How to Get Cheap Car Insurance

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance

For many people, car insurance is a major expense category in the household budget. And because it’s against the law to drive without car insurance, it’s not a budget item that can be eliminated unless you’re willing to go car-free. That doesn’t mean, though, that you’re stuck paying sky-high rates. Here’s how to get cheap car insurance. 

Learn about personal loan rates. 

How Insurance Companies Set Car Insurance Rates

Like health insurance, car insurance comes with both premiums and deductibles. The premiums are what you pay the insurance company every month to maintain your coverage. The deductible is what you’ll pay when you start making claims, up to a certain annual cap of, say, $1,000.

It’s worth noting that most people who say they want cheap car insurance mean that they want car insurance with low monthly premiums. But, as with health insurance, there’s a risk to having a policy with low premiums and a high deductible. In the event of a serious accident, you’ll have to meet that deductible. So, one way to get lower premiums is to opt for a higher deductible, but this is only a safe strategy if you have enough liquidity to cover your deductible in the event of an accident.

When car insurance companies set insurance premium rates they take several factors into account. These include applicants’ age, gender and driving history, as well as the type of car the applicant drives and the driver’s state of residence. While you can’t change your age, there are other steps you can take to get favorable rates from car insurance companies.

Types of Coverage

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance

Insurance companies charge more for comprehensive car insurance than they do for basic coverage. In most states you’re required to have liability insurance to cover any damage you do to another car or driver. The extent of that coverage requirement varies by state. In most states, you’re not required to have insurance to cover damage to your own car, or injuries you might suffer in an accident.

If you choose to add insurance coverage for yourself, you can opt for comprehensive coverage or collision coverage. Collision coverage, as the name indicates, covers damage from an accident with another car or an object, and in the event that your car flips. Comprehensive coverage covers things like theft, vandalism and natural disasters, too.

So, while you’ll almost definitely need to buy liability coverage to cover other drivers’ damages, you might not need to buy physical damage coverage for your own vehicle. It will depend on the terms of your lease if you’re leasing a car, and on your own assessment of the risks you face.

If you’re buying a valuable new car, you’ll probably want comprehensive coverage. If you’re paying cash for an older, used vehicle, you can probably get away with a more basic level of coverage. Whatever insurance option you choose for yourself, be sure to comply with state laws relating to liability insurance for any damage you might do to another driver. Once you have a car insurance policy, carry proof of insurance with you in your vehicle at all times. 

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance Rates

How to Get Cheap Car Insurance

In the long term, one of the best ways to get cheap car insurance is to be a safe, responsible driver. The worst drivers have high rates because the insurance company needs financial compensation for the high likelihood that it will have to pay out in the event these drivers get in an accident. If you have a spotless driving record, keep it up. If you have some accidents or tickets in your past, they shouldn’t drive your rates up forever. If it’s been a few years since your last incident, you can try calling your insurance company and asking for a lower rate, using your recent, safe driving record as a bargaining chip.

Another way to get cheap car insurance is to use the same insurance company for more than one type of insurance and get a discount for your loyalty. For example, you can contact the insurance company that provides your homeowners insurance, life insurance or motorcycle insurance and ask if the company can give you a good deal on car insurance. If you have more than one car, you can bundle the insurance coverage on both vehicles.

Your credit score will also affect your car insurance rates, just like it affects the rates you’re offered when shopping for a mortgage. If your credit has improved since you last bought car insurance, you may be able to negotiate your way to cheaper car insurance. And if you pay your car insurance premiums and bills on time and in full, you’ll build up goodwill with your insurer and might qualify for promotional rates.

If you don’t drive very much during the year, you might get cheaper car insurance from a usage-based plan than you would from regular car insurance. Track your mileage before you start shopping for car insurance and see if your low mileage makes you eligible for a better deal.

If you’re under 25, you’ll pay higher premiums, all things being equal. That’s because insurance companies judge young drivers to be riskier drivers. You can get lower rates by joining your parents’ plan, or by using your good grades to get a discount on rates, if your insurance company offers that option. Once you reach your mid-20s there’s no reason to keep paying the high rates that insurance companies levy on young drivers. You can ask your insurance company to lower your rate, or shop around for insurance from another provider.

