Ten Ways to Save on Insurance

Gas certainly isn’t the only expense associated with driving – insurance can be very expensive too. Consider making a few cost-effective changes to your coverage.

1. Increase your collision/ comprehensive deductible

2. Review your policy regularly to remove unnecessary add-ons

3. Drive a “family” car - flashy, sporty cars are often expensive to insure

4. Shop aggressively for the best rates

5.Drop collision/ comprehensive coverage on vehicles worth less than $1,000

6. Ask for a low-mileage discount if you don’t drive much

7. Make sure you get a discount for automatic seatbelts or air bags

8. Get a rate concession for antilock brakes too – most insurers give them

9. Combine insurance with another vehicle or with your homeowner’s insurance

10. Drive safely – it will not only save you money in insurance premiums, but reduce the chance you (or someone else) will suffer in an accident.


Do you love your car, truck, or SUV but hate pulling into the station because it costs so much to fill up the tank? If so, you’re not alone. With fuel prices climbing ever higher, many drivers are suffering major financial collisions. However, while the price of petroleum is out of your control, some of the costs associated with your vehicle are not. You can save a lot of money by making a few changes to the way you drive and use gas.

Consider downsizing
Nothing will save you more cash at the station than a fuel-efficient vehicle. Large, heavy trucks and SUVs can burn up to three times as much fuel as small car – and when gas prices rise, your wallet will groan with every extra pound of steel. If it’s time for a trade-in, seriously consider purchasing a vehicle that was built to get good gas mileage.

If you are truly ready to reduce fuel consumption, go for a hybrid car. Since they run on a combination of gasoline and electricity, they are economically (and ecologically) sound.

Maintain your vehicle
Preemptive maintenance not only makes for a safer, more secure ride, but keeping all your vehicle’s parts in tiptop shape will extend fuel usage. Even simple and inexpensive adjustments will make a significant difference over time. Keep your air filter clean, tires filled with the right amount of air, the clutch adjusted, and make sure your engine is filled with the right amount of clean oil.

Think the most expensive gasoline will make your vehicle run better? Make sure you need it before filling the tank with pricy premium. Most cars, trucks, and SUVs are built for regular unleaded – so don’t upgrade to the richer stuff unless you really should.

Drive smart
Before putting the key in the ignition, look around for unnecessary, heavy objects you may be carrying both on the exterior and interior of the vehicle. Believe it or not, carting around such items as a tool kit, stereo equipment, and ski or bike racks affects gas mileage. (Imagine the calories you’d burn if you carried a bag of golf clubs all day!) If you don’t need to have immediate access to the items, store them elsewhere.

Chart your course carefully before hitting the road. Choose the route with the flattest terrain and fewest stops, and if at all possible, avoid traffic jams and stop and go driving. Have a navigation system? Use it to find the quickest path and to avoid wasting gas by getting lost.

While no one likes to swelter in a hot vehicle, before you turn on the air conditioner, take a moment to imagine the money in your wallet evaporating. That blast of cool air translates to a much quicker visit to the pump. Instead, consider rolling the windows down while driving at low to moderate speeds. (The faster you go, the greater the drag – so keep them up when traveling at high speeds.)

Other ways to drive money-smart include (when safe and appropriate):

  • Turn the car off rather than idling
  • Traveling the right speed for your gear
  • Not revving your engine
  • Use cruise control on the open road
  • Coast down hills
  • Accelerate slowly when leaving the stop light
  • Not warming up newer vehicles (most don’t need it)

Drive less
Remember – you are not married to your vehicle and you don’t have to spend every moment with it. Driving to the mailbox may be (okay, probably should be) a thing of the past. Reduce unnecessary trips by combining errands, and bike, walk, or use public transportation whenever possible.

If you have neighbors who work in the same general direction as your place of employment, arrange for car pools to share the cost of gas. After all, you are not the only one who is affected by the rising price of fuel – chances are there are many people you know who would be happy to make this arrangement.

Gas is simply too expensive to waste these days. By adopting sensible, cost-cutting measures you can reduce the amount of times you pull in to the station – so you can keep more money in your wallet and continue to love your four-wheeled friend.

The Insider's Guide to Buying a New or Used Car
by Burke Leon and Stephanie Leon (Betterway Books; 3rd edition)

With the exception of a home, buying a vehicle is the most expensive and anxiety-provoking experience most consumers make. How do you know what to ask and look for if you are a first-time buyer and don’t know much about cars, financing, or contracts? There is always a fear (and sometimes quite justified) that you’ll be swayed by a smooth-talking salesperson.

Before you walk onto a lot, pick up a copy of The Insider's Guide to Buying a New or Used Car. Burke and Stephanie Leon are not only the book’s authors, but also long-time owners of a car lot – hence the “insiders” information. Consider these two your dear friends – they are important allies who can save you a lot of money! This terrific guidebook will prepare you for the entire purchasing process.

The negotiation tips the authors give will help you get the best deal on the car you want, as well as help you make wise purchasing decisions wherever you go and whatever you buy. They also provide comprehensive checklists to make sure you don’t forget to ask any key questions, and interesting facts about the auto sales industry.

After reading The Insider's Guide to Buying a New or Used Car you’ll be able to identify sales pitches, and have the confidence to ask for what you want and reject what you don’t need. And after you drive away, you won’t have to wonder if you were taken for a very expensive ride.