Do you ever scroll through your phone's camera roll, or check your Facebook timeline, to relive some of the major milestones in your life?
Sure, you may want to forget about your trendy fashion choices (or questionable hairstyles), but experiences like graduating or buying your dream home shaped who you are today.
So is your auto insurance keeping up with your constantly evolving self?
Most people are surprised to learn that insurance premiums fluctuate based on how you handle these times in your life. Some milestones will save you money (score!), while others will actually increase your rates (boo!).
Not speaking to your insurance provider each time you reach one of these pivotal moments could be costing you money every month.
If life is all about timing, it's about time you stop overpaying for insurance and learn about these 12 car insurance milestones that may save (or cost) you money today:
Your First Car
Nothing beats the freedom that comes with your first car. Whether your parents bought your first jalopy or you saved up for your dream ride yourself, insurance companies are still going to view you as a risky driver since you don't have much driving experience.
However, there are a few steps you can take to change their mind.
Obviously, you're going to need to maintain an impeccable driving record; no speeding or parking tickets allowed — and definitely no accidents.
Most insurance companies will actually discount your rate by close to 10% if you maintain a 3.0 GPA or a 'B' average throughout high school and college.
You can also sign up for driver's ed at your local school or community center, which will save your parents as much as 5-10% on coverage. Defensive driving classes can also boast savings of up to 10% off certain plans.
Prove to your insurance provider that you take driving seriously and they may view you differently and decrease your rates.
You Get Your Own Policy
Your parent's family insurance plan may only cover you for a specific period of time before you have to strike out and get a policy of your very own.
If you're considering driving for a service like Uber or Lyft, you'll want to get on your own plan so you'll be responsible for any accidents or issues, without your parents being on the hook (or raising their rates!).
According to esurance, you could save as much as 5% on your first term premium simply by filling out a quote of your own, and up to 10% off if you pay the whole premium in full versus payments.
Getting your own policy is the perfect time to shop around for a plan that you can not only afford, but that fits your lifestyle. In an ideal world, you'll want to pay the least for the most amount of coverage. We'll show you how to shop around for auto insurance and compare rates from the top providers in your area later on.
Besides, having your own policy means getting the coverage you need.
You Turn 25
Your auto insurance premiums don't automatically decrease on your 25th birthday. However, it's an important birthday to ask for a new estimate.
See, most people start driving when they're in their teens, so by the time they reach their mid-20s, insurance providers have close to a decade's worth of experience and information to assess. They'll be scoping out your history of driving habits to see if you're accident prone or a speeding machine.
If you've been accident and ticket free since you started driving, you may qualify for a discount off your premium of up to 30-40%!
However, if you've been collecting parking tickets or speeding fines like Star Wars action figures, your insurance company will not be so willing to lower your payments.
Keep in mind: if you only started driving a few years before you turn 25, you'll need to wait for an appropriate amount of time before you can ask your insurance provider for a discount. Remember, it's the length of time you've been driving, not your age, that matters most.
You Get Hitched
Congratulations! You found 'The One' and merged your lives together. Want a cherry on top of your happy sundae? Your auto insurance premiums may actually decrease after you say 'I do' and combine policies.
There are three reasons for this marital perk: first, your insurance company will assume that your two cars will be driving less because you'll be taking one car most places, minimizing the risks of covering two cars on the road at all times.
Second, combining two cars on one policy may actually save you money just like combining multiple cell phone lines under one family plan ensures cheaper rates than individual plans.
Third, since marriage is considered the ultimate in stable living, insurance companies will view you and your spouse as less risky than your single friends who party and drive at all hours of the night. According to The National Institutes of Health, 'drivers who have never been married had twice the risk of driver injury than drivers who were married.'
Rate Hike Alert!
Insurance companies take both of your driving habits into consideration to determine your premium. So if your spouse has a less than perfect driving record, merging your two policies may not result in discounted premiums.
If marriage will save you money, the opposite is true for divorce. On top of all the other fees associated with splitting up, expect your auto insurance to raise slightly as well.
Baby on Board
Need a reason to get pumped for cruising around in a minivan?
Insurance companies know you're going to be protecting your little bundle of joy by choosing to drive around in safe vehicles like minivans, four-door sedans, hybrids, and small SUVs.
Bonus: these are usually the most affordable to insure.
If you buy your car used, you'll be saving even more as it will cost your insurance company less to cover.
Check out the safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) before your next purchase and then speak to your insurance provider about a discounted rate.
Rate Hike Alert!
Steer clear of these vehicles that insurance companies charge more to insure (since they cost more to repair):
Cars/trucks with V6 or V8 engines
Landing Your Dream Job
Insurance companies take your job into consideration when determining your premiums. They compare your job and salary with other employees in your job bracket to determine your rates.
