About half of consumers have made lifestyle changes in the last year that could lower their car insurance rates, according to an April 2011 survey released by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners on June 7.
The survey found 53 percent of Americans made some sort of car-related change to save money. Among the findings:
- 39 percent reduced the number of miles they drove or increased their use of public transportation
- 16 percent cancelled or reduced their auto insurance coverage
- 13 percent got rid of a second vehicle
- 6 percent traded in a vehicle for a less-expensive model
The number of cars insured, the value of the vehicles and the number of miles driven all impact car insurance rates. High-priced cars that are expensive to repair are costly to insure. Some insurance companies offer pay-as-you drive car insurance that provides discounts for driving fewer miles. Dropping collision and comprehensive coverage for low-value cars that are paid off also lowers car insurance rates.
"Choices such as driving less, switching jobs, or even paying off a vehicle can save--or cost--on your car insurance," NAIC President and Iowa Insurance Commissioner Susan E. Voss said in a media statement. "When determining where to cut spending now, it's important to consider the big picture. Some changes will save in unexpected ways, while others may increase your cost down the road."
A damaged credit score is among factors that can lead to higher car insurance rates. More than a quarter of respondents, 28 percent, did not know their insurance rates were based partly on credit-based insurance scores, according to the survey.
Opinion Research Corp.'s CARAVAN Omnibus Survey conducted the telephone survey of 1,010 adults. The survey has a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.