Jessica Sautter is a Content Writer for with a Bachelor’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University in Elementary Education with a Major in Reading and a Minor in Mathematics.

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Nov 3, 2020

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Key takeaways...

  • The type of car you buy has a dramatic impact on your car insurance rates
  • You need to compare at least three different insurance quotes before you make a decision
  • If you insurance agent leaves the company, you may have to start from scratch

You may be able to save money with a cheap agent to buy used car insurance, but you may also be able to save that same money on your own.

The trick to saving cash when buying insurance for a used car is to use the same tactics that a used car insurance agent would use to save you the dough.

In order to save the most money possible, your insurance research may need to start before you even buy the car. You can then use several calculations and perhaps make a few changes to get the cheapest insurance for your used car.

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Type of Car

A major factor in the cost of insurance is the type of car you are insuring. Since you’re looking at used cars, your rates may automatically start lower than they would if you were buying a brand-new vehicle.

Because used cars are typically worth less than new cars, it costs the insurance companies less to insure them and they can pass those savings on to you.

The make, model, and year of your vehicle play a part in the rates, according to Wisconsin’s Consumer Guide to Auto Insurance.

Cars that are most often stolen or costly to repair are going to cost you more to insure than cars with a lower profile and less expensive repair bills.

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Likelihood of Theft

The National Insurance Crime Bureau, or NICB, issues an annual report listing the most stolen vehicles of any given year.

The list of 2009 thefts, for instance, kicks off with the 1994 Honda Accord as the top stolen vehicle in the nation.

Several vehicles on the list are older models, which is something to note when you’re going for a used car.

Although the cost to repair or replace the vehicle may not be as expensive as a new vehicle, used cars may not have the same advanced security features found in newer models.

Adding security features to your vehicle may help reduce your insurance costs, with the NICB advising a four-tiered approach to prevent vehicle theft.

Common sense is the first step, followed by recommendations for the installation of a warning device, an immobilizing device, and a tracking device.

Common sense consists of not leaving your car unattended with the keys in it and always locking your doors.

Warning devices include alarm systems while immobilizing devices include things like automatic kill switches that kill the engine if it’s started without the keys.

Types of Insurance

Another way to reduce the cost of insurance on a used car is to pay attention to the type of insurance you are purchasing.

All states have a mandatory minimum amount of car insurance required by law.

Collision coverage and comprehensive coverage are usually two options above the minimum requirement.

Collision coverage reimburses you for the cost of repairing or replacing your vehicle if it is damaged in a collision. Comprehensive coverage does the same for non-collision damages or destruction.

You may be able to save on insurance if you opt out of at least the collision coverage, according to the Hawaii Insurance Department’s insurance advice to young singles.

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More Money-Saving Insurance Tips

Another way to keep your used car insurance premiums low is to keep the insurance limits low and the deductibles high.

The Hawaii Insurance Department notes that raising the deductibles at least on any collision and comprehensive coverage can help.

Car insurance discounts are another way to save, and several may apply to both new and used vehicles.

Safety devices, such as airbags and anti-lock brakes, may get you a break on the rates.

Older models, however, may not be up to par with the latest technology or features made for safety.

Other discounts may come from a low annual mileage, a good driving record, insuring more than one vehicle with a single company, or enrolling in specific driving courses approved by the insurance company.

Good student and mature driver discounts are sometimes offered, as are discounts for holding more than one type of policy from a single insurance company.

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Benefits of an Agent

If you would feel more comfortable with an insurance agent rather than muddling through all the information on your own, that is always a possibility.

Choosing an agent for your insurance needs can come with a number of benefits as long as you choose one carefully, according to the Illinois Department of Insurance.

Being comfortable with the person is always a plus, but even more important is making sure the person is licensed to sell auto insurance in the state in which you are purchasing it.

You may be able to verify an agent’s credentials by contacting the state’s insurance department.

The best agents will be responsive, reliable, and open to answering any questions you may have.

They may be able to save you time and provide convenience down the line whenever you have questions, need to file a claim or have any changes you need to make to your policy.

Asking for referrals from your friends, family, co-workers, or other people you trust may also lead you to a reliable agent.

You may also be able to purchase insurance from the dealer where you purchase your used car, although you may still want to check his or her credentials.

Possible Negatives of an Agent

Using an agent may also come with a few negatives. For starters, agents are typically affiliated with specific insurance companies.

This means they will only offer products that are from those particular companies.

This can drastically reduce your ability to compare rates from several carriers to find the one that offers the biggest bang for your buck.

Using an agent may also backfire if the agent leaves the company or you move out of the insurance company’s coverage area.

If you move out the insurance company’s area and have to change insurance companies, the same scenario would apply. You would have to start over from scratch with a brand-new agent or search for insurance on your own.

Rate Quotes All Around

You may be able to get the best of both scenarios by asking a used car insurance agent to get you several insurance rate quotes while you also research several others on your own.

Insurance companies usually supply quotes to potential customers at no cost to you, and with no obligation of actually buying the product if you are not happy with the quote results.

The Illinois DOI says you can ask your agent for a non-bound application that you can fill out and submit to the insurance company.

A non-bound application also allows the insurance company to determine if you would, in fact, be accepted for auto insurance coverage from its firm.

Getting more than one quote is generally the best way to go about finding the cheapest insurance, although quality insurance may come from more than just a low price.

Any insurance you choose for your used car should come from a financially stable company that has a good reputation for customer satisfaction.

Otherwise, you may risk becoming one of those unsatisfied customers with a company that’s not even solvent enough to pay for your repairs.

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