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Three Driving Violations That Affect Auto Insurance Quotes

Friday, August 20th, 2010

When you call an auto insurance company for an auto insurance quote, the company will ask you about any driving violations that you may have had in the past. Insurance companies base their quotes on various factors, and driving violations are one area that they will be interested in.

There are three driving violations that can affect your auto insurance quote. These three violations are speeding tickets, past DUI or DWI violations and other kinds of driving violations where a traffic law was disobeyed.

Having a speeding ticket on your record in the past three years can remove the safe driver discount on your car insurance quote. This can raise your quote by as much as 2 percent, depending on the state where you live. The reason is that the speeding ticket is a moving violation that could result in an accident, which makes you more of a risk to insure in the eyes of the auto insurance companies.

Having a DUI or DWI on your record will also raise your insurance. Individual state laws govern DUI offenders, and most state laws now mandate that insurance companies give you a SR-22 form for receiving a DUI violation. A DUI or DWI on your driving record is a serious violation, and most auto insurance companies will classify you as a “high risk” driver if you are arrested and ticketed for a DUI. In fact, having a DUI on your record may even result in your current insurance policy being canceled. Not only will you then receive a higher quote from a new insurance company for the DUI, but you will also receive a higher quote because you were canceled by another insurance company.

If you are ticketed because you broke other driving rules, it will raise your insurance quotes as well. For instance, being ticketed for failing to stop at a stop sign, running a red light or failing to stop at a rail crossing, all raise insurance rates. This is because you are showing a lack of responsibility and a willingness to take risks. Having a number of these types of traffic tickets will also get you classified as a “high risk” driver.

Insurance companies lower insurance quotes for safe drivers who do not take risks and obey all traffic laws. High risk drivers are more likely to get into an accident than those who qualify for safe driver discounts. The best way to keep insurance quotes low is to maintain a safe driving record. Avoid these three types of violations in order that your auto insurance quotes will not be affected.

Special Considerations For Older Drivers And Their Auto Insurance

Friday, August 20th, 2010

An auto insurance quote for an older driver can be expensive. However, there are some strategies that older drivers can use to show the insurers that they are a good risk, and as a result, get an affordable rate.

One way for older drivers to get better auto insurance quotes is to take a driver safety course. It is best to complete the class and get your certificate before requesting an auto insurance quote. Moreover, some cars are more expensive to insure. These include sports cars, cars that are often stolen, cars that are expensive to repair and luxury cars. Check with your insurer to find out which cars are rated lower.

Ask about getting a discount if you drive less than 10,000 miles per year. If a driver is retired, then all of the cars insured can be considered to be for pleasure use only. This can be a difference of up to 15 percent compared to the rate for a driver who uses his car to commute to work. For older drivers to get the best rates, they may need to pass a medical examination. Living a healthy lifestyle and staying healthy is rewarded with better rates.

When a car has safety features like theft deterrent devices, air bags or safety brakes, the insurance rates will be less. Drivers of all ages who have a good driving record are considered to be to be a lower risk by insurance companies. If an older person is retired from certain professions, such as doctors, teachers or engineers, he or she may still be eligible for a professional discount. You should see this discount on your auto insurance quote.

Joining a senior citizen association may allow you to get a discount on auto insurance because these organizations contract for group rates and discounts specifically for older drivers. Ask about car insurance rates with your life insurance or homeowners insurance company. Most companies give a multi-policy discount, and the saving can be substantial. If you have your home, life, and auto with the same company, you will get the very best rates.

Although many older adults may have started using the Internet later in life, they should get some online quotes in order to compare plans. If you aren’t Internet-savvy, ask a friend who is. Seniors are actually some of the best drivers on the road. They have more experience, take care of their cars and follow the rules of the road better than other drivers. Remember that you cannot be turned down for auto insurance solely because of your age.

