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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Fit to be king
Lilli Dellheim, Special to the Hawk • July 13, 2024

Money Matters

Money+Matters

Car insurance premiums

I pay for my car insurance and the bill seems really high. Is there anything I can do to lower the premium I pay? Thanks. -Mary M.  ’21.

Thank you for the question, Mary. Car insurance has many things in it. The insurance coverage includes payment for damage to your car, medical expenses from an accident and payments you owe to others if you are in a car accident. 

Car insurance also includes optional insurance, like money for a car rental after an accident, loss of wages after an accident or a life insurance coverage called accidental death benefit. The premium for optional coverages can add up and likely are not needed. If you decline those coverages, it will decrease your premium.

The main things that impact your car insurance premium is your age, the type of car you drive, your driving history and the deductible on your policy. Younger drivers are less experienced, get in more accidents and therefore, pay higher rates. Similarly, if you drive an expensive car, the cost of repairs will be higher. Speeding tickets and prior accidents will also lead to higher premium rates as those items suggest a higher risk of getting into an accident.

Your age is what it is, but you can control the other items. If you are shopping for a new car, remember to consider that a more expensive car will also increase what you pay in car insurance. Careful driving also pays off. Some companies will offer a “safe driving” discount if you are willing to put a GPS device in your car. This could lead to savings even if you have prior tickets or accidents, but generally drive in a careful manner.

The deductible amount is what you pay every time you have a claim before the insurance company pays anything. For example, if you have a $500 deductible and get into an accident which costs $6,000 to fix, the insurance company will pay $5,500 and you will be responsible for the remaining  $500. Increasing your deductible will lower your premium, but make sure the deductible is at a level that you can afford. It is not worth it to increase your deductible if you cannot come up with enough money to fix your car after an accident.

Finally, be very careful about only getting the minimum car insurance required by law. These stripped-down policies can be cheap but usually only cover damages that you owe to other people. That means your insurance will not cover anything for your car’s damage. This means that in an accident, you would have to pay for the entire cost to fix your car. This could lead to you having no way to get to work or to school until you can afford purchasing another car.

 

Anna Lubomirski ’21:  

When I was getting insurance for my car, my insurance company had options to reduce the premium if I completed driving lessons, and offered different levels of discounts for different GPAs if you are a student. I would definitely recommend seeing if your insurance company offers anything like this or, if not, you could always try getting onto your parents’ policy where premiums will be cheaper overall. 

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