The Price Of Protection - Is Your Car Insurance Working For You

If you're buying a new car, there are plenty of options out there. But when cars become more complex, so can the price of protection.

Consumer experts say features like On Star Systems, built-in child safety seats, fpur wheel drive, HID Headlights, and sensor detectors could, in some cases, actually make your insurance premium higher because if it is damaged in an accident, it costs more to replace or fix.

In Texas, none of those options will provide you any discounts.

"Those are more personal preferences," says insurance agent Jim Toman with Allstate.

Jim admits many safety features offered today are worthwhile. In fact, he has On Star on his car.

"I feel more comfortable knowing I have some way of getting help simply by pushing a button," says Jim. "Unfortunately, it doesn't save me any money on my insurance policy but it gives me peace of mind."

Two safety features guaranteed to lower your premiums are airbags and anti-lock brakes. If you still want lower rates though, Jim offers these tips.

1. Before you buy a car, compare insurance costs – Before buying a new car, check into insurance costs. Your premium is based in part on the car’s sticker price, the cost to repair it, its overall safety record and the likelihood of theft. Many insurers offer discounts for features that reduce the risk of injuries. These include air bags, anti-lock brakes and anti-theft devices.

2. Insure you car and home with the same insurerSome insurance companies offer discounts if you have more than one type of insurance policy with the company. At Allstate, for example, we reward customers who carry both auto insurance and home insurance with Allstate. If you qualify, you can receive up to an additional 5 percent discount on your auto insurance, plus up to 20 percent off your homeowner policy.

3. Ask for higher deductibles - The deductible is the amount you pay for damages when you're in an accident. By requesting higher deductibles, for example $500 instead of $250, you may lower your costs. Check with your insurance company to determine what deductible amount works best for you.

4. Reduce coverage on older cars – Consider dropping collision and/or comprehensive coverage on older cars. It may not be cost effective to have collision or comprehensive coverage on cars worth less than $1,000 because any claim you make would not substantially exceed annual insurance costs and deductible amounts. Auto dealers and banks can tell you the worth of your car.

5. Inquire about other discounts – You may get a break on your insurance if you are over 55 or if there is a young driver on the policy who is a good student or has taken a drivers education course. When you comparison shop, inquire about discounts for:

· $500 deductible

· $1,000 deductible

· More than 1 car

· No accidents in three years

· Drivers over 55 years of age

· Driver training course

· Anti-theft device/anti-lock brakes