As inflation drives up the cost of everything from groceries, gas and housing, many Floridians are looking for ways to save money. With several factors causing state auto insurance premiums to be the highest in the nation, there are ways to try and reduce this cost.
Insurance rates are higher in Florida than in other states due to organized accident plans, insurance disputes, and accident severity, among other reasons. The trend in the state is not going unnoticed by motorists.
“I got a package in the mail saying that my insurance, my car insurance, will go up due to the state of Florida,” Emmitt Baker said when speaking to News4JAX at a Jacksonville barbershop.
According to Insure.com, the average auto insurance premium in Florida is $2,560 per year, or $213 per month, based on quotes from a sample of a 40-year-old male with a clean record and a good credit. That’s 52% more than the national average of $1,682 for a similar policy.
Experts say most drivers can reduce the cost of their policy by 15-40%.
“Shopping around pays off because there are major differences in quotes from insurance companies,” said Mark Friedlander of the Insurance Information Institute, an insurance industry group. “And when we say shop around, we mean look at national insurers, look at regional insurers. There are over 50 companies that underwrite car insurance in Florida.
Friedlander said one of the biggest trends in auto insurance discounts is called usage-based, or telematics, insurance. It’s a program your insurance company probably offers – if you sign up, the company will track your driving behavior, monitoring your driving habits with an app or device installed in your car.
Friedlander explained driving habits that can be taken into account to see how safe a driver you are.
“Do you respect the speed limits? What is your braking pattern? Do you brake at the last second when you see a red light or a stop sign? Do you drive smoothly? said Friedlander.
However, usage-based insurance may not be suitable for all drivers. Friedlander warns against activating if you are not a good driver, as the data could lead to an increase in your premium.
Friedlander said other ways to get a discount on your insurance include:
Call your company to request a discount if you have a clean driving record and have been accident free
Consolidate auto, home and life insurance
Discounts for dematerialization or full payment
Loyalty rebates for the time you spent with your insurer
Discounts for students who can drive less than a typical driver
Friedlander said a common misconception about finding the best price is to go to an insurance agent. Many people think it costs them money, but instead, professional advice is completely free.
“When shopping for insurance, you can use a lot of online quote tools that are very easy to use, very user-friendly,” Friedlander said. “But we strongly recommend that you work with a professional insurance agent. The agent works on your behalf. They charge a commission or receive a commission from the insurance companies when they sell a policy, they don’t charge you, so you as a consumer, it’s a free service.
Consumer Reports experts also have other suggestions for ways to save, including:
If you have an older car and your annual premium is more than 10% of your car’s value, consider dropping collision and comprehensive coverage.
Removed rental reimbursement coverage if you have another car you can use in case your car needs repairs after an accident.
Adjust your deductible: If you set your damage deductible at $1,000 instead of $500, you can save 11% on average on your premium. But make sure you can afford the highest deductible.
Consumer Reports also suggests thinking about car insurance when shopping for a car, as luxury and high-performance cars tend to cost more to insure than a typical car.
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