Owning a motor vehicle is not cheap. In addition to the purchase price of the vehicle, owners must also pay for routine maintenance as well as fuel. Insuring the vehicle likely won't come cheap either, especially for those drivers with less than perfect driving histories.
But even drivers with poor track records behind the wheel can find ways to reduce the cost of insuring their vehicles. The following are a few ways to avoid overspending on auto insurance.
* Choose the right vehicle. The vehicle you drive goes a long way toward determining the cost of your auto insurance. According to Insure.com, minivans had long had a stranglehold atop the list of the least expensive vehicles to insure until the model year 2013, when crossovers and sport utility vehicles took control of the list. The 2013 Ford Edge SE was the least expensive vehicle to insure at just over $1,100 per year, while other crossovers and SUVs from manufacturers including Jeep, Subaru and Kia each cracked the top 10 as well.
Drivers hoping to save on insurance costs might want to avoid buying a Mercedes-Benz, as the top eight spots on the most expensive 2013 vehicles to insure list were all products of the German luxury auto manufacturer. When choosing your next vehicle, keep the make and model of the vehicle in mind if you're looking to minimize the cost of your auto insurance.
* Fix your credit. Drivers with average or below-average credit, regardless of their driver history, are likely to pay more for auto insurance than those with above-average credit. That's because insurance agencies take credit history into account when determining their rates. A suspect credit history or a history of paying bills late will be a red flag to prospective insurers. So before buying a new car, address any issues on your credit report so your insurance application is as glowing as possible.
* Consolidate your coverage. Oftentimes, consolidating coverage is a great way to lower your insurance costs. Homeowners who consolidate their homeowners insurance with their auto insurance can expect to save a significant amount of money as a result. Though figures vary as to just how much consumers can save by consolidating their coverage, it's not unrealistic that consumers can save as much as 15 percent by consolidating their coverages. An insurance carrier with a strong rating is a much better bet when consolidating, as such firms are more financially sound and more capable of offering better deals.
* Negotiate a better deal. It's easy for policy holders to stay with a company they have been with for years. However, it behooves consumers to periodically see what's out there and shop around for a lower rate. If you get a quote that's far less than what you're paying now, get the quote in writing and take it to your current insurance provider. If you have a solid record with few claims, chances are strong the provider will match the offer, saving you the trouble of switching providers.
Auto insurance is part of owning a vehicle. But drivers should know their rates are not set in stone and there are often savings to be had.