What to know when adding equipment.
The annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas showcases the latest gadgets to market—some expensive, some practical—and some very timely. With new car sales plummeting, companies exhibiting at the CES hope you will upgrade your used car with some cool new gadgets. Carmakers and electronics companies have introduced tons of safety and entertainment features in the last few years, but not everyone can buy a new car just to get them.
New wheels, tires and audio systems are the first options that most people consider. For under $1,000 you can add a GPS system, DVD player, MP3 player connection and speakers that will rival the ones in your home. Rearview camera systems are also increasing in popularity.
More expensive options include collision avoidance systems and "night vision" options that allow you to see more clearly on unlit roads. Whether you're a driving enthusiast or just spend lots of time in your car, these options can make an old car feel like new.
However, gadgets can come with a car insurance cost. Anything you add to your car after it leaves the factory is considered "additional equipment" or "non-factory installed equipment." And that means you may need to pay an additional premium to make sure that equipment is covered if it's damaged in an accident or stolen. Some car insurance companies will cover add-on equipment up to a specified amount, say $500, and then ask you to pay a small additional premium if you wish to cover anything of value over that amount.
A small increase in your auto insurance premium may be a small price to pay for the added convenience of a navigation system that saves you time and money by getting you precisely to your destination with a minimum of fuss, while directing you around traffic jams. However, as discussed in our article "Custom Auto Insurance for Custom Cars," remember that added equipment is almost always covered for its actual cash value only—not its replacement cost.
For more ideas on upgrading your car, check out the show!
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