Many people buy the cheapest car insurance policy without taking into account the reality of what they need. Because of soaring car insurance prices some people just want to be able to drive and can afford only so much insurance, so they settle for the cheapest priced insurance. If you have a business or property or any other assets, they may be in jeopardy if your insurance does not cover the damages you are liable for. So choosing the right amount of auto insurance coverage is crucial to your financial well being.
The best car insurance for you isn’t necessarily the cheapest but one that reaches a balance between your coverage needs and budget. But, if you have many assets you should get enough liability coverage to protect them. For example: you have $50,000 of bodily injury liability coverage and $100,000 in personal assets. If you’re at fault in an accident, attorneys for the other party can go after you for the $50,000 in medical bills that aren’t covered by your policy.
General recommendations for liability limits are $50,000 bodily injury liability for one person injured in an accident, $100,000 for all people injured in an accident and $25,000 property damage liability. So If you have no assets that an attorney can seek, don’t buy coverage unnecessarily.
Your driving habits can also be a consideration in determining the coverage you need. If your past is filled with crumpled fenders, or if you have had speeding tickets, or if you make a long commute on a hazardous road every day, then you need to get more complete coverage. Collision coverage pays for damage that your car experiences in an accident or damage from hitting an inanimate object (a tree, light post or fence, for example). Comprehensive coverage addresses damage that didn’t occur in a collision – such as from fire, theft or flood. It also covers damaged windshields.
A comprehensive insurance policy is the most common type that covers your car and the damage caused to other property. Cheaper third-party property damage is suited for cars typically worth less than about $5000, which covers the damage you cause to others but not your own car.
Ways to reduce your Auto Insurance Premium
-Shop around for insurers and cars if you are undecided. Get quotes on different cars, as premiums differ.
-Buy an affordable, mainstream car. The dearer and faster the car, the more expensive it is to insure.
-Get quotes online and finalise over the phone, if necessary. Most insurers offer a discounted online price and an over-the-phone price.
-Opt to pay your premium in an annual lump sum rather than in instalments that may attract a higher rate.
-For couples, ask if you can base the policy on the female/wife with male/husband listed as a nominated driver. Male drivers statistically are a higher risk.
-Consider increasing the excess to an amount with which you are comfortable and check whether this significantly reduces your premium.
-Multi-policy discounts may be available when a car or house and contents insurance is bundled.
-Disclose where your car is kept overnight (such as a locked garage, carport, secure car park) as this is a large risk factor for theft, consequently affecting your premium.
-Avoid finance, if possible, or inquire which options can affect your premium.
-Combine policies with one carrier. You may save money if you insure all your vehicles, including trailers and recreational vehicles, on a single policy. Your car premium also may go down if you buy homeowners’ or life insurance from the same company.
-Avoid vehicle modifications. This affects the performance and handling characteristics of a car and may also increase its appeal to thieves.
-Request a discount at renewal time. It is a competitive market and insurers want to retain customers.
-List nominated drivers on your policy and/or exclude younger drivers. Statistically, young male drivers are the highest risk and the premium increases accordingly.
-Encourage young drivers to build their own insurance rating by taking out a policy in their own name instead of being a listed driver on their parents’ policy. Most insurers don’t recognise the latter as insurance history and assume you have never had insurance and charge accordingly. However, many will acknowledge a claim-free history of third-party property cover and honour a rating/no-claim bonus as though you’ve always had comprehensive cover.
-Request higher deductibles. The deductible is the amount of money you have to fork over before your insurance policy comes to the rescue. By bumping your deductible up from $200 to $500, you could lower the cost of your collision and comprehensive coverage by 15 percent to 30 percent. By increasing it to $1,000, you could decrease that cost by at least 40 percent.
-Forgo coverage you don’t need. Think about dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverage on older cars with a low market value. Such coverage often is not worth it because any claim you make probably won’t exceed the cost of the insurance and the deductible amount.
-Avoid duplicating medical coverage. If you already have good health, life and disability insurance, buy only the minimum personal injury protection required by the state where you live.
-Opt for safety gear. You can qualify for a discount on many policies if you have air bags, automatic seat belts, anti-lock brakes and daytime running lights. An approved alarm system or other anti-theft device can give you additional savings.
-Ask about other discounts. You also might be able to pay less if you’re older than 50 or 55 and/or retired; if you’ve had no accidents or moving violations in three years; or if you’re a longtime customer.