Penny Pincher's Guide to Insuring a Toyota Prius
If searching for lower car insurance rates was a good time, we'd have no problem finding the best rate. But we always seem to pay too much for coverage and most people would rather go to the dentist. Finding insurance for your Toyota Prius that you can actually afford is probably no different.
Step One: Compare Rates from Multiple Companies
Years ago, your local insurance agent was the only way to quote a buy a car insurance policy. Times have changed!
You can compare insurance rates for a Toyota Prius simply and quickly just by filling out one form. This allows you to quote the same coverages with multiple companies and pick the lowest rate.
To begin, click on the link below and complete the short form. It only takes a few minutes and it's helpful to have your current policy handy if you have one.
Important Tip! In order to accurately compare rates for your Prius, it's critical that you use the same limits and deductibles for liability and physical damage coverages like comprehensive and collision. If you use different limits, you will not be able to accurately compare rates between carriers.
Step Two: Techniques to Lower your Prius Insurance Rates
What you actually pay to insure your Toyota is determined by many factors, some of which you have no control over.
- If your Prius ranks on the list of vehicles that are frequently stolen, that can result in a higher rating class and a more expensive rate.
- Being a senior citizen can qualify you for a small discount on your insurance rates. Older drivers are generally more cautious so they get a lower rate.
- The advancement of car safety features such as traction control, stability control, front and side-impact air bags and all-wheel drive all help keep insurance costs down.
- Having recently completed a class in driver's safety could earn you a discount of 5% to 10%. Check with your insurance company to see if they offer that credit.
- Try to maintain a claim-free discount on your car insurance policy. Obviously you can't prevent large claims, but if they are smaller and you can afford to pay them out-of-pocket, do so.
- If switching companies, always have the effective date of the new policy be identical to the expiration date on the old policy. This prevents a lapse in coverage and companies charge higher rates if you have any lapses.
- Youthful or teen drivers that are rated on any vehicle will cost more. The inexperience and tendancy to enjoy going fast is a recipe for an accident.
- Owning a home takes financial responsibility, and car insurance companies will often give you a break just for being a homeowner.
- One of the easiest ways to keep your rates down is to drive safe. One speeding ticket can boost your rates for three years.
- How's your credit score? If it's good you will pay a lower rate than your poor credit counterparts. Work on improving weak credit and you will eventually see your car insurance bill go down.
- You can save money on your physical damage coverage (comprehensive and collision) by increasing your deductibles. Higher deductibles mean you are willing to pay more before the insurance company covers a claim.
Step Three: Bind Coverage and Cancel your Old Policy
Car insurance is pretty easy to buy online, but you do need to be aware that it is a legally binding contract. You need to have funds available for a down payment as well as review your coverages for any insufficiencies.
If you didn't have a prior policy, then you can make the new policy effective any time. But if you're moving bewteen companies and don't want a lapse in coverage, make sure the effective date of the new policy is exactly the same as the cancellation date of the old policy.
If this is a new policy with only the Toyota on it, be sure to have coverage before leaving the dealership or car lot. If you're adding it to an existing policy, you have anywhere from 15 to 30 days depending on the company. Comprehensive (or Other than Collision) and collision coverage will extend to your new Prius if you current have a vehicle insured with those coverages. If you aren't insured or only carry basic liability coverage, then you will be inadequately insured until you add the vehicle to your policy with full coverage.
At the end of buying your policy, you will be able to print out a new proof-of-insurance card to place in your vehicle. This card is required by law and must be produced if requested by law enforcement. If you're considered a high-risk driver, having been convicted of a DUI, DWI, reckless driving or had your license suspended, you may need to file a SR-22. Be sure your new company files this form with your state DMV. Failure to do so can result in losing your right to drive.
Consumer Insurance Information
The Insurance Information Institute has a great resource of car insurance articles where you can learn more about coverages and money saving tips. Visit iii.org.