Are you paying too much for your auto or truck insurance in Maryland. Perhaps you’re not qualifying for many of the available discounts. Whether you’re insured with State Farm, Allstate, Progressive, Liberty Mutual, or Esurance, you always are going to look for ways to reduce your premiums. Maryland drivers have many available reductions that can potentially save hundreds of dollars per year. Also, new programs are periodically introduced that can lower prices of coverage.
Safety, bundling, loyalty, and group discounts are the most common ways to reduce prices, and they provide consistent savings. Group and employer-provided policies to active and retired workers can reduce rates by 5%-15%. Additional savings are provided when policies are paid through active payroll or retirement checks or deposits. Prepaying premiums can also result in large savings.
We briefly discuss the major options in our complete guide, so perhaps you can get in on the savings! Our website is designed to reduce your auto insurance rates by offering sound advice and free comparisons (in the quote box near the top of the page). You can also compare costs with multiple carriers for vehicles that you are contemplating buying, but have not purchased yet. Many deductions are also available that are not discussed, including Military membership (active or retired), pay-in-full, paperless, low-income (in some states), and electronic debit.
The “base rate” that carriers charge for policy coverage is the starting point that the consumer pays. Surcharges increase the rate, and generally are the result of moving violations, at-fault accidents, or high-performance vehicles. Discounts will reduce premiums, based on the amount of risk that can be eliminated. If a risk is permanently removed, the premium reduction will be larger. These are the types of discounts we teach you to ask for. Newer vehicles may feature discounts that you previously did not qualify for.
Don’t drive so fast! We know. That’s not really a discount, but by slowing down, you’ll likely save a lot of money. Here’s how: Insurance companies will routinely check your driving record. Any claims that involve vehicles you own will also be checked. Although the first violation may not result in a premium increase, additional moving violations may be treated differently by an underwriter.
Although they are looking for major violations such as a DUI, DWI, hit and run, reckless operation or license suspensions, they will document other minor violations. Future eligibility of discounts can be impacted. Multiple speeding violations can result in bigger rate increases, especially if a driver’s license was suspended.
Going through a stop sign or failing to yield will hurt your record just as much as a speeding ticket. And since it takes about 36-42 months to be erased from your official record, you may be forfeiting a lot of money. Fortunately, parking tickets do to have any impact on your policy. Registration infractions also do not impact the cost you pay to cover your vehicle. However, the car or truck you drive must remain legally-registered or the vehicle will not be allowed to be operated.
Even if you’re not considering changing carriers, having a ticket on your record may keep you from qualifying for “good driver” discounts that every company offers. So, although you won’t be charged more for the blip on your driving record, it may keep you from earning a rate reduction. And it has the same effect. For example, you may become ineligible for up to 20% in superior driving discounts and deductible-reduction options.
If you have more than one moving violation (especially more than two), it will become very difficult to find lower prices. Not impossible, but harder. As the violations slowly disappear from the BMV records, you’ll start to pay less for your coverage. When your record is clean, you’ll notice even bigger savings, and possible eligibility for additional discounts. Multiple comprehensive claims (fire, theft, or vandalism) may also negatively impact your cost of coverage.
Impact Of Youthful Drivers
A sports car and a youthful driver in the household can be a very expensive combination. No, we’re not going to tell you to get rid of either one! However, often, higher rates are a result of a particular vehicle being assigned to the wrong driver. For instance, if your son or daughter don’t drive that sports car very often (and we assume they do not), they should be assigned to less expensive vehicles on your policy.
However, several companies do not assign specific drivers to specific vehicles. Younger drivers can operate any vehicle in the household, unless specifically excluded. If the child is away at school most (or all) of the year, a rate reduction is possible. If the vehicle is housed at the location of the school, the discount may not be offered.
You may have a specific designated vehicle that is mostly driven by one or all of your children. It’s probably an older vehicle. If that fits your household situation, it’s important to make sure your broker or agent knows that. You’ll save a lot of money by assigning the right driver to the vehicles that will minimize the rates. And of course, knowing teenage driving rules in the state helps. Our article (here) will help you better understand the rules and regulations.
Since it’s not automatically completed by the carrier, often, you do have to ask. And since underwriters often re-rate policies every few years, it’s important to verify that you’re not being overcharged by having the wrong persons assigned to the wrong vehicles. Also, renewing a specific reduction (good-student, for example) may not be automatic. Each six months, continuation of existing discounts should be verified. It’s also wise to compare your new declarations page to the previous page, to verify that no discounts have been removed.
By having your teenagers stay away from your expensive cars, you’ll come out ahead. He/she can still drive the higher-valued vehicle, but must not drive it on a regular basis. Naturally, each driver in the household would be covered in every situation. By getting rated as an “occasional” instead of “principal” driver, the premium reduction could be very large. If their driving preference changes, the insurer should be notified. If one of the vehicles is titled in a child’s name, a separate policy may be needed.
Your Zip Code
Do you live in a zip code that is located in more than one county? Perhaps you’re located near the border of Howard or Montgomery county? Or perhaps Baltimore and Harford counties? You may not be aware that many insurers utilize your county of residence to calculate your rate. Sometimes, if you live in a zip code close to another county, you may be accidentally (and unintentionally) receiving rates based on the wrong county. If you recently moved, and did not notify the carrier, current pricing may not be accurate.
