Drive Safely and Save

While we kick the tires in the showroom and imagine ourselves cruising down the highway in a brand new car, not many of us stop to consider how we will insure the new beauty or what it will cost. Car insurance premiums are set according to your driving record, insurance record, the make and model of car you own, as well as the purposes for which it is used and where and how far you drive. Because insurance systems and the benefits attached to them vary widely from area to area, where you live will also affect how much you pay.

You can help control the cost of your own insurance through the choices you make. Before buying a car, you may want to ask yourself some questions. How well will the car protect the occupants in a crash? How well will it assist the driver in avoiding a crash? How much will it cost to maintain? Will it hold its value in the resale market? Is it likely to be broken into or stolen?

Each year, car insurance companies gather information about car accidents, theft and other incidents that lead to insurance claims.

In addition to choosing your vehicle, you can help to control costs by driving responsibly. Check your own driving habits. Do you always use your mirrors to be aware of traffic around you, watch other vehicles to better anticipate their movements, and allow time to stop if the car ahead has to brake suddenly? Good drivers enjoy reduced premiums. Those who have collisions or convictions tend to pay more. A conviction for drinking and driving or even a “charge” will make life difficult until resolved. Don’t do it.

Be careful who uses your car. If you lend your car to others and they cause an accident, your premium may be affected.

Protect your car from thieves and vandals. Where possible, park in busy, well-lit areas. Try not to be obvious about putting valuable items in the car or trunk and then leaving it unattended. Thieves appreciate clues about which car to break into – even in busy streets and in parking lots. There’s no shame in double-checking the doors when you consider they’re left unlocked in more than 80 percent of cases involving stolen cars. A code number or identifying mark could help police recover your vehicle faster. Engrave in your car a discreet inscription on the edge of the windshield or side window. Indentifiable parts are more difficult for thieves to sell, and may stop them from targeting your car.

Deterring thieves means more time to spend on the road. Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) increase your visability. Nearly half of all collisions occur when drivers fail to see one another or misjudge the speed of an on-coming vehicle. If your car does not have DRLs, make it a habit to turn low beams on every time you start the car. Wear your seat belt properly and ensure everyone in your car does the same. If you can’t prevent a collision, at least be prepared.