#3 Car DIY: Get Better Insurance Rates

CJ_Auto Safety 3

In this Series of How-To posts, we’ll be covering knowing when to do something, how to do something and our own hack to try at your own risk. A big thanks to Tire Kickers, our sponsor and consultants on all things mechanical. They can be found on Facebook, or check out their auto health & safety advice.

(Note: this is the best information we could gather from our research and consulting our automotive advisors, but at the end of the day, our purpose is to entertain and inform. Don’t let us shame you into taking on something if you don’t feel qualified to do it. Trust your gut.)

Know When

Its always a good time to save money on car insurance but opportunities can sneak up on you. So if it’s been two years since your last accident and you’re paying more than $50 a month it’s a good time to look around for a better deal. If you are happy with the service you’re receiving now you can still call and ask for a review. None of our researchers have encountered an actual reward for loyalty at an insurer but hope springs eternal and there’s no harm in trying.

Know How:

We aren’t insurance agents so technically we can’t legally tell you anything about insurance…but here’s a link to common sense ways to get the best price on insurance any time.

If you are searching for a better rate because a blemish has fallen off your record we recommend finding a broker that can represent several companies. Each company tries harder to compete for customers in their target audience so you need to find a good match for you.

EDC/Hack:

For drivers of personal vehicles, you might want to try AAA.

If you drive commercially, either CDL truck, rideshare, parcel delivery or medical transport follow this link to NTC where you can get a host of benefits on everything from cell coverage to health insurance. For taxi and rideshare in OR/WA you can check out OTTIS. Or search around.

We don’t have much experience on Metromile which piloted the pay per mile insurance, but if you do we’d love to have a review of it. Please comment on this post below.

Cutting Down on Your Vehicle’s Gas Consumption

refuel-2157211_1920

By Staff

Over the course of the past few years, the price of gas has risen dramatically, causing some drivers to look for more fuel-efficient alternatives. Some owners have made the switch to hybrid models, while others have turned to dubious gadgets that claim to save you gas money when all they really do is leave you feeling burned.

Gimmicks don’t work when it comes to fuel efficiency, and you shouldn’t have to feel as though you need to abandon your truck to get behind the wheel of a tiny all-electric model. There are some simple things you can do today to improve the fuel efficiency of your ride, so let’s look at a few of them.

Allow the air to flow

When was the last time you had the air filter in your vehicle replaced? Replacing an old, clogged filter is one of the easiest, most effective ways to improve performance.

The type of filter that you use is also important. Get rid of the old-school paper model and replace it with a performance air filter. Those old paper filters tend to restrict airflow, which essentially means that your engine is being forced to choke. The performance filters are usually made of cotton or foam materials, both of which allows air to flow more freely. When oxygen gets into your engine, less fuel is used than would normally be consumed when you have a clogged filter.Metha_Mustang Chrome 5

Not only does a performance filter deliver better fuel efficiency, it also adds a little extra horsepower to boot. The fact that cleaner air is flowing through your engine means that the overall condition of your vehicle is improved. One word of warning here is that misusing the extra horsepower can quickly negate any improvements the filter makes to your mileage. Don’t go heavy on the gas pedal.

Improve the Aerodynamics on Your Vehicle

If you drive a truck, there are sure to be times when you feel it is being dragged along the road. Your tailgate is often responsible for this feeling, as the air that flows over the truck and into the open bed ends up being derailed by the tailgate.

One simple fix here is to add a tonneau cover to the exposed truck bed, as this will allow the airflow to bypass the tailgate. Generally speaking, you can expect to see a 5-10% increase in gas mileage as soon as you add that cover.

If you don’t like the idea of a cover, you might instead consider switching to an air-flow tailgate. These gates employ a mesh or louvered design that allows air to flow more freely than it does with a traditional tailgate, thus eliminating a good percentage of drag. The results with this type of gate are not as positive as you get with a cover, but it’s a much better, not to mention safer, option that running with the tailgate down.

Check the Tire Pressure

CJ_Auto Safety 2If aerodynamics are not an issue, and you have a new performance filter but are still having gas mileage issues, it might be time to check your tire pressure. If those tires are under-inflated, your engine is going to need to work that much harder to move the wheels. It’s not uncommon to lose around 2 mpg by simply riding on tires that are borderline flat. You are also looking at wearing out the tread faster, which means laying out money on new tires.