There are several carriers that calculate prices on the county, instead of the zip code. Since many households are located near multiple counties, it’s important to ensure you are being rated correctly. Often, the area that is within a large city limit, will receive the higher prices. If you are in a “township,” you may be incorrectly placed in the wrong rating area.
Statistically, rural areas have fewer claims than urban areas, and the number of vehicle thefts is typically substantially lower. Vandalism and glass breakage claims are also less. Other weather-related comprehensive claims are not impacted.
This is another reason why it’s always smart to shop (we recommend comparing at least three other carriers) if you move from one area to the other. You may find you were very satisfied with your pricing on one side of the state, but faced a large increase after you moved. Sometimes, MD car insurers simply handle more claims in a given area (and it may be just coincidence) and therefore must charge a higher rate. Often, the higher prices are cyclical, and premiums eventually reduce.
Several MD zip codes with the lowest rates include: 21701, 21702, 21703, 21704, 21705, 21709, 21740, 21741, 21742, 21749, 21601, 21620, and 21690.
Are You A Senior?
If you have reached age 65, most companies will reduce premiums by as much as 10%, although often, some (or most) of the discount is applied at age 55. Senior defensive driver courses can also be quite cost-effective since the completion of an authorized and approved course can often result in savings as much as $100 per year. Typically, the cost of the course costs much less, or is free. The rate reduction also continues for multiple years.
A resource guide for aging Seniors is also provided by the Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA). Some of the topics discussed are aging driver education and rehabilitation, older driver statistics, recognizing changes, safe mobility, driver wellness, including health skills and making good choices, and training workshops. A hard-copy can be sent if requested. Training workshops are offered throughout the year at many locations.
Vehicle Factory-Installed Items
Although most insurers automatically apply discounts for most factory-installed items, such as air bags, head-injury protective devices, anti-lock brake systems, alarm systems, traction control, and favorable crash-test reports, occasionally, a device or feature is missed. Therefore, once the vehicle is added to the policy, it’s advisable to check your declarations page for any missing items. You can also request to receive a complete list of passenger vehicle discounts that are available from your existing carrier.
We understand it’s not always easy to find the cheapest rates. But a combination of smart shopping and maximizing the best discounts that are available, will help reduce what you pay and put more of your hard-earned money where it belongs. In your own pocket!
An early signing/renewal discount is often applied if you continue your policy a specific number of days before the new policy period begins. The discount is typically 10%. However, as interest rates remain low, many insurers are reducing the discount.
The Importance Of Comparisons
It becomes more important to compare prices if you move to or from a different state, where there can be huge differences in premium. And you also may be faced with a situation that a company offered some of the lowest rates before you moved and was now substantially more expensive than all of the other carriers after you changed locations. It is not uncommon to see price differences of 20% or more within a 10-mile radius. Also, age restrictions may impact availability of some discounts.
Also, the minimum liability requirements for your new state may be substantially higher than your previous requirements. Recently, many states (Ohio, for example) have raised their minimum legal limits. If you are planning to move, we can provide the new legal bodily injury and property damage mandates that you will have to have. Or if you just moved to this state, there may be a specific part of your previous policy that is no longer applicable. If you have a personal excess liability umbrella policy, minor changes may have to be made, if you move from one state to another.
Comparing prices from different Maryland companies will help you reduce your costs by at least 10%. Underwriting criteria can be very different and costs in particular areas of the state can change very quickly. We make it easy for you to find, and subsequently view the best choices. We do the research, numbers-crunching, and verifying of the accuracy of prices, so you can be confident that our quotes will save hours of time and aggravation. We also review customer loyalty discounts from major carriers, and show you which companies offer the biggest reductions.
Examples include early renewal and several bundling options.
Summary Of Best Auto Insurance Discounts
Affiliated/organization – Offered through work, school, paid and unpaid memberships, or organization. 15%-20%.
Anti-lock brakes – 5%-10%.
Anti-theft/alarm system – factory-installed and privately-installed systems qualify. 5%-25%
Automatic bill-pay or E-bill – electronic payments from checking or savings accounts. 3%-5%.
Defensive-driving – Completing qualified classes and training (national Safety Council is one resource) provides the discount. 10%-15%.
Good student – Typically, a 3.0 GPA is required (or a “B” average). 10%-15%.
Homeowner – Must own, and not rent a home. 5%-15%.
Hybrid – Hybrid and electric vehicles. 7%-10%. Each year, the cost of these types of vehicles slightly reduces.
Low mileage – Depending on the carrier, less than 7,500 miles driven per year may qualify. Less than 5,000 miles driven will increase the discount. 5%-20%.
Military – Active and retired qualify. 3%-7%.
Multi-car – Two or more vehicles are covered by the same carrier. 5%-20%.
New-car – Purchasing a current model year (must be new) will reduce rate. 5%-10%.
Paid-in-full – Paying full 6-month premium. 2%-10%.
Safe driver (accident-free) – Awarded to drivers that don’t have at-fault accidents. 5%-30%.
Senior – Age qualification varies, but typically between ages 55-65. 5%-10%.
Student away – Depending on the distance to school (without a car), a savings may apply. 10%-20%.
Since youthful drivers are the most expensive risk to cover, any additional discounts can make a substantial difference. In addition to the traditional “good-student” and “student-away” discounts, teen driver-safety courses are now being accepted by many carriers.
TeenSMART is one of several available driver crash reduction programs that reduce the number of claims, accidents, and injuries. Some of the national carriers that recognize TeenSMART (not in all states) include Allstate, Liberty Mutual, Central, and AAA.