While the tax credits for hybrids are fast disappearing as more and more people are going green (and saving money on gas), there are still other financial advantages of hybrid ownership.
Hybrid auto insurance discounts vary greatly from company to company, and are not applicable to all coverage. Farmer’s was the first company to offer a generic “hybrid discount,” and their reduction is about 5%, but is limited to California residents. Traveler’s was the first to advertise a national discount program. It’s a reduction of up to 10%, but there are specific requirements. Other major insurers have since jumped on the hybrid discount bandwagon, and offer “hybrid discounts” of 7-10%.
Other Discounts Available
Despite these hybrid discounts, insuring an “alternative fuel” car is still pretty pricey, because there are fewer accident statistics available to insurance industry analysts, and because of the specialized parts that require equally specialized repair shops.
Hybrid drivers, however, tend to be safe, experienced drivers from upper-middle-class socioeconomic backgrounds, and it is that trend that allows for savings. Translation: while you may not get a huge discount just because of your car’s eco-friendly status, you can add to the hybrid discount with others, to increase your savings.
What are those other discounts? Here is a representative sample:
- Auto/Home/Life Bundling: If you bundle all of your insurance policies with one insurance company, you’ll save some money (2-3% ) on all of them. If life insurance isn’t part of your package, don’t despair. You’ll still save money by bundling just auto and home coverage.
- Anti-theft Devices: If your hybrid is fitted with an alarm system, engine immobilizer, or a tracking device, like LoJack, you may qualify for a discount on your insurance.
- Low Mileage: Hybrids are hardly meant for routine long-haul treks. If your mileage is lower than 14,000 miles/year, you probably qualify for a low mileage discount.
- Mature Driver/Good Student: Since hybrid drivers tend to be well-established in life, and in their professions, it’s quite possible your age will earn you a “mature driver” discount. If you’re the parent of teen drivers, you can capitalize on their good grades with a “good student” discount as well, but be aware teen insurance is still expensive no matter what powers the vehicle.
- Defensive Driving: Did you know you can get cheaper insurance by taking a class? Most insurance companies offer a 3-year/3% discount for clients who take defensive driving classes when they do NOT have a traffic ticket to erase, and after the three years are up, you’re allowed to repeat the course, and reinstate the discount.
Of course, the discounts listed above are just some of the ways hybrid drivers can maximize their savings. You can also raise your deductible, which will lower the premium you pay, for example. When you are next shopping for new insurance, or negotiating a renewal with your existing provider, be sure to ask what other discounts and credits they offer.