Tips and Tricks for Saving on Auto Insurance

Finding the best auto insurance rates can sometimes be tricky. It is absolutely necessary to be insured on the roads, though. In fact, it is required, by Illinois state law to have coverage. Some find auto insurance to be extremely expensive but, there are ways to help make it more affordable. Here are some things to consider to find the ideal price of insurance.

Shop Around

Get quotes from multiple insurance companies, including different types of companies. Also, realize that the lowest number does not mean the cheapest.

Consider Insurance While Shopping for Cars

Some vehicles have lower reliability ratings and other factors that contribute to higher premiums. While researching cars it is important to compare potential premiums for each of your options to ensure you are getting the best deal.

Increase Deductible

By increasing your deductible, you can decrease your premium. Just be sure that the deductible is manageable for your budget and that you have enough money saved in case you need to file a claim.

Bundle Insurance

If the insurance agency that you choose offers bundling, take advantage of it. If not, try to stay with the same company for all of your insurance needs. This results in discounts in most cases.

Keep Good Credit

Having good credit helps lower insurance rates. Researchers have found a significant relationship between your credit score and amount of claims filed. Insurance companies tend to rely on this correlation to define your financial responsibility.

Low Mileage Discounts

Research mileage averages and see if you fall below that. Do not be afraid to ask about a low mileage discount. This discount could also apply to you if you are someone who carpools.

Group Insurance

Some people fall into the category of people who receive insurance from their employer or other groups they belong to. Some insurance providers offer discounts on auto insurance to people who fall into this category.

Other Discounts

Ask your agent if there are any additional discounts you are qualified for based on certain qualities such as how you drive, etc.

Purchase 10+ days before you actually need it

By purchasing coverage before you need to use it helps drive down premium costs.

Pay in Full Up Front

If possible pay in full, rather than setting up a payment plan. The amount you save annually will add up.

Get New Policy When You Move

Especially out of state! Some states have significantly higher insurance rates than others.

Older Cars

Buying a brand new car, just released is exciting, but if your priority is lower insurance premiums it is better to purchase models that are 5+ years old. They are considered more reliable.

VIN Number for Quotes

The purpose of this is to see if you are eligible for a discount if you have anti-theft devices.

Go Paperless

Some companies value using less paper and offer a small discount to those who opt out of using paper which is not hard to do in this age if technology. It is a small offering, but it adds up.

Insurance Vocabulary

Be sure to understand what the verbiage means so that you have a good idea of what you actually need covered and what questions you need to ask your agent.

Automatic Billing

This is another way to save over time, similar to going paperless.

Education

Some insurers offer discounts based off of the level of education you have. For example, some offer discounts for college graduates.

Teen Drivers

Teen drivers are known to drive up insurance costs, since they are more accident prone. But, if they are in a college that is 100+ miles away without a car some insurers allow them to be temporarily taken off of the plan. Additionally, most companies offer a “good student” discount implying that they correlate this test of intelligence with responsible driving habits. Proof of a safe driving class can also save some money on teen auto insurance.

Safer Cars Does Not Mean Safer Roads

These days, it is pretty standard for cars to include top of the line safety features. These range from rear-view cameras, lane departure warnings, traction control and even blind spot detection.

Driving a safe vehicle can also mean more money in your pocket as drivers can save on car insurance cost. A car insurance company is generally able to provide more affordable car insurance if your vehicle has safety features. However, safer cars do not necessarily mean safer roads across the country.

From January to June, approximately 18,720 people have died on U.S. roads. As a result of a growing economy, people are driving more miles compared to recession level data. Less unemployment means more cars are on the road getting people to and from work and more money for leisure activities. In 2017, Americans traveled 3.22 trillion miles according to the Federal Highway Administration.

Factor in more miles driven along with speeding, drug and alcohol impaired driving and distracted driving and the fatality rate is at an all-time high.

South Carolina leads the nation in traffic fatality rates per miles traveled. In 2017, the state had 1.88 deaths per 100 million miles traveled, which is almost two times the national average. Illinois reported 1,090 traffic deaths.

This trend prompted Governor Rauner to declare August 17 as Traffic Fatality Awareness Day at the Illinois State Fair through a partnership with the Illinois Department of Transportation, the Illinois State Police, Illinois Department of Health, Illinois Secretary of State and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

States across the country have launched similar awareness efforts like Vision Zero. Vision Zero’s goal is to strategically eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries while increasing safe, healthy and equitable mobility for everyone.

