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Tags: shopping | auto insurance | 2021 | resolution

Why Shopping Around for Auto Insurance Should Be a 2021 Resolution

Why Shopping Around for Auto Insurance Should Be a 2021 Resolution
(Monkey Business Images/Dreamstime)

Maxime Rieman By Wednesday, 23 December 2020 02:17 PM Current | Bio | Archive

The global pandemic increased the telecommuting workforce in the U.S. from 3.6% in 2019 to 42% in 2020.

Fewer Americans are now hitting the roads to go to work, and the majority of people’s travel is distinctly local in nature.

Major auto insurers made headlines by responding to this huge shift with refunds and rebates to existing customers. However, the reduced risk associated with driving in 2020 means your current insurance premium may be too high.

Consider using this situation to your advantage in 2021 by negotiating with your insurance provider for a better rate or shopping around for a provider with lower premiums.

Why is 2021 a good time to shop for auto insurance?

The global pandemic reduced the number of drivers on the road and consequently, the number of accidents, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data. Many of the common risk factors insurance providers use to determine insurance rates are not nearly as prominent in 2020.

Insurers identified this early on in the pandemic. Top providers issued billions of dollars in rebates to existing customers in 2020, an action that has likely helped stem the tide of customers questioning why they were still paying the same rates for cars they were hardly able to use.

To note, car insurance providers use multiple factors to determine your car insurance rates. These can include (but are not limited to):

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Geographic location
  • Driving history (accidents and tickets)
  • Marital status
  • Claims history
  • Credit history
  • Local or state laws

Many of these components (such as your claims and accident history) aren’t impacted by the pandemic. Yet the pandemic caused the total number of miles driven in many large U.S. cities, like New York City and Los Angeles, to drop by over 70%. Insurance providers are having a hard time justifying preexisting rates when, by their own methods for calculating rates, driving is quantifiably less risky right now.

Shop for lower insurance rates now

An impending vaccine leaves hopes for a return to normalcy in 2021 or 2022, but there’s going to be a side effect to that: more drivers on the road. Although many people will continue to work remotely even with a vaccine, an increase in drivers on the road will mean an increase in the associated risks and subsequently, an increase in premiums.

Some early data also indicates that other driving risks have risen even as others have fallen. The same NHTSA data that shows a decrease in accidents and fatalities appears to indicate that there are more injuries per mile driven. Those who do choose to drive are now driving faster and more recklessly — another risk factor that insurance providers may use to maintain or raise rates.

Despite this, the circumstances are still favorable to car owners who want to shop around for better car insurance rates. There are a few routes you may want to consider to reduce your premiums in 2021.

1. Talk to your insurance provider. Call your insurance provider and ask about getting a discount on your current rate. If you’re now working remotely, you can likely justify a lower premium more easily given the lower risk you pose to the insurance provider.

2. Increase coverage at a discount. Although it may sound counterintuitive to pay more money for insurance, this is an unprecedented time to lock in lower rates for more car insurance coverage. If you intend to drive as often or more in 2021, better coverage will be a good idea as more drivers start taking to the road again. Your provider may offer lower rates for comprehensive policies’ extended protections that you’ve wanted but were wary of due to cost. This type of policy is currently averaging just $200 a month.

3. Change policies based on circumstances. If you’re not using your car at all, you may be able to eliminate certain types of insurance coverage. For example, a car you don’t drive may not need collision coverage. You could drop it and instead add comprehensive coverage to your policy.

4. Shop for lower rates at other providers. The prospect of lower car insurance rates won’t last forever. Research ways to lower your rates, then take the appropriate steps to negotiate with your existing provider, or get multiple quotes from other providers who service your area.

Some providers may even offer additional discounts and incentives for drivers who switch from a competitor.

5. Adopt a usage-based option from your provider (if available). Many providers now offer rate reductions based on drivers’ usage stats. Using an OBD (on-board diagnostics) device or mobile app, they’ll determine factors such as your speed and miles driven to calculate your rate. If you’re not planning to drive much in 2021, consider adopting one of these options from your provider or switching to a provider who does offer it.

Maxime Rieman is Product Manager at ValuePenguin. Educating and assisting shoppers about financial products has been Rieman's focus, which led her to joining ValuePenguin, a consumer research and advice company based in New York. Previously, she was product marketing director at CoverWallet and launched the personal insurance team at NerdWallet.

© 2022 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.

The global pandemic increased the telecommuting workforce in the U.S. from 3.6% in 2019 to 42% in 2020. Fewer Americans are now hitting the roads to go to work, and the majority of people's travel is distinctly local in nature. Major auto insurers made headlines by...
shopping, auto insurance, 2021, resolution
Wednesday, 23 December 2020 02:17 PM
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