Couple shopping for carAuto dealers take advantage of increased inventory of new year models and available manufacturer incentives to make President’s Day weekend the kickoff to their sales year. When shopping for a new car, the cost of insurance is often a forgotten factor. If you’re in the market for a new car, here are some auto insurance considerations to keep in mind.

Comp & Collision

If you’re moving from a fully-paid used car to a financed new car, your bank or lien holder will require you to carry full coverage while you’re paying off your loan. Owners who’ve carried only the required liability insurance on their fully-paid car may encounter sticker shock when comprehensive and collision is required for a newly financed car. Once you’ve identified the vehicle you are interested in purchasing, consult your insurance agent to get a quote on the new car so you have an idea of your additional costs.

For more information on the types of coverage available, visit Maryland Auto’s summary of coverage requirements, here.

Research vehicle theft rates

Cars with higher theft rates are more expensive to insure. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in conjunction with the FBI and the National Crime Information Center publishes a database of theft rates by manufacturer, year, make, and model. Check the theft rate on your preferred make and model prior to purchasing. While data may not be available on new models, you can get an idea of how previous year versions of your preferred car have performed, and check with your salesperson to see what anti-theft features have been added.

Anti-theft and safety features

Some insurers offer discounts for vehicles with anti-theft features such as alarms, tracking devices, and proximity ignition systems. In addition, safety features that prevent injury or accident avoidance systems can also qualify for discounts.

New versus used

While carrying full coverage protects your vehicle investment, if insurance costs are a concern, you may consider options that allow you to carry liability coverage only. Instead of financing a new car, which requires full insurance coverage, you can purchase a less expensive, used car and pay it off completely. This gives you the option to carry only liability insurance. While this will save you money, keep in mind that if you are at fault for an accident, liability coverage will only pay for damage to other vehicles or property. Damage to your vehicle won’t be covered by your policy.

Down payments and deductibles

When you purchase your policy, there are two things you can do to lower your monthly payments. Paying a higher down payment will decrease the amount of premium remaining to be paid in your monthly payments, making those payments less over the course of your policy. Choosing a higher deductible can also lower your monthly payments. Be sure to talk through all of your payment options with your insurance provider to make sure you are getting the best policy for your financial needs.

Drive safe and stay in force

Once you have your new car and your new policy, you can qualify for better rates and discounts by driving safely. Don’t drink and drive, don’t speed, and don’t text and drive. Avoiding traffic violations and accidents will help you qualify for safe driver discounts. Keeping your policy in force will help you avoid uninsured motorist fines (up to $2,460 per year in Maryland) and may qualify you for better rates when your policy comes up for renewal.

Buying a new car is a scary and exciting experience. Enjoy the process. Make sure to do your research, and don’t forget to consult with your insurance provider to make sure that the insurance costs for your new vehicle fit into your budget. If you don’t already have an insurance agent, click the link at the top of this page to find an authorized Maryland Auto Insurance provider in your area.