Maintaining A Clean Driving Record For Insurance Purposes

Friday, August 20th, 2010

A clean driving record is one of the best ways insurance companies have to determine what type of risk you are because it is based on your performance over a specific period of time. This is perhaps the best indication of how you will drive in the future and how much an insurance company should charge in premiums. When requesting an auto insurance quote, keep in mind that if your driving record is very bad, a company could deny you insurance.

Although other factors are considered such as where you live, the type of car you drive, your age and whether or not you use the car for work, it is your driving record that will carry the most weight in determining your risk. Insurance companies are particularly concerned with points, accidents and claims. However, insurance companies may have different underwriting guidelines and differ as to how much a claim, for example, weighs in determining your rate. One company may determine that a minor claim in the last three years will have no impact on your rate, while another may determine that your rate will increase because of that claim.

Using the last three years as a baseline for your clean driving record, consider an example where you have had two claims and a point because of a moving traffic violation. For some companies, these blemishes could push you into a high-risk bracket where insurance could become very expensive. A DUI, of course, could take you off the road for some time. Thus, when looking at an auto insurance quote, it is a good idea to ask what specifically the company is looking for in your driving record that would be considered a negative. Younger drivers not on a parent’s car insurance policy can expect to pay more for premiums because of their inexperience behind the wheel. But if they maintain good driving records, their rates could decrease as they age.

Insurance companies use complex risk analysis models to determine how much revenue premiums will bring in as opposed to how many dollars in claims will have to be paid out. This analysis is essential to realizing a profit and staying in business. The number of accidents in a highly-congested zip code, for example, can be analyzed and studied to determine if that area is a higher-than-normal risk for issuing policies. An insurance company can also judge, by looking at crime statistics in your area, if car thieves steal your make of car more than others. However, there is no way to foresee how an individual driver will perform on a day-to-day basis, which makes your driving record particularly important. Accordingly, it always pays to be a safe driver.

How To Insure Young Drivers At The Lowest Possible Cost

Friday, August 20th, 2010

An auto insurance quote that includes a young driver can be significantly higher than a policy for an older driver. Insurance for young drivers will usually cost more because their lack of experience makes them a higher risk for filing a claim. There are strategies that can be used to pay the lowest possible premiums for a young driver.

Insurance statistics show that young drivers with good grades have fewer accidents. If the young driver is a student and gets good grades, then he or she can get a discount of up to 15 percent. Discounts usually apply to students with a GPA of at least 3.0. If the driver is continuously enrolled as a student, he or she may be able to earn these discounts up to age 25.

A young driver should drive carefully in order to avoid getting tickets or having an accident. His or her driving record should be as clean as possible. This is especially important for young male drivers because any incident will cause their rates to rise more than the same incident for a female driver. Statistics show that male drivers are more often involved in serious accidents. If a student takes a certified drivers education course or a defensive driving course, it could result in a discounted auto insurance quote.

Credit cards are readily available to college students, and it is important that they be used wisely and that payments are made on time. Any other loans or bills in their name should also be handled responsibly. If not, their credit score can be adversely affected and that can result in higher auto insurance rates.

If a student lives away from home while at school and doesn’t take a car with them, he or she will be driving less. Accordingly, the insurer may offer a lower auto insurance premium. If your student is not driving much, there is less of a chance that he or she will need to file a claim.

A student who belongs to a fraternity or sorority may be eligible for a reduction in his or her premiums. Memberships in other organizations such as an honor society can also result in a discount. Even joining MENSA qualifies for some insurers.

A younger driver can get a lower rate by choosing to drive an older car. Cars that are considered to be high powered or expensive to repair, or have expensive features, cost more to insure. Check with your agent to see which cars are rated lower.

A combination of these factors can result in paying much lower premiums. A young driver should be aware of all of the ways to influence his or her auto insurance rates.

