Author Archives: N. Johnston

Does the Car Insured Affect Insurance Rates?

Details of automobiles insured are used as key factors in premium calculations. Cars owned utilize people to do more or less with it. If you own an expensive sports car, insurers assume that you will test its abilities more often than not. Therefore they will include higher chance of accidents and possibly higher damages in them due to speed when they are setting up premiums.

Motorists will be able to see the premium differences between cars when they replace the old one with new. To the surprise of many motorists new premiums can really be very high. So, it is a good practice to get quotes before going ahead and paying for your new automobile. In some cases, your current insurer may not be happy to offer you renewal terms especially if you have a teenage driver listed in your policy and you bought a sports car.

What Auto Features Insurance Companies Take into Premium Calculations?

Specifications of vehicles become extra important when you have Collision and Comprehensive coverage. Companies look at the loss history of the type of vehicle; how did they fair in crashes, how often similar cars are stolen and how expensive it is to repair them. Typical features they need to know and affect car insurance rates are;

  • Engine size: affects the speed and the power of the vehicle.
  • Body type: determines the sturdiness in the accidents.
  • Age and value: puts a maximum limit to how much insurers have to pay in case of total loss.
  • Safety and security features: are usual in knowing how well automobiles will protect its passengers and how well it is protected against theft.
  • Crash test ratings: are given after extensive tests as to how well they will stand against certain types of crashes and what injuries drivers and passengers may sustain.

How These Features Are Affected by Other Details in the Quote Form?

Who drives the automobile is highly important consideration. An older, more experienced driver may acceptable with a sports car but it would be too high risk with a teenager. They don’t have enough experience to control themselves. If the car is reaching amazing speeding in seconds they would let it fly instead of gentle stepping on the brake. That is why many teenagers have accidents on the curbs and they are very often deadly because they cannot get speeding and braking right.

Similarly, an expensive automobile can be insured at reasonable premiums if owned by a middle age home owner driver with a garage and living in a nice suburban location. But the costs can soar up if the same driver is living in city center and parking it on the road every night.

So, cars for drivers is a relevant correlation used by insurers. A good driver can get away with owning an expensive or sports car and not get stung by insurance rates. You would understand the concerns of companies when a high risk driver approaches them to insure a high end automobile. They will want to make sure that they do not end up paying thousands of dollars in claims.

Things to Check Before Buying Auto Insurance Policies

You have done your work and find a policy that offers everything you want on the face of it. You should not assume that all the details you want will be there in the contract. It does not take long to have a quick look at it and make sure. Policyholders are responsible for any mistakes or omissions on policies and for the accuracy of the information provided during quote process.

If there is a problem on the wording of insurance contracts insurers will always assume that you knew about them since they have provided everything within the written documents. You read or not is not something companies either concerned or be held responsible. Take your time with understanding the consequences of certain conditions and requirements. Ask questions to your agent, broker or company directly if you need clarification. Here are a few points you should check before paying and completing the purchase.

  • First of all, check that your personal details, insured car specifications (including plate and VIN number) and coverage are accurate. These mistakes can be corrected easily at the time of purchase but can cause real problems at a later stage if they are left to stand as it is. Besides you want to make sure you are paying for the right coverage.
  • Make sure any special conditions, endorsements and additional cover agreed is included in the policy. Extra arrangements over a standard policy are easy to miss. You have spent time and effort to arrange the policy the way you want. Now make sure that it is done and you are not offered a standard policy after all.
  • Think twice if the policy is worded in a way that it will be very hard for you to sue the car insurance company. If the contract requires lengthy process before you can even think of taking a legal action this gives the chance for the company to play hardball with your claims. If you are denied of the right to take legal action, you should look somewhere else. They must be held responsible for their actions and it is your right to demand it.
  • Especially when you are insuring a new and high value automobile you make sure there is nothing in the wordings to suggest that company can use aftermarket parts for auto repairs. Repairs are important part of insurance coverage and you want them done properly. Some companies do guarantee the quality of repairs for the life of the vehicle.
  • Check that right deductibles amounts are listed. Particularly when you increased or decreased the standard policy deductibles you need to double check that this is done. Also, make sure that you do not have a ridiculous glass deductible. Glass claims are very common and deductibles should be very low for them.
  • Exclusions are the area you need to read carefully. Some policies can be cheap but come with several exclusions that you would not have in a standard policy. For example, you may be using your vehicle to commute to work or business place and you may occasionally run errands for your business. In that case you shouldn’t have a condition on the policy stating that the vehicle to be used leisure only.

