Competition driving car insurers to develop expanded discounts

Several leading car insurance companies offer discounts for Several leading car insurance companies offer discounts for vehicles equipped with daytime running lights, such as these seen on the 2014 Toyota Corolla. Photo Credit: Toyota

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Drivers have reason to cheer. The car insurance industry "is super-competitive, and insurers are coming up with new discounts as they try to one-up each other," says Doug Whiteman, insurance analyst at Bankrate.com.

Here's a look at where the bargains are.

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Love those lights: According to Bankrate.com, four of the top 10 insurers now offer a discount for daytime running lights.

Less is more: Discounts for low mileage are almost twice as common now as they were a year ago. This discount often ties in with onboard tracking devices that monitor driving habits. "We collect basic information about your driving and use it to calculate the discount. The safer you drive, the more you save," says Robert Elbogen, a State Farm agent in Baldwin. In New York State, State Farm's Drive Safe & Save mileage program typically offers a 5 percent to 30 percent discount.

Get rewarded for buying new: If your car is three years old or less, you might get a discount.

Old tricks that work: Insurers may give discounts for choosing paperless billing, taking a defensive driving course and having a good credit score; they may also reward students who maintain a B average. "Customers who own a home or condo may qualify for a home ownership discount," says Elaine Montgomery-Baisden, vice president of Travelers Personal Insurance in Hartford, Connecticut.

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Don't, however, focus only on discounts. Says Whiteman, "The company that offers the most discounts may not necessarily offer the lowest overall price or the best service. Shop around."

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