Archive for May, 2012
A large number of drivers usually get surprised when they learn about different insurance rates for different car types. They think that it doesn’t matter whether it’s a small car or a hot rod as long as they have a good driving record and don’t get in trouble in traffic. With all that, insurance companies have a different perspective on things and they will charge you with different premiums depending on the type of car you’re trying to insure. That’s why you should always bear in mind the following characteristics of each car type and make your decisions correctly if you want your auto insurance budget to be limited:
Small sized vehicles are usually very affordable and rather comfortable in the conditions of a big city with heavy traffic. They typically have low engine volumes, top speed, get stolen quite rarely and are inexpensive to handle at repair. Even so, auto insurance can be a bit expensive for small cars because they tend to get damaged very bad during accidents. Basic physics aren’t on small cars’ side during collisions because the smaller object tends to get the most damage regardless of the safety features the manufacturer has included. That’s why costly claims tend to arise more often with such vehicles, and the insurers respond with respective pricing.
Mid-class vehicles are often considered to be the safest and the cheapest to insure. Naturally, it depends on the particular make and model, but the in general these cars are quite safe, have low repair costs and theft rates, and tend to get damaged much less than smaller vehicles during an accident. That is why you will usually get the best auto insurance rates for this car type.
Large cars, trucks and SUVs that fall into the same size category are certainly very comfortable and give you a whole different perspective in traffic. But the size can be a problem with these vehicles. Due to their increased mass as compared to other vehicle types SUVs tend to produce more damage during accidents, especially involving other cars. Third party liability claims with SUVs are likely to be higher because the other car tends to get damaged quite bad and there are likely to be injuries as well. Added to the higher repair costs for such vehicles SUVs are usually more expensive to insure.
Fast sports cars often look like a great option for car buyers since they are both cool and cheap. However, when it comes to insuring a typical sports car, you will actually have a hard time getting cheap auto insurance because insurers tend to classify such cars as high risk. High top speed, engine volume, elevated theft and accident rates as well as the likelihood to produce a very serious car crash all contribute to expensive auto insurance rates for sports vehicles.
It may look natural for expensive cars to be costly in terms of insurance. But it has nothing to do with their initial price as there are other reasons to charge higher rates for such vehicles. First of all, they are usually very costly to repair, often requiring exclusive and overpriced repair parts that are hard to find in an ordinary repair shop. Besides, such vehicles are often targeted by car thieves and burglars due to their value and exclusivity. That’s why getting cheap auto insurance for any luxury car is problematic.
Everyone knows the potential advantages of renting a vehicle. You get the freedom of the road and, in those parts of the world where the public transport system is not so hot, it’s the only way to get where you want to go in a timely fashion. Yet we all have friends with horror stories about the poor service they received when collecting and returning their vehicles. Allowing for cultural differences and language problems, the first and best step to getting the best service is to write to the renter explaining your needs. Sadly, mental telepathy is still very limited and, unless you tell people what you need, they can only guess. When they guess wrong, you get upset and that’s where the problems grow bigger. So a simple list of your needs – trying not to make them sound like a list of demands – will smooth the way. If you arrive and find things still not ready, show the email. This usually produces apologies and more urgent attention to those needs.
Let’s start by thinking about your choice of vehicle. If you have children or a lot of stuff to carry around, remember some countries prefer smaller cars. Telling the renter what size of vehicle you need is essential. Put the other way round, if you want to make the biggest savings, you’re going to want the smallest, most fuel-efficient vehicle on the lot. Now come to the driving itself. In the US, we’re used to automatic transmissions. In other countries, stick shift is the norm. If you can’t drive a stick shift or you’re worried about a stick shift using the “wrong” hand (yes, some of these pesky foreigners drive on the other side of the road), tell the renter you want an automatic transmission. Now start thinking about all that stuff. How big is it? For example, if you’re off to a ski resort, do you want a rack on the roof to carry your skis and poles? Is one of your children young enough to need a special seat? Better still, if you don’t know exactly where you’re going, do you want a GPS system?
Now think about where you’re proposing to drive. This is not something that needs to be cared in stone, but if you think you may go into different countries, remember to ensure you are carrying all the equipment required under local laws. For example, as of July 1, 2012, the French Government has decided you must carry a breathalyzer. If you fail to produce one when asked by the nice police officer with a gun strapped to his waist, there’s an instant fine. It’s about $15 a time and these police officers have radios so can ensure you get stopped every mile if you don’t smile when asked to pay up. So ask your friendly car rental company to stock up your vehicle with all the mandatory equipment for the countries in which you propose to drive. Ask for a list and know exactly where it is. The man with the gun does not like to be kept waiting as you search through all your stuff to find “it”, whatever it is. Car rental companies can give really good service but only if you tell them what you need.