Many people raise their car insurance deductibles in order to have more affordable car insurance premiums. By doubling your insurance deductibles, you can shave as much as 40% off the price of your premiums.
However, this is only a good idea if you have money put aside to pay the deductible if you have an at-fault accident. If you cannot access this money easily, you may not be able to pay your portion of repair bills, and your car may not be fixed in a timely manner. Worse, you could be under obligation to pay for a portion of damages to someone else’s character, and be unable to do so. Many people without large reserves of cash must keep their deductibles low. In order to do this, however, they often have to pay higher premiums.
Is there a way to lower your deductible and nevertheless keep your premiums manageable?
There are several ways you can accomplish this goal. Each method takes some planning and discipline, but each can be achieved by anyone looking for a low deductible and a low premium.
First, you can choose to insure with a company which offers a “vanishing deductible” program. According to these programs, your deductible decreases by a set amount each year that you are accident-free and claim-free. Some of these programs allow you to lower all of your deductibles, and some only allow you to lower your collision or liability deductible. Different companies offer different amounts for the deduction and at different rates. You can compare programs to find one that works well for you.
Another option is to create a plan in which you little by little save the amount of your deductible while slowly raising your deductible each six months. Here is how this would work: suppose that your current deductible is $250, the lowest your company allows. Now suppose that you would save $100 per renewal period by raising your deductible to $500. If you do so and save the money you saved on your premiums, plus your initial $250, you would have $450 in one year, almost enough to pay your new deductible. You can continue to save money so that you can little by little raise your deductible to $750, then $1000. You may already choose to raise your deductible higher than this if your company permits you to do so. As you slowly raise your deductible, your premiums will decline, allowing you to save up the money you will need to pay the new, higher deductible.
You can also find a company which offers “accident forgiveness.” With accident forgiveness, you can be “forgiven” for your first accident with no deductible if the accident does not go beyond a certain dollar amount in total cost. This is very useful to save your deductible fund if you have a minor fender-bender. You can also save money and pay for damages yourself if the accident is very minor; in this way, by not making a claim, you keep your premiums lower and do not have unexpected increases in the price of your automobile insurance.
Other ways you can lower your deductible are to apply for a deductible reduction with your insurance company, which can be balanced by other discounts for which you may be eligible. If you are not currently taking advantage of all possible discounts, you may be cheating yourself out of savings which could pay for a lower deductible.
Be sure to consider all the separate deductibles which apply to your policy as a whole. If you have complete coverage, which includes liability, comprehensive, and collision, you probably have separate deductibles for each policy. In addition, you probably have a deductible for such things as uninsured motorist coverage. Some states set the deductible for uninsured motorist coverage by law; you cannot raise that deductible already if you want to. However, most states allow you to pay with the deductibles on your collision and comprehensive policies, raising or lowering them as you see fit.