One of the great things about growing up is getting your own car. As a boy there’s a high probability that you started out playing with little model cars, and then progressed to posters of supercars on your bedroom wall, I know that most if not all of the boys on my block did, I certainly did. Everywhere you go a car is seen as the epitome of cool. In music videos, movies, the guy at the mall with the really sweet ride, and you’re just burning up with impatience because you will get to be one of them, but not anytime soon. This problem is further exacerbated by video games! Two of my favorite games growing up were (and still are) the Need for Speed franchise and the Forza franchise, and they were pretty much all about the cars weren’t they?
As a teenager too I used to sit and daydream about how I’ll own my car and then I can enjoy the absolute freedom that songs such as Metallica’s Fuel and The Doors’ Roadhouse Blues promised. My Mom used to tell me as a kid though, “be careful what you wish for” to which Chris Daughtry added the lines “cause you just might get it all, and then some you don’t want” and I can’t believe that I’m saying it but man was he right! What they don’t tell you when selling you the dream of having your own car is the amount of work it takes to keep it running and street legal. Repairs, maintenance, tire rotation cycles, gas fill-ups, and my meager income’s biggest enemy – the dreaded car insurance premiums.
My first car was a used ’95 Honda Civic, I pretended it was my very own Japanese tuner and would drift like a boss one day, boy was I wrong! That thing cost a bomb to keep running, but let’s just focus on the insurance bit. I used to hate insurance premiums, with age comes the wisdom of experience though so I found out a few tricks to keep the premium costs low, and in a magnificent display of magnanimity I will today share those with you, it’s okay you don’t need to thank me.
Tips for young men to keep your car insurance cost low
- More flash equals more cash. If you’re going to drive around in a high value car like a Lamborghini, a Ferrari or a Maserati you will have to pay the price for it in premiums. So even if you think you’re getting a good deal on a car that’s at the higher end of the spectrum, anticipate the increased cost of insurance because of the car’s value and take a call from there on.
- Sniff around before you bite. All insurance companies have a certain set list of criteria on which they calculate premiums. The weightage given to the criteria however vary from one firm to the next, so don’t hesitate to approach all the insurance companies you’ve ever heard of for a quote. Seems kind of obvious but so many people just couldn’t be bothered to make the effort, but once you do go that extra step, the rewards are great.
- Don’t discount the discounts. Insurers tend to offer a whole bunch of discounts based on certain factors such as a mileage cap discount, discount for cars with higher safety features, group insurance bookings etc. So don’t be afraid to exploit those discounts and bring your premium down. And if you’re a bright student who can keep at least a B average on your GPA, then there are some companies like The Hartford or American Family who offer what’s called a good student discount.
- Control the card-flashing habit. Your insurance is also determined through your credit score, so the less diligent you are in keeping up with your bills, and the more you use your credit card for purchases, the higher your car insurance premium will be, so get out of that Shopaholic lifestyle and keep your credit score high.
- Avoid pointless Duplication. Some insurance policies have a rider that covers medical bills for the driver and the passengers. If you have a comprehensive health insurance package, your medical bills will be taken care of anyway, so why pay twice for the same service? Drop that driver health rider and pay less on your monthly insurance rates.
- Put all your eggs in one basket. Insurance companies will charge you less if you give them more business, it’s only natural to reward loyalty. So if you buy a car, health, house and life insurance from the same brand, expect some serious discounts on all of them.
- Adjust your deductibles. Every time you file a claim, you have to pay a certain portion of the repair cost and this portion is called a deductible. If you’re a really safe driver and not at all likely to meet with frequent accidents, you could raise this deductible amount and see the benefits reflected in your premium.
After doing all of this your premium prices should drop by a decent rate, meaning you can go back to living out the fantasy of the cool, independent, go-anywhere, do-anything driver you dreamed of as a kid.