Busting insurance myths to save you money

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Spring is the time of year when many people opt for a new vehicle.

But don’t forget about the possibility of opting for new car insurance, too.  Prices can vary widely and there are several ways to keep costs down. There are facts about car insurance, but there are plenty of myths.

One fact is the average American spends $1,400 per year on car insurance.  There are several ways to make that number drop, but negotiating with your insurance company is generally not one of them. That's a myth.

"We recently did a survey and found 37% of people think they can negotiate their car insurance rates. While it's a good idea to speak with your car insurance company about discounts that might be available to you, you can't negotiate your rates," said Alyssa Connelly, a car insurance expert.

Here is one way drivers can save money, which almost half of Americans didn't know about: you are not locked into your insurance policy. Drivers can actually change insurance at any time and they will be refunded the rest of their rate. It's important to make sure you have a new policy in place before you let your old one end because you don't want to have a gap in coverage, not even for a day.

Did you know, unlike health insurance, your abilities or inabilities have no bearing on what you pay for your car insurance?  It may seem that way because age is a factor.  It's one of many things that can make your insurance rates go up and down.  Here are some of the things that matter:  age, marriage status, whether you rent or own, where you live, your credit score, how you drive and what you drive.  Many of those things you can't change, but there is one simple thing you can do: pay your insurance bill online.

"You can pay online, and have your premium auto drafted from your bank account and you can pay in advance seven to ten days.  All of those things collectively can save you about 10% on your car insurance premium," said Connelly.

Speeding tickets will often raise your rates, and it's the same thing with having a lapse in coverage.  To keep more money in your pocket, shop around, and compare rates and what they cover.

"We recommend doing that every six months or a year because car insurance companies will change their rates throughout the year so you want to make sure you're getting the best rate," said Connelly.

You also want to reconsider if you have the right coverage.  You might need to add different coverage to make sure you're protected.  To compare and contrast, there are several websites like The Zebra that allow you to see how different insurance companies stack up. Drivers can also get helpful information about lowering their rates, what types of coverage are available and other resources.

Parking tickets have no effect on your rates, but moving violations do.  What about the color of your vehicle?  Having a bright red car might make you get stopped more often by police, but color won't affect your rates.  About 25% of people think color is a factor.

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