Factors Affecting Automobile Insurance Premiums

Every auto insurer evaluates every applicant differently in terms of risks the applicant poses. As a result the premiums required will be different for each vehicle owner and this will also change depending on the company. In short, the factors used in premium calculation and their relative importance within will be different for each firm. That is why you can see quotes ranging from very high to moderate and low. Here are some of these factors;

Number of Claims

Number of accidents and insured losses suffered by policyholders are seen as clear proof of what you can expect from insuring such policyholders. The higher the claim count the higher the premiums would be to compensate for high possibility of the insurer having to pay for losses.

Age and Gender of Listed Drivers

Generally, drivers between the ages of 50 – 65 are considered to be safest. Male Drivers between the ages of 16 – 19 are considered to be highest risk. When one group is being very cautious and the other causing reckless accidents it is normal that premiums can be hugely different between these two driver age groups. In addition, female drivers get better rates than their male counterparts.

Features of Insured Vehicles

Cars with high safety features and better crash test results are cheaper to insure. Low value, mid-size, four door sedans are common and they are cheaper to insure as well. Sports cars, SUVs, 4x4s are expensive as they are likely to cause more accidents due to speed and cause larger damages to others due to structure.

Your Zip Code

Where autos are kept overnight and driven mostly is important. Auto theft, accident and vandalism rates in those areas are reflected on the chance of policyholders making a claim and therefore on premiums charged.

Driving History

Apart from having accidents drivers can receive traffic violation tickets as well. These tickets are registered in DMV records and seen by insurers. It is a simple assumption that drivers who break traffic rules are going to end up in an accident sooner or later. That is why they will be facing surcharges on premiums depending on how bad the records are.

Credit Score

Financial histories of policyholders are considered by 90% of car insurance companies when they are determining prices. Few states do not allow use of this information but most do. You can expect as much as twenty percent surcharge should you let your credit score slip lately.

Mileage

It is only natural that drivers who use their cars more will have to pay more premiums. The longer you stay on the road the higher the chance of accidents. And you don’t pay as much if you are driving only few miles a year.

Education and Profession

More and more companies seem to be including education in their premium calculations. In addition a few companies offer discounts for certain professions like army personnel, fire fighters, nurses or government employees. Being member of a trade association like law bar, teachers union or professional associations like engineering can offer you ten to fifteen percent savings. Also, membership to auto clubs like AAA can save you around ten percent.

How to Efficiently Shop for Vehicle Insurance Policies

Determining the right level of coverage requires little attention to your needs and costs. Most motorists prefer to buy a full coverage package policy that combines liabilities, physical damages to your automobile and possible damages caused by uninsured drivers. These policies are commonly available through most insurers. It will be easier for you to shop if you are satisfied with a standard coverage.

The next step is to shop around so that you can purchase the policy you want at affordable premium. Each company is different from the other in the market in many ways. They favor different risks, certain type of drivers and cars to insure. They would offer good rates to what they consider safe risk and will want to make sure they charge well if they would accept a risk they are not keen.

So shopping around for the best deals you can get is essential. The savings can be large and you would be missing out on them if you don’t do your homework. It really doesn’t matter which source to choose as long as you manage to gather enough automobile Insurance quotes and compare them. Here are possible sources you can use on your search.

Auto Insurance Quotes Comparison Websites: These websites are there to offer quotes from various companies and you can get your quotes directly. The best function of these sites is that they let you see the current offers in your state with a quick zip code entry. It is easy to see the lay down of companies and decide to get quotes from any one of them or in fact all of them.

Independent Vehicle Insurance Brokers: These are commonly available in most high streets and they are free to advice any car insurance policies they see fit to their clients. They will be able to search large portion of the market for you and add their opinions to the findings. Brokers are great for people who like face to face dealings and for new drivers.

Companies with Large Agents Networks: Several companies have amassed millions of policyholders using nationwide agents. State Farm and All State are two insurers with extensive agent coverage. Downside of buying policies through this agents is that they are only allow to advise and sell products of the company they are tied with.

Direct Seller Insurers: Several companies like Esurance and GEICO aim to get their customers direct. Esurance is an internet based company that operates without agents. Also, you can find many of them with a quick online search or check of yellow pages. You need to get quotes from each of these providers separately and compare them.

There is no reason why you cannot use all of these sources. If you have personal preferences as to which companies you like to deal with and how you may choose accordingly. Some people may like to have an agent as a contact point and go for companies with agent networks. Two of those choices are mentioned already.

Online solutions are very handy as well for finding the right insurer. Some people love internet and the level of control they have using it. They may like arranging all by themselves and further options of downloading documents and making changes to policies. They can even complete a claim for online. During the whole process they do not need to talk to anyone if they do not want to.

