Your KITT to Cutting Insurance Costs


Even without David Hasselhoff behind the wheel in Knight Rider as the driver, this dry-witted, crime-fighting, computerized car, can still kick some bad-guy butt. And drive up ratings. A new two-hour TV movie based on the 1980’s series, rode to success last Sunday when 12.7 million viewers tuned into watch the Knight Industries 3000, aka KITT, get his swerve on. NBC (GE) hopes to get more mileage out of the franchise: A regular series is in the works, and Knight Rider will be replayed this Saturday at 9pm. 

This time our favorite taking car isn’t a Pontiac Trans Am (GM), but a Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500KR (F) with laser guided missiles, olfactory sensors (yes, KITT can smell), and Val Kilmer providing its voice. But is KITT insured? As long as his owner had good credit, his insurance would be about $5,000 a year, jokes Rob Thielki, an agent with Vern Funk insurance in Washington. (Not to mention a whole lot more in body shop bills.)

In the real world, it shouldn’t require KITT level reconnaissance to find good deals on your auto insurance. Several companies cater to specific professions with unique discounts. Horace Mann Insurance (HMN), for example, covers teachers and educators, giving members of the National Education Association 10% off. As part of its standard teacher’s policy, if a policy holder “requires a new car after an accident, they get replacement costs instead of the bluebook,” says Randall Robertson, an agent in Ocala, FL. And if a teacher’s car is broken into on school property or at a school event, the deductible is only $25. 

(Why all the perks for teachers? “On a tangible level, teachers are finger printed and bank round checked, so it’s less of a risk,” says Robertson.  “But in actuality, as a group there just aren’t as many losses with teachers versus other professions.”)

Teachers aren’t the ones to get perks. Geico Insurance, which stands for Government Employees Insurance Company, discounts policies up to 15% for active and retired military and offers discounted storage protection plans for military members facing emergency deployment. And most of the major insurers will deduct some bucks if you own a home, are a student with at least a 3.0 GPA, or belong to organizations like the American Association of Retired Persons or the American Automobile Association. 

Also, if you can pay for your entire policy at once, do it. “If you pay in full, you get five, 10 or 15% off depending on the company,” says Thielki. And the discounts don’t end there. “Even being married you get a discount of about 10 to 15%. And if you’re female you get a discount. If you’re over 55, and take a safety course you get a discount as well.” According to Thielki, Unitrin Insurance (UTR) will give a discount if you have renters insurance, “because they think you’re more responsible.”

Take advantage of as many discounts as possible, and keep shrinking your premium. Your car might not have olfactory sensors like KITT, but it does have the ability to stink up your finances. 

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