One of the most frustrating things about owning a vehicle is playing the insurance premiums game. Your car insurance premiums are like a volatile chemical compound, meaning they can be easily changed by the slightest change without you even knowing it. Many car insurance companies will not tell you these factors so it is important to know them going in.
1. Your Credit Score – This is pretty well known, but important none the less. Your credit score has a direct affect on how much you pay for your car insurance. Car insurance companies, like credit card companies know that someone who pays their bills on time offers more stability than someone who doesn’t and in turn provides less of a risk for accidents and tickets. This factor is known as your “Insurance Risk Score” and is not readily available to you but you can get a fair estimate of it from your credit reports.
2. Your Driving Habits – Pretty cut and dry here – your driving habits have a direct effect on how much you pay for auto insurance. In fact, some companies will increase your premiums 40% for your first at-fault accident. Follow the rules of the road and look for an insurance company that offers an accident forgiveness policy for the first mishap behind the wheel.
3. Your Friends Driving Habits – Are you a first rate driver? Then it may be wise not to trust your friends. If you loan your car to a friend and they decide to go joy-riding or lose control during some bad weather you will have to file a claim. You may be in the clear if your car was taken without permission, but can still be held liable if they are uninsured or the damage is beyond their policy limits.
4. Your Car’s Value – Just because your car looks like the day it rolled off the lot or is considered a classic doesn’t mean you’re going to get what you think it is worth if the car is totaled. Every car insurance company has a list of values for different makes and models of cars which may or may not be the Blue Book value. The list is based on a number of factors, and will probably not include any upgrades you performed. Keep detailed records of anything you do to your vehicle as well as maintenance records if you want to fight this one.
5. Your Car – Sure, that fancy sports car may seem like a great idea but you better get ready to keep paying well beyond the sticker price. Car insurance companies use a ratings system to determine the risk involved for a type of vehicle, such as theft and even the chances of you joyriding. (Honestly, are you more likely to floor it in a new Camaro or a Prius?)
Understanding the factors that go into your car insurance premiums can not only help you come to terms with your monthly payments but can also give you some insight into how to lower them. Take these factors into consideration the next time you shop for car insurance.