Money Fix: Getting a break on car insurance

Having a frank talk with your vehicle insurance

Having a frank talk with your vehicle insurance company could yield some helpful discounts. (Credit: iStock)

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Have you talked to your car insurance agent lately? You could be missing out on discounts.

"Insurance companies are offering a stunning variety of discounts to try and win your business," says Doug Whiteman, associate editor at Bankrate.com, which has researched car insurance discounts from some of the biggest companies. Here's how to save:

It's personal. A clean driving record helps and, for some insurers, so does your level of education and salary. "New variables are being adopted. Large issuers like GEICO and Progressive have preferred rates for drivers who have received a higher education and work at a high-paying job," says Eric Poe, chief operating officer of CURE auto insurance in Princeton, N.J. He adds that 92 percent of national auto insurance companies give you a preferred rate for credit scores worth bragging about. Good students could get a reduction that may be as much as 30 percent.

Loyalty has rewards. Nearly all of the insurers in Bankrate.com's research offer discounts if you have multiple vehicles and multiple policies. Some also reward you if you've been a customer for a specified amount of time. Be a good customer and pay in full. "Paid in full options can offer a 5 percent discount," says James Sutton, president of James F. Sutton Agency in East Islip.

Go green. Insurers often smile on paperless billing, hybrid vehicles and low mileage.

Safety counts. Insurers give discounts for anti-theft, anti-lock brakes, passive restraints and defensive driving courses.

The bottom line, says Whiteman, "Shop around, there's a lot out there. "

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