When consumers seek auto insurance quotes comparisons, it helps if they understand which factors give a hefty boost to those premiums even across different companies. To get the coverage that you need for your particular situation at the lowest possible cost, it pays to know what you can change and what you can’t regarding car insurance.
It’s All about Risk
As with any business, insurance companies are in the business to make money. Accordingly, they have devised ways to calculate who presents the greatest risk in order to charge those customers more while charging less to those who are least likely to cost them money. Their actuarial experts can offer reliable predictions about who is most likely to have accidents, and thereby cost the company profits.
One thing you need to understand is that those predictions have to be based on group data, not on individuals. This can make some consumers feel exploited since they feel they are better than most drivers and deserve a lower premium. However, most people vastly overestimate their own driving ability, research shows. A classic study found that 93% of those surveyed said their driving skills were above average! A whopping 88% said they were in the top half in terms of safety as well.
What Can You Do To Lower Your Rate?
The ten key dimensions in determining auto insurance rates involve some factors that are easily changed, some that may be more difficult, and some that are simply givens. Here are the ones that you should know about that you can affect most easily:
1. Your driving record. If you have a record of accidents or violations, you will pay more because you are clearly a greater risk. Consider taking driving lessons to improve your skills, particularly defensive driving.
2. Your claims history. Choose a policy with a high deductible and then pay for small repairs out of pocket because those who make frequent claims are going to pay more.
3. Your usage or mileage. The more you drive, the higher your risk. How can you reduce the miles driven, e. g., to work? Can you carpool? Take public transportation? Get permission to work from home? Get creative where you can!
4. Your payment record. If you have a record of being late in paying your insurance premiums, you could be forced to reapply and be given a higher rate.
5. Your vehicle type. Your rates go up when you insure a model with high theft rates or high repair costs and go down when you choose one that thieves ignore and that your mechanic can fix cheaply.
Factors that May Be Hard To Change
In figuring your rate, there are five additional factors that may fluctuate during your driving -years but that are less easy to change than the above factors. These include the following: the number of drivers, occupation, residential area, years at that address, and occupation.
Cars with more drivers get used more often, so the rate goes up, but if you have one car for a two-person family, this is a tough one to alter. (With that logic, a driver with two cars should get a break, right? )#) According to one survey, the lowest rates were paid by scientists, pilots, actors, and artists. Who paid the most? Lawyers, executives, and business owners were charged the highest premiums because they tend to experience more stress, travel more, and use cell phones while driving.
Age also figures in, with those at each extreme paying higher rates. Those under 25 and those over 65 are often hardest hit, according to reports. Savvy consumers ask about discounts for good students. Perhaps the insurance industry will soon invent a similar discount for highly responsible seniors as the boomer generation ages. Again, it is all about risk and profit, and insurance companies need to compete.
At the same time, you can take steps as shown to get the lowest rates possible by driving safely, making few claims, paying your premium on time, driving less, and by choosing a car that is cheaper to repair and of less interest to thieves. Additionally, getting car insurance quotes online will lower it further still.