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YOUR MONEY WEEKEND | Financial Planner

Checklist: Auto Insurance

August 25, 2000|LIZ PULLIAM WESTON

Things to do this weekend with your money

Comparison shopping can help you save hundreds of dollars on your auto insurance premiums, but you should know which methods of cutting costs are smart--and which aren't.

* Today: Call your auto insurer to make sure you're getting all the discounts to which you're entitled. If you've installed an anti-theft device, started carpooling or added a homeowners' policy with the same company, you may be offered a price break. Good grades and completion of a driver's education course can bring down the cost of a student driver.

* Saturday: Consider sharing more of the risk. You can trim your premium by raising your deductible to $500 or $1,000. You can save even more by dropping collision and comprehensive coverage, something to consider if your car is more than 5 years old and you could afford to replace the vehicle if damaged. You might also drop miscellaneous coverage such as towing and rental car reimbursement.

* Sunday: Don't skimp on liability. California requires only a bare minimum of liability insurance, which is intended to pay for damage you inflict on other people and their property. Most people should opt for higher limits--at least $100,000 of coverage per person, $300,000 per accident and $50,000 for property damage. People with significant assets should increase their liability limits to at least equal their net worth, if not more.

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