As more vehicles are entering the roadways each year and the level of accidents continues to increase, your auto insurance rates can be affected. Your insurance rate is determined by various factors, such as your personal information, the type of vehicle you own, your driving record and the policies of the insurance company you choose.
Your driving record is probably the biggest factor that affects the rate of your insurance coverage. This can affect you negatively with a higher premium if you have a bad record or positively with a lower rate if you have a clean driving record. For instance, if you’ve been involved in an accident, were issued traffic tickets or let your policy lapse, your auto insurance coverage rate will be higher.
Don’t fret; there are ways to lower your premiums.
It’s pretty common knowledge that the model of car that you drive can affect the amount you pay for insurance. It can actually make a big difference in your rates. Sports and performance cars are charged an extra premium because it’s more likely that they will be driven aggressively. Insurance companies use the VIN of your vehicle to adjust rates, which gives them the make, model, and engine size and type that is in your vehicle. Any car that is considered to be a “performance vehicle” will fall into this category. It’s also important that you disclose any modifications to your vehicle to your provider. It may seem like you’re saving a few bucks by not telling your insurance company now, but if they don’t know about them when they open the policy it can oftentimes be grounds for them to deny liability in case of an accident.
Any black marks on your driving record will show up when the insurance company requests your information from the department of motor vehicles in your state. Depending on what kind of check is run, this includes out-of-state tickets as well, especially for more serious driving offenses. Some insurance companies have the ability to check for out-of-country tickets, notably tickets in Canada. Fortunately, this can’t haunt you forever. Many states have regulations in place that prohibit insurance companies from penalizing drivers for tickets after a certain period of time, usually three years. The point is that if you want to bring your rates down, you have to be a careful driver. Insurance companies make all their decisions using statistics and probability, and drivers with traffic tickets are more likely to file a claim than drivers with a clean record.
Insurance companies have special information sharing agreements that show them if consumers have filed a claim in the past with any other company. These records are often able to go back for a few more years than your public DMV record. Depending on the age and seriousness of the accident, and whether you were found to be at fault this will affect your rates.
Many companies give you an extra discount if you add defensive driving classes to your driver experience. Insurance companies like to insure educated, careful drivers; a driver education course demonstrates that you value keeping your driving ability sharp. Taking a defensive driving course every five years or so may be a way to your premium as low as possible.