How to Cut Car Insurance Costs

May 25, 2010

Sure, you’ve had it since you were 16, but have you thought about how to maximize your policy and minimize payments?

Who Needs It Most

If you have a car, you need auto insurance. Most states have minimums, at least for liability, and insurers will generally suggest coverage ranges for other types of car insurance based on where you live, what you drive, and how you drive.

What to Ask Your Insurer

  • Are you covered against uninsured drivers, or do you need a separate policy?
  • Do you want or need roadside assistance with your policy? (If you belong to a roadside assistance club like AAA, you don’t need double coverage.)
  • Will your policy pay for a rental if your car is out of service?

How to Get Costs Down

  • If you haven’t consolidated policies with your spouse, make sure to do it. Statistics show that married couples are less of a claims risk, which means lower premiums. You also may be eligible for other discounts, so ask your insurer.
  • Bundling multiple insurance policies can lower your bottom line, whether it’s grouping your property, auto, and even life insurance policies.
  • As cars age, the cost of repairing them rises — so you may pay more for collision insurance on a clunker than on a new car. If it’s cheaper to replace your car than to repair it, reduce or eliminate your collision coverage.
  • Consider raising your deductible (maybe you’d be responsible for the first $500 in damages rather than the first $250). The increase may be offset in the long run by lower monthly payments.
  • Research the insurability of any new car you plan to buy. Vintage models or often-stolen cars (like Honda Civics, which are easy for thieves to strip for parts) may cost you more than a pricier but lower-maintenance vehicle.

Illustration by Joora Song

Kristen Finello

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