A number of factors can affect our auto insurance rates, some working for us and some against us. Those that work to our advantage often lead to helpful discounts, while others can label us as risky and stick us with higher auto insurance premiums.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot we can do about how old or young we are or where we live, but there are some factors that we may actually have more control over than we think. Of course, there aren’t any surefire cures to lower auto insurance rates, however, there are ways to bring those rates down and save you some money.
The following are some factors you may be able to do something about:
1. Your Driving Record – This one will make or break you any day of the week. Your driving history says a lot about you to your insurance company. Once they peek at it and notice a collection of traffic tickets and a number of accidents, whether your fault or not, you can expect a hefty annual premium or worse – the insurer may even refuse to cover you or drop you as an existing policyholder.
The Fix– Try a little harder. In other words, give it all you’ve got to become a better driver. It really isn’t that hard. Pay closer attention to your speed, watch out for stop signs and red lights, don’t tailgate, and don’t text and drive. Consider taking a defensive driving course. Insurers may regard this as a step in the right direction and may think of you as more responsible behind the wheel. Should you get cited for a moving violation, find out if traffic school is available and take it. If nothing else, complete it and your insurance company won’t be made aware of the ticket…and, it won’t affect your insurance premiums.
2. Married or Not – Okay, so you may or may not be married. You may not even be in a relationship. Unfortunately, most insurance companies regard married individuals as more responsible and better risks behind the wheel, which is why they often discount policy rates because of it.
The Fix– Now, no one is advising you to run out, find a mate, and get married. However, be aware that if you are married, you can claim numerous discounts, including multi-car, accident free, and married status. If you’re single, you can still take advantage of the multi-car, good-driver, and hybrid discounts.
3. Low Credit Score – In some states, such as California, this is illegal. In most other states it’s a free-for-all. Bad credit and a low credit score can affect your auto insurance premiums. The idea here is to avoid giving insurance companies another reason to jack up your premiums. Anyone can fall on hard times or have a streak of bad luck. Sadly, you’re deemed irresponsible and are more likely to have an accident because of it. The Fix– Do all you can to pay your bills on time. Avoid missing loan, credit card, or other payments. Showing a steady job history can sometimes work in your favor, even if your credit is suspect, especially if your hard times were due to health issues.
4. Filing Too Many Claims – Sometimes stuff happens that can’t be helped. A cracked windshield or a smashed headlight from someone backing into you and taking off without leaving a note can happen to anyone. Make a claim on both in a relatively short period of time and your insurance company will sense a pattern – right or wrong. This can lead to insurers classifying you as a possible high-risk driver and substantially raise your premiums.
The Fix– Be aware as to whether the damage to the car is serious enough to warrant filing a claim. Specifically, if the damage is relatively minor or the cost to repair it is less than your deductible, don’t report it. Simply pay for it yourself. However, if the accident caused significant damage to your vehicle or you were injured in the crash, then report it. Just use your judgment.
Don’t assume your insurer is giving you the lowest rate on your premiums just because he says so. Shop around and make sure you’re getting the best rate on your auto insurance. Why not get a free auto insurance quote today?
Have you ever dealt with any of these factors and found the cure? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.