Even if you’re happy with your provider, you may still be missing out on cheaper premiums

Americans are living through interesting times for auto insurance (and interesting times, period), particularly if they drive in New York. COVID-19 has seen calls for lower auto rates across the nation. And with our state being among the hardest hit by the virus, we’ve been particularly vocal over premium cuts as a result of driving less.

But a relatively higher accident rate since the pandemic began—significantly higher in NYC, which saw a 167% spike—may frustrate any temporary rate reductions. And rising unemployment is adding further fuel to the rate-lowering fire for New Yorkers who are just trying to make ends meet. 

This all makes now an excellent time to assess your current auto policy and save every possible penny, regardless of whether your provider will proactively cut your rate. Here’s a timely tips list centered around the pandemic—with an eye on how it might change everyone’s premium rates in the short and long term, and how the changing seasons may help you save.

Tip 1 – Perform your own pandemic auto-audit

By now, you’ve been living under quarantine/lockdown conditions for months. How has this affected your road life? If you’ve been able to survive effectively while driving less, you may want to think about making these temporary adjustments a permanent lifestyle change. It’s always profitable for auto owners to have fewer miles on the clock.

Consider your national impact, too: massive drops in pollution levels through less-congested roads began improving the health of people and ecosystems almost immediately after the coronavirus struck. Concerned commentators are hopeful America won’t make China’s mistake of surging back to (and beyond) pre-pandemic pollution levels.

New York’s own Transportation Alternatives organization claims auto carcinogens were killing 40,000 Americans every year before COVID-19. Are you willing to drive less to lower your auto rates and national fatalities?

Tip 2 – Contact your carrier about COVID-19 deductions

Refunds, rebates, and deductions are current buzzwords surrounding auto rates, so don’t miss out on at least the temporary chance to save. Multiple providers are lowering their premiums, and there may be as much as a 10-25% decrease in auto rates in New Yorkers’ near-future.

The NY DFS has been working hard to put our state in the fast lane for savings, but we don’t recommend taking that for granted. Contact your coverage provider today to discover exactly how much you may be eligible to save based on your unique profile.

Tip 3 – Get ready for upcoming bad weather

Autumn and winter are heading for New York’s roads and bringing a higher risk of accidents with them. Get the jump on Mother Nature and lower the chances of hurting yourself, your vehicle, and your auto rates by becoming proactive about accident protection. 

Prep your car by considering additions like winter tires, new wiper blades, anti-freeze, and a new (or at least thoroughly tested) battery. Each of these and other tips could be instrumental in preventing an auto accident and lowering your monthly premiums by creating a safer vehicle and safer travel. This is especially true when combined with commonsense steps like seat belts, slower driving, and increased following distance.

Tip 4 – Take control of your credit score

Considering a driver’s credit history when establishing auto rates isn’t a popular practice with the public, but it certainly is with providers. At the time of writing, only three states—California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts—prohibit this method of fixing premiums.

The first step to favorable credit is knowing where you currently stand, and you can do that once a year at AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228 (both methods are free). A good rule of thumb is to contact all three major credit agencies—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—to see how you rank with each of them. This is because there may be inconsistencies or inaccuracies in one organization’s data that can be rectified by comparison with another.

Understanding how critical credit can be for auto rates should lead to a broader review of your lifestyle and spending habits. A smart practice is to pay bills on time, address or eliminate outstanding debt, and keep the balances of any existing credit cards as low as possible. 

Tip 5 – Talk to the NICRIS team

As New Yorkers ourselves, we’re right in the middle of the pandemic and how it’s affecting auto rates for our communities. Our team can help you assess your current auto coverage in light of your present and future travel needs to find the policy that suits your situation. Connect with us for a free review and to see if you can save money!

NICRIS Insurance focuses on providing clients with the appropriate suite of products to protect them, their interests, and their loved ones. If you need some insurance advice or would like a free, personalized insurance review, just drop us a line.