Reducing speed is perhaps the most effective way to reduce the fatalities. Speed increases the distance it takes a car to come to a complete stop. The speed of impact is also directly correlated to the risk of death. The higher the speed of impact, the higher the probability of a passenger dying becomes.

Even with lower speeds, it is hard for police officers to enforce these lower limits. Automated cameras are already unpopular and adding more would also be costly.

Online Gambling in Atlantic City

For better or for worse, online gambling is coming to New Jersey.

In late February, Chris Christie officially signed into law a bill that legalized internet gambling in Atlantic City.

Initially the bill was vetoed by the Governor because of issues surrounding transparency and taxes. Lawmakers adjusted the text and the amended bill passed by an overwhelming majority in the legislature and earned Christie’s seal of approval.

Here are the basics of the bill:

- Casinos located in Atlantic City will be able to apply for a license to offer online gambling. Only the twelve official Atlantic City casinos will be eligible for the license. No other organizations can offer internet gambling, and face stiff fines if they do. All facilities used for the operation of internet gambling must be located within city limits; only bets that are received by a server in Atlantic City will be legal.

- Players must be “physically present” in New Jersey to place wagers. In the future, New Jersey may develop agreements with other states where internet gambling is legal to permit out-of-state gambling. The casino’s equipment must verify players’ locations before accepting wagers.

- Any games available to play in the casinos can be played online. (For comparison, Nevada only allows poker.) As of now, sports betting will not be protected by this bill, although the state of New Jersey is trying to fight the federal statute barring the legalization of sports betting.

- The bill has all kinds of provisions to keep gambling addiction at bay, such as requiring the prominent display of the 1-800-GAMBLER hotline number, a way to set maximum bets and losses over a certain period of time, and tracking player losses to identify and limit users who may demonstrate addictive gambling behavior.

- Revenue from online gambling will carry a 15% tax. The Christie administration states that about $180 million in revenue for the state will be generated from this tax, but some analysts think this number is seriously overestimated.

The official regulations, which the bill required the Division of Gaming Enforcement to produce, were released on June 3, and are subject to a “public comment period” until August 2 before being finalized. These rules include details such as how a casino acquires the appropriate licenses and procedures for maintaining network security on gambling sites.

So, will online gambling actually benefit the state?

The Good

Revenues from Atlantic City casinos have been on the decline for the past seven years, and online gambling could be what saves the failing casinos. Since 2006, casino revenue has dropped from $5.2 billion to around $3 billion. Online gambling could be a $500 million to $1 billion industry in New Jersey, which may be enough to keep struggling casinos afloat and save jobs in Atlantic City. Further, even though estimates of tax revenue are all over the map, there is potential for online gambling to be a considerably valuable source of money for the state. The casinos will also have to pay a tax to the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, which will provide further assistance to struggling casinos in Atlantic City.

For the player, low overhead costs mean better prizes and more opportunities to play. Casinos can incent players with free “chips” that have minimal costs for them but give players more opportunities to play and win. The convenience of gambling online allows players to play more with less travel.

BAD:

One of the goals of the bill is supposedly to attract more people to visit the brick-and-mortar casinos, but it is hard to say if online gambling will actually lead to this outcome. One could speculate it could even cause people to go to the casinos less (However, this seems unlikely; the social element and the free drinks are lost in online gambling. Also, research indicates that, at least with poker, internet gaming does not reduce casino gaming.) Advertising for the host casino will be allowed on the online gambling sites, which could possibly encourage people to visit the casino but could also be annoying for players.

Online gambling could be seriously devastating for people who have gambling addictions, or even cause people to develop them, raising financial and moral concerns. Even with all the preventative steps the bill requires, it will definitely be much harder to cut off compulsive gamblers if they can place bets anywhere with an internet connection.

Regardless, it is going to be a while before the casinos can actually kick off their online gambling offerings. The regulations need to be finalized and casinos need to apply for licensure and develop their gambling websites. This means the casinos will not be enjoying this new source of revenue during the 2013 summer season, which could be Atlantic City’s toughest season ever following recovery from Hurricane Sandy.