Keep these tips in mind when shopping for insurance for your pre-owned vehicle.
Purchasing a used car — or a “pre-owned vehicle,” in dealership-speak — involves a different process than does buying a new car. Depending on the value of the vehicle and your manner of purchase, your car insurance premiums may be impacted as well.
Let’s explore the ins and outs of buying insurance for a used car or truck, as well as which car insurance company is cheapest for you.
Although buyers often overlook this step, it is vital to get a used car inspection before purchasing the vehicle. Most dealers and private sellers will allow you to take the car for inspection or host a mobile session at their home or dealership. If they don’t allow you to do this, consider it a warning sign, i.e., there’s something the seller doesn't want you to know.
In addition to getting an inspection, you should absolutely run a Carfax report. Using the VIN, a Carfax report can tell you the accident report of the vehicle as well as other important information. Just like getting an inspection, this report is useful for determining if the value of the vehicle.
If the vehicle passes inspection and everything seems in order, your next step is to purchase an insurance policy for your used car. If you buy your car from a dealership, the dealer will most likely require proof of insurance prior to your driving the vehicle off the lot. If this is the case, you'll want all the information necessary to get insured as soon as possible. Here’s what you will need:
A VIN is especially important for a used vehicle, as they show the vehicle’s entire history. If the vehicle has been previously totaled and salvaged, this would show up on the VIN. This is another important reason to get your used vehicle inspected prior to purchasing. Some car insurance companies will deny coverage if a vehicle has been salvaged, based on the risk presented by a repaired vehicle.
Once you find the vehicle you want, you can get a used car insurance quote prior to actually purchasing the vehicle by using the VIN. Dealerships often list the VIN on their websites, providing an accurate estimate of your car insurance quote. Most insurance companies will then supply a quote number, which you can use to retrieve the saved quote.
Once you activate the policy, your new insurance company will send the proof of insurance to the car dealer and you, and you’ll be able to drive off the lot. Simple as that!
In order to find the cheapest car insurance companies for a used vehicle, we surveyed the policies offered by top US companies on a 2013 Honda Accord. While this vehicle and driving profile won’t match you exactly, the data should function as a jumping off point in the search for cheap car insurance. Here are the results.
With all other metrics constant, Nationwide offers the cheapest car insurance company for a used car. Use this data as a baseline and start your search for cheap car insurance here.
In addition to shopping around to find the lowest used car insurance rates, we’ve outlined some other policy initiatives you can take while trying to keep your premium affordable. Let’s get started.
Unless you have accident forgiveness built into your policy, car insurance companies tend to financially penalize you for filing a claim. So, if you’ve been in a collision-type accident and are thinking about filing a claim, consider our advice first.
|Increase at 6 months||Increase at 12 months||Increase at 3 Years|
In this example, we’re only talking about collision claims. Comprehensive, uninsured motorist claims and not-at-fault accidents typically don’t raise premiums as dramatically as collision claims. If your insurance company rates your not-at-fault accidents as at-fault accidents, consider it as a good opportunity to explore other companies.
If you were the at-fault party and the other driver wants to involve insurance companies, you don't have an option.
By this, we are referring to modifying your insurance coverage to suit the value of your vehicle. Most insurance experts advise if your vehicle is paid off and worth less than $4,000, you may not physical coverage on it. By physical coverage, we are referring to comprehensive and collision coverage. Unlike your liability coverage, these are designed to protect your vehicle and are merited based on a presumed value of your vehicle. You can determine the value of your vehicle by using Kelley Blue Book or NADA guide online.
If your vehicle is worth more than $4,000 but you still want to save, consider increasing your deductible. Because your premium and deductible are inversely related, you can lower your premium by raising your deductible.
|Coverage Level||Average Annual Premium|
Another benefit of this is your decreased incentive to use your deductible, rather than paying out for damages yourself. As we learned from the section above, using your collision coverage can have long-lasting effects on your insurance. By decreasing the dollar value you would receive as compensation, there is less of an incentive to file a claim.
While most of these discounts are small, they can add up to make your premium more affordable.
After it’s all said and done, you might be paying too much because your car insurance company simply isn’t that affordable. The best way to find cheap car insurance is by weighing as many options as possible.
Still have questions awaiting answers? See our additional articles!
Can you get gap insurance for a used car?
This will depend on the value of the used vehicle. Just because a vehicle is used, does not mean it isn't valuable. Gap insurance is designed to cover the difference between the amount of the loan and the actual cost value of the vehicle - what your insurance company will pay out in the event the vehicle is totaled. If you are financing a used vehicle with a high depreciation rate and had a low down payment, you should still look for a car insurance policy with gap insurance. For more information on gap insurance, see here.
What are the cheapest used cars to insure?
While there is no exact answer for this, generally early 2000's sedans are the cheapest used vehicles to insure. Because of their value, you generally do not need comprehensive or collision coverage and only your state required liability limits.
Do I need insurance before I buy a used car?
As is true with any vehicle, you need insurance before buying and driving a vehicle off the lot. For the best practices regarding quoting a new vehicle, see our guide here.