Tips for First Time Automobile Insurance Buyers

Doing something for the first time suggests in default that things can go wrong and you may make mistakes. There is no reason this should be the case for you. There are sufficient information and advice available for anyone to find a highly reliable car insurer and purchase great coverage at affordable premium. They should make sure using everything that is going for them.

Experience Drivers Buying Own Insurance for the First Time

It may automatically be thought that first time auto insurance buyers are new drivers. It may generally be the case but there are many people who have been driving and included in someone else’s policy and now they need to buy coverage on their own. It is normal for young people to be included in parents’ policies and they may be included in partner’s policy later on before they can buy their own.

In such cases, the costs may not be as high as total new drivers requiring purchasing insurance so that they can drive for the first time with their own cars and insurance. They should mention how long they have been driving and insured. Even though policies may not have been in their names they should still be able to use the driving history accumulated there.

Older Drivers Purchasing their First Auto Insurance

Not everyone gets their license at 16 and be lucky enough to find the money to buy a car and insure it on their name. For many reasons people may buy their first policy later in life. This may actually be an advantage as they are not teenagers anymore. Age is an important factor in premium calculations. Again, any experience behind driving wheel of any car would help. This experience may be gained by renting cars, using parents’ or even company vehicles.

They may also have a good job that may offer them discount on auto insurance. They may be living in a nice zip code that will keep their premium low. They may be able to arrange a private overnight parking for their cars as well. These are all positive factors and help in getting affordable auto insurance policies.

New and Teen Drivers Looking for Insuring Cars for the First Time

This is probably the hardest group to find affordable vehicle insurance coverage. They are the highest risk group because of your age and lack of experience. They are the type of drivers that like to take risks while driving just to impress. The accidents caused by teen drivers are generally highly costly in terms of property damages and injuries and loss of lives.

These drivers should either brace themselves for high auto insurance premiums or find ways to lower rates. They will need to work for these discounts. They may complete safe driving courses to get between ten to fifteen percent savings. They could do better at school buy achieving at least B grades and getting good student discounts.

Furthermore, their choice of cars will be very influential in the rates they will be charged. The last thing they want is a high risk car to go with their high risk status. Cars with all the safety and security features would be ideal first car to own for teen drivers.

Insurance Buying Tips for Most Auto Owners

Regardless of your experience, knowledge and driving records there are a few points to consider while purchasing vehicle insurance coverage. It is not a fun subject to look into and research but it is something that must be done at least once and it should be done early. People may be inexperienced or too excited to arrange their first coverage and get behind the steering wheel. However, they should look at the coverage they have in the first chance and see how they could improve it in terms of coverage, reliability of the provider and premium costs.

First Rule is to Be Experimental with Auto Insurance Quotes

Motorists can go online and get several quotes in minutes in this age of internet. It does not matter that you have a great broker or agent and you have been with the current insurer for years. Online quotes are great tools to utilize and learn from. You can read as much as you like on this subject but doing and seeing the results are two totally different things. You see your options black and white in front of you.

Every auto insurer would have strengths and weaknesses. Some may have more of the strengths and less of the weaknesses there is no doubt about it. While one company can offer you great price the coverage on offer may be limited. Another company may offer everything you want including great price and coverage but you may not be sure about the company itself.

Get your quotes and have a look at your options. Online quotes are fast, not intrusive and available any time you want. Motorists can increase deductibles, coverage and even change car details and check for quotes again. This would allow you to shop around really extensively. You can see how the premiums will change if you increase deductibles or coverage. If you are planning to buy a new automobile you can check insurance rates for each of the alternatives. It is a great tool available for motorists.

What You Are Looking to Achieve with Your Automobile Insurance Policy?

Answering this question will make the process much easier and faster. If you have an older auto and tight budget you may just want to buy the minimum state required third party liabilities coverage. Then, you do not need to spend much time looking at various coverage options. This level of coverage is the basic and you cannot go any lower. Still, you may want to see how much you need to pay if you increase the level a bit more. Otherwise you will have a straight forward price based auto insurance quotes comparison.

If you are looking to buy a decent coverage at affordable rates you are probably looking for a fully comprehensive policy. The pickier you get with these policies the more expensive it may get. Most companies offer standard full cover package policies that are generally quite affordable. Staying in with the standard coverage without making many changes can be economical.

If you are looking for specific coverage you may need to shop around as suggested above. Here you should not assume that a company which is offering the best deal on a standard policy will be the best option when you want to make changes to policy coverage to suit your personal requirements. Just get quotes again from the start and see your options.

The main problem most people have when they are buying vehicle insurance is that they allow themselves to be influenced by agents, advertisements, parents and past ties with certain