January 14, 2010

Factors You Can’t Control That Increase Your Auto Insurance Premiums

Your auto insurance premiums are based on several statistics gathered by your insurance company. As you will probably notice, these insurance rates are subject to a lot of fluctuation. Some of the factors that raise or lower your insurance rates are in your control. For instance, if you driver a car considered to be safe, you’ll often get a lower auto insurance quote, since there’s a smaller chance that you’ll make a claim on your policy. Consumers can manipulate many of these insurance factors to try to get the lowest rates possible. However, there are some statistics used to by insurers that policyholders have absolutely no control over.

The age of the insured, for instance, can make a huge difference in the cost of auto insurance coverage. Younger drivers are statistically much more dangerous on the road, so all young drivers pay a little bit more for coverage, regardless of their driving record. Gender can also factor in. Relied-upon studies and statistics consistently show that female drivers are safer on the roads than males. Obviously, drivers don’t have much control over their age or gender — though the gap in premiums between men and women gradually decreases at older ages.

Where you live can also influences auto insurance rates. You’ll get worse rates in a high crime neighborhood, as auto theft represents a huge loss for insurers. Different states also have different insurance standards and laws that can cause rates to vary. If you’re not willing to move, there’s not much you can do to bring your premiums back down — other than installing an anti-theft system in your vehicle (most insurance companies offer some discount for car alarms, etc). The financial stability of insurers is also a factor. In a bad economy, insurance companies don’t have as much capital to invest and can’t back up as many policies. Rates go up as a result, and will go back down when a company’s stocks improve. Watching financial news about your insurer can help you anticipate changes.

Despite these few factors, consumers actually have a lot of control over the cost of their coverage. Adjusting coverage amounts and looking for low-mile insurance if you don’t drive much can have a big effect. Taking defensive driving courses can keep help to keep points off of your record in many states, which can be a lifesaver if you get a traffic citation or cause an accident. By using insurance comparison shopping websites, drivers can locate the companies with the lowest rates and the best coverage then negotiate to bring quotes down. The first step is always just to read your policy, get a few quotes and talk to your insurance agent.