When you are out looking at a new or used car, you always look at the price and mentally calculate whether or not you can afford the payments. But one of the things that you need to also factor in is the cost of car insurance for that vehicle. Now more than ever before, car insurance rates are playing a major factor in determining how much it will cost you to drive that car every month.
One of the big questions in the minds of most consumers is whether or not “cheap" car insurance is worth it. In an ideal situation, you will never have to use it anyway, since you are not planning on getting into an accident, having your car stolen, having the car catch on fire, or having someone steal the tires and bumpers off of it. But we do not live in an ideal world and you cannot anticipate what MIGHT happen, so the car insurance companies need to play a part in how much money you put out to drive that car.
Does “cheap" car insurance really cover you? You need to take the time to read all that fine print and make that determination. It is all spelled out, and must be spelled out by law, but many people do not take the time to read all that fine print, and only discover that they are not covered when they need to file a claim. For example, if a tree branch falls on your car and totals it, if you did not read the fine print, you did not realize that your car is not covered if the tree is an OAK tree. For a pine tree or an elm tree, you would have been covered, but not with an oak tree.
While that may seem like a silly example, it is not all that far from the truth when you look at some of the exclusions that are in “cheap" car insurance policies. That is not to say that all cheap car insurance policies contain absurd exclusions in coverage, but you don't know that until you take the time to read the fine print of the policy, which must outline exactly what is and is not covered. If you do not take the time to read that, or even worse, simply take the insurance agent's word for it, shame on you.
Like with anything else, you need to make sure you are comparing apples to apples so you know who REALLY has the best price. If one policy is significantly cheaper than another policy, be a detective and search to find out why. You are likely to find that the cheaper policy does not include theft coverage, or that the deductible is $1000 instead of $250, or a huge variety of other items.
To keep your car insurance as low as possible, make sure you are comparing apples to apples, but also keep the following tips in mind:
1. Consider the car itself. Different cars have different rates and it is not just based on the value of the vehicle. Some vehicles are more in demand for car thieves, some are easier to steal, some have a really poor crash safety rating, etc. If you are in love with three different cars, factor in the different cost of insurance for each.
2. Consider the deductible. Your premiums will be different for a $100 deductible versus $250 or $500 or $1000. Also note that you can usually have different deductible amounts for different things, like $250 deductible on collision but $100 deductible on theft. You can reduce your premiums by raising your deductible.
3. Consider getting a car with anti-theft and/or safety devices in it, or if it is not equipped that way, consider having those things installed. But before you do, find out how much they will reduce your car insurance premiums, because with some policies, the devices may not make any appreciable difference.
And the overall best way to keep your car insurance premiums as low as possible is to take care of your car and drive carefully. Always lock your car, and drive carefully by observing posted speed limits and road signs. A moving violation ticket gets reported to the car insurance company, who is likely to raise your rates as a result.
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