It Took 3 Accidents Before I Really Appreciated Auto Insurance
My mother-in-law's car has been rear-ended three times over the span of two years by uninsured drivers. The story was similar each time. She was leaving work from her job in Southern California, was merging onto the freeway and BAM! her car was hit from behind. The first two were hit-and-runs; the third time, the offender provided fake insurance information.
Physically, she was fine after each wreck, but she did have hassles. The first accident came when she had only owned her car for a few months. The second time, she needed a rental car for nearly a month. Each time, however, her car insurance provider came through, which finally drove home the point for me: It's never a good idea to go without auto insurance.
I've never been in a car accident, and while I'm thankful for that, it led me to resent having to buy coverage. Many times in my life, I paid that bill extremely begrudgingly -- especially in my younger years. I wanted to cut it out of my budget when I was broke, but I didn't, because I never knew when I might have a need for it.
"Each state has specific laws that outline the types and amount of auto insurance you're required to have," Allstate says. Even so, one out of eight drivers don't have car insurance, the Insurance Research Council estimates.
Ways to Keep Your Insurance Costs Low
My wife and I ask our insurance company twice a year about discounts and ways to cut costs. Among the options are:
- Getting a lower cost for driving fewer miles.
- Reducing coverage on an older car.
- Increasing your deductible.
- Changing how often you pay the bill.
- Completing defensive driving classes.
- Allowing your driving habits to be monitored.
John Schmoll is the founder of Frugal Rules, a finance blog that regularly discusses investing, budgeting and frugal living. He is a father, husband and veteran of the financial services industry who's passionate about helping people find freedom through frugality. He also writes about wise ways to manage your money at WiseDollar.org.