collision and comprehensive coverage. This action requires careful consideration and should definitely include consultation with your agent or insurance provider.
9. Changing the amount of your collision and or comprehensive deductibles can also be an option to control your premium costs. Selecting a higher deductible for either coverage will lower your premium. But it’s important to understand this move will increase your financial exposure should an accident occur.
10. If you have moved, taken a new job or married or divorced during the past year, it can impact your car insurance. Be sure to update your policies accordingly.
A final tip to every insurance consumer would be to make sure you have a “what if I have an accident kit” in your glove box. This kit should contain a pencil, a pad of paper to write down accidents details and witness contact information, your agent’s contact information, your current insurance card and emergency contact information with names and numbers of people identified as the people to call in case you’re injured. Always take photos of the accident scene, vehicle license plates and drivers’ information with your phone for your records.

“Making your car insurance resolutions at the beginning of the year can deliver savings all year long,” said Dan Young, Senior Vice President of Insurance Relations for CARSTAR Auto Body Repair Experts. “And, you can rest assured that you have the best coverage for your vehicle and family.”