Know the smart insurance considerations when buying a vehicle

by Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger

It’s the beginning of summer, and many of us are thinking about hitting the road for a trip or vacation. With that comes the notion of purchasing a vehicle to make that trip a more comfortable one.

Whatever your reasons for considering a different car, truck or SUV, I would encourage you to take a few moments to review 10 insurance considerations that go along with a vehicle purchase. These tips come from the Insure U website of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).

• In addition to the sale or lease price, be sure to factor insurance premiums as you estimate your monthly car payment. Rates vary, so shop around to make sure you’re getting the best price, just like you would for your new vehicle. This is also a good time to check your credit history; insurance companies may use that when determining your premiums.

• Realize that different types of vehicles have different insurance rates. SUVs, convertibles and performance vehicles typically cost more to insure.

• If reliable transportation is all you need, consider buying a used vehicle. Used cars can be more affordable, and if a car’s replacement cost is greater than a typical major repair, it may make sense to only purchase liability coverage.

• Consider safety features, such as anti-lock brakes, side air bags, automatic seat belts, anti-theft devices and GPS as you negotiate your purchase or lease. Safety-related add-ons could mean lower insurance premiums.

• If you already have auto insurance, consider adding your new vehicle to an existing policy to take advantage of multi-car discounts. If you own a home, you also may qualify for a multi-policy discount.

• Schedule regular vehicle maintenance once you have purchased or leased the vehicle. Check the owner’s manual for the recommended schedule, and, if you are readying for a vacation trip, have it serviced for proper oil, transmission, windshield wiper and radiator fluid levels, as well as proper tire pressure.

• Pay attention to where you park. If you store your vehicle in a garage or locked parking lot, you may qualify for lower premiums.

• For minor fender benders, think twice before filing a claim. The number of claims you file could impact your insurance.

• Check to see if your insurance company offers reduced rates for your agreement to use a telematic device in your vehicle. That device can record how well you drive.

• Download the free WreckCheck mobile app from NAIC. This useful tool outlines what to do immediately following an accident and walks you through a step-by-step process to create your own accident report.

Owning a new or different vehicle can be an exciting venture. But don’t make it more exciting than it has to be when it comes to insurance considerations for that vehicle. And, as always, check with your local insurance agent if you have immediate questions.

For more vehicle insurance considerations, look at our Kansas Insurance Department publication “Kansas Auto Insurance and Shopper’s Guide,” which can be found online at
http://www.ksinsurance.org/consumers/docs/web2014autoguide.pdf.

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