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5 car insurance savings tips for new college grads

By Barbara Marquand on June 7th, 2013

You can stay on your parents' car insurance policy if you move back home and drive their car while you hunt for a job after college graduation.

But if you want your own set of wheels, you'll need your own car insurance. Here are five ways to keep your premiums down.

1. Buy a boring car.

The cheapest cars to insure are the ones that make you yawn -- staid SUVs, family sedans and minivans. Anything speedy, sporty, flashy or pricey is going to cost more to insure. Get car insurance quotes for makes and models you're considering before you buy a vehicle.

2. Drop collision and comprehensive on a clunker.

Liability insurance covers damage and injuries you cause others, but doesn't provide any protection for your vehicle. Collision insurance covers damage to your car caused by a rollover accident or crash with another vehicle or object. Comprehensive insurance covers your car if it's stolen or if it's damaged by a natural disaster, vandalism or hitting an animal. You should opt for both types of coverage to protect a newer vehicle -- and your lender will require you to carry them if you're still making payments on a car. But if you own an older car outright, then it will eventually make sense to drop them after the car has lost most of its value. Certainly there's no point in carrying collision and comprehensive if the car is worth less than your deductible and the premiums.

3. Raise the deductible.

You could save hundreds of dollars a year on your collision and comprehensive coverage by raising the deductible from, say, $250, to $1,000 or more. But make sure you have money in the bank to cover the deductible in case the car gets wrecked.

4. Shop around.

Get car insurance quotes from different insurers to compare prices. The same amount of coverage can vary by hundreds of dollars a year. But don't go by price alone. Consider a company's customer-service and claims-paying reputation. Many state insurance departments publish consumer complaint ratio reports, which show the number of complaints against insurers relative to their market shares.

5. Take advantage of discounts.

You can get discounts for a variety of things, such as signing up for paperless billing, having a degree in a certain field, or belonging to a particular organization. Don't get so swayed by the promise of discounts that you ignore the bottom line you'll pay for car insurance. But make sure you get all the discounts to which you're entitled.

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