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Survive This Economy: Cut Your Car Insurance Costs

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Marcus and Sinora Wright (Credit: CBS)

Marcus and Sinora Wright (Credit: CBS)

Dorothy Tucker Dorothy Tucker
Dorothy Tucker has served as a reporter for CBS 2 Chicago since 1984....
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Owning a car is expensive, especially in this economy; but the Wrights – a suburban couple with four kids — found a way to save more than $1,000 on their auto insurance.

CBS 2′s Dorothy Tucker explains how they did it and how it can help you save too.

The Wrights have three cars, and three drivers, one of them a teenager.

They were paying a premium of more than $2,600 a year to a major insurance company. Looking to save money, they asked for a better rate.

Marcus Wright said he told their insurance company, “We’ve been here five years, we haven’t made any claims. … We need a little help, so what can you do to help me out with?’”

The company offered to knock $400 off the Wrights’ bill. They were hoping for more.

They compared insurance rates on a website called lowermybills.com. You put in all your information and companies compete for your business. After several quotes the Wrights chose Farmers Insurance.

“We have the same coverage, exactly the same,” Wright said.

The Wrights saved $1,200 by making the switch.

“I love it,” Wright said. “Imagine that you’re going to save $1,200 in a year, just by switching – $600 up front, $600 on the back end – that’s freaking magnificent.”

Switching worked out well for the Wrights, but if you want to stay with your current company, experts say there are still ways to save.

“There are numerous discounts that are offered by the insurance companies,” Andrew Schrage, editor of the Money Crashers personal finance blog.

• At the top of the list, don’t pay in monthly installments;
• pay up front and save at least 10 percent;
• get a 5 percent discount if you’re retired or if your teenage driver is away at college;
• ask for a reduction if you haven’t had any claims;
• and check out discounts for certain low-risk professions, including teachers, engineers, scientists.

Other insurance deductions include being a member of the military, or belonging to certain professional organizations.

The Wrights will make the switch to their new insurance company at the end of the month, which means their total savings will amount to $2,037 since CBS 2 started helping them cut their expenses by consulting various experts.

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