Car Questions: How long should I keep my car for safety reasons?

How long should you keep a car for safety reasons?

If you drive a vehicle that is more than six to eight years old, you should be aware that technology has advanced and that newer vehicles are much safer than older vehicles. Both the National Traffic Safety Administration, a government agency, and the Institute for Highway Safety, an organization sponsored by the insurance industry, annually evaluate crashworthiness—or, how well a vehicle protects its occupants during a crash.

If you are unable to upgrade to a newer vehicle, you might want to consider installing safety features that will aid in improving your chances of avoiding severe injury in an accident. As an example, consumers who live in snow-belt states might consider purchasing snow tires or all-weather tires. Winter wiper blades can help to keep the windshield clear in icy and snowy weather. And switching over to window washer fluids that have de-icing capabilities is another good safety measure.

One to the best safety features that many consumers overlook are seat belts. Wearing a seat belt is now mandatory in many states. Not using your seat belt causes the other safety features in your vehicle to be less effective because you are lacking a vital, primary restraint.

Aside from overall safety, some other things to consider when driving an older vehicle are whether it makes financial sense to purchase Collision and Comprehensive insurance. If your vehicle is older and worth less than your deductible, Collision and Comprehensive coverage might be options you don't need. However, it's important to note that most states require you to purchase automobile liability insurance, which can protect you and your passengers in the event of a covered loss. Because any vehicle, regardless of age, can cause damage to property or to others in the event of an accident, you may be required to carry two types of automobile liability insurance: Bodily Injury and Property Damage.

Drivers purchasing older vehicles should also consider mechanical breakdown insurance. Older vehicles tend to be less reliable, and if your car breaks down, roadside assistance and a tow service could be essential. Mercury Insurance offers Mechanical Breakdown Protection. Talk to a Mercury agent and ask for a free rate quote. Your Mercury agent can help you evaluate the kind of insurance you need based on the age and value of your car.

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