Ownership: Milestones That Can Change Your Car Insurance Rates, for Better or Worse

2017 Chevrolet Volt Premier vs. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Advanced

  2017 Chevrolet Volt Premier vs. 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Advanced The first Chevrolet Volt came to outrun the Toyota Prius. The new one hopes to kill it. A tale of two plug-in hybrids.Electric vehicles are maturing through their adolescence, and just like in middle school, some members of the class are developing faster. Tesla and Chevrolet now have electric cars that will travel more than 200 miles per charge, but the vast majority of battery-powered cars are still limited to a 60-to-90-mile range. In the next decade, the electric car promises to blossom into something that doesn’t require sacrifices in practicality or price when compared with a gas-fueled car, but until the EV’s pimples clear up, we have plug-in hybrids.

What makes your insurance go up and down?© Consumer Reports What makes your insurance go up and down? This chart shows the average annual car insurance rates over the course of a lifetime for a single driver in the U.S. In general, 20-somethings pay extra because of their inexperience, while those 60 and older pay more for their increased risk of fender-benders. But different events over your life can translate into savings or penalties. Here’s what you can do to take advantage of the former and the sting out of the latter. Car insurance rates shown are national average annual premiums for a single driver.

25 Years Old: Get That Diploma

  Milestones That Can Change Your Car Insurance Rates, for Better or Worse © PeopleImages/Getty Images Drivers in their 20s are penalized for their lack of driving experience.

The Leftovers: Camaro 1LE vs. M2 vs. Focus RS vs. 124 Spider Abarth vs. 718 Boxster S vs. 86

  The Leftovers: Camaro 1LE vs. M2 vs. Focus RS vs. 124 Spider Abarth vs. 718 Boxster S vs. 86 The Leftovers: Fighting the Sin of Omission with a Second Performance-Car ShootoutSuch was the sacrifice we made when choosing the field for our 2016 Best Driver's Car test. It was an embarrassment of riches in terms of jealousy-inducing vehicular choice. We could not bring 'em all for reasons ranging from available time and manpower to the width of the runway where we film the World's Greatest Drag Race. Being limited to 12 cars meant that to bring the Fiat 124 Spyder Abarth, we would have to cut the Aston Martin V12 Vantage S. Sorry, Fiat. And so the culling began.

CR’s advice: Telling your insurer about your education can help a little. College grads, on average, save about $90 per year compared with those who never finished high school. Not a lot, maybe, but over time, it can add up. Advanced degrees help even less: about $20 for a Ph.D. and $15 for a Master’s.

30 Years Old: Tie the Knot

  Milestones That Can Change Your Car Insurance Rates, for Better or Worse © Molly Landreth/Getty Images Insurers now consider you experienced, so premiums start to flatten, making it a good time to shop around for better car insurance rates. And getting married can help, too. Two people in their 30s who marry and combine policies can save an average of about $525 per year compared with what they would pay as singles.

CR’s advice: This benefit is greater in some states and with some insurers. In Texas, for example, getting married is worth about $780, on average, with Geico but only $360 with State Farm.

10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts Driving

  10 Ways to Save When Your Teen Starts Driving Adding a teen to your car insurance policy is sure to boost your rates. But here are some good ways to keep those premiums lower.If your teen has turned 16, you’re probably nervous — both about the prospect of your child getting behind the wheel and all the costs associated with that new reality.

35 Years Old: Have a Baby on Board

  Milestones That Can Change Your Car Insurance Rates, for Better or Worse © Roy Hsu/Getty Images Trading up from a Honda Civic EX to a Honda Odyssey EX minivan can actually help you save: an average of about $240 per year for a couple with two cars and no teens. In some states, the differences can be even bigger: In Florida, that family would save about $375, on average.

CR’s advice: Look for additional savings in car insurance rates by calling other carriers. A Florida driver upgrading from that Civic to the Odyssey could save, on average, about $600 by signing up with Progressive instead of Allstate, for example.

40 Years Old: Buy a House

  Milestones That Can Change Your Car Insurance Rates, for Better or Worse © Sawaya Photography/Getty Images Simply owning your own home can save a two-car couple about $110.

CR’s advice: Bundling your auto coverage with homeowners insurance can save you even more: about $240, on average, for a two-car couple. Shopping around pays, too. In California, a driver combining homeowners and auto policies could save about $1,900, on average, by signing up with Geico vs. Nationwide.

Rare Mopar Swap Meet Gold From The Spring Fling!

  Rare Mopar Swap Meet Gold From The Spring Fling! There’s not a Mopar guy on the planet who hasn’t at one time spent massive amounts of time looking for a new project or parts for one. You might even argue that guys don't finish projects because they're having too much fun digging through swap meets. There is an art to spotting a rare widget in a huge box of junk, but there are telltale signs that you might be looking in the right place. © Steve Ridlon mopar-car-show-cpw-2017-spring-fling-photo-highlights-20.

Related: Find the best mortgage rates here.

50 Years Old: Hand Your Teen the Keys

  Milestones That Can Change Your Car Insurance Rates, for Better or Worse © Gary S Chapman/Getty Images Adding a teenage boy will cost a married couple about $1,740; a girl, about $1,455.

CR’s advice: Comparison shopping can help. In Pennsylvania, signing up with Erie Insurance Group instead of Progressive can save you, on average, about $2,300. But don’t intentionally keep your teen off the policy to save money. Lying to your insurer is fraud, and grounds for getting dropped. Instead, take advantage of good-student discounts if you can. That saves a two-car family with a teen driver an average of about $350. Good-student discounts in some states can be even bigger: over $700 in Delaware, Louisiana, and Rhode Island.

60 Year Old: Get a Midlife-Crisis Benz

  Milestones That Can Change Your Car Insurance Rates, for Better or Worse © Martin Dimitrov/Getty Images Moving from a family car to a sports car or luxury vehicle may make you feel young—but also cost you: $450 for a Mercedes-Benz E350, $440 for a Chevrolet Corvette, and $250 for a Porsche Boxster, on average.

CR’s advice: Once you’ve chosen those fancy wheels, compare coverages. An Ohio resident insuring a Mercedes E350, for instance, can save an average of about $900 with Farmers instead of Allstate.

The Vintage Metal of the 30th Annual Seal Beach Classic Car Show

  The Vintage Metal of the 30th Annual Seal Beach Classic Car Show SEAL BEACH, California — Last weekend we dropped by the 30th Annual Seal Beach Classic Car Show to ogle all the vintage rides, and we were not disappointed. Main Street was crowded with over 550 automobiles from 1979 and older with a couple dozen vintage motorcycles, and a number of NHRA Dragster/Funnycars near the pier as well. Everywhere you looked there seemed to be an endless row of near mint vintage vehicles.

70 Years Old: At Long Last, Retire

  Milestones That Can Change Your Car Insurance Rates, for Better or Worse © GM Visuals/Getty Images Insurers start raising rates after 60, in some places especially. In Texas, car insurance rates for a single driver increased far more after age 60 with Geico than with State Farm.

CR’s advice: Signing up for a mature driver’s ed class can save single drivers about $50, offsetting some of the costs that come with age. In most places, joining AARP won’t help much. One notable exception: In California, if you sign up with The Hartford and belong to AARP, you could save about $500.

  Milestones That Can Change Your Car Insurance Rates, for Better or Worse © Provided by Consumer Reports

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Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the March 2017 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers on this website. Copyright © 2006-2017 Consumers Union of U.S.

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