If you own and drive a vehicle in Tampa, you must pay for at least liability insurance to be in compliance with the law. Comprehensive insurance covers even more than liability, and paying for full coverage is advisable in many cases. Unfortunately, numerous households struggle to pay for even the most basic of policies.
While it may seem as though there is no rhyme or reason to the cost of auto insurance, this isn’t exactly the case. A variety of details can have an impact on how much you pay to insure your vehicle. Depending on your particular circumstances, you might pay more than others for the same coverage. actors such as your insurance history, credit score, and even your level of education may help an insurance provider determine your insurance rates.
If you are part of a low-income household and are looking for auto insurance you can afford, you probably need low-income car insurance. You may be encouraged to know that there are viable options available. Additionally, you can take several steps to ensure that, over time, you may enjoy lower auto policy rates overall.
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How to Find Cheap Car Insurance
If you live in Tampa, Florida (or any state other than the three mentioned above), you will need to shop around for affordable car insurance. Different carriers may offer different rates to the same person. This is due, in part, to the fact that each company has its own loss/revenue ratio. Thus, comparison shopping is an important aspect of finding the most affordable auto policy.
Insurance.com contributor, Charlene Arsenault, recommends getting quotes for auto insurance on a yearly basis. This is because some of your circumstances may change over the course of a year. Also, new insurance companies may become available, and others might lower their rates for a variety of reasons.
Ms. Arsenault also asserts that beyond doing yearly checks for better options, you should shop for the best rates when certain factors change for you. If you purchase a different vehicle or combine cars on your policy, it’s worth your time to check the rates at different companies.
Other factors that may affect rates among various carriers include getting married or divorced, as well as dropping or adding a driver from your policy (including an adolescent driver). If you move or buy a home, your rates could change.
You might also want to shop around if you have been in an accident or have sustained a major violation, such as a DUI. Also, a change in your credit score can have an impact on rates. Anytime that you experience any of these changes, checking the rates among different companies can be beneficial.
How to Lower Insurance Costs
In addition to finding the cheapest car insurance available, you can make changes that may lower your rates. If you are concerned about getting the best rates possible, consider the following strategies:
Pay out-of-pocket: In many cases, it may be better to pay out of pocket for damages instead of filing a claim. While you should alert your insurance company if you are in an accident that involves another vehicle, that doesn’t mean you must file a claim. If the damage is less than your deductible, you may want to cover it yourself. This is especially true if your vehicle sustains damage, and no other cars are involved (such as backing into your own mailbox, for example). When you file a claim, your rates generally go up, so paying out of pocket in some cases can help keep your costs minimal.
Drop unnecessary coverage: A vehicle worth less than $4,000 is typically not worth paying for a comprehensive and collision policy. Also, if one of your vehicles goes unused for long periods of time, you might modify your coverage when your car is being stored.
Own an inexpensive car: Although sticker price does not always dictate auto insurance rates, less expensive cars generally cost less to insure. A used car worth $2,000 is likely to incur lower rates than a brand new vehicle that costs $30,000. In addition, if you have a newer, more expensive car, you will probably want more coverage for it, including theft insurance.
Reduce the number of cars: You might cut your car insurance rates simply by getting rid of a vehicle or two. If you have a vehicle that remains unused more than it is driven, and your low-income household is struggling to make ends meet, it might be time to let go of the lesser-used vehicle. An added bonus to this strategy is that you can make money from the sale of an extra car instead of spending money insuring it.
Check for discounts/multi-policy/multi-car: You might be surprised by how many car insurance discounts are available to policyholders. You should check the fine print on your policy or consult your agent. You may be able to get a discount if you have multiple cars on the same policy. Another option may be a discount for multiple types of insurance with one company, such as auto insurance and homeowners insurance. Other options offered by various companies include discounts for sustaining a good driving record, for paying premiums upfront, and for having anti-theft equipment on a vehicle.
Avoid insurance lapse: You should not allow your policy to lapse. If you drive without coverage, the penalties can be quite stringent. Doing this will also make it much more difficult to get insured again, and if you can, the rates will likely be high.
Take defensive driving courses: By taking a defensive driving course, you can help to prevent some collisions from occurring. Additionally, your auto insurance carrier might offer a discount upon completion of such a program.
Final Thoughts on Auto Insurance for Low-Income Families in Tampa
The bottom line is that getting cheap auto insurance in Tampa is not impossible. You should be able to find affordable rates, but you may need to shop around first. You may also lower your rates by employing some of the strategies discussed here. If you invest some time and effort, you might gain access to lower rates sooner than you expect.