5 Unusual Ways to Get Cheaper Car Insurance

By Deevra Norling

Auto insurance is a must for drivers in the U.S. When shopping for a carrier, many drivers however only look for the lowest insurance premium and are unaware of further discounts they may qualify for. Here are five unusual car insurance discounts you may not know about.  

Here's How to Get Cheaper Car Insurance

1. Occupational Discounts

There’s a reason auto insurance companies ask about your occupation when you apply for an insurance policy. Your occupation, as well as your level of education, influence your personal insurance rate. Certain occupations qualify for auto insurance discounts while others are seen as carrying additional risk and are subject to a higher rate. This is because insurance premiums are calculated according to the risk you pose to the insurance company. 

Teachers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency services workers, and military personnel typically pay less for car insurance while bartenders, actors, and professional athletes fall into a higher premium category. If you work from home and seldom travel for business, inform your auto insurance company. Working from home means you are at a lower risk for accidents and you can qualify for a lower rate on your car insurance. And let's not forget: regular good driving behavior pays off, too!

2. Discounts For Children of Military Veterans

There’s one unusual way to get a discount on auto insurance not many people know about. Laura Adams is a personal finance expert and stumbled upon this discount by chance. “Everyone knows veterans receive great financial benefits,” says Laura. “But did you know that children of veterans get perks too, even if they never served in the military.” 

Laura and her husband were never in the military but both their fathers were. They discovered that children of military veterans can access lower insurance rates as a member of the United Services Automobile Association (USAA). Moreover, USAA doesn’t only offer auto insurance. They cover a wide range of financial services including homeowners insurance, renters insurance, health insurance, and brokerage services, and much more. 

3. Lower Premiums for the Unemployed 

Losing a job is stressful. The monthly bills continue to stream in while your income dwindles. However, one bill you can reduce is your car insurance. Contact your insurer to inform them of your change in circumstance. Most auto insurance companies will reduce your premium while you are unemployed. The reason for this is because unemployment changes your risk profile. An unemployed individual isn't commuting to and from work every day and stands less of a chance of being involved in a car accident. 

Once you find a new job, inform your insurer. Do not be tempted to lie about your status to continue enjoying lower premiums. Failing to inform your insurance company that you have found employment can void your policy. 

4. Online Sign-ups

Several auto insurance companies offer discounts when you request a quote online and when you sign up for a policy electronically. Progressive is one such insurer that provides an average discount of 7 percent for quoting online and an average of nearly 8 percent for signing online. 

Progressive spokesperson Ron Davis says, “Progressive offers a variety of discounts, including multi-policy, multi-car, safe driver, and paperless. Discounts are available regardless of how you shop, however, for those who prefer to get a quote online and sign documents electronically, you can save just for doing so.” 

In fact, with the many discounts available from Progressive, the company states that, on average, drivers who switch to Progressive can save up to $699 per year. If you've been with the same auto insurance company for years, it's worth searching the market to see if you can score a better deal elsewhere. 

5. Automatic Payments and Paid-in-Full Discounts

Insurance companies prefer a sure thing. Setting up auto payments or paying for the year upfront means payments are guaranteed. It also means less paperwork and admin for the insurance company. Your auto insurer will be happy to apply a discount for the peace of mind of knowing their payments are secure and you could save 5-10 percent on your premium. It’s a win-win situation for both parties.

Remember, insurance companies won’t always tell you about discounts. It’s up to you to inquire and negotiate lower rates. Do you have a clean driving record? Are you a homeowner? Mention these when trying to negotiate a better rate. With the savings you score on a lower premium, you can invest that money to increase your long-term savings, add it to your retirement funds, or use it to help pay off your home mortgage sooner.

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