May 3, 2010

Why Texting Can Increase Your Auto Insurance Quote

The safest conditions for driving include driving free from distractions. Whether it’s eating, checking the radio channels or flipping through CDs, talking on a cell phone, or texting, distractions and driving are a dangerous combination, resulting in needless accidents and injuries every year. And accidents will always increase your auto insurance quote.

According to a 2008 national study, eighty percent of all those who own cell phones confessed to talking while on the road, and nearly twenty percent admitted to texting – an even more dangerous enterprise, as it involves taking one’s eyes off the wheel to compose or read messages, search for the correct keypads, and check for spelling. And almost fifty percent of drivers stated that they had been involved in accidents in which the other driver was using a cell phone.

Currently, five states prohibit talking or texting on hand-held cell phones while driving. Twenty-one states prohibit the use of cell phones by new drivers, and seventeen states ban school bus drivers from chatting on cell phones while they are at the wheel. Since texting is considered more dangerous than phone conversations, even more states – fourteen – have made it illegal for any driver to text while driving, while ten more states make it illegal for new drivers only, and one additional state forbids only school bus drivers from texting.

In accidents resulting from distracted driving, the cause is not always attributed to talking or texting, because the driver at fault knows that admitting this will only increase insurance rates. How so? A recent U.S. survey has shown that motorists who text and drive are six times more likely to end up in a collision than those who drive distraction-free. And over in the U.K., recent statistics reveal an increased likelihood of accidents of up to twenty-three times more. Once a claim is filed after an accident, the auto insurance company pays on the policy, driving up one’s future premiums, as the policy holder is deemed less and less reliable as accidents accrue. If it is true that texting is far more likely to cause accidents (and it is indeed true), then one can expect auto insurance quotes to rise based on the number of accidents resulting from distracted driving.

Although it is tempting to answer every phone call and read every incoming text message, statistics show it’s safer simply to put the hand-held cell phone away until you are out of the car. The small gratification of answering a text message is far outweighed by the increased safety and security of driving free from distractions, not to mention avoiding higher auto insurance quotes when shopping for a policy. Make safe choices for yourself and for others by avoiding texting while driving.