According to one study, drivers with less education who work in nonprofessional or nonmanagerial jobs typically pay higher insurance rates than drivers with college degrees in upper-level positions.
The thinking here is that college graduates and professional employees engage in fewer risky behaviors, so their driving records are cleaner.
Check with your insurance provider to see if they offer specific discounts based on job titles, preferred companies, or career categories.
Rate Hike Alert!
If your new job comes with a significantly longer commute, your premiums may rise to account for all the additional driving you'll be doing.
Plus, if you start working downtown in the city and have to park your vehicle on the street instead of a parking garage/lot, your insurance company may charge you more since your car will be in a less desirable/safe area. Tuck in those mirrors that face the street!
Working from Home
If you decide to work from home, insurance companies will often reward you for slashing your commute to almost nil. The less time you're out on the road, the fewer chances you'll have to get into an accident that your insurance company will need to pay for.
So if you decide to start working for yourself, become a stay-at-home parent, have surgery that prohibits you from driving, or start taking public transit to work, speak to an insurance agent about how your rates should be adjusted.
Home, Sweet New Home
No one likes dealing with the hassles of moving, but your new locale may save you some money on car insurance every month.
If your new abode with the white picket fence is in a quiet residential area with very little traffic and even lower crime rates, you definitely scored a winner. And your insurance company will reward you for making such a smart decision with lower premiums.
If you're debating between two homes you really like, call your insurance provider to see if your rates will differ based on location. Does one home have a well-lit driveway? Does your condo have a security officer at the parking garage? These factors all matter.
Rate Hike Alert!
Moving from a sleepy town to a city like the Big Apple will probably increase your car insurance rates because you'll be spending the majority of your time in heavy traffic, have to park your car on the street, and drive a bit more aggressively. Auto insurance discount? Fuggedaboutit.
Auto insurance is typically the cheapest the further you are from the traffic and crime of the big city.
Major Credit Score Changes
It shocks most people to learn that their insurance rates rely heavily on their credit score. Whether it's fair or not, it's in your best interest to keep your credit score on the high end if you're looking for affordable premiums.
Numerous studies have linked higher credit scores with safer driving habits. Insurance companies use these studies to gauge how risky your behaviors are.
If you're the type to save money, plan ahead to make on-time payments, and never spend above your means, you're probably also the type to keep up with your car maintenance, obey the speed limit, and park in safe areas. You're an insurance company's dream.
Rate Hike Alert!
If your credit score takes a nosedive due to unemployment, medical expenses, or a reckless spending ex, your car insurance premiums will skyrocket. Your insurance company senses that you may be a risk for them to ensure, so they're going to try to collect as much as they can before you bail on your payments.
But there is good news!
Your credit score is not a permanent financial sentence destined to cause you hardship forever. Just like car insurance, your credit score can fluctuate based on your life choices. You can take steps to raise your credit score with a few helpful tools.
You can find a slew of credit repair sites online that will give you an understanding of your credit score and help you repair your credit history.
According to the U.S. government, 'The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires each of the nationwide credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion — to provide you with a free copy of your credit report, at your request, once every 12 months. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report here.'
Your Golden 50s
Similar to turning 25, when you reach your 50-55th birthday, call your insurance provider to see if you qualify for discounted premiums.
Assuming you've been driving since you were a teenager (back in the good ol' days!), you'll have plenty of (hopefully clean) driving history by the time you reach this milestone. Your insurance company will use your habits to determine if you're an expert level safe driver worth a discount.
Plus, by the time you hit this milestone, your kids will probably have their own insurance plans. Removing them from your policy will help save a nice chunk of change as well.
You may also have the luxury of being at the top of the corporate ladder now, meaning your salary will be higher (better job position, see #6) and you can afford safer cars for a double down on discounts.
Your Kids Go Away to College
If your young academics go away to college and don't bring their cars along for the ride, you can oftentimes ask your insurance company for a big discount on your premiums, as we know insuring young drivers is a financial pain in the you-know-what.
Living in your favorite Hawaiian shirt and skipping the daily rush hour commuter traffic is the life, right? On top of this wonderful relaxation, your insurance rates should decrease when you retire, too.
Plus, since most retirees don't drive as much as they used to, they tend to hang on to their cars for longer periods of time. After all, why get rid of that old Cadillac if it still runs and only has 13k miles?
Your insurance premiums should lower since covering an older car is cheaper than insuring a brand new Ferrari.
Now that you know which major milestones qualify for discounts in your insurance company's eyes, give them a call to negotiate a rate change. If you're not happy with the discounts they're offering, don't be scared to shop around for a new plan.
Our free Quote feature will help you search for competitive rates within minutes — and you don't even need to leave your house. Simply plug in your ZIP code, answer a few easy questions, and receive a quote from some of the top car insurance providers in the country. Talk about hassle-free!