Automobile Insurance You Can Count On…One Hand

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After a home, a car is usually the second largest monthly expense that people face. Finding ways to save money when buying and insuring a car will put less of a strain on a family budget.

The first step is to plan ahead. If your current vehicle is past its prime, start saving immediately for a replacement. To determine your savings goal, research the highest and lowest prices for cars that you want. As a minimum, you should save for a period of at least six months. Set a realistic goal and budget. If you’re able to save in other areas, apply those extra dollars to your car fund. Reduce other debts so that your credit rating will improve. The higher the down payment that you make and the higher your credit score, the better the terms you will receive should you have to finance the purchase. Depending on how soon you start and the amount you save, it may be possible for you to purchase your next vehicle outright. This will save you the interest payments that you would have paid if you had financed the vehicle.

When the time comes to purchase a vehicle, determine the features that are most important to you and which ones are optional. Essential features may include the number of passengers you can transport, fuel economy and safety rating. Optional features include amenities, such as heated seats, Bluetooth connectivity and satellite radio. Rank all these options so you can determine the car that will give you the most number of features for the least price. With your list of features and budget, you have a realistic projection of what you can afford. Your goal should be to maximize your value.

Go online or to a dealer to find your new car. Test drive the vehicle and have it inspected if it’s a previously owned model. Negotiate the best price possible.

After you purchase the vehicle, you may be able to save money on your auto insurance. Your new vehicle might qualify for discounts that weren’t available for your older vehicle, such as fuel mileage and safety features. You may be able to reduce your coverage as well. A newer, more reliable car may enable you to drop portions of your roadside assistance program.

As with any large purchase, you can save money by planning ahead, shopping around and taking advantage of available discounts.