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15 Things to Watch With Car Insurance

Cut down on expenses by finding ways to save on your car insurance. Saving on insurance can be pretty simple, if you know what to do. Check out these tips.

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Consider Reducing Auto CoverageFamily Handyman

Consider Reducing Auto Coverage

Old cars (10-plus years) aren't worth much. So at a certain point it doesn't make sense to keep paying for collision and comprehensive (C&C) coverage on them. First, find the "book" value of your vehicle (, or or at the library). Then add up the annual premiums for C&C. Chances are, you're paying for the full value of the vehicle every three years. If you're comfortable accepting a low level of risk, cancel your C&C coverage and put that money away. You'll probably come out ahead.
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Kid at College?Family Handyman

Kid at College?

If you have a kid away at college, minus the family car, your insurance rates will be lower. Tell your agent that your kid is at school and work out arrangements for those few days when he or she is home. If your student has a car at school, you should still notify your agent. The rates may be lower based on the school's location.
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Change Jobs or Retire?Family Handyman

Change Jobs or Retire?

If you drive 20 miles to work every day, you're paying a higher premium than people who drive only 5 miles. So if you get a new job closer to home, tell your agent immediately. Also, if you're lucky enough to retire, tell your agent so they can reclassify you as a "pleasure driver." You'll see a drop in your premiums in both cases.
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Track Your TicketsFamily Handyman

Track Your Tickets

Insurance companies check your driving record regularly and increase your premium on the next bill if they find a traffic violation. But they're not always so quick to reduce your premium later when the violation falls off your record. So keep track of the dates of your tickets and ask for a reduction once your record is "clean" (usually three years, but check with your state's Department of Motor Vehicles). Find out how to make your tires last if your burning enough rubber to get pulled over and why changing car oil is easier than you think.
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Avoid Small Claims

If you get a small dent or other minor damage on an older car, think twice about filing a claim and getting it fixed. To avoid rate hikes, it might be worth your while to just live with it if there are no safety issues. And if you have towing coverage on your policy and use it to get your jalopy towed every six months, be ready for a 10 percent rate increase on your next renewal. Buy a roadside assistance plan (available from AAA, AARP and other vendors) instead. It’s cheaper.

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Pay in Advance

You pay lots extra if you’re paying your car insurance monthly. Find out the least expensive pay-period, usually six months. If you have the cash, you could save even more money by paying the full year’s premium in advance (check with your agent).

See why changing your spark plugs early is going to save money and why you really need to drive 55.

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shutterstock_546271135 saving money wallet with dollars save money108Photo/Shutterstock

Complete a “Senior Driver” Training (and Refresher) Course

Most insurance companies offer a discount for each driver 55 and older who takes an authorized driver safety education program (some states mandate this discount). The initial course is eight hours, and some companies (and states) allow you to take a four-hour online version. Classroom rates vary. You’ll be a safer driver and can pocket the savings every year. For more information, contact your insurance agent, AARP, AAA or your local adult education center, or search the internet for “senior driver.”

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Shop Early

Everyone should shop around for new insurance rates every three years. Insurance companies reward early shopping (30 days before renewal is perfect) by giving better rates. Last-minute shopping (less than 10 days before the policy expires) makes insurance companies think you’re irresponsible, and that will be reflected in a higher quote.

Learn the car buying negotiation skills for your next car purchase and how to walk out of the dealership with the best deal on a car.

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Install an Alarm

The discount varies by location, the make and model of the alarm, and the theft likelihood of your particular vehicle model. But insurance companies give the largest discounts for installing a “stolen vehicle recovery” system like MobileGuardian, LoJack, VehicleRECOVER or GM’s OnStar. These systems can locate a stolen vehicle within minutes and prevent a total loss. The discount alone may pay for one of these systems in just a few years.

You can learn more about these systems by visiting, and

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dfh5_shutterstock_638733571 car tail light bumperAngelo Cordeschi/Shutterstock

Raise Your Deductible

As your car ages, the need for a low deductible decreases. As you increase your deductible, your rates will go down, somewhere in the neighborhood of up to 9 percent. The rate of savings all depends on where you live, too.

Save some bucks by doing body work at home as well.

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Multiple-Policy Holders

Bundling car, home and life insurance together is no joke when it comes to saving money. Many insurers will offer discounts on each if you keep all your insurance coverages in one place.

Change your siding if you want to save on homeowners insurance.

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Family Handyman

Report Reduced Mileage

By taking public transit, carpooling, riding a bike or walking you can reduce the mileage you use your vehicle for, which means less risk for the insurance company. Some carriers offer pay-as-you-drive insurance and it might make sense if you drive fewer than 12,000 miles a year.

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Family Handyman

Drive a Car That’s Cheap to Insure

There’s the old legend that driving a red car will cost you more to insure so there’s also some truth driving a car that is cheap to insure as a way to save money.

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Mention Your Low-Risk Occupation

Don’t rush out the switch careers to save on car insurance but low-risk occupations like scientist, nurse, pilot, accountant, teacher and artist have statistically shown to have a low risk of crashes. So be nice to a teacher and especially an accountant.