One aspect we didn't want to overlook in our consideration was the specialty insurance market, so we contacted Travis at Hagerty Insurance (800/922-4050). Hagerty has a developing program that will offer coverage to more modern vehicles, such as exotics, special interest vehicles, tuners, and low-riders. With an agreed value policy, the coverage on the insured vehicle is more complete than it generally is with a standard policy. Your $40K car is actually insured as a $40K car, and the vehicle will not be depreciated in the event of a total loss. Though a collector policy may be slightly more restrictive in reference to vehicle usage-limited miles per year, driving to and from car related events, etc.- with all your parameters punched into the system, we were surprised it was so affordable (about $750 per year), especially considering it met the needs of your intended plans.

Jesus at Progressive (800/776-4737) was most helpful, but his rates blew the others out of the water ($760 for liability only and $1,818 for full coverage), and his company had an upfront disclaimer that sternly warned us they were going to probe your various orifices to learn about your potential for risk. For the first two companies, we were playing it safe. You represented a mild-mannered editor with a clean life and a nice new car. Since Progressive is known for insuring most anyone, we wanted to push the envelope and see where they start to flinch.

One DUI on your record would cost you $3,554 a year to insure the BMW; two speeding tickets would make it $3,368; and a serious accident with nearly $1,000 in bodily harm pushed it close to $4,000 a year. But what if you were a complete degenerate? How much does degeneration cost in today's America? A lot. If you caused an accident that resulted in great bodily harm while driving on a suspended license and were arrested for reckless driving, the insurance would be $5,110 a year. What shocked us more than that is that the company would still insure you. Progressive wouldn't flinch at anything we threw at them. It seems they will insure anyone, the only exception being someone convicted of insurance fraud. Duh.

21st Century Insurance was quick with their quote, and Lisa informed us they only check credit reports to decide for payment options on your premiums. They allow a professional discount and, we're happy to report that an editor is considered a professional (little do they know). Since their rates were the cheapest among our candidates ($334 for liability only and $1,420 for full coverage), we opted to change the deductible from the highest they allow ($1,000) to $500 to see how much it affected the bottom line. The lower deductible raised the annual premium to $1,730, a $310 increase.

Finally, Denise at Geico Direct (800/861-8380) offered the most discounts; we didn't qualify for them, but at least they were offered. She quoted us $820 for full coverage on the M3 and only $266.22 for liability only. Since you like to modify things beyond their normal function, it's lucky they cover aftermarket equipment up to 10% of the car's value. After that, you'll have to up your coverage.

One of the criteria for our insurance was that the car wouldn't be driven too much, thinking that the less it's driven, the less risk you'd take and the less it would cost. Instead of a 3,000-mile cap on your annual BMW adventures, we pushed it to 20,000 miles, a hefty amount of driving for anyone. Though your projected time on the road increased by more than 600%, the rates only increased 30% to $1,176.80 for full coverage and $381.80 for liability only. So, we're sacrificing 17,000 miles of M3-induced smiles, laughter and near-death experiences on the Interstate for a measly $350 savings?

Come to think of it, it just doesn't seem right to keep such a beautiful car locked away in the garage when there are roads to explore, tires to squeal and clutches to burn out.

Conclusion
You can draw your own conclusions from the examples above about which company is best to provide for you a sense of security. Perhaps you need more from an insurance company than you saw here, or perhaps you like to gamble with your life by not having insurance at all. And if you do, remember this: There are three million injuries and 40,000 deaths in the United States each year because of car accidents (that's one person dead every 13 minutes and 10 people injured every second of every hour, all day long).

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 26% of all drivers (no matter what risk group they belong to) have been in an auto accident in the last five years. Auto insurance has become a necessary evil in our lives, a shield against the irresponsibility of others and the carelessness of our own actions.

Protect yourself, if not from yourself, then most certainly from everyone else on the road. They all drive like crap.

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