Study: Average lifetime car insurance costs estimated at $84,000

Dig deep! Car insurance will cost you $84,000
02/04/2011

A typical American can expect to pay an average of $84,388 for car insurance over a lifetime, according to an analysis of auto insurance quotes in the Insurance.com database.

How much money is that? Enough to purchase a median-priced home in central Florida city of Ocala – and still have $2,188 in pocket change left over, according to recent home price statistics from the National Association of Realtors.

Insurance.com based its analysis on quotes from drivers who first purchased insurance at age 21, married at 27, briefly insured two teens and stopped driving at age 75. The average premium includes drivers with all types of claims, accidents and other driving histories.

The lifetime cost of car insurance stacks up against other lifetime costs (ages 16 to 75) as follows:

Athletic shoes at one pair annually (ages 16-75): $2,737.01 for males, $2,597.18 for females
Pet insurance for one dog (12 years): $4,766
Trip to Disney World for a family of four: $5,026
Four years of college: $30,420
NYC monthly subway pass (ages 16 to 75): $63,012
New car every seven years (ages 22 to75): $150,065.71
All of the costs are in 2011 dollars and are not adjusted for inflation.

Cutting your lifetime car insurance cost

The thought of shelling out tens of thousands of dollars to insure your car may make you consider trading in car keys for a bus pass. Fortunately, there are relatively easy ways to trim auto insurance costs.

Sandra Spann, a spokeswoman for American Family Insurance, suggests one simple rule for driving down your lifetime insurance costs: “Obey the traffic laws and stay ticket-free.”

Most companies give you lower auto insurance rates when you remain accident-free and don’t rack up violations, Spann says. In that way, “they will reward you for good behavior,” she says.

Raising your deductible is another easy way to cut your lifetime auto insurance costs.

However, don’t take this step unless you have enough savings to pay the deductible should you have an accident. Paying a deductible with a high-interest credit card can be costly, Spann warn.

Adding teens to your auto insurance policy

Finding ways to trim auto insurance costs becomes even more important during the years your children are driving.

“Your biggest insurance expense comes when you add your kids to the policy,” says Joann Kraemer, a spokesperson for MetLife Auto Home.

Kraemer says taking advantage of good-student discounts can save parents money on auto insurance.

Kyle Anderson, a spokesperson for State Auto Insurance Cos., urges parents to alert their insurance company once the children head off to college.

“Let your insurer know if your child goes away to school or college,” Anderson says. “Premiums may be lower if the car doesn’t go to school with them.”

Some insurance companies also will offer a lower insurance rate if you’ll agree to install a device in the car that monitors your teen’s driving habits.

Other ways to cut auto insurance costs

Some tips for cutting auto insurance costs may be less obvious than others. For example, your plan to cut car insurance costs should begin the minute you zero in on the model you’d like to buy in your next car purchase, Anderson says.

“Take a look at its track record,” he says. “How is it rated in terms of safety? Does it often make it onto the list of ‘most stolen vehicles’?

Cars with strong safety records are less expensive to insure.

“Safer vehicles save you money,” says Kraemer. “They just have the features that protect people against injuries.”

Experts say other ways to save on lifetime auto insurance costs include:

Alert your insurance company if you are driving fewer miles to work.

Take a driver safety/defensive driving course. (In another recent story, we noted that discounts for classes are generally available only to certain age groups.)

Drop collision and comprehensive coverage on older cars.

Compare auto insurance quotes – using both online insurance tools and going to agents – to zero in on the lowest insurance rates.

Investigate whether bundling your coverages (such as auto insurance, home insurance, and umbrella insurance) with the same provider will give you better value for your insurance dollar.

Consider alternatives such as pay-as-you-drive auto insurance if you don’t have a long commute, and if it’s offered in your state.

Video: Semi Truck + Overpass = Snowpocalypse on the Interstate


Anybody who’s seen the security cam footage of the Minneapolis Metrodome roof collapse knows how powerful snow can be. It was amazing footage, something that rarely gets captured on camera. But in the age of the mobile phone camera, amazing videos are becoming less rare, as this video clearly illustrates.

The driver-turned amateur videographer was cruising down the road when a semi truck saddled with several cubic yards of snow atop the cargo box caught his or her eye. In spite of the inherent danger of driving while videotaping, the motorist couldn’t resist snagging some footage of the oddly tall snow snack. Lucky for us that moment was precisely when an overpass morphed a bad idea (distracted driving sucks) into some amazing footage. As you can see from the screen cap above, the overpass won the battle, but the exploding snow makes the video worth watching. Hit the jump to see for yourself.

[Source: YouTube]

NHTSA investigating Infiniti QX4, Nissan Pathfinder over corrosion fears

NHTSA Action Number: PE11004

Vehicle Make/Model:

INFINITI / QX4
NISSAN / PATHFINDER

Model Year(s):

1997-2003
1996-2004

Manufacturer: NISSAN NORTH AMERICA, INC.

Component(s):

SUSPENSION
STEERING:COLUMN
SUSPENSION:FRONT:MACPHERSON STRUT
SUSPENSION:FRONT:SHOCK ABSORBER
STEERING
SUSPENSION:FRONT

Summary:

The Office of Defects Investigation has received 35 reports on the subject vehicles alleging a corrosion related failure of the driver’s side front strut tower. In 18 of the reports there were allegations that the failures affected the vehicles steering, including five that reported the steering “shaft” or “column” broke resulting in a loss of steering. Severe corrosion of the frame/body structure in the area of the driver’s side front strut tower can allow the strut tower to fail. If the failed strut tower contacts the steering column upper joint, or otherwise restricts the rotation of the steering column shaft, it can result in increased steering effort, steering impediment, or a complete loss of steering control.
Date Investigation Opened : January 28, 2011
Date Investigation Closed : Open

Video: AAA tests texting drivers on closed course


Distracted driving has become a big problem on our nation’s roadways, and text messaging while behind the wheel has been targeted as one of the biggest issues. Ray LaHood and the Department of Transportation has made this issue a top safety priority, even writing an op-ed on Autoblog to spread the word.

AAA is is following in LaHood’s footsteps, using YouTube to spread awareness that our growing fascination with our phones shouldn’t mix with driving time. The post-jump video demonstrates how poorly drivers handled a not-so-tricky cone course in a Nissan Altima while texting and driving.

Those poor, poor orange cones… they never stood a chance.

Hit the jump to watch for yourself, and if you have any young drivers in the house, you may want to have them watch along.

[Source: YouTube]