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Automotive - Maintain
Written by the frugal nomad   
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Want save some money on your car insurance premiums?  There's a lot more to it than just picking GEICO, Progressive, State Farm or Allstate.  Here's a list of monetary and non-monetary strategies to keep down your car insurance bill and cut your costs by hundreds of dollars every year.

Non-Monetary Ways to Save on Car Insurance

Non-monetary strategies have to do with both your driving record and your consumption habits.

1. Do not drive under the influence of alcohol. Many states have mandatory sentences for what used to be considered a misdemeanor moving violation and the pain doesn’t stop when you get out of jail. If you get convicted of a DUI, your insurance premiums will go through the roof by a few hundred percentage points.

2. Don’t speed. Speeding tickets will stay on your record for a minimum of three years. Most people get all worked up about the size of the fine they have to pay. What should really make you sweat is the additional premiums you will incur and whether your policy gets cancelled by your carrier. Just try shopping around for another policy and having to explain that the reason you don’t have current insurance is because your old carrier dumped you.

3. If you have young drivers in your household, make sure they’ve taken a driver’s education course. Teenagers have accidents at an alarmingly high rate. Even if you've been driving accident free for fifteen years, a single incident involving a minor will blow the fantastic rates that you've been getting based on your sterling record.

4. Buy your home insurance and your car insurance from the same company - they will usually offer a discount if you have both policies with them.

5. Drive a car you can afford and drive it as long as you can. The difference in what you pay in insurance can be as much as your car payment. So do yourself a favor - do the math before you rush out and buy a new car with an installment loan. There is a right time to buy a new car and you’ll know it’s the right time when you look at the balance in your savings account and there’s more than enough money to pay cash for your dream machine.

6. Reduce the number of cars in your household. It’s not only environmentally correct - it’s a sane thing to do. Most urban dwellers can do just fine with one car in the house. Obama did - at least up until he got this great job on Pennsylvania Avenue. I know dozens of people in Seattle, San Francisco and New York that have done without a car forever. It’s just one more hassle to deal with and you can always take the subway, call a taxi, ride a bicycle or walk. If you need a car for a vacation, rent one, weekend rates are often as low as $15 a day.

7. If you’re self-employed, try to put a car in the name of the business. That way you can expense it or depreciate it and your maintenance and insurance are effectively tax-deductible.


Monetary Ways to Reduce Car Insurance

Monetary strategies to insure you pay the lowest possible car insurance premiums.

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Audrey  - Great Advice |2010-03-22 18:46:19
I own an 03 Subaru Outback. The new ones are so tempting to buy, but my insurance does stay low by having an older vehicle. I agree with going with one company for home and auto insurance - personally I save about $100 a year doing this. I go through AAA of Washington for mine.
frugal nomad  - You should definitely check your policy |2010-03-23 16:50:44
Even if you have an old car, it's up to you to call the insurance company up and cancel the collision coverage. Just look over your policy. Put a realistic valuation on your car's value. Try blue book unless it's really in top shape. Then figure out what the collision premium is as a percentage of the car's value. If you plan to keep it for three years - multiply the annual collision premium by three. Then ask yourself if it makes sense to pay that much money or if you're better off taking the risk and being self-insured on collision.

Keep in mind that the only reason you need collision is if the accident is all your fault. If you're in a no fault state and you have uninsured drivers coverage - it really doesn't make sense.

A lot of time you're insured for less than you think on collision. Your carrier can make an estimate of 'scrap value' and hand you a check for that amount.

Even if you're in an accident, how likely is it that you're going to total the car.

Saver |2010-04-08 09:21:39
Putting a car in the name of the business usually means that you need commercial insurance, which is WAY more expensive than personal insurance.

Check for good student discounts.

The best thing you can do is SHOP AROUND... every renewal and even during your term.
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