September 30, 2009

Auto Theft And How It Can Affect Your Premiums

Auto theft is a distressing prospect for most drivers. Unfortunately, theft is a fairly common phenomenon, and it affects insurance rates for drivers across the board. Here’s a look at how your car insurance premiums are affected by theft, and what you can do to minimize the damage to your check book.

Your auto insurance rate is greatly affected by auto theft levels in the area you live. In fact, it’s one of the main determinants; as you might expect, the greater the level of theft, the higher your premiums tend to be. Insurance companies use statistics for the zip code of an area to determine the likelihood of theft, and sometimes moving even a few miles down the road could take a policy holder out of a statistically bad’ area and into a lower insurance rate. Many of the worst areas for auto theft in the United States are on the West coast, but of course, levels vary by neighborhood quite a bit, and unfortunately there’s not a lot that you can do about your zip code (if you’re considering moving to get your auto insurance to cost less, then you must be paying a lot). Looking up general statistics about car theft in your area can give you a pretty good idea of what the insurance companies are looking at when they’re making decisions about your premiums.

Even if you live in an area with high levels of auto theft, there may be ways to get your premiums back down to a respectable level. Contact your insurer to discuss your options. Many insurers will give you a discount on your auto insurance rates if you install anti-theft devices in your vehicle; car alarms, ignition systems, etc. It may cost you a bit of money to install these devices in the first place, but if you live in an at-risk area, you’re likely to see a return on your investment fairly quickly when your next insurance bill comes. Your insurance company may even recommend an anti-theft device or company that can treat your car less expensively.

If you’re considering a move already, you should consider the statistical possibility of auto theft in your new zip code, as it may help you avoid high premiums and a lot of hassle in the future. Otherwise, auto insurance rates are certainly greatly affected by theft, but your ability to impact those changes is limited unless you contact your auto insurance company to discuss anti-theft measures and other possible ways to decrease your rate (such as raising a deductible or taking defensive driving courses).