Factors that can affect premiums for auto insurance
Auto insurance is a necessity for drivers in many localities. But while local laws may mandate drivers have insurance, no such laws mandate how much drivers must pay to insure their vehicles. Certain factors can influence just how much drivers will pay for their auto insurance policies.
1. Complacency: Doing nothing at all may find you spending too much on auto insurance. Many drivers fail to routinely shop around for coverage, and that can be costing them money. In its 2013 Insurance Shopping Study, the research firm J.D. Power found that only 23 percent of auto insurance customers shopped their policies in the past 12 months. Shopping around for a better rate can save drivers considerable amounts of money, and the Internet has made comparison shopping easier than ever before.
2. Coverage and deductibles: The type of coverage you choose, as well as the amount of your deductible, will affect the cost of your policy. Choosing a higher deductible (the amount you pay out of pocket before insurance will start to pay) usually leads to a lower monthly payment. Full coverage may not be necessary if you own your car or the car is old and not worth that much.
3. Location: Where you live can affect the cost of your insurance premiums. Since most traffic accidents occur close to home, the area where you live factors heavily in the cost of your policy. Densely populated neighborhoods with more cars mean you could be at a higher risk of accident, theft and injury. Plus, costs for repairs may be higher in these areas. Moving to a less populated area can reduce insurance costs.
4. Age/gender: A person cannot change his or her age, but it’s wise to realize that age and gender can affect costs. Young men typically incur higher rates than young women. Understanding your potential insurance costs can help you when choosing a vehicle.
5. Vehicle type: According to State Farm, some insurance companies increase premiums for cars deemed more likely to be damaged or stolen. A vehicle that scores high in independent safety ratings may be cheaper to insure than vehicles that scored low on safety tests.
6. Credit score: Raise your credit score and you may be able to lower your car insurance costs. According to the research firm Conning & Co., roughly 92 percent of insurers use your credit information as a factor to determine rates. Studies show that people with bad credit tend to file more and higher claims.
7. Marital status: Statistics show that people who have tied the knot are involved in fewer accidents and given fewer tickets than people who are single. Getting married can reduce insurance premiums, as can combining or bundling policies with your spouse.
8. Driving history: A driving history full of accidents and tickets can affect your insurance rates. However, many tickets and accidents that do not involve injuries stop affecting insurance rates after three years. Driving safely and biding your time until your tickets and accidents no longer influence your rates can save you money.
Drivers have control over how much they spend on auto insurance. Safe driving habits, the right choice of vehicle and where drivers choose to live can influence the cost of their auto insurance policies.
Young men typically incur higher rates than young women.