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Posts tagged with: car insurance

Totaled Car but So Grateful

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As I mentioned in yesterday’s post regarding my New Debt and New Car, we have gone just at 8 weeks with one car. It has been hard, but we made it through and no one missed any commitments or activities or work!

Sea Cadet got up most mornings and took me to work, and then returned to pick me up. We were able to borrow my Grandmother’s car most evenings when Gymnast had practice, and I was able to find a steady ride Princess to youth group (when Sea Cadet is in class and I am an hour away with Gymnast.) You can see, it’s been a bit of a juggling act.

Needless to say, we were all really grateful when we unloaded our new to us car from my Uncle’s trailer Saturday morning on our way to drop Gymnast at practice. But within minutes of his drop off, that all changed…

1996 Honda Accord


Sea Cadet ran head on into a car turning left. It was his fault. The car is no longer driveable. Thankfully, both drivers (no passengers) walked away with very minor injuries, nothing broken. It could have been ALOT worse. Princess and I were right behind him when it occurred. I am so glad he didn’t have to go through what can be a very scary process alone.

His car is totaled, but we did not carry comprehensive insurance on it, so there is no replacement help. Thankfully it was paid off. (Our liability insurance will take care of the other driver’s damage and medical, thank goodness for good insurance. Thanks, USAA!)

Once again, we are back down to one car. But I am so grateful that this wreck was not worse! This will definitely have financially implications, but haven’t had time to wrap my head around them all yet. Right now, just figuring out how to get him to all his obligations as I am not quite ready to turn over my new car to him.

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4 Smart Ways to Save Money on Car Insurance

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The cost of auto insurance often causes people to lower their deductibles until they find a premium that they can afford. Unfortunately, that generally leaves people with deductibles that they can’t meet if anything ever happens, making the insurance pointless. Before you start lowering your deductibles, follow these money-saving steps to save money and still have proper coverage.

Re-Evaluate Collision and Comprehensive

If you are in an accident and it’s ruled someone else’s fault, the other driver’s insurance pays for the damage to your vehicle. However, if it’s your fault or you hit something other than a car, the collision insurance comes into play. Comprehensive pays you if there in an event other than a collision, such as theft, vandalism, or a flood. Your insurance company will pay you the value of your vehicle if it is totaled. If you drive an old car that isn’t worth much more than $1,000-$2,000, it doesn’t make much sense to pay for the insurance every month, and pay a deductible after the accident. If your car isn’t worth the cost of the comprehensive and collision insurance, just remove it completely.

Ask About Discounts

One important and effective way to save money on your car insurance is by asking about discounts. There are discounts for more things than you can imagine. However, the exact discounts depend on the insurance provider. Different companies choose the discounts that they offer, so it’s not all the same. Some companies might offer discounts to college students. Some only offer discounts to students who have a B average or higher. Most car insurance companies all carry discounts for active duty military and people with a clean driving record. While military veteran discounts aren’t always specifically advertised, most companies will give the military discount to veterans if they ask. You can also receive discounts if you affiliate with different unions or agencies. The insurance agency should have a list of affiliations that you can choose from.

Monitoring Programs

Some car insurance companies will give you the option to participate in monitoring programs. These programs give you a device to put on your car, and they will record when the car is speeding, when there are sudden stops, and also audio and video footage. If you want to put the monitoring devices on your teen’s car, you can also set up e-mail and text alerts that let you know when your child arrives in the locations that they’re going. The insurance can be reduced significantly; usually between 10 and 15 percent.

Keep Your Credit Score Good

Your credit score affects your insurance premiums more than you realize. When you get an insurance quote, they check your credit score along with your driving record. If you credit isn’t good, your payments are going to be higher. Keep your bills paid and your credit straight. So your premiums don’t go up as your bills go into collections.

If you’re tired of premiums you can’t afford or deductibles that are too high to even matter, you need to go over all of the different ways you can save money. Consider the monitoring program, re-evaluate your discounts, and decide if certain coverage is even needed on your vehicle.


Saving Money on Car Insurance

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When I first started to blog here a couple years ago I saved a TON of money on car insurance by reducing our coverage to a more reasonable level (we were way over-insured at the time).

Since then I really haven’t given insurance much thought.

But after our trip to Texas over the Christmas vacation, I was left with a  few chips in my windshield. I went to a place to have the chips repaired and discovered that although my insurance covers repairs 100%, they do NOT cover full glass replacement. The person who was doing the repairs put a black light (or some kind of ultraviolet or something) on my car and showed me the truth….I thought I had 3 chips but I had about 15. ALL OVER the windshield. Plus I’ve had previous chips repaired, which are still visible. Basically, the windshield is a whole big mess.

At that time I also discovered that windshields are crazy-expensive! To replace it paying outright would be over a thousand dollar for my car make and model. What in the world!?

But the repair shop guy gave me a good tip. He said I needed to call and increase my insurance to cover full windshield replacement. “It will cost about 3 bucks a month,” he said. Plus, given the amount of driving we do (biannual cross-country trips:  every summer and winter), the odds of having future windshield chips are HIGH. The guy can continue repairing and repairing, but at some point the windshield really needs to be replaced.

This was back in early January and I just now got around to calling my insurance company to increase my insurance so it includes windshield replacement.

The repair guy was a little bit off (it’s more like $10/month, not $3/month), but the call actually ended up SAVING me money rather than costing me money!

The representative on the phone said we haven’t updated our personal information in several years. She asked where we worked and what we did and, lo and behold, entering in that information actually ended up saving us about $15/month. So now we were actually paying LESS even though I’d increased our coverage.

But wait, there’s more…

Initially I’d tried to add the windshield coverage online and couldn’t figure it out (which is why I ended up calling in and speaking to a representative). However, when I was online there was a little box that popped up saying I could save $160 if I paid in full rather than through monthly installments. I asked the representative what I was paying for an installment fee because I’d thought it was super low. She responded with “The installment fee is $1 per month.” So I was like, “Uhhhh, that’s $12 per year. So pre-paying saves 12 bucks. Why does it say online that I could save $160?!”

Turns out, not only do you save the installment fee, but they also give you one monthly payment FOR FREE (which is where the $160 came from – because that’s about one month worth of car insurance).

WHAT? Shut the front door! How have I not known about this all along?!?

They only pre-pay for 6 months at a time (not a full year), but I sure did throw down payment as quickly as I could grab my wallet! So this month we’ll have a pretty high insurance payment coming out of our budget, but this will end up saving us money in the long-run (and we’ll just have to increase our “semi-annual fees” monthly budget to account for this expense).

So as a lesson to all of you:  1) if you haven’t updated personal information in awhile, you might want to call and see if it can save you some money! and 2) find out if you can save serious money by pre-paying your insurance!  All along I’d just assumed the only savings was that measly $1/month installment fee. Who cares about that? But saving an entire month of car insurance is a bigger deal! I feel like it should be more heavily advertised! I’m not sure if all carriers have similar deals, but we’ve got Progressive so if they’re your insurance carrier, give them a call! (side note: they don’t know about the blog, this is not sponsored or anything, just giving a heads up to save some money!)

What’s the last big ticket item on which you were able to cash in some big savings?


The Next Step, Part II

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This is a follow up post to The Next Step. There was an over-whelming consensus that this should be my next debt tackled even though people didn’t agree on how.  So here is my plan…

Because I have eliminated all other consumer debt other than this car loan…I have two lines of credit open with no balance.  I called and asked if the introductory offer still stood that I used last December…any transferred balance 0% interest for 6 months.  Wonderful news…it does!

So I have transferred the balance of HIS car loan to my line of credit, effectively paying off the car and I should receive a clear title.  Yeah!

That gives me a balance of just at $3,000 at 0% for 6 months…$500 per month to pay it off with no new interest.  Seems like a good deal to me.  He will continue paying $246 per month to me until the balance is paid, but I will have cleared it off my credit by early 2016.

(We have also dealt with his moving the car out of state…after research done with the state’s DMV in question and insurance company.  All above board when that move actually happens which I have no ETA on that from him, but I’m prepared for when it does.)


How I’m Saving Extra Cash with My Car This Year

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When it comes to saving money, I’ve found that the best policy is to find little leaks that can be easily plugged, but the savings derived from them adds up over time. Recently I took a look at my car, and I took five steps that will save me hundreds of dollars this year. This is far from comprehensive from what you can do to save money on your car, but it can show that just thinking about how you might save in one area can help you come up with creative ways to do so.

Take off the Ski Rack

I haven’t been skiing for about 2 months, but I still had my ski rack on top of my car. It took five minutes to remove it and store it in the garage until next year, but doing so will improve the gas mileage my car gets because there won’t be the resistance and drag the ski rack caused. I have a bike rack too, but I won’t put it on until I need to use it, and I’m determined to take it off between uses this summer.

Regularly Rotate My Tires

I buy my tires at Costco. What a lot of people don’t know is that they will rotate your tires for free (Les Schwab, Big O, and some other tire outlets offer this service for free as well). I do this regularly because I didn’t do it with my last set fo tires and due to uneven tire wear, I ended up losing about 10,000 miles of life on them according to the tire guy. That ends up being enough miles that I would have to buy an extra set of tires for me car during its lifetime if I didn’t get the rotated every 5000 miles. With a set of tires costing hundreds of dollars, that’s a big saving for something that’s simple to do if you make the time for it.

Don’t Use My Car (as Much)

It’s such an obvious way to save money, but among my friends, I’m the only one who consistently does this. If I don’t need to drive the car, I choose an alternative method of transportation. I don’t drive to the grocery store that’s about 2 miles away. I ride my bike instead. Not only does it save gas plus wear and tear on my car, I get the exercise I wouldn’t otherwise get which has let me cancel my gym membership. It’s reached the point where I only use my car about 50% of the time when I leave my house. Most people I know use theirs 90% – 100% of the time.

Compare Insurance

You know all those commercials that say you can save hundreds of dollars switching insurance companies? A lot of them are correct and the Internet makes it easy to do. I actually love my insurance agent, that that hasn’t stopped me from getting better deals. Each year I do a search to see what the lowest rate Ic ould get from another company would be and take it to him. He hasn’t always been able to match it, but he gets as close as he can. I’m willing to pay a bit more to stay with my agent since I know I can count on him when there is an issue, but that doesn’t mean I can’t save money in the process as well.

Insurance Tracking

I let my car insurance company track my driving. I know a lot of people don’t like this, but I drive like an old lady anyway so it doesn’t bother me. My insurance company calls theirs SmartRide, but almost all companies have them now such as Snapshot. Basically, these devices track your driving and miles, and if you don’t drive a lot (like me since I take my bike on a lot of the shorter trips), you get a discount. I lowered my costs by about $100 a year by using it.

None of the above takes a lot of time or effort to do. It’s just a matter of doing it. And this is just one area of my life. I’m planning on doing the same thing to many other areas of my life to cut out excess spending fat that can be trimmed without much effort.


Get Quotes Easily for the Insurance Plan You Need

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Insurance is something that many Americans often overlook, but one that you’ll never regret having if you need to use it. While you may already have some coverage, it’s possible you are unaware of its inadequacies. You could also be vulnerable because you don’t have certain policies that you need. With the help of an agent, it’s easy to understand policies and get an estimated cost.

It’s important to learn about the various options of coverage to invest in. It’s simple to be knowledgeable about the multiple policies available and get insurance quotes for your new potential plan.

Do You Need Auto Insurance?

Considering your needs means you should think about your coverage regarding your car. A recent study shows that 56 percent of deadly car accidents in the United States were due to aggressive driving. This is a serious problem that affects everyone on the road. Even if you’re a safe driver you could be vulnerable to dire financial consequences if you don’t have your own insurance. A liability plan is great to protect you in the event of an accident.

There are more types of auto insurance available depending on your needs. For example, you can get your car insured as your property in order to protect yourself against theft. According to an FBI investigation, there were 699,594 thefts of motor vehicles in 2013. Furthermore, you can get medical coverage in case of an injury through certain plans. If you need to be safeguarded while driving, consider getting insurance quotes for auto insurance today.

What About Homeowner’s Insurance?

If you own a home it’s a smart idea to get covered. There are multiple risks associated with owning a home, including natural disasters, property damage, and injuries. New statistics provide us with the information that 119 catastrophes resulted in homeowners’ losses of 15.3 million dollars in 2014 in the United States. Depending on where you live, you could be vulnerable to particular disasters, such as earthquakes, floods, or hurricanes. Getting insurance quotes for natural disaster coverage is important to keep yourself and your property protected.

Did you know that owning pets could put you at risk? If any of your pets cause an injury to someone in your home, you could face major financial consequences if you don’t have the proper coverage. A recent national survey shows that 68 percent of homeowners have pets. If you’re one of those statistics, you could benefit from homeowners insurance greatly.

Do You Own a Business?

The responsibilities of owning and operating a business include ensuring the safety of yourself, your employees, and your property. There are different options available depending on the size and location for your business. For example, the same coverage isn’t going to apply to a small business and a large corporation. It’s important to work with an agent to get insurance quotes and find the specific plan you need. One of the most common plans for any business is liability coverage. This protects you against possible claims made against you.

It’s Easy

There are so many opportunities to make sure all of your assets are covered. Take the next step as soon as you’re ready. Contact an agent and get the insurance quotes you need to help make your decision.


I just saved 15% in 15 minutes!

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We’ve all seen the Geico commercials. “You can save 15% in 15 minutes on your car insurance!”

I particularly like the new commercials (from E-surance) poking fun at the old commercials. Their point is you can actually save more money in less time by using online car insurance services.

Well, in my quest to spend less so I can pay off debt faster, I thought car insurance would be a good place to start. We are very loyal customers of Progressive. Although we have good driving history, ourselves, we have both been very impressed with Progressive’s customer service whenever we’ve been in accidents (between the two of us, we’ve been rear-ended 3 times in the past 4 years). In some cases the other guys’ insurance companies have been a hassle to deal with. Progressive is awesome – they front us the money needed for repairs/rental car/etc., and then pursue the other insurance company to be reimbursed. We love it because we don’t have to wait for the “other guys” to approve a claim. Progressive does it automatically and then THEY deal with the headache of getting the other people to pay up. All of this to say, I am not interested in switching car insurance companies at this time. But I AM interested in saving money.

I was reading one of Suze Orman’s books, The Road to Wealth, and there’s a whole section about auto insurance. After reading what she had to say, I went to progressive.com to their online services (SO convenient!). Wouldn’t you know – we were over-insured!!

Exhibit A. Chris’ work truck. Chris drives a 2002 Ford pickup truck. It’s old, beat up, and has high miles….worth approximately $2,000. And for some reason we were paying comprehensive insurance on it! So I dropped the comprehensive/collision insurance.

Exhibit B. Suze Orman says, “those with fewer assets should consider changing their policy coverage to $15,000 for bodily injury per person, $30,000 bodily injury per accident, and $10,000 personal property coverage per accident.” I checked it out and we were insured for WAY more than that. Seeing as we have very few assets (in the unlikely scenario that someone would sue us from an accident), I lowered our coverage. I switched from $100,000 down to $15,000 (bodily injury per person), $300,000 down to $30,000 (bodily injury per accident), and from $50,000 down to $25,000 (personal property per accident). You’ll notice that I still kept our “personal property” coverage a little higher than Suze Orman suggested – mainly because the cost of cars is so expensive that $10,000 felt a little too low.

And guess what…..

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I saved WAY more than 15% in 15 minutes!

 

Our monthly bill was sliced from $128/month down to only $80/month! That’s a savings of $48/month ($576/year), or 37.5% lower than our original bill. And it only took about 5 minutes, if that!

So there you have it! I encourage all of you to check out your policies! I’m sure when I originally signed up for our coverage that I had NO IDEA what I was doing. I think I recall asking the insurance agent (who makes a commission, by the way) what they recommended and just going with that! Ha! I can’t wait to funnel that extra $576 per year toward debt! Wahoo!!!

How much do you pay for car insurance? When’s the last time you checked your policy and assessed your coverage?

Pssst: Check back this afternoon for another big announcement!