Cutting the accelerating cost of car insurance

  @Money August 8, 2013: 5:17 PM ET
car insurance

The price of car insurance soared 23% over the past five years.

(Money Magazine)

The five-year increase in the price of motor vehicle insurance -- 23.2% -- is more than double the 10.7% rise in consumer prices, according to the Labor Department.

Claims, however, are at best just keeping up with inflation, says the Consumer Federation of America's Mark Romano: "You're certainly not getting any more for your money."

Should you have an accident, make sure your coverage pays off.

Road to recovery

Call the cops. Report even minor incidents, since some damage -- to a car's electronics, say -- can take weeks to emerge.

"We see this often," says Randy Hanson, Allstate's director of auto claims. (A report won't raise your premium; a ticket or claim might.)

Related: Quick guide to car insurance

Collect evidence. Use your smartphone to record the backup you'll need for a claim. Free apps like WreckCheck (and others from large insurers) guide you through photographing the scene and obtaining information from other drivers and witnesses.

How high gas prices hit your wallet

Get your due. Your insurer's favored repair shop may cut corners, says Romano; a dealership specializing in your make -- or a garage it refers you to -- will likely do better.

Related: 5 great big cars

Car totaled? Use prices on kbb.com to negotiate payment for a comparable car. To top of page

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