Your auto insurance is just one of several expensive parts of keeping your car on the road. In addition to monthly car payments, gas prices, and routine maintenance, daily driving a vehicle is rarely cheap. Unfortunately, it can often feel like auto insurance premiums are almost entirely out of your control, but proper planning can help to keep costs to a minimum. If you're looking to fit your driving into a tight budget, then these tips will help to keep you from spending more than is necessary. They may not all apply to your situation, but keeping them in mind can help you to understand better how the insurance company determines your rates.
Decide On Your Budget
Many people rush off to the dealership to buy a new car and then ring up their insurance company as an afterthought. This last-minute planning can often lead to a secondary kind of sticker shock. Not only are you now on the hook for your new car payment, but you may have a surprisingly high insurance premium to deal with as well. To help keep costs under control, decide on a total car budget before you step onto the dealership lot. This budget should include not only your monthly payments but your monthly insurance premiums as well. Sticking to this limit is the best way to ensure that your car doesn't blow your budget out of the water.
Shop For Insurance First
Do you have a list of cars that you're considering purchasing? Don't schedule those test drives just yet. Sit down at a computer and start cross-shopping insurance rates. Nearly every insurance company that provides online rates will allow you to get premiums on a car that you don't yet own. Find the lowest price (with adequate coverage) on each vehicle under consideration before you fall in love with any model. You may find that a vehicle that you had your eye on is just a tad too pricey when insurance costs are factored in. Discovering this early on makes it much more likely that you'll find an alternative that you will be just as happy with.
Smaller, more affordable cars are almost always less expensive to insure. Your car's value has a significant impact on the final premiums that you will pay to insure it, so keep this in mind if you are already stretching your budget to buy a car that's just out of reach. While having a clean driving record and a good credit score will help to keep your premiums from ballooning out of control, they won't undo the extra cost of insuring a pricey automobile. Modern economy cars have features and levels of quality that rival luxury vehicles from just ten years ago, so taking a step "down" often isn't a downgrade at all.
As with any purchase, getting the best deal on insurance for a new car while staying within a budget is all about proper planning. By committing to a few financial decisions ahead of time, you will give yourself the best chance to buy a car you love without spending a fortune to insure it.