A digital tire gauge is accurate and easy to use, and finding the ideal pressure for your vehicle is usually as simple as finding that information on a label in your door well. Try to stay as close to the recommended tire pressure as possible, as over-inflating the tires can be just as costly.credit-squeeze-522549_1920

Maintain a Regular Maintenance Schedule

Automakers tell you about regular maintenance for a reason. Having your oil changed and your engine inspected on a regular schedule will not only help with gas mileage, it will also help extend the life of your vehicle. A little preventative care today can save you a lot of money in the future.

How to Save on Car Insurance

Mehta_Insurance 1

By Jessica Mehta

Many drivers, regardless of age, don’t comprehensively shop around for car insurance. Even fewer establish a relationship with their agent. Sometimes simply asking if there are avenues to lower insurance premiums is all it takes! However, drivers will usually want to avoid “liability only” insurance. It can look like a great way to save on premiums, but when you have “liability only,” your insurance will only pay for costs and repairs due to the other driver in an accident. You’ll be stuck with all the bills related to your medical care and repairs. That’s a big but legal gamble few should take.

The good news is there are many ways to legally lower your insurance premiums without taking such a big risk. For starters, shop around—and keep doing so even when you already have coverage. There are various third-party comparison sites that give you un-biased answers. However, many of these sites might actually have a bias that isn’t advertised, might not ask all the questions that will determine a better rate, or might not include all of the premiums you’re eligible to enjoy. Try a few comparison sites, but also check out various insurance companies directly.

Mehta_Insurance2Young drivers might be especially averse to talking to an agent on the phone or in person, but this can often be the best way to secure lower rates. Talking to a qualified and reputable agent instead of depending on forms or email will let you explain your situation. Agents are often aware of special discounts that might not be advertised, and they’ll ask the right questions to make sure you’re getting the best rate. Remember, agents don’t get commissions or bonuses for inflating your insurance premiums. It’s in their best interest to make you happy with an affordable rate that still serves your needs. Comparison sites and algorithms, on the other hand, aren’t particularly interested in building a relationship with you or saving you money.

What Kind of Discounts Can I Get?

Every insurance agency might offer different discounts, but popular ones include discounts for having multiple policies or multiple cars. Young drivers who can be added onto a family member’s policy (while still paying their own premium) can often get a great deal. If you have an anti-theft device like an alarm, that might also score you a discount. There are also discounts for having passive restraints like airbags, daytime running lights, or even for having a newer vehicle because they’re inherently safer.

If you drive a green vehicle like an electric car or a hybrid, you might qualify for a discount. Being accident-free for a certain amount of time or otherwise, low-risk might be beneficial. Military members, drivers who keep low mileages, and even being a good student often comes with discounts. “Distant students” who are attending school far from home can sometimes get a discount, and homeowners might also qualify for lower rates.

Enroll in paperless billing and/or pay your premium in full instead of in monthly payments, and you’ll likely qualify for discounted coverage. Kind of like changing smartphone carriers, if you switch agencies before your policy is up, the new agency will likely pay off your remaining policy and give you a discount for switching.

Mehta_insurance

Always ask about loyalty discounts if you’ve been with an agency for awhile, and check to see if belonging to a certain organization or being an employee of a specific company qualifies you for a discount.

You can also lower your premiums by improving your credit score. Many times, agencies look at credit scores as an indicator of how “safe” a customer you’ll be. Younger drivers usually have lower credit scores because they haven’t had time to establish a solid credit history. However, if you focus on improving your credit score, your insurance premiums may slowly go down and you’ll also qualify for better rates on everything else from a mortgage to a credit card.

Ensure that your agent knows your current and correct address. Oftentimes, drivers stick with their original policy for years, automatically re-enrolling annually. This can be completely fine as long as there are no better rates out there, but if you have an old address listed you might be overpaying. Part of what determines insurance rates is where you live. After all, living in a high-crime area where car theft or break-ins are relatively more common means you’ll be paying a higher premium. Having the correct address can make a big difference in your premiums.

Most importantly, establish a relationship with your agent and talk to them about ways to lower insurance costs. The worst they can say if you already have the best possible rate—but keep accident-free and improve your credit score, and next year you might get a lower quote.