Have you ever compared insurance prices with a friend and wondered why you were paying so much more? Have you ever wanted to reduce the premium you pay for your insurance, but not sure how to do that? Some aspects of insurance rates we can’t do much about. The increase in costs of labor and more expensive vehicles are two things that will continue to raise the prices of insurance.
But there are a few things, unique to individuals that you may be able to control or just be more aware of. The basic categories that affect your rates uniquely are: your driving habits, your insurance selections, and your lifestyle.
Since the insurance is agreeing to pay out on accidents and damages you cause, ideally, they want you to not have a documented history of caused damages or high risk. Particularly speeding tickets, DUIs and traffic violations indicate that you are a high risk, and that you may be more likely to be involved in a major accident.
Vehicle and number of vehicles
Most companies have a multi-vehicle discount. Based on the understanding that if you have two or more vehicles, the primary vehicle is used a little less and the overall risk for each vehicle is slightly lower. However, often the less number of vehicles the better. Each vehicle has the potential of being on the road at any given time and being involved in an accident. So, getting rid of the vehicles you don’t use, or even not insuring them is an option. Just remember to put the insurance back on the vehicle before you use it again.
The type of vehicle you drive affects your rates as well. Large trucks potentially cause more damage, so the liability coverage will be more expensive. With full coverage, newer vehicles are generally more expensive, as well as some particular makes that may have more expensive parts.
Amount of driving, such as extensive commute or frequent traveling will affect rates. Programs are available with certain companies to track this more accurately. While this will track milage of driving, it also may track behavior, granting a larger discount to good drivers.
The big kicker for insurance is teenagers. A 16 year old at the wheel is a high risk because of the inexperience and tendency to be distracted. But on the flip side, when drivers reach the age of 65 and up, awareness begins to diminish, reactions are slower, and eyesight and hearing is not what it used to be. Because of this, older drivers also experience higher premiums.
A variety of discounts are available with each company. Things such as paperless discounts, good driver, homeowner, multi-vehicle, and multi-policy discounts are available with most companies.
The basic coverage level is liability, required by the state. Comprehensive and collision coverages are required by lienholders. Additional optional coverages are available such as roadside assistance and rental reimbursement.
Within these coverages, there are different levels. Liability coverage can have different limits, the higher the better. Utah requires a minimum limit of $25,000/$65,000/$15,000. Comprehensive and collision coverages may have different deductibles, with lower deductibles resulting in a higher premium.
Your credit score may not seem like something related to insurance. However, it indicates your level of responsibility as well as your history of on-time payments. Insurance companies want to be paid and it saves them money if they don’t have lapsed or rewritten policies because of missed payments. So good credit scores are favored and rewarded.
Similar to a driving record and credit score, the history of your insurance shows your reliability as well as the level of risk you present to the company. If you have not had insurance, or have had inconsistent insurance, you represent a higher risk and lower reliability. Discounts are available for prior insurance in every company.
Strangely enough, there is a discount for married couples. This indicates the likely hood that the two drivers may frequently travel together, minimizing the risk. Another benefit possibly seen by the insurance companies, is that someone who is married has a greater sense of responsibility and may be more careful in driving. Consideration for others effects your driving habits.
Like being married, being a homeowner shows that you are responsible. Packaging the home with the same company as the autos brings on an additional discount. Since homes are quite expensive, it is not advisable to purchase a home you can’t afford to decrease the insurance rates. However packaged discounts are also available for condo and renter’s policies.
Where you live and drive effects your insurance because of the environment and frequency of claims in the area. Rural areas have lower rates because traffic is lower, and accidents tend to happen less often. Urban areas with more traffic and higher frequencies of accidents will increase the premiums based on the risk. How far away you live from work is also a factor, indicating frequency and duration of commute and risk of traffic accidents.
Occupation, Education, and Good Student
Higher education and stable jobs allow better rates. These indicate greater responsibility and stability in the customer. Teenagers with good grades tend to be better at paying attention and being responsible drivers. With a copy of grades, most companies offer a good student discount for youthful drivers, when the GPA is shown as a 3.0 or better.
While a comprehensive list of rating factors is not possible, these are a few of the major aspects that contribute to your insurance rates. A lot of things go into the calculation of insurance premiums, and while not all are in your control, there are a few things that can be adjusted to improve the rates available to you. If nothing else, having a better understanding of what affects the prices will help you understand the options you have.
Improving your driving habits, selecting the most appropriate options for you, and practicing a responsible lifestyle, are the three best ways to improve your insurance rates. Planning ahead may be the only way to prepare for the rate increases caused by factors outside of our control. With a better understanding, the improvements and planning can be done to ensure that you have the best rates available to you.