Finally, the type of car you drive can affect your car insurance rates. Big, powerful and flashy cars are more likely to trigger high car insurance rates because the insurance company assumes you’ll be more likely to speed in that kind of vehicle, and that the vehicle will be a target for theft. Vehicles with high repair costs (such as foreign-made cars) may be more expensive to cover, too. In some states, having a used car will mean lower rates because rates are affected by your car’s replacement value. But in other states, rates are based on vehicles’ safety features, so having an older car won’t necessarily help you get cheap car insurance. If your car has special safety and/or anti-theft features, you may qualify for cheaper car insurance on that basis.

Bottom Line

If you don’t have a vehicle or you’re thinking about getting a new (or used) car, it may be worth doing some research to find out which kinds of cars will get you the lowest car insurance rates. And if you’re paying a lot for car insurance now, you may be able to get cheaper coverage by negotiating your premiums or switching providers.

Photo credit: Â©iStock.com/andresr, Â©iStock.com/ipopba, Â©iStock.com/kate_sept2004

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How to Exercise Outside While Social Distancing

exercising-outside-while-social-distancing

Guest Post

How to Exercise Outside While Social Distancing

Yoga studios and gyms, even fitness centers found in the average apartment complex, have been closed as a response to the spread of COVID-19. As a result, people are left needing to find alternative ways to stay active in order to meet their fitness goals. For people who prefer exercising with a group, navigating through this might be a bit tough as you are looking for ways to stay in shape while social distancing. 

Social distancing while living in an apartment can be tricky. Especially when you are looking for ways to get outside and exercise. It is important to understand that at this time, social distancing is one of the best ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus. However, this does not mean that you need to stay inside your apartment binge watching Netflix. Maintaining good health habits is important, especially right now. If you are at a loss of things that you can do to stay in shape, here are a few fun ideas that you can practice while still maintaining social distance. 

Local Trails

Most areas have local trails nearby. If you have a car, driving to one of these areas can be a great way to get out of the house and enjoy some nature. You can hike the trails at a national or state park. In fact, many neighborhoods offer trails that you can run, bike, or walk on. 

Take a few minutes to do a bit of research and chances are you will be surprised at how many public trails there are around your apartment complex for you to enjoy. The official website of your town is likely to offer information about different city trails that you can enjoy. You can also search your county and state websites for more information about what trails are currently open for you to enjoy. 

Remember, when you are running on a trail, you should maintain a six-foot distance between yourself and others who might be out enjoying the trail. If necessary, slow your pace or go around the other person at a safe distance while you are out. 

Run Through Neighborhoods

Taking a walk or a jog along the side of the road is a great way to get outside and exercise. With fewer cars on the roads these days, running along the side of the road is fairly safe. You should maintain distance and be careful, but there are plenty of neighborhoods around your apartment that you can take a run through. Your apartment complex likely has areas that you can run in as well. If necessary, you could just walk around the different buildings throughout your apartment complex. Choose different paths and learn more about the area that you live in, all while maintaining social distance. 

Yoga in the Park

Yoga is a great form of exercise that can relieve stress. All you really need for this type of exercise is a yoga mat or a soft surface such as a grassy field. Of course, you can practice yoga from the comfort of your home, but if you are looking for a way to exercise outside, pack up your mat and head to an open area. There is a good chance that you will not have to go very far from your apartment to find an open area where you can practice yoga. There are parks that have open areas where you can spread out, enjoy the great outdoors, and strike some yoga poses.  

Go Fly a Kite

If you are looking for something fun to do, that is also a form of exercise, why not build a kite and take it out to fly? Flying kites may seem like something that will not give you much exercise, but when you are sprinting to get it up in the air, you are definitely going to be winded afterwards. Kite flying is a great social distancing activity because you will be in an open field, away from others. Plus, who doesn’t love the idea of getting a kite up in the air and watching it soar?

