Auto Insurance

Shopping for Auto Insurance


Discounts and Saving Money

When you receive your policy, check that the information used to determine your premium is correct. An auto insurer is required by law to provide specific rating information pages with your policy that explain how your policy is rated, what the classification codes mean, as well as how its surcharge system works. You should also check the information in your policy against these pages, and verify that:

  • your mailing and/or place of garaging address is correct
  • each vehicle is properly classified
  • all discounts to which you are entitled have been applied
  • the make and model of your vehicle(s) are correct
  • the age/birthdate(s) of the driver(s) are correct
  • the dates of any chargeable accident(s) and conviction(s) identified are correct

As an insurance shopper, you should check with your insurance company or agent or broker about possible discounts that may be applicable to you, such as those for senior citizens, car pools, low annual mileage and the “good student discount” offered to youthful operators meeting certain academic requirements. You can also save money with a “multi-car discount” by insuring all your cars with the same insurance company. Since rates are generally highest for youthful drivers, young drivers should inquire about a “driver training” discount offered by many insurers for those who have taken driver’s education classes.

Discounts are generally available in the following situations:

  • You may reduce your premium by taking a New York State Department of Motor Vehicles-approved accident prevention course in a classroom setting or via the internet. Your auto insurer is required to provide you with a listing of all sponsors of these courses with your policy or billing statement. The Department of Motor Vehicles maintains a current listing of approved sponsors that offer classroom courses and/or internet courses on its website. Auto insurers must apply a discount to the liability, collision and No-Fault coverages of your auto insurance policy for three years, if the principal operator of a vehicle has completed a qualified accident prevention course. In addition, taking this course entitles you to up to a four-point reduction of accumulated points from your driver's license. Contact the DMV for more details about how this benefits your driving record.
  • If your car is equipped with automatic seat belts or air bags, you qualify for a discount on your premiums for No-Fault and medical payments coverages. All private passenger automobiles that are model year 1990 or later are required by federal law to be equipped with at least one of these devices.
  • If your car is equipped with factory installed anti-lock braking system (ABS), you are entitled to a discount on the premiums for your liability, collision, No-Fault and medical payments coverages.
  • Several anti-theft devices qualify for a reduction on the comprehensive portion of the auto insurance premium. Eligible devices are generally alarm systems or permanently installed devices that prevent a car from being started. In addition, discounts are available for cars equipped with certain electronic-tracking devices, or in which the window glass (windshield, door glass, rear window, and sun/moon roof or T-Top) has been etched with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or other identifying symbol qualifying under the law.
  • If your car is equipped with factory installed daytime running lamps (DRL), you are entitled to a discount on the premium for your liability, collision, No-Fault and medical payments coverages.
  • Some insurers give a discount for vehicles participating in a Combat Auto Theft (CAT) Program, in which vehicles displaying an official decal may be stopped, without other cause, by law enforcement officers if operated between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., the prime vehicle theft period. This program is available in many areas of New York State, and requires the participation of the local police department. You may contact your local police precinct and your insurer to see if you are eligible for this program.
  • Some insurers give a “Careful Driver” or comparable discount for drivers who have been without a major incident (e.g., accident or conviction) for a certain period of time.
  • Some insurers offer a “Multi-Policy” or “Account” discount, which reduces your premiums on both auto and homeowners coverages when purchased from the same insurer.
  • Some insurers give discounts for senior citizens or retirees, because it is assumed that they drive less frequently than others.
  • Some insurers offer a discount for vehicles participating in a Telematics / Usage Based Insurance (UBI) program. The discount may be based on specific driving statistics uploaded from a telematics device installed in the vehicle (e.g. miles driven, time of day, acceleration and braking patterns, location (using GPS), etc.).
  • Some insurers offer a discount for vehicles equipped with certain safety/collision avoidance systems; for example, backup camera, lane assist or brake assist.
  • You may reduce your auto insurance costs by raising the deductibles on physical damage (collision and comprehensive) coverages or by eliminating these coverages on older vehicles. Review the amount of the deductibles you now carry on these coverages to determine whether it makes sense for you to absorb a larger portion of your loss in the event of an accident, in return for a lower premium charge. Your insurer is required to furnish you with information about how much you may save by adjusting deductibles.
  • A listing of various discounts and programs offered by top auto insurers is available for comparison.

Since the actual amount of these discounts may vary among insurers, ask your insurance company, agent or broker about any discounts that may apply to you. Most likely, you already get information about these discounts with your policy or billing statements. In addition, as stated previously, the dollar amount savings of any discounts required by law must be stated on the declarations page, or attachment thereto, of your policy.

Consumers can also save money by informing the insurer of any new conditions that may affect the nature of the insurance exposure, such as when a young driver in your family leaves home, or if a young driver goes to college more than 100 miles away and does not take the car. Most importantly, maintaining a good driving record will save you more by allowing you to qualify for the best rate.

Your final auto insurance premium will be based on many separate factors unique to each driver that may vary among insurance companies. Use the Automobile Insurance Checklist handy when you shop for coverage. You'll be able to list the coverage limits and deductibles that you want in your policy and make sure that you've received all the discounts you’re entitled to.