Car Insurance for minimal usage


I’m an owner of a 1999 Audi A4 Wagon. The car is paid off and I rarely drive it. I probably do not put more than 1,000 miles/year (highway miles). Currently, I pay over $100/mo. for car insurance. I would like to reduce my car insurance but not sure exactly what is the best and safest way to do this so that the car is still legal to drive. Is there a minimum coverage plan that will be less than what I currently pay, but will provide enough coverage for that rare incident if I do get into a terrible accident with another driver? Currently, I have coverage for the following: bodily injury/prop. damage, personal injury, 100 deductable comprehensive, 250 deductable collision, emergency road service, underinsured motor vehicle - B1 and underinsured motor vehicle - PD. I’ve been thinking of selling the car, but because it is paid off, the car is useful for the times I do like to take it on a weekend vacation; it’s a toss-up. Any advice is useful, Thanks!

You just need liabilty insurance.

Most liability policities cover everything you describe.

That’s how I insure my vehiicles.


I concur just get liability and emergency road service.

However seems like renting or zip car would be far more cost effective. Especially with maintenance factors.

I’m in agreement with Tester about dropping coverage except for the liability. If you’re a safe driver, and since you drive very little, the odds of getting involved in an accident in which you’re at fault are pretty slim.
Tester’s policy is the same as mine; liability only.

Use the insurance savings to replace the timing belt if that has not been done.

I’m sort-of seconding what the others have said.

Liability insurance minimums might be set by your State. But the minimums might be too low; it’s easy to do a lot of damage. You need enough liability coverage to protect your assets. An umbrella policy linked to your car insurance or homeowner’s insurance might be a cost effective way to get that liability coverage.

Remember, collision insurance coveres the damage that you do to your own car. You should do the biggest deductible you can afford on collision coverage. “Afford” here means the cost you can pay by yourself if you bend the car. And check how much the insurance company says the car is worth; you might be able to bear that amount yourself, and so drop your collision coverage.

A similar logic holds for the deductible on your comprehensive coverage, but it usually pays to keep that.

And in the end, you might be able to do an as-needed rental for less than you are paying to register, insure, and maintain the Audi. And you could put the money from selling the Audi into a Car Rental Fund (if you have more self-discipline than I do >:) ) And you’d get to drive a new-ish car, and you wouldn’t have to fix it if it had a mechanical faillure.

Yep I’m going to agree. On the one car that I just carried liability on, I paid about $100 every six months. If you are going to pay for your own glass damage, and don’t care about collision if you are at fault, then that’s the way to go.

One caveat though, if you have any assets at all, you should have a large umbrella policy. That kicks in after car, homeowners, etc. is exhausted and you still owe. They are very cheap since they rarely pay but when you need one you need one bad (for example hitting a school bus). It will require though that you carry more than the legal liability limits which are generally way too low for today’s environment.

If you can leave the car parked for a couple of months at a time between usages, then ask your agent if he and his company can live with you if you suspend and restart your insurance. You might want to keep the insurance going for a month between suspensions to help keep your agent happy.

Another although remote possibility is to sell the car for a dollar to a trusted relative or friend who owns enough cars to qualify for a multi-car discount with you covering the extra insurance cost for your former car. Borrow your former car as needed.

Glass insurance is cheap. Broken windshields are somewhat common.

My insurance company had 2 levels of coverage, casual (not used for work) and normal. Since my wife is retired and I work either out of my house or in distant places, both our cars are insured “casual”. As vehicles age, collison is no longer needed, remember you are insuring for a cost you cannot afford to pay for immediately. A 1999 Audi is worth very little on the open market, and a collison payout would reflect that.

At least increase your deductible to at least $500, so the insurance compnay won’t have to bother with petty claims. Collision claims are by far the largest payout costs and eat up administrative hours.

We pay about the same as you do, but for TWO cars.

P.S. Our liability coverage is $1,000,000 and we have “comprehensive” coverage as well.

I am not of the same mind as the others on this. Not knowing where you live, your insurance rates might be normal, and whether you drive the car or not, I would still want full coverage.

There might be better ways to bring your bill down:

  1. You might consider raising all of your deductibles to $500 or $1,000. If you have or can get a line of credit to cover your possible deductibles, that is a kind of insurance policy to guarantee you can pay the deductibles if something happens.

  2. Call your insurance agent and explain that the car doesn’t get much use. You might be able to switch to a plan that adjusts your rate based on routine odometer readings.

