You might have owned your car for several years, and it might not be quite as new, shiny and on the frontlines of vehicle technology as it once was. Still, you need your car to run to help you go wherever you need to go. You might be perfectly fine with a reliable vehicle that might be a bit dated but is still trustworthy.
Still, you must lookout for the vehicle to keep it in the appropriate shape, especially now that its age is becoming more noticeable. You also want to make sure you keep your insurance up to date as well. How can you meet both objectives? Are there any special factors that you need to consider when insuring an older car?
Both your maintenance and your insurance needs will change as your car ages. However, these changes do not necessarily have to equal challenges. Often, a few practical and often cost-friendly steps can help you keep your car insured, running and always protected. Let’s take a closer look at how you can keep an older car operating to your advantage.
Maintaining Cars as They Age
As cars age, they see a lot of use and often begin to wear out. This might lead to higher repair bills, especially if you go prolonged periods between regular services. Not only that but since all cars depreciate with use and age, a lack of maintenance and neglect are likely to accelerate the loss of value.
Still, if you take care of your car, then you can maintain its value and often receive a better trade-in bargain when it comes time to sell. Additionally, a well-working car is less prone to breakdowns, catastrophic failures and even accidents. This could save you the risk of extremely high repair bills and equally high insurance claims.
That is why it is important to perform regular maintenance on the car, such as:
- Regularly cleaning the vehicle’s interior and exterior. Those who are sensitive to appearances might also cover their seats and wax the car regularly.
- Ensure that the vehicle receives regular maintenance. Most vehicles need maintenance every 5,000 – 10,000 miles. This is the time to have oil changes, fluid replacement, filter changes and tire rotations.
- Testing your battery, engine, electrical system and tire pressure to make sure that they are calibrated and do not have any signs of damage.
Additionally, you also should do all you can to protect your car from sustaining damage from outside hazards. These might be both accidents and other hazards like vandalism, weather or theft.
That is why it is important to:
- Drive safely, obey all rules of the road and always keep a safe distance between your car and other vehicles.
- Always keep the car locked and arm the security systems. Do not store valuables in the car.
- When possible, park in a garage or covered area that will offer a further layer of protection for your car.
The more safety steps you take, the more you can protect yourself and your vehicle value. Still, it does not matter how much you do to protect the car; there is always a chance that something could happen. For those worst-case scenarios, you need to have your car insurance to help you out.
Optimizing Car Insurance on an Older Car
Brand new cars are worth a lot of money. They therefore usually need the highest available insurance limits. However, older cars that have depreciated might not still need the same coverage. While you still need coverage, you often can re-evaluate your plan to help you better tailor it to the current vehicle value. This might help you save some money.
Consider some of the ways you might be able to adjust your plan to your advantage:
- You might have carried gap insurance on the policy. It is designed to help you pay off the value of a car loan after you receive a standard cash value settlement for a totaled car. If you have paid off the loan, then you might be able to drop the gap coverage.
- If you have a car that is several years old, then its value might no longer merit carrying physical damage insurance on the policy. At times, the settlement provided by collision or comprehensive coverage might actually be less than the cost of paying for this coverage. Still, if you do want assistance paying for vehicle damage, you should maintain this coverage for as long as you are comfortable.
- Never drop your plan’s liability coverage. This coverage will pay for the property damage or bodily injuries of others following accidents that are your fault.
As your car ages, you might see your premiums decrease because the insurer no longer has such a high vehicle value to cover. Additionally, you can work with your insurer to make sure you qualify for discounts and other savings throughout the life of your vehicle.