Auto Insurance Options After A DUI Conviction

Friday, August 20th, 2010

Getting a DUI is a serious offense, and outside of major injury or death, it is one of the worst things that can happen to a driver on the road. The consequences can also be unbelievably expensive. Besides the legal fees, jail time and license suspension, there will be other long-term effects, including the negative impact on your car insurance premiums. Your premiums will go up once your insurer finds out about the DUI—you can count on it. Fortunately, there may still be ways to obtain an affordable auto insurance quote after a DUI conviction.

Once your insurer finds out about the DUI, there are two actions it can take. Normally, your rates will go up; however, your insurance company may choose to cancel your policy outright. In the case where the insurer simply raises your premiums, you will be classified as a high risk. This classification will be hard to remove and will come along with some of the highest premiums on the market. If your policy is canceled, you will be effectively black-listed, and few other insurers will consider offering you a new policy. Driving without insurance after a DUI conviction is probably the most dangerous course of action because most states will suspend your license, and may even charge you with additional criminal offenses, if you lack the necessary proof of insurance.

One DUI may or may not result in a high risk classification. Multiple DUIs, or a DUI along with other moving violations, certainly will. Once classified as a high risk, there’s not much you can do about it. You’ll pay a high premium and be able to secure only the minimum liability insurance required by law.

While a DUI will stay on your criminal record permanently unless expunged, most car insurers will only look at your state DMV records when making decisions about insurance applications. Once the DUI is cleared from the DMV records, your rates should return to normal as long as you haven’t accrued other accidents or violations in the interim. How long this process takes varies from state to state. In some states, your record may be cleared in as short as five years, while other states may keep the record active for 10 years or more.

Thus, whether you end up labeled a high risk driver and how long the DUI remains on your record will depend on your insurer and your state. While your car insurance premiums will most likely increase substantially after your DUI, there is still a chance that you will be able to retain your original policy (at an increased price) or receive an auto insurance quote from a provider willing to work with you.

Why Getting Too Many Tickets Can Raise Your Auto Insurance Premium

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Your driving record has a large impact when it comes to getting an auto insurance quote. Factors such as traffic violations or an auto insurance ticket can negatively affect your driving record. Knowing what your driving record has on it can help you maintain reasonable rates.

Each violation entered on your driving record has a point value. Point values vary from state to state and can include infractions such as: DUI or DWI charge, running a red light, a parking violation ticket, accidents to which you are at fault, driving without auto insurance ticket. The point system is set up in order to find reckless drivers; although an insurance company can use it against you when providing an auto insurance quote. Having a lot of points on your driving record from accumulating tickets suggests that you are a bad driver, resulting in hefty insurance premiums.

By no means are these points good for anything except perhaps as a profit to insurance companies. If you have a history of moving violations or have filed accident claims, you will be paying much more on car insurance. The more points you have on your record, the higher your auto insurance quote will be.

As each company deals with violation points differently, it is imperative that you contact your state’s department of insurance to find out the exact status of your record. A parking ticket may have a point value of 2 or 3 while a non auto insurance ticket could be 5 or 6 points. Not only will accumulating points from tickets raise your premiums, your driver’s license could be at risk of being suspended or revoked.

Whenever you switch or renew your current car insurance, they will automatically check your driving history. In order to figure out whether your auto insurance quotes will be higher or lower, companies implement a point system and rating factor. A 26% increase could be had on your quote if you’ve had any major violations such as an auto insurance ticket. If enough points or tickets have accumulated on your record, the insurance company could even choose to drop you from the policy.

If you have an accumulation of points on your record, hiring a skilled attorney could help in bringing down your auto insurance quote. Ultimately, you want to prevent acquiring points to begin with by following traffic regulations and avoiding an auto insurance ticket.

Additionally, taking a safety course may clear a minor violation from your record as well as improve your awareness of road safety. Taking necessary actions that improve your record is the key to lower rates. Abiding by traffic laws will help you avoid paying costly traffic tickets that harm your record and raise your premiums.

