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I'm 25 and I've been rear-ended once when I was 16 or 17. I've never been in any other accidents or had any speeding tickets. I am currently on my mothers insurance and driving her car. I will be getting my own car and paying for my own insurance within the next 2 months. How can I determine how much my insurance will cost me? I'm still deciding on vehicles and I want to make sure I don't forget to think about the cost of insurance when choosing a vehicle.

What tips do you have for my situation?

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So many great answers so far. If only there was a single one that encompassed all of the fine points brought up so far –  d03boy Sep 1 '10 at 4:30
    
Consider joining AAA -- their main benefit is towing protection -- but once you are a member they have their own auto insurance brokerage desks that deal with some of the insurers. If you travel at all you might get some or all of your membership fee back in discounts. –  Paul Jan 20 at 7:50

5 Answers 5

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Don't be afraid to shop around.

Every couple of years when it's time to renew my auto insurance I call a couple of places to see if I can get a better deal. It's especially important to do this as you get older (because your rates go down assuming you keep a clean driving record). Also as your life changes, e.g. if you get married, move, buy a home, get a new car, etc.

At 30 my rates dropped a lot. When I bought a home, I qualified for a discount by combining my home and auto insurance through the same carrier.

My suggestion would be to call 3 insurance companies for quotes, all on the same day. You'll need to be able to identify the car you'll be insuring for the most accurate quote.

Do you belong to any organizations that offer insurance discounts? (E.g. my college alumni association had a program with one of the larger carriers that had the best rates on auto+home that I could find.)

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I'm still deciding on a car. How do I know which kinds will have lower rates? –  d03boy Aug 31 '10 at 15:34
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@d03boy - you can look at what discounts are offered for various things (including safety features, etc) and figure out discounts from there. Note that mileage on the car lowers the rate, so a gently used car will be cheaper for insurance purposes and a better deal in terms of the "drive it off the lot" depreciation being someone else's loss not yours. In general a car that is cheaper to fix or replace is cheaper to insure. Also a car that you don't care about comprehensive insurance on (usually a very old one). –  justkt Aug 31 '10 at 15:39
    
@d03boy - you might ask this question ("which kinds") to one of the insurance companies you're planning to call for quotes, or to your mother's current insurance company. –  bstpierre Aug 31 '10 at 15:55

Insurance rates are based on statistics manipulated by experts in actuarial "science". Actuaries look at how many times different makes and models get into accidents or are targeted by thieves, and how expensive it is to repair them. Many auto and finance sites will publish lists of the best and worst insurance risks. Family style cars like minivans and family sedans fair well, while sports cars get more expensive insurance. New models will get the risk of similar models until there is statistical data on them.

One other take away from this discussion is that inexpensive insurance usually coincides with cheap repair costs, lowering your total cost of operation for your vehicle.

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Great article. Thanks –  d03boy Sep 15 '10 at 0:38

I'd recommend getting online quotes from several insurance companies. During the process of getting a quote, you will be asked for the year/make/model of your car. You can put in one of the cars you were thinking about buying and get a quote. Then start over and try with a different type of car. This should show you how the insurance will compare between different cars.

I've done this in the past when I was trying to make a decision on a car purchase. It takes a while, but seemed worth it to me.

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Accidents and tickets more than 3 years old generally won't affect you.

I use an insurance broker who shops a bunch of different companies and buys me the best policy. (He gets a cut as a middle-man, but saves me more than going direct and gives great advice when I have a question.)

Since you haven't been only your own policy lately, it will cost you more than someone with a 3 year history with a perfect record, but if you shop around, you will find something at a fair price.

Also, your credit score often factors into the price you pay for car insurance also.

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The best way to determine how much it will cost you is to call the insurance companies to get a quote from them for all the vehicles that you are planning on purchasing. They will have a set amount depending on the year/make/model of the car combined with all your personal details like where you live, age, sex, occupation. There are many online sites where you an get quotes as well, though talking with a rep may be the better option since you have a lot of questions.

If you are still living with your parents, you may be able to get a cheaper rate with that company as you might qualify for a multi-vehicle discount or combined property/vehicle insurance with them. You might also be able to get a better rate since you were probably insured as a secondary driver with that company for several years.

The cost of your auto insurance will depend also on what type of premium you choose. For instance, it will be cheaper if you opt to only purchase 3rd party liability insurance (which only covers the cost of repairing the 3rd party's vehicle - ie the person you hit). You may also get discounts for having certain (optional) safety equipment/options - like snow tires.

You will need to have your insurance purchased and sorted out before you are able to drive your car out of the dealership.

For a male with ~10 years driving experience and a clean record. You could probably find something good for about $120 a month. Of course, this depends on the many factors listed above.

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