  3. Get some insurance quotes from competitors. These new companies might do a better job of offering you a policy that fits your needs than the current company.

Dropping your coverage to the point where you only have what is required by law is safe ONLY if you never have an accident that is determined to be your fault. In reality, however, you could easily be in a collision that is determined to be “no fault” or you could be in a collision in which you disagree with the assignment of liability. In my opinion, there are too many things that could happen for which you won’t be covered if all you have is the legally-mandated coverage.

You want $100,000-$300,000 liability only, and tell them you drive it less than 2500 miles a year (or 1000 miles if you can live with that).

What seems to be lost in most of these responses is that insurance varies widely by State. In MA, you can get compulsory insurance, which does not include any collision coverage, and you would likely be entitled to a discount for low mileage. Consult with your agent.

Liability coverage of $100,000 is way too low. Any hospital stay and associated costs of someone you injure can easily go to $500,000. Although the probability is low, you have to insure for the full potential cost of such an occurrence.

In the forties, Betty Grable, the movie star, had her legs isured for $1 million; that’s when a new Cadillac cost $3000 or so.

Where I live the biggest danger is un-insured motorists and liability. I carry $1 million in both cars.

You need enough liability coverage to protect your assets.

I couldn’t agree more with your position on mandated minimums.

Naturally, when you have accumulated some wealth, you should adequately protect it. On the other side of the coin, people with little or no accumulated assets might be inclined to buy too little insurance IMO.

It’s worth noting that when people consider how much insurance to buy based on their assets, they should not only think about what they have today, but what they would like to have in the future. I had one guy say to me, “they can only take all of it!” but what he failed to consider is that you can go negative. Future earnings can be attached in order to fulfill a judgement against you. Some people think that because they have little to lose now, they can skimp on insurance but you’re gambling with your future earnings as well.

Only millionaires need million dollar coverage on a car like this. I have 4 cars and pay $480 a YEAR to cover them all. If someone wants more than 100K from me they are welcome to try…

The liabilty insurance I pay for the $1,000,000 is $348 for one car and $357 for the other. It’s really small potatoes in the scheme of things. My wife’s jewelry costs more per year to insure than either car.

Claims processing is a major cost for insurers; that’s why a high deductible or no collison makes sense on older cars.

I agree with you that most people over-insure their cars and under-insure their homes.

This is exactly where we all need to push for a new car insurance rule. No small job of course.

For liabilities, insure the DRIVER, not the car. A vehicle can do no damage without a driver. A vehicle TYPE is not a better or worse risk. A town or state is not a better or worse risk. It’s the driver.
No matter what or where a person drives , their actions would be insured. Carry the card with your license in you pocket.

Naturally bad drivers don’t like this idea, they absolutely love you and me subsidizing their huge risk costs.
Insurance rules are written as state laws and would be a massive undertaking to change.

Until then, on any vehicle that has no liens or loans on it, the cheapest legal route is liability only insurance.

Comp & collision would be written for the newer vehicles separately.

I agree that you should talk to your insurance agent about this. The difference between $500 and $1000 deductible might not be worth it when you look at cost savings. I use Allstate and I get a few discounts with them; 1: multi policy discount for having home owners 2: good payer discount 3: full pay discount(pay the full 6 months at a time) 4: auto-pay discount(charges your credit card/bank account automatically)

I use Allstate too, and for every 6 months you go without an accident, they lower your deductibles without increasing your rates (until you reach a certain level). My collision deductible is $250 and my comprehensive deductible is $150. I am paying rates based on $500 deductibles.

You and I might not save any money from raising our deductibles because we use Allstate. However, that might not apply to customers of other insurers.

Raise your deductable and make sure that the insurer knows you do no commute with the car and that you drive about 1000 miles per year.

You could just call them and ask how to save money. My insurer would answer honestly, and I hope that yours would too.

I was checking coverage on the CX-7 I’m getting and they showed me the savings from $1000 and $500 was maybe $10~15/6 months, so not worth the gamble to me. When they done a credit check on me(why they go with this is beyond me), I got put in the top tier for good payer, etc customer. Right now, my insurance is $315/6 months for full coverage, but total due is just under $285 due to the auto pay and full pay discounts. Not sure if it was with the auto/full pay, but the CX-7 alone will be $392 and $519 when I add the CX-7 to my current policy. And that’s with me upgrading to gold(accident forgiveness, new car replacement) and getting a good deal of coverage