How Radar Detectors Can Affect Your Auto Insurance

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Excessive speed is a primary cause of auto accidents, as any police officer will tell you. Because auto insurance companies are on the hook for the damages that you may cause when speeding, they tend to react poorly to a speeding ticket, and your next auto insurance quote could be as much as 40 percent higher than the base rate. Moreover, police want to see people slow down when driving, and municipalities want the revenue that comes from speeding tickets. Thus, radar has been used to bust speeders for decades. When it comes to auto insurance, radar and premium increases can go hand in hand.

For much of the time that police have been using radar, in-car radar detectors have been on the market. Having a radar detector can have an effect on your auto insurance quote, depending on several conditions. Specifically, these conditions include whether you are in a state where radar detectors are illegal, whether you are a commercial driver, and how effective your particular radar detector is in dealing with the latest advances in speed measurement, such as “instant-on” and laser devices.

For right now, only Virginia, the District of Columbia, and military bases ban the possession or use of radar detectors (radar jammers and laser jammers are different, but that’s another topic). Commercial drivers are forbidden to own or use them at all, everywhere in the U.S. If you’re a commercial driver and you use one and are caught (and the police regularly monitor the use of radar detector), you will lose your commercial license, and your insurance premiums will be drastically increased, even for your personal vehicles.

Obviously, for individual car drivers, if a radar detector works properly and assists a driver to avoid a speeding ticket, the device will have a considerable effect on your auto insurance rates, positively for you. Radar detectors that don’t work properly can give you a false sense of security, meaning you’ll possibly drive a little less conscientiously, speed, and get a ticket that you weren’t expecting. Additionally, a visible radar detector can be “bait” to police officers, as they tend to get antagonized by their use. This may not result in a speeding ticket, but a police officer may look for any other violation for which he or she can issue a ticket. As for your auto insurance, radar in this circumstance can result in higher rates.

Radar detectors are a mixed blessing for the user, and a source of irritation to law enforcement and insurance companies. This conflict looks as if it will only continue for the foreseeable future.

How Getting Arrested Can Affect Your Auto Insurance Premium

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

An auto insurance quote for a good driver should remain fairly constant throughout the duration of a policy. Getting cited for a traffic violation, however, presents a different story. When it comes to auto insurance, arrested drivers are almost guaranteed to see their premiums climb.

Speeding is a common violation, and every time a driver is cited for speeding, the insurer is more likely to impose a premium increase. While speeding is usually a minor violation, exceeding the speed limit in special cases—school zones, construction areas, village or city limits—can cause a driver to be hit with a reckless driving charge. That puts points on the driver’s license, plus a fine. Points on your driving record constitute an alert to your insurance company. It can raise your auto insurance premiums by as much as 50 percent. Continued bad driving can get your policy suspended.

A more serious offense is driving under the influence or DUI. This arrest can result in the loss of your license and, summarily, your insurance policy. Nothing else on your driving record could make it harder for you to find a reasonable auto insurance quote. It’s very simple: don’t drink and drive. If you have been drinking, put your car keys away and let someone else take you home.

States vary when it comes to adjudicating minor traffic offenses. However, a pattern of minor violations can impact car insurance premiums. Running through stop signs, failing to signal for turns and being cited for other minor infractions will convince insurance companies that you are a high risk. Your insurance premiums should demonstrate clearly just how much insurers keep a close eye on your driving record.

Good drivers reap the benefits of staying within the law while on the road. Their insurance premiums don’t increase, and when they look for auto insurance quotes, they get the best offers. That puts them in the position of always having auto insurance, which is a requirement across the United States. There are severe penalties for driving without insurance, and the laws pertaining to that offense are vigorously enforced. Driving while uninsured can get your license revoked and will make renewing your license very difficult. Also, think about what you might have to tell a prospective employer about the blemish on your driving record.

The worst part of any traffic violation is that you could face imprisonment. Being involved in a serious or fatal accident, and being found at fault, puts virtually the rest of your life in jeopardy. Use common sense and drive your car safely. And when it comes to affordable auto insurance, arrested drivers need to know that they may have placed their financial security at risk.

