Ways To Save On Your Car Insurance
looking for ways to save money, many Americans may overlook
their car insurance premiums.
That could be a costly mistake. Taking a few minutes to
review and adjust your auto insurance policy could save you
hundreds of dollars per year.
Saving on your car insurance is easier than you might
imagine. Here are three ways to reduce your costs, as well as an
estimate of potential savings based on the national median rate
of about $1,400 per year reported by
InsuranceRates.com. If you pay more than the median rate,
you could save even more.
1) Take a hard look at
your deductible. According to the Insurance Information
Institute (III), raising your deductible from $250 to $1,000
could reduce your collision and comprehensive coverage costs by
up to 40 percent. You'll incur higher costs should you need to
file a claim, but the amount you'll save on your premiums may be
well worth it.
Estimated Savings: $170 per year
2) Combine your auto insurance
policy and either home or renters insurance policy with a single
insurer. According to the III, converting to a multiline policy
could save you as much as 15 percent on your auto premium. Plus,
you'll have one fewer bill to pay each month.
Estimated Savings: $210 per year
3) If you can afford to, pay your
auto insurance premium in one lump sum. Many insurers charge a
fee to break up your premium into monthly payments, and even a
few dollars a month could amount to a hefty surcharge.
Estimated Savings: $60 per year
In addition, make sure you shop around and speak with agents
from several different companies. Insurance providers often
specialize in different types of drivers, and depending on your
personal circumstances, it's probably worth your while to
To learn more ways to save and to compare rates online, visit
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Avoid Being Driven To Distraction
while driving has received a great deal of attention lately, and
with good reason: Keeping your eyes on a tiny keyboard rather
than the roadway ahead is a disaster waiting to happen. However,
texting is just the latest in a long list of distractions that
could have deadly consequences on America's roadways.
driving is about focus," said Bill Moore, president of MetLife
Auto & Home®. "Many accidents could be avoided if the basic
principles of defensive driving and driver attentiveness were
To stay focused on safety, drivers may want to
ask themselves the following questions:
- Are you keeping your eyes on the prize? With cars more
than ever resembling mobile offices and entertainment
centers, it can be easy to forget you're behind the wheel.
Most accidents occur in seconds and distractions delay your
- Are you awake enough to drive? Driver fatigue leads to
inattentiveness, and according to the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration, 100,000 crashes are caused
each year by drivers literally being asleep at the wheel.
Recognize the signs of drowsy driving, which include
difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, irritability and
frequent yawning--and then, take action.
- Are you more interested in your cell phone conversation
than the road ahead? Even in states where it's permissible,
talking on a cell phone increases the likelihood of getting
involved in a motor vehicle accident. If you need to call,
pull off the road.
- Do you have a designated deejay? Simple things like
changing the radio dial or finding that "perfect song" on
your MP3 player may seem harmless, but they can be a big
- Are you being lazy about changing lanes? It's critical
to look briefly over both shoulders before changing lanes.
Even if you have onboard technology installed in the car,
such as blind-spot and rearview indicators, the basics you
learned in driver's education will always apply: signal your
intention, check your mirrors and then glance back both ways
to be certain that no one--or nothing--is in your blind
- Are you day driving or daydreaming? Even without
external distractions, it's easy to get caught up thinking
about personal problems or work assignments. If you feel
yourself losing focus, give yourself a wake-up call and set
aside your problems. They can wait until the ride is over.
For the free brochures "Driving While Distracted: Be a Safer
Driver" and "In the Driver's Seat: About Driving Safely," call
For more information, visit
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Additives Help Keep Engines Healthy
a down economy, we've all been trying to be a little more cost
conscious, but your vehicle's upkeep is no place to pinch
pennies. Most drivers know about basic car care. Change your oil
and filter. Check tire pressure. Maintain proper antifreeze
levels and change your antifreeze on time to protect your
cooling system. Have you thought about using a fuel additive to
help improve overall engine performance, leading to reduced
emissions, unburned wasted fuel and a smoother idle?
additives can improve fuel quality (the octane level) and/or
help keep injectors and combustion chambers clean. Without the
use of fuel additives, unsightly deposits may start to build up
in the engine. Using fuel additives can help improve and
maintain the efficiency and performance of your car's heart-the
If your car's injectors are clogged, the buildup of these
deposits can deprive an engine of its power, fuel efficiency and
overall drivability. Drivers might notice these deposits forming
when their vehicle starts to experience hesitation, rough idling
and increased starting difficulty. Adding a specially formulated
fuel additive can help resolve these problems and won't end up
costing drivers that much.
"Using a fuel additive is simple enough that you don't have
to be a car junkie to do it yourself," said Jay Buckley,
Prestone training manager and
ASE-certified master mechanic. "Plus, adding a fuel additive on
a regular basis for preventative maintenance is worth the
Here are Buckley's tips on choosing and
using the right fuel additives:
- When using an additive on a regular basis during
fill-ups, choose a low-concentration product, such as
Prestone® Gas Treatment.
