Car costs got you down? The inimitable Suze Orman offers ten tips for keeping car insurance costs down in a world where gas prices continue to climb.
Here’s the short version:
* Boost your deductible. Keep cash on hand for emergencies, or call it partially self-insuring. This will keep your monthly payments down and you can earn interest instead.
* Get less mileage out of your policy. Less than 10,000 or 12,000 miles yearly can qualify you for an insurance discount. Drive for “pleasure” instead of “commuting” or “business” and get a discount.
* Home in on a discount. Bad pun, but if you include your home insurance with the same company that provides your auto insurance, you might qualify for a discount.
* Couple up on your policy. Two heads in one policy are better than one… policy for each head. You could get a 30% discount by joining forces to combat evil.
* Get defensive. Sometimes, taking a defensive driving course will lower your premium. Sometimes, it’s incredibly boring.
* Put your degree to work. I told you an advanced degree is worth it; here’s the proof. Give your insurance provider a list of your lettered qualifications.
* Play group. Suze suggests you look to your affiliated organizations like alumni groups or teachers’ associations. They may provide special rates.
* Slow down. Think Slow Poke, not Speedy Gonzalez. They only look at the last three years, so it won’t take too long to clean off your record from an insurance rate perspective.
* Give yourself credit. Insurance companies look at a number that is similar to your credit score, so make sure that you don’t declare bankruptcy or default on loans.
* Make the grade. A 3.0 GPA in high school of college often reduces premiums.
Suze also suggests being vigilant about how kids are assigned to cars. My father solved this problem very simply, but in a way that I found disappointing. When I reached driving age, he sold his BMW. (Or was it his Porsche? I don’t remember which he had at the time.) I’m relatively confident both vehicles were purchased used.
After getting rid of the mid-life crisis cars, he picked up a Nissan Maxima to add to our traditional family Subaru Station Wagon. The Maxima beat the old Datsun he had for years (even though Datsun and Maxima are/were the same company) when I was very young.
Updated January 20, 2012 and originally published May 9, 2006.