How Accident Claims Are Processed By Auto Insurance Companies

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

The last time that you talked to your insurance agent may have been when you got an auto insurance quote. You never thought you’d have to file an auto insurance accident claim. Understanding how an insurer processes an auto insurance claim will make the process easier.

If you have an accident, you should immediately call your insurance agent and report the accident. Ask to file an auto insurance accident claim. The agent will need some basic information, such as the time and circumstances of the accident, the other driver’s information and a copy of the police report. The agent will certainly want to know about the damage to the vehicles and any injuries caused by the accident.

Next, the claim will be assigned to a claims adjuster. This person will contact you. Minor claims may be handled by phone, but the adjuster may also want to meet with you. It is the claims adjuster’s job to determine what is covered by your policy. He can explain how the claim will be handled and answer your questions.

One of the issues decided by the insurer is which driver was at fault. It may be that the insurer assigns a percentage of fault to each driver. This is an important decision because it will determine which driver’s insurance pays for the damage. If a driver is found at fault, then his or her auto insurance quote may go up in the future. The adjuster will review the police report and the information that you gave to the agent and may interview witnesses or passengers. The insurer uses government regulations called “Fault Determination Rules” as a guide in assigning fault.

Your car will also be inspected by the claims adjuster, and the amount of damage will be determined. Alternately, you may be able to get estimates for the damage from a local auto body shop. If you have major damage, the insurance company usually pays the lesser of either the cost to repair the vehicle or the vehicle’s actual cash value. Actual cash value is the cost of replacing the car with a comparable model.

The insurer will also review any claim for injuries to persons involved in the accident. In addition, the insurer may ask you to have your employer verify your income and ask you to have a medical exam. The insurer will use this information to determine what coverage you have under your insurance policy for medical care and income replacement.

When you have an auto insurance accident claim, you may have to fill out forms, ask and answer a lot of questions and have a little patience. Still, you will be glad that you had auto insurance.

3 Characteristics Of User Friendly Auto Insurance Quote Websites

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Searching for an auto insurance quote online can be a trying experience. Every auto insurance website is different, but there are a few simple features that you can look out for in order to feel confident that you’re on the right track. Look for these three, user-friendly features on your search for your next auto insurance quote: online quote scenario capabilities, policy information and a vehicle information center.

With a few, easy steps, an auto insurance website should give you an idea of what you can expect your auto insurance quote to be. Added convenience, go to a website that not only gives you the initial quote, but also explains in easy-to-understand terms what the quote entails, such as discounts, memberships or any other money-savings programs that the company offers. The quote should offer payment options and differentiate between types of payment plans so that the consumer can make an informed decision on the billing method that works best for them and their needs.

In addition to initial quoting capabilities, the auto insurance website should also permit the user to experiment with different quotes without any fear of commitment. Thinking of trading in the family car or a new sports car? Potential quote scenarios allow the insured to see in real-time the effects of each change on their auto insurance quote.

Finally, on the matter of online quote scenario capabilities, buying your insurance online is definitely a bonus. After you’ve decided that the online auto insurance quote is right for you, a handy purchasing option is just the right thing to make buying your auto insurance practically effortless.

Once you’ve selected your ideal quote and joined the auto insurance company as a customer, the online services should continue to work for you. Policy details, including Proof of Coverage documentation is extremely handy. Instead of waiting for your policy documents to arrive in the mail, you should have the option to print out the information you need, when you need it, in the comfort of your home or office.

The policy coverage information should be clear and easy-to-understand. Pop up screens can explain certain information if you require more detail.

A very helpful feature that many auto insurance websites have adopted is a vehicle information center where you can see, at a glance, maintenance tips and schedules for your car, truck, van or recreational vehicle. Links to recalls and service alerts for your insured vehicle are also great to find.

These are just a few things to look for next time that you’re shopping for an online auto insurance quote. So, what is the bottom line? The auto insurance website should be a one-stop-shop for all of your coverage needs.

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