Question: How can I get cheap car insurance for my seven-year-old vehicle (2006 Kia Optima)?
Answer: The best way to get cheap car insurance is to do a car insurance comparison to seek out the best rates.
Well, it’s actually a little more complicated than just comparing car insurance rates, but not by much.
At seven years old, your car isn’t new anymore, but it isn’t exactly over the hill, either. This makes it an important time to decide what coverages, limits and deductibles best suit your needs and should be part of your car insurance policy. Your choices on these items can lower, or raise, your car insurance bill.
Just to register and operate your vehicle on the roadway, you’re required to carry bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverages in most states, including your home state of Alabama.
If your 2006 Kia Optima is still financed, then your lender will also require you to carry physical damage coverages of collision and comprehensive on the vehicle to protect it if it’s damaged.
However, if you own the car outright, you can carry just the state minimum car insurance limits if you want to.
Depending upon what your vehicle is worth, you may decide that you’d rather drop collision and comprehensive and instead save the money you would spend on that portion of your premium for your next vehicle. If you wouldn’t pay to repair your car if it had a major mechanical issue, then it is likely time to drop collision and comprehensive.
And you should always drop collision and comprehensive -- assuming you don't owe anything on the car -- if the premium for these coverages plus your deductible matches or exceeds the value of the vehicle.
If you have assets you want to protect, such as a home, savings account and items of this nature, then you’d normally want to carry bodily injury liability and property damage liability limits higher than your state minimum limits.
It doesn’t have to break the bank to carry higher liability limits of 100/300/50. (See “Extra liability is cheap, cheap, cheap”) However, if you don't have assets and just want the cheapest car insurance possible, then you can choose state-minimum limits.
If you keep collision and comprehensive on your Kia, then you have a choice of what deductible amount you’d pay for each coverage.
Choosing a higher deductible will result in a reduction in your physical damage rates. Thus, I'd recommend instead of picking a low deductible of $250 or less to go with a higher amount of $500 or even $1,000. Just make certain you can afford the deductible amount if you need to make a claim.
More ways to save
- Pay for minor damages yourself - Hand in hand with choosing a higher deductible, you can choose to pay personally for minor damages to your vehicle (if you don’t have an at-fault driver to make a claim against) instead of putting in a claim and raising future rates. Paying $550 to get your car repaired makes more sense than paying your $500 deductible, making a claim for $50 and getting your rates raised for the next three years.
- Keep a clean driving record - Want to not only find cheap car insurance rates but keep them? Then you need to keep your driving record clear of traffic violations and accidents. The better driver you appear as to an insurer the better your rates will be. That could mean putting in some effort to keep any tickets you do get off your record, either by hiring legal help or checking into traffic schools or other plea arrangements.
- Drive less - Putting fewer miles on your vehicle annually should result in a reduction in rates. You may even want to try out a pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) plan. These plans use a telematics device to measure your driving behavior by monitor items such as mileage driven, speed, time of day you drive and braking. You can then receive decent size discount if you’re found to be a low-risk driver.
- Ask for discounts -You don’t have to be monitored to receive some discounts. Having multiple cars on the same policy or multiple policies with the same insurer can give you discounts. Being a good driver, taking a defensive driving course or being part of a certain organization may get you a discount; it varies from insurer to insurer what discounts are offered and how much of a discount you can receive.
Keeping the above tips in mind, go and comparison shop with multiple car insurance companies. By comparing apples to apples (the same coverages, limits and deductibles) you'll be able to find the car insurance provider that is pricing competitively for your specific combination of rating factors.