If you are used to group exercise, join a virtual accountability group. Create a step challenge among your friends. Social media provides a great way to stay connected and motivated. You could even put up flyers in your apartment complex for an exercise competition group. You can use a social media app to track goals and possibly even come up with prizes for the winners. 

Read How to Exercise Outside While Social Distancing on Apartminty.

Source: blog.apartminty.com

Loft Apartments: The Pros and Cons

When you think about living in a loft, you may picture an apartment with a large, open floor plan located in the heart of a bustling city like New York. The loft apartment is airy with tall ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows and exposed hardware.

It sounds urban and cool, but are loft apartments only something seen in movies? Not so! Loft apartments are increasingly more popular and available to the renter interested in living in a loft.

What is a loft apartment?

So, what exactly is a loft apartment?

A loft apartment, like a studio apartment, is an open-concept living area with no interior walls, except for a private bathroom. Lofts are very large (think 1,000+ square feet) and have typically been converted from an industrial or commercial warehouse to a living space.

Converted from old warehouse spaces, loft rooms often feature exposed piping and brick and large windows.

How is a loft apartment different from a regular apartment?

Loft rooms differ from traditional one or two-bedroom apartments because no interior walls divide up space. Lofts are open-areas with no defined bedroom, living room and kitchen. A regular apartment will have a clearly-defined bedroom, closet, kitchen and living room. Both have a private bathroom, though.

When looking at the floor plan for a regular apartment, you’ll see the walls that clearly define each room.

floorplan of a loft apartment

Source: Apartment Guide

Compare the previous floor plan to this loft apartment and you’ll clearly see the main difference (i.e. no walls!)

loft apartment with exposed brick and light fixtures, large open space

Source: Apartment Guide

Pros of living in a loft apartment

Now that we’ve covered what a loft apartment is, let’s go over some of the pros and cons of living in a loft so you can decide if renting a loft room is right for you.

Pro #1: Trendy, urban vibes

Lofts are inherently cool.

First, the buildings usually have an interesting history tied to whether it previously was a factory, warehouse or commercial building. Second, the exposed interior — piping, brick or windows — adds charm and detail that traditional apartments often lack. Third, the layout of the open-living concept feels spacious, airy and light. You’ll walk into a loft apartment and have ample room to settle in.

Plus, lofts are usually found in larger, metro cities so you’ll have a fun time living in an urban area, too.

Pro #2: Design flexibility

Because loft rooms are so open and big, look at your loft apartment like a blank canvas.

Are you into a modern style? Get a large piece of modern art and hang it on the wall. Do you like a minimalist feel? Then you can add the essential pieces of furniture to the space and let the rest of the room speak for itself. Do you want a cozy loft? Add lots of furniture, pillows, blankets and art to make the place a comfortable loft to snuggle up in.

Lofts give renters plenty of freedom to design the place how they like.

Pro #3: Lots of space

One of the main reasons people rent loft apartments is for the space. You’ll usually get 1,000+ square feet out of a loft so you won’t feel cramped.

Lofts have lots of light so you’ll always have natural sunlight pouring in and can roam freely without feeling too confined.

loft apartment

Cons of living in a loft apartment

As with everything in life, there is also a downside to loft apartments. For all the cool perks and features, lofts can also have some features that aren’t so hot. Here are some of the main cons to loft rooms.

Con #1: Costly utilities

While a pro of living in a loft is the space, it can also mean pricier utilities. There is simply more space to heat or cool down.

Also, lofts are typically located in older and refurbished commercial buildings, so consider old piping or thin windows impacting future utilities. If you choose to rent a loft, make sure to budget for utilities being a bit more.

Con #2: Insufficient storage

While lofts are open and spacious, they also lack traditional storage space like closets and pantries. You have all the space you need in an open floor plan, but actually finding places to put your belongings requires thinking outside the box.

Get creative with where to hang clothes and where to store your stuff.

Con #3: Lack of privacy

Great for singles or couples, lofts aren’t ideal for roommates. You might feel like you lack privacy in a loft apartment because there are no separate rooms or walls. If privacy is important to you, a loft apartment will not check that box.

loft apartment rooms

How to create rooms in a loft apartment

Because lofts lack rooms, you may need to craft your own at times. Here are a few ways to create rooms in a loft apartment for privacy and aesthetics.