- If you are interested in a one-time treatment every few
months, consider a highly concentrated product such as
Prestone® Complete Fuel System
- Some fuel additives are designed to increase engine
performance. Typically, these products include the word
"octane" in the name, as they're formulated to raise the
octane level of gasoline.
- Always pour the entire bottle into your gas tank and be
sure you have a full tank of gas.
"Our lab engineers actually created a new line of 6-oz. fuel
additives. They deliver premium performance in a smaller, more
environmentally responsible and convenient package," said
While regular use of a fuel additive can help a vehicle run
smoothly and efficiently, it should not serve as a substitute
for regular vehicle maintenance. The regular use of fuel
additives will help keep your combustion chambers and fuel
injectors clean, allowing your engine to run at its best. Follow
the guidelines in your vehicle's owner's manual for the proper
maintenance schedule. For more car care tips, visit
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The Way You
Drive May Call For More Frequent Maintenance
way you maintain your car should take into account the
conditions in which you drive. That's the word from AAA, which
says too many drivers underestimate the severity of their
driving habits. As a result, they follow the wrong maintenance
When polled recently by AAA, only 6 percent of motorists felt
they did most of their driving under severe driving conditions.
But when asked about the actual driving behaviors that create
severe operating conditions, 62 percent of motorists admitted
they drive their vehicle that way all or most of the time.
Some of the conditions and behaviors that
are considered severe include:
- Driving on short trips of less than five miles in normal
temperatures or less than 10 miles in freezing temperatures.
- Driving in hot-weather stop-and-go traffic.
- Driving at low speeds of less than 50 miles per hour for
- Driving on roads that are dusty or muddy or have salt,
sand or gravel spread on the surface.
- Towing a trailer, carrying a camper (if a pickup truck)
or transporting items on a roof rack or in a
"Manufacturers provide different maintenance recommendations
for severe driving conditions because such operation increases
wear on vehicle components and fluids," said John Nielsen,
director of AAA Approved Auto Repair and Auto Buying Services.
Maintenance schedules for severe driving conditions typically
recommend changing the vehicle's fluids and filters more often,
and include more frequent inspections of certain components.
AAA advises motorists to:
- Read their owner's manual and/or maintenance booklet.
- Learn what the manufacturer considers normal and severe
driving conditions for their vehicles.
- Make an honest assessment of their driving habits.
- Schedule service in accordance with the appropriate
For additional assistance in evaluating driving conditions
and determining proper maintenance intervals, motorists can
visit any of the more than 8,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair
facilities across North America. These shops have undergone an
extensive inspection and meet stringent standards for quality,
ability, integrity and professionalism.
Since its founding in 1902, the AAA has been an advocate for
the safety and security of all travelers. To learn more or
locate a nearby Approved Auto Repair facility, visit
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Tips And Tools
you're in the market for a car--new or used--you have more
information at hand than at any other time in the history of car
buying, in large part due to the Internet and the competitive
nature of today's automotive market.
Automakers' Web sites are a great place to begin your quest
for information. Most manufacturers have an online tool to
virtually "build" your vehicle, choosing the trim levels,
options and accessories that are most important to you. Is a
sunroof important? Check. Leather seats? Check. All-wheel drive?
Check. The automakers' Web site will also steer you to a dealer
near you, so you can check out locally available inventory.
Since safety is such an important consideration when buying a
car, be sure to check out the vehicle's crashworthiness ratings
at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Search the
Web site (www.iihs.org)
for vehicles that have been named a "Top Safety Pick" by the
institute, which means that the vehicle has earned the top
rating in each of four crash tests. Subaru (www.subaru.com),
for example, is the rare manufacturer with at least one Top
Safety Pick in every vehicle class in which it competes.
If you are considering a used vehicle, arm yourself with
pricing knowledge before you begin shopping for your dream car
by checking out Kelley Blue Book online at
www.kbb.com. The site gives typical pricing for each trim
level of a used vehicle, allows you to customize by adding
options and accessories, and adjusts vehicle valuations based on
the condition of the used car.
One way to avoid the uncertainty that often comes with buying
a used vehicle is to take advantage of a manufacturer's
Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) vehicle program. CPO vehicles are
given a thorough inspection, often with well over 100 points
inspected, and generally come with an extended warranty,
including power train coverage. Some manufacturers, such as
Subaru of America, enhance their CPO programs with additional
features, including a CARFAX® Vehicle History Report and 24/7
www.subaru.com to learn more.
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Takes You On The Road To Romance
of spending another night at home on the couch with your loved
one, you may want to cozy up to the idea of a special road trip.
A two-seater is just the car for such a romantic getaway.
Two-seater cars are fun and sporty and let you get cozy with
that special someone.
