One way to save money on car insurance is to keep your car in tip-top shape by focusing on car maintenance and repairs. But keeping up on those tasks, you may also be able to save money on your car insurance. Think about it. If youâ€™re in a wreck and file a claim, there are car repairs you have to make and those you donâ€™t. Regular car maintenance and repairs help prevent accidents, which could help lower your annual car insurance premiums, saving you money on car insurance.
Car Repairs After an AccidentÂ
In many cases, you will file an insurance claim for anything beyond the very minor fender-bender. Car repairs are not always necessary, depending on the damage. Assuming you have full coverageâ€”and your vehicle isnâ€™t declared a total lossâ€”your insurance claim will likely award money for repairs to the vehicleâ€™s body, frame and/or drivetrain.
Do you have to make those repairs, or can you pocket the cash and live with it? That depends.
Damage such as a crushed engine compartment or broken axle is a no-brainer. Major repairs must be estimated and performed by a licensed and approved shop, or a car insurance company may drop your coverage on the vehicle. If itâ€™s only something like a dented bumper, whether you must repair or not depends on the next question.
Loan or Own?Â
If youâ€™re making payments on the vehicle, you donâ€™t own it outright but itâ€™s your responsibility to repair any damages. Your lender, or the automaker in the case of a lease, is likely listed as a â€œloss payeeâ€ on your auto policy. If you own the car free and clear, any cosmetic repair is up to you. And that leads to the next question â€¦
Continue with the Same Coverage?
If you want to maintain comprehensive or collision coverage on the vehicle, your car insurance company carrier will require the vehicle to be repaired, even if you own the vehicle outright.
Car Maintenance Prevents AccidentsÂ
Regular car maintenance can be the source of a discount from some car insurance providers. After all, cars have so many parts and systems that are intricately and integrally connected. When one isnâ€™t functioning well, others suffer, often affecting vehicle safety.Â
Whether itâ€™s worth a rate discount or not, proper car maintenance and repairs will save you money, and possibly more. No one ever does everything the ownerâ€™s manual recommends, but these tips will help keep your vehicle safely on the road and preserve its long-term value.
Tend to Your Tires
Nothing is more important than where â€œthe rubber meets the road.â€ Tires affect traction, vehicle control, braking effectiveness and safe turning. Poor tread and/or improper inflation can spell serious trouble, especially in rain, snow and ice. Maintaining the right tire pressure, rotating tires and replacing as necessary is easy and economical.
Mind Your BrakesÂ
A split-second in stopping distance time is often the difference between ding and disaster. Worn breaks brakes slow your stop. Brake pads are usually good for 20,000 miles, though most are not replaced early enough, which leads to more expensive and hazardous damage to brake rotors.
Stay in Charge of the Battery
Battery and electrical issues are leading causes of car fires. Check the battery frequently for corrosion on the terminals, loose connections and the approaching expiration date. If you sense the car isnâ€™t starting with the same gusto, or dashboard lights dim or flicker, itâ€™s time to clean, tighten or replace
Keep it Cool
An overheated car is another leading vehicle fire risk. Itâ€™s also an automatic â€œget-to-the-shoulderâ€ moment, leaving you and the vehicle more susceptible to accident. Avoid it all by flushing the radiator every year or two, which will purge the deposits that build up inside and prevent proper flow of the engine coolant.
Top It Off
Speaking of coolant, itâ€™s one of many fluids your vehicle depends on for safe and reliable operation. Think about windshield wiper fluidâ€”run out of it on a snowy, salty and silty highway and you could be driving blind. Brake and transmission fluids are equally important. Simple stuff, but potentially life-saving.
Car Maintenance and Repairs Records
Be sure to keep records and receipts of all car maintenance and repairs. Not so much for your current insurance policyâ€™s sake, but youâ€™ll need them when applying for a new policy that might offer discounts for cars with strong maintenance and repair records.
Even if they donâ€™t lead to a discount on your car insurance, all the maintenance tasks above are easy DIY tasks, reasonably priced at dealers and mechanics, and will extend the life and value of your vehicle. Thatâ€™s a money-saver, no matter what you drive.
And you can turn to your SelectQuote agent to help you get the right car insurance policy for you.
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