How Not to Spend $84,000 on Auto Insurance

Last Updated Feb 8, 2011 10:19 PM EST

When most people think about the major life expenses, buying a home and funding your kids' college educations come to mind. But what if I told you that the average family will spend more than $84,000 on auto insurance over their lifetime? Would you start taking a harder look at your premiums and shop around for better rates?

Insurance.com, a website that sells auto insurance, came up with the $84,000 tally by looking at premium quotes for drivers who first purchase a policy at age 21, get married at 27 and add two teen drivers when between the ages of 46 and 50.

As shocking as the grand total is, it should actually be much higher. You see, Insurance.com is using 2011 dollars and did not adjust its lifetime figure to account for inflation.

With this in mind, I decided to scour CBS MoneyWatch and the rest of the web to find the best advice on how to save money on auto insurance. Here are four articles worth reading:

ABCs of Auto Insurance
Think of this article as a road map for auto insurance. It walks you through the primary components of a policy and recommends how much protection you need so that you aren't left with a huge liability if you get into an accident. Bankrate.com also points out where a driver can skimp -- think collision and comprehensive coverage for older cars -- and save some money.

12 Secrets Your Car Insurer Won't Tell You
Understanding how insurers set premiums is another way to save money. For example, did you know that you're charged more for your coverage if you pay your bill in installments throughout the year? Or, that your rate is partly determined by your credit score. Learn these 12 industry practices and you can avoid some common and costly traps.

Auto Insurance: Which Cars Cost the Most and Least
Yes, the car you drive will have a large impact on how much you pay for insurance. Folks who own a Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG shell out a whopping average of $3,544 a year for their coverage. Those who tool around in a Chrysler Town & Country LX spend just $1,092 annually. Read Jerry Edgerton's MoneyWatch story for a full list of the least and most expensive vehicles to insure.

How To Save Money On Car Insurance
Finally, Edmunds.com's story lists a host of insurance discounts you should take advantage of. Did you know, for example, that if you raise your deductible from $500 to $1,000 you could save up to 30% on your monthly premiums. Warning: You may get angry to see you're paying more than you need to.

When was the last time you shopped around for auto insurance?

Stacey Bradford is the author of The Wall Street Journal Financial Guidebook For New Parents.
Housemate's Fender Bender image courtesy of Flickr, CC 2.0.
More on CBS MoneyWatch:
Auto Insurance: The Cost For Adding a Teen Driver
Best Cars for Carpooling
The Perfect Car For a Teenager
Gas Mileage: 40 MPG is the New 30
  • Stacey Bradford

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