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Lowering your auto premiums one way to cut home budgets

TOPEKA, Kan. — Budget-conscious families look for ways to find savings in most aspects of their daily lives. Although vehicle insurance premiums might not be a primary way to reduce household costs, Kansans could be surprised what a little forethought might do to help lower your out-of-pocket vehicle expenses.

As you study your vehicle insurance, a few common-sense activities could make the difference. Below are some ideas for cutting your insurance costs.

  • Compare premium rates for identical coverages and terms.
  • Maintain a good driving record that doesn’t have moving traffic violations and/or chargeable accidents.
  • Consider raising your deductible on comprehensive and collision coverage.
  • Before purchasing a vehicle, determine the cost of the insurance. Repairs to some makes and models cost more than others, and they can increase your premium rates.
  • Consider having liability-only coverage — as opposed to full coverage (which includes comprehensive and collision) — on motor vehicles valued less than $3,000. Your savings on premiums could be significant.
  • Review your personal automobile insurance coverage periodically with your agent or insurance company.
  • You may qualify for a discount if two or more vehicles are insured with the same company or your vehicles have airbags, anti-lock brakes and/or other safety equipment.
  • If you have other insurance policies — such as homeowners, renters, life or health —with the same insurance company, you may qualify for a discount.
  • Look for a senior driving refresher course, such as AARP’s Smart Driver, a program conducted by the National Institute of Highway Safety, or one offered by AAA. Participation in these programs could help older Kansans qualify for an auto premium discount.
  • If you will be traveling extensively or will be deployed in the military for an extended period — and no one will be driving your vehicle — you may be able to suspend some of your coverage to save on premium payments. However, any vehicle with a highway title must carry liability coverage.

Here are some additional tips especially for teenage and young adult driving situations:

  • If your teenager doesn’t own a car — meaning the title isn’t in his or her name — and has had no moving traffic violations and/or chargeable accidents, you can have your teen rated on your family’s personal auto insurance policy as an occasional operator.
  • Check for discounts available through your insurance company. You may be able to get a discount for having multiple vehicles insured by one company.
  • Often, teenage drivers are assigned to the most expensive car in the household. You can save money by making sure your teen’s name is assigned to the right car.
  • A teenager should consider the cost of insurance in financial calculations when buying a first vehicle. Insurance rates vary with the type and model of vehicle. For example, SUVs and performance vehicles typically cost more to insure than other vehicles.
  • If you have a low net worth, don’t go overboard when purchasing liability coverage.
  • If you purchase a used car, consider dropping the collision coverage as a way to cut expenses. The cost of collision coverage can exceed the value of an older car. Realize, however, that if you have a lienholder for the vehicle, you might have to have full coverage.
  • A higher deductible will lower your premiums.

You can also gather more information about vehicle insurance appropriate for your life stage by going online to www.InsureUOnline.org, an educational program provided by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Good luck in your budget planning.

Source: Kansas Insurance Department

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