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(StatePoint) Inflation is driving rising costs on everything from gasoline to groceries. And recent research shows that auto insurance is expected to rise for most policyholders this year too. While you can’t control how insurers price their policies, you can avoid shouldering higher costs.
Here are a few ways to directly reduce your car insurance rates or mitigate increases:
• Reduce coverage. Look at your insurance policy to see if you could forego any add-ons, such as roadside assistance. If you have an older vehicle, consider all your options to see if paying for collision and comprehensive coverage is worth it.
• Increase your deductible. You may be able to lower your insurance premium by choosing an increased deductible (the amount you spend for repairs before insurance kicks in). Although increasing your deductible could save you money now, it could result in you paying more out of pocket if you have an accident down the line.
• Use driver tracking programs. Insurers typically base your premium on the information you provide them that indicates the level of risk they take on by insuring you. By using a driver tracking program, you’ll provide your insurer additional information on your driving habits, which—if you are a careful and safe driver—could reduce your cost by 25% or more.
• Check for discounts. Depending on where you are in life, you may be eligible for new savings opportunities like senior/retirement or good student discounts. Ask your insurer about the various discounts you may be eligible for to see how you can save even more on your premium.
• Compare quotes. Comparing quotes from different insurance providers can help you save money and lock in the best possible deal. Using price comparison websites can help simplify this process, allowing you to compare personalized quotes from multiple providers in real time. For example, Experian’s auto insurance comparison service leverages technology to compare quotes from over 40 top providers in minutes. Its average user saves more than $900 on auto insurance each year. Plus, the service offers free active rate monitoring, scouring the market on an ongoing basis to make sure you are getting the best rate among the Experian network of providers.
“Right now, consumers are looking for ways to maximize their budget. Our tool allows them to do in minutes what used to take hours, as well as possibly save hundreds of dollars,” says Rod Griffin, Sr. director of Public Education at Experian.
To learn more, visit www.experian.com/save.
• Improve your credit score. Some insurers consider your credit-based insurance score when determining your premium. These scores use information in your credit reports to look at the likelihood that you’ll file a claim so insurers can raise or lower your rates accordingly. To find out where you stand, you can check your credit report and score for free. Think about using services like Experian Boost to add positive payment history for utility and telecom accounts as well as video streaming services to your Experian credit report, which can potentially increase your FICO Score in real time.
• Pay off your loan. If you’re still paying off your current vehicle, your lienholder may require that you hold a higher level of insurance, such as comprehensive and collision. If manageable, paying off the loan could help you eliminate extra coverage expenses from your policy—lowering your monthly insurance payment.
With inflation and interest rates on the rise, finding savings on big-ticket costs like auto insurance could make a significant impact on your budget. Fortunately, new tools and smart strategies can help you save.
Three Ways to Build Your Credit History
(StatePoint) Not having a credit history, often referred to as being “credit invisible,” can make it harder to buy a home or car, finance an education, and secure banking products and other services.
Today, over 45 million adults in America have no credit score, according to Freddie Mac. If that describes you, don’t panic. Freddie Mac is offering three strategies to take you from invisible to visible, and help you build a credit history.
1. Report rent payments. Millions of Americans’ largest monthly payment is rent. However, less than 10% of renters currently see their on-time rental payments reflected in their credit scores, putting them at a significant disadvantage to homeowners.
On-time rent payments can be used to build credit with all three major credit bureaus. If you are paying your rent on time, ask if your landlord is reporting your payments. If not, find out if they can. Although you can report rent payments yourself by paying through a rent reporting service, many such services charge fees, so it’s best if your landlord reports on-time payments on your behalf.
Unfortunately, the most common way rents are reported to credit bureaus today is when there’s a missed payment that’s gone to a collection agency. A new initiative by Freddie Mac is flipping the script by incentivizing property owners to report their tenants’ on-time rental payments. Freddie Mac is providing closing cost credits on multifamily loans for owners of rental properties who agree to report payments through Esusu, a data processing and storage platform whose technology securely delivers rental payment data from property management software to credit bureaus. The program automatically unenrolls renters if they miss a payment, and it allows renters to monitor their payment data and credit score through its website and mobile app. Finally, the Esusu platform ensures compliance with industry standards, eliminating an administrative burden that represents the hurdle to reporting rental data.
“Making rent count will help solve one of the most persistent challenges facing renters who want to build credit,” says Lauren Garren, vice president and chief business officer, Multifamily, Freddie Mac. “This effort helps level the playing field for renters who prioritize making their rental payments on time.”
2. Consider secured credit cards. A secured credit card, designed for people with limited or damaged credit, requires you to pay a security deposit. The bank extends a credit line matching the amount of the security deposit, and it holds onto your deposit as collateral for as long as you have the card.
Many secured cards include a graduation feature, allowing you to move to a traditional credit card after establishing a pattern of consistent payments. Some card issuers may automatically review your account to see if you can upgrade, but you may have to ask your card issuer whether you’re eligible.
3. Consider store credit cards. From retail chains to gas stations, many stores offer credit cards that tend to be easier to qualify for and usually have low credit limits, making them a good option if you’re credit invisible. However, they often have high interest rates. By making periodic purchases with your store credit card and paying them off immediately, you can build a credit record and get used to managing a credit card.
For additional credit-building strategies, use CreditSmart, Freddie Mac’s suite of financial capability resources, by visiting creditsmart.freddiemac.com.
Good credit opens doors. Take control of your future and begin your credit history today.