1. Use furniture to divide the space

Make your furniture dual-purpose. Use a bookshelf to break up the room as a faux wall. For example, a bookshelf can separate the TV space from the kitchen while storing books.

2. Hang room divider curtains

Although the walls are often high in a loft, you can hang curtain rods and curtains from the walls to create a bedroom, for example. Use curtains to divide the room and visually break up the space.

3. Install sliding doors

Sliding barn doors are trendy and useful. If you need a room sectioned off in your loft apartment, consider installing a set of sliding doors.

Renting a loft apartment

Have you settled on renting a loft apartment as your next home? Well then, decide which city you want to live in and start the search for your perfect, trendy and spacious loft.

The post Loft Apartments: The Pros and Cons appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

Apartment Highlights: Aura Pentagon City

Camden Midtown Houston Apartments Property Highlight

Sponsored Post-All images provided courtesy of Polinger Management Company

Apartment Community Spotlight: Aura Pentagon City

Aura at Pentagon City is the destination address that proves you don’t have to live in the District of Columbia to be a true resident of the nation’s capital. Your new address is the center of the DC Metro area, including all commuter routes and, of course, the area’s parks, shopping, dining, and nightlife options. A quick walk–just blocks from either the Pentagon City or Crystal City Metro and you’re home!

Choose a beautiful studio, one or two-bedroom apartment home that’s designed just the way you like it, with just enough space for your needs. Apartment homes range in size from 519 square feet to 1,243 square feet and with nearly 20 options to choose from, you’re sure to find a floorplan that suits your life. And our favorite feature; they’re pet-friendly! 

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Aura Pentagon City truly makes residents feel at home. They treat residents with high-end customer service, regardless of the situation. In addition to the wonderful team at Aura Pentagon City, the community amenities are top-notch. Whether you value underground parking, outdoor space, a business center, valet dry cleaning, rooftop pools and sundecks, on-site maintenance, fitness center, and even a dog park for your four-legged friend,  they have it all — and more.  Two resort-style pools, a fully equipped fitness center, and concierge are our favorites! Additionally, there is on-site parking, trash and recycling, and on-site dry cleaning. Can you think of anything missing from this community, because we can’t!

 

All in all, Aura Pentagon City is our community of choice when it comes to the Pentagon City neighborhood. The lux amenities, stellar service, and its central location are our main reasons why we love it. If you are looking into making Arlington, Virginia your home, Aura Pentagon City should be at the top of your list – we promise you’ll love it!

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Read Apartment Highlights: Aura Pentagon City on Apartminty.

Source: blog.apartminty.com

What Is Gap Insurance, and What Does It Cover?

Woman about to drive off in a carWhen purchasing or leasing a new car, you have several insurance coverage options. When selecting coverage, you will likely know if you want to have collision coverage or not, but will you know what gap insurance and whether to select that option? If you are driving your owned vehicle or a leased one, and it is totaled, your collision coverage insurance will cover your vehicle’s cash value. The coverage will help you to purchase a another car. However, what if you owe more on your car than it’s worth? That is where gap insurance comes in. Here’s what you need to know about this type of coverage.

What is Gap Insurance?

Gap insurance protects you from not having enough money to pay off your car loan or lease if its value has depreciated, and you owe more on your car than it is worth. It is optional insurance coverage and is used in addition to collision or comprehensive coverage. It helps you pay off an auto loan if a car has been totaled or stolen, and you owe more than its worth. Gap insurance might also be known as loan or lease gap coverage, and it is only available if you are the first owner or leaseholder on a new vehicle.

Some lenders require individuals to have gap insurance. In addition to collision and comprehensive coverage, gap insurance helps prevent owners and leasers from owing money on a car that no longer exists and protects lenders from not getting paid by a person in financial distress.