With only two seats, there really isn't room in these cars
for kids or dogs, so you know you'll get some alone time.
The beauty, engineering and speed of these vehicles can set
your heart racing down the road to romance.
The popular automotive site, AutoTrader.com, offers insight
into the 10 most popular new two-seater vehicles searched for
over the past year.
Even if you're just renting a car for the night, this list of
popular two-seater cars can provide a great reference to
determine your best option.
The top 10 most viewed two-seater cars
- Chevrolet Corvette
- Nissan 350Z or 370Z
- Audi R8
- Mercedes-Benz SL65
- Mazda Miata MX-5
- Pontiac Solstice
- Porsche Cayman
- Mercedes-Benz SLR
- Lamborghini Murcielago
- Dodge Viper
to learn more about these two-seater models.
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Value-When Premium Auto
Products Are Worth The Extra
keep your car on the road to safety and savings, it's a good
idea to pay attention to what goes into and onto the vehicle.
Sometimes it pays to upgrade to a premium automotive product. As
the experts at the Car Care Council put it, "Small steps that
motorists take today can go a long way toward improving the
safety and reliability of their vehicles."
Here are a few tips
on common automotive product categories to help you make
Gasoline--Engines are designed to use a particular
grade/octane of gasoline. There's no substantial benefit to
using an octane higher than recommended by the manufacturer. The
bottom line is that if you use higher octane against
manufacturer's recommendations, you could be paying up to 40
cents more a gallon, which could add up to over $300 a year in
extra expenses with no added benefits.
Wiper blades--There is a noticeable performance difference in
low-cost wiper blades versus those specifically designed for
rough weather conditions. Premium wiper blades are significantly
sturdier and more durable than low-priced blades. The bottom
line is that the upgrade will cost you less in the long run if
you live in a more extreme (rainy or snowy) climate.
Motor oil--There have been substantial improvements in
lubrication technology over the past few years. The longer oil
life of high-performance synthetic motor oil allows for extended
oil drains, which saves time and money and reduces the effect on
the environment. The bottom line is that some high-performance
synthetic oils such as Royal Purple have been reported to
improve mileage by as much as 3 percent, which adds up over the
course of a year.
Oil filters--Inexpensive filters are typically made with the
3,000-mile interval in mind because they use low-quality paper
media that deteriorate rapidly at 3,000 miles. The new
generation of high-performance premium oil filters allows for
extended oil drain intervals. For example, Royal Purple uses a
proprietary long-life, microglass
media that provides protection for 12,000 miles. It also
provides an increased level of protection due to the density of
the filtration. The bottom line is that the more expensive
filter pays off if you plan to extend oil drain intervals or
live in extremely dusty or cold-weather climates.
You can find more car-care tips and products at
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Prohibiting Drivers' Use Of Handsets
Have Motorists Switching To
Safer Hands-Free Option
state legislatures continue to enact new regulations prohibiting
drivers from using handheld phones, hands-free devices are
becoming a necessity for many motorists.
These new regulations are a direct response to research
showing cell phone use can be blamed for a significant amount of
accidents each year. Harvard researchers estimate that drivers
using cell phones cause 570,000 accidents annually, with more
than 2,500 resulting in a fatality--a figure that drops
considerably with the use of hands-free devices.
Six states--Oregon, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New
York and Washington--now prohibit cell phone use while driving
without a hands-free device. With the exception of Washington
state, these laws are primary enforcement, meaning an officer
may ticket a driver for using a handheld cell phone while
driving without any other traffic offense.
Safe Hands-Free Options
Assorted new products are now available for safety-conscious
and law-abiding drivers. One nationwide cellular phone and
service provider, Consumer Cellular, offers a variety of
wireless headsets and accessories ranging in price from $15 to
Wireless accessory products include the LG Electronics
HBM-760 headset and the Motorola Ear--bud Headset, both
available from Consumer Cellular.
"Consumer Cellular is dedicated to providing solutions for
our customers as their needs evolve," says John
Marick, president and CEO. "With new
laws and regulations in place and the safety of our customers
being a top priority, it's important we offer accessories that
meet our customers' needs, which include hands-free options. We
want to help make the driving experience as safe and easy as
Consumer Cellular has long supported providing affordable,
simple wireless solutions to motorists and is now focusing even
more on safety through its partnership with AAA. AAA members
receive discounts on accessories, including a free
earbud with a phone purchase and
free calls to AAA emergency roadside service.
The company is also the exclusive wireless provider for AARP,
offering members a discount on monthly fees and select
accessories. Additionally, AARP members receive a 45-day
Consumer Cellular does not have long-term contracts or
early-termination fees. Affordable rates for nationwide service
start at only $10 a month and are ideal for individuals who want
the safety and convenience of cellular service without paying
high rates for unused features. Additionally, a 30-day,
risk-free satisfaction guarantee is available to all new
For more information on hands-free driving regulations, visit
You can learn more online at
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