But as any driver can tell you, another big vehicular cost is insurance.
June is insurance month for the hubby and me. We pay half of our annual auto policy premium now and the other half in December. Our homeowners' coverage also is due here in a few days.
While our home coverage keeps going up (about $150 a year in 2006 and 2007), primarily because of increased hail/windstorm rates, our auto policy cost has dropped a bit over that period. For the last couple of years, it's been about $40 cheaper than the year before.
Part of the reason is
Of course, the hubby and I are very good drivers, but this actually should be more accurately called the no-claims-filed discount.
Also, we have a multi-car discount, and use the same company to insure our home, so we get a break there, too. And as our cars have aged, reduced collision coverage means lower rates.
Insurer eyes on you: Today's Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on how technology is helping trim auto insurance costs.
Progressive Corp. and GMAC Insurance are using high-tech devices to track their customers' habits, reports the paper, and offering deep discounts to folks who drive less and also drive more cautiously. A couple other, smaller insurers are expected to soon initiate similar rate-cut programs.
It's a bit too Big Brother-ish for my tastes.
You agree to the installation of a special tracking system in your car that records, and reports to your insurer, how much you drive, how fast you go and even how hard you hit the brakes.
If your insurance company likes what the data shows, you'll save some money on your policy.
If, however, the tracking device shows you are constantly on the road and lead-footing it, then the system will give your insurer an excuse to hike your premiums.
Even though I believe I'd benefit from such tracking (except for that one hill I love rolling down on City Park Road), I won't go for this even if my insurer offers it. The hubby says "no thanks," too.
Traditional ways to save on auto insurance: If your policy isn't yet high tech, or you agree with me that you just don't want to be under such a microscope, there still are ways to cut the costs of your auto insurance.
The Insurance Information Institute offers nine ways to lower auto policy costs:
- Shop around, getting at least three competitive price quotes.
- Consider a safer car, since its insurance costs will be lower.
- Raise your deductible.
- Reduce coverage on older cars.
- Buy your homeowners and auto policies from a company that gives you a price break for the double business.
- Maintain a good credit record.
- Take advantage of low-mileage discounts.
- Look into group insurance possibilities.
- Ask about other discounts, such as ones for no wrecks or moving violations in the last few years, anti-theft devices on your car, student drivers with good grades and additional safety equipment on your car, such as side airbags and daytime running lights.
Some additional auto insurance savings ideas can be found at:
- How to get cheap auto insurance.
- Turn your current auto insurance into cheap car insurance.
- Factors that affect your auto insurance rates.
Don't try this at home: I don't know about this guy's premiums, but I bet he hopes his insurance company doesn't see this!