How to save by cutting back on car insurance coverage

by: Robin Taylor Updated:

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PITTSBURGH -- With gas prices headed toward $4 a gallon, we're all looking for ways to cut costs, so it might be time to ask yourself whether you're spending too much on car insurance. Target 11 Consumer Investigator Robin Taylor looks at ways to save.

On average, Americans pay $1,000 a year for auto insurance, an expense you might be able to cut back on without feeling as if you're tightening your belt.

The first step is to take a close look at your auto insurance policy. In Pennsylvania, you have to carry liability insurance, but collision and comprehensive insurance are optional.

Collision covers damage to your vehicle and comes with a deductible. The higher the deductible, the lower the insurance premium; so if your deductible is $500 and you raised it to $750 or $1,000, that would lower your monthly payments.

Comprehensive insurance covers your vehicle if it's stolen or damaged. It's something you could drop if you have an old beater, especially if the Kelley Blue Book value is $1,000 or less.

In Pennsylvania, you also have to decide whether you want full tort or limited tort. Limited tort will save you money, but it limits financial compensation in an accident to serious injuries, such as death or disfigurement.

The next step is to shop around. If you haven't shopped for auto insurance lately, now's a good time to compare rates. It's a competitive market and you may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year.

You should also ask about good driver, multiple car, and theft-protection discounts. They may be available, but you won't get them unless you ask.

Also, keep an eye on your credit rating. It affects how much you pay. Insurance companies have found people with lower credit ratings are more likely to file claims.