With work-from-home policies in effect for several months already — and likely continuing through the end of the year or beyond — millions of people had their commutes disappear.
Gone are the 10-mile carpools up the interstate, the 25-minute bike rides through downtown and the hour-and-a-half trains into the city. The new average commute time is the 30 seconds it takes to roll yourself out of bed and into your desk chair. Add two minutes if you stop for coffee in the kitchen.
For those who primarily drove their own cars back-and-forth to work each day, the amount of miles they’ve put on their cars is a fraction of what it was last year. Even weekend-only drivers are wondering why they bothered to have a car this year. All the payments are the same — yet the usage is next to nothing.
But although your car financing or leasing payment is pretty set in stone, your car insurance costs are thankfully not. The good news is there are ways to lower your current bill or find cheaper options out there, without sacrificing coverage.
Here are our tips for cutting your bill while staying fully covered:
1. Straight up Ask for Discounts
You can start cutting your payments by going straight to the source.
Ask your current auto insurer about a low-mileage discount. If you’re driving less, that means you are less likely to be in an accident, making you a lower risk for them. That could be an incentive for your insurance to lower your rate — but you won’t know unless you ask.
And if your policy is up for renewal, ask about a discount for paying in full. You can usually save about 10% by doing this, which could be some major cash back in your pocket.
Here are some other common discounts you should ask your agent if you qualify for:
- Good student
- Multi-car (include more than one car on your policy)
- Safe driver
- New car
- Anti-lock brakes
- Airbag (usually for older cars made before 1990)
- Anti-theft devices
- Paperless (view your bill online)
2. Let Someone Else Shop Around for You
This is true for most things, but especially car insurance. You definitely need to get quotes from a few different places to make sure you’re getting the absolute best deal.
So how do you know which companies to get quotes from? We suggest letting someone else do all the hard work.
A free website called Savvy will help you find the best price — in just 30 seconds. In fact, it saves people an average of $826 a year.
All you have to do is connect your current insurance, then Savvy will search hundreds of insurers for a better price on the same coverage. It’ll even help you cancel your old policy and get you a refund from your current insurer.
Best yet: This is totally free.
If you find a better deal, you can switch right away and don’t have to wait for your next renewal or even your next payment.
3. Only Pay for What You Use
Instead of going with the traditional car insurance, a pay-per-mile policy could be the right choice if your car is collecting dust in your garage.
It may initially sound shady — some things seem too good to be true — but pay-per-mile insurance is still full-coverage auto insurance. You still get collision and comprehensive coverage, uninsured motorist coverage, and roadside assistance. If it’s available in your state, you just literally pay per mile. The less you drive, the more affordable it becomes.
In order to calculate how many miles you drive, you’re probably going to have to plug a device into your car to track your usage. These devices (or apps) also track driving habits, which can lead to more discounts later.
Pay-per-mile policies are sold by the major insurers, like Milewise by Allstate and SmartMiles by Nationwide. There are also other companies that specialize in these specific policies, like Metromile. Check them all out to see which offers you the best coverage for your money.
So if you’re still paying the same amount for car insurance as you were back in January, it’s time to take some steps to reduce that monthly bill!
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, a personal finance website that empowers millions of readers nationwide to make smart decisions with their money through actionable and inspirational advice, and resources about how to make, save and manage money.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.