How Gap Insurance Works

Car crushed by a fallen tree

If you buy or lease a new car, you may owe more on the vehicle than it is worth because of depreciation. For example, let’s say you purchase a new car for $35,000. However, a year later, the car has depreciated and is only worth $25,000, and you owe $30,000 on it. Then, you total the car. Comprehensive insurance coverage would give you $25,000, but you would still owe $5,000 on the vehicle. Gap insurance would cover the $5,000 still owed.

Without gap insurance, you would have had to pay $5,000 out-of-pocket to settle the auto loan. With gap insurance, you did not have to pay anything out of pocket and were likely to purchase a new car with financing.

What Gap Insurance Covers

Gap insurance covers several things and is meant to complement collision or comprehensive insurance. Gap insurance covers:

  • Theft. If a car is stolen and unrecovered, gap insurance may cover theft.
  • Negative equity. If there is a gap between a car’s value and the amount a person owes, gap insurance will cover the difference if a car is totaled.

Gap insurance also covers leased cars. When you drive a new, leased car off the lot, it depreciates. Therefore, the amount you owe on the lease is always more than the car is worth. If you total a leased car, you’re responsible for the fair market value of the vehicle. If you lease, you can purchase gap coverage part way through your lease term, although many dealerships require both comprehensive and collision coverage and strongly recommend gap coverage.

What Gap Insurance Doesn’t Cover

Gap insurance is designed to be complementary, which means that it does not cover everything. Gap insurance does not cover:

  • Repairs. If a car needs repairs, gap insurance will not cover them.
  • Carry-over balance. If a person had a balance on a previous car loan rolled into a new car loan, gap insurance would not cover the rolled-over portion.
  • Rental cars. If a totaled car is in the shop, gap insurance will not cover a rental car’s cost.
  • Extended warranties. If a person chose to add an extended warranty to an auto loan, gap insurance would not cover any extended warranty payments.
  • Deductibles. If someone leases a car, their insurance deductibles are not usually covered by gap insurance. Some policies have a deductible option, so it is wise to check with a provider before signing a gap insurance policy.

Reasons to Consider Gap Insurance

There are several situations you should consider gap insurance. The first is if you made less than a 20% down payment on a vehicle. If you make less than a 20% down payment, it is likely that you do not have cash reserves to cover them in case of an emergency and that they will be “upside down” on the car payments.

Additionally, if an auto loan term is 60 months or longer, a person should consider gap insurance to ensure that he or she is not stuck with car payments if the vehicle is totaled.

Finally, if you’re leasing a car, you should consider gap insurance. Although many contracts require it, the vehicle costs more than it’s worth in almost every situation when you lease.

Is a Gap Insurance Worth It?

Gap insurance keeps the amount that a person owes after buying a car from increasing in case of an emergency. Therefore, if someone does not have debt on his car, there’s no need for gap insurance. Additionally, if a person owes less on his car than it is worth, there’s also no need for gap insurance. Finally, if a person does owe more on a vehicle than it is worth, he may still choose to put the money that would be spent on gap insurance every month toward the principal of his auto loan.

If a person owes more on his car than it is worth and would be financially debilitated by having to pay the remainder of his car payments if his vehicle was totaled or stolen, then gap insurance might be a saving grace.

If the extra cost of gap insurance strains your budget then consider ways to keep your vehicle insurance costs down without skipping gap insurance.

The Takeaway

"ARE YOU COVERED" written on a highway

Gap insurance covers the amount that a person would still owe on a vehicle after it is stolen or totaled, and after comprehensive insurance pays out. It prevents people from continuing to owe on a car that no longer exists. While it doesn’t make sense for everyone to purchase gap insurance, it is often smart for people who have expensive vehicles that are worth far more than a person owes. It is also something to consider when you are leasing a vehicle.

Tips for Reducing Insurance Costs

  • If you need a little additional help weighing your insurance options, you might want to consider working with an expert. Finding the right financial advisor that fits your needs can be simple. SmartAsset’s free tool will match you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to learn about local advisors to help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • You may want to consider all the insurance options available that are suitable for your unique situation. By doing so, you save money. A free comprehensive budget calculator can help you understand which option is best.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/ljubaphoto, ©iStock.com/Kileman, ©iStock.com/gustavofrazao

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