Dollars & Sense

Char Telkamp

Char Telkamp

Want to save money? Here are nine suggestions to help you save on your auto insurance policies.

1.Comparison shop.

Use consumer information provided by your state’s insurance department. These guides tell you what coverages you need and show you sample rates, usually from the biggest companies. Get quotes from at least three insurers.

2. Ask for higher deductibles.

When you file a claim, a deductible is the amount of money you pay before your insurance company pays for the rest of the damage. Higher deductibles mean lower premiums. For example, increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 on collision coverage could reduce your premium by as much as 30 percent – potentially saving you hundreds of dollars.

3. Drop collision and/or comprehensive coverages on older cars.

If you own a car that’s worth less than $2,000, you’ll probably pay more for the coverage than you would ever collect on a claim. Although insurance companies use their own criteria to determine fair market value for vehicles, you can find out how much your car is generally worth by using the Kelley Blue Book.

4. Buy a “low-profile” car.

Cars that are expensive to repair or that have a high theft rate generally have higher insurance costs.

5. Take advantage of low-mileage discounts.

Some insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who put fewer than a predetermined number of miles on their vehicles each year. And with the high price of gasoline, carpooling and taking public transportation around town can help you save more than just premium dollars.

6. Consider insurance cost when making a move.

Costs tend to be lowest in rural communities and highest in cities, where more traffic congestion occurs and the likelihood of theft increases.

7. Ask about discounts for air-bags and other safety features.

Your insurance agent should let you know about these discounts when you purchase your coverage. Most policies give discounts for airbags.

8. Ask about antilock brake discounts.

Some states, including Florida and New York, require insurers to give discounts for cars equipped with antilock brakes. Some insurance companies give the discount no matter where you live.

9. Ask about other discounts.

Some companies offer discounts for insuring more than one car, also insuring your home with them (known as a multiline discount), having no accidents in three years, taking driver training courses, and having antitheft devices. Plus, remember good-student discounts.

The 10 most expensive 2002 vehicles to insure are:

1.Mitsubishi Montero Sport

2.Chevrolet Corvette Convertible

3.Lexus GS 430

4.Cadillac Escalade

5.BMW 7 Series

6.*Honda Civic Coupe

7.Chevrolet Corvette Coupe

8.Mitsubishi Mirage Coupe

9.Toyota 4Runner

10.BMW 5 Series

*Drivers may be surprised to find their Honda Civic in the top 10, but Hondas such as the Civic and the Accord are repeatedly high on the theft list, since parts are so valuable on the street, thus pushing premiums up.

The 10 least expensive 2002 cars to insure

1.Buick LeSabre

2.Oldsmobile Silhouette

3.Honda Odyssey

4.Buick Park Avenue

5.Pontiac Montana

6.Mercury Grand Marquis

7.Buick Century

8.Chevrolet Venture

9.GMC Safari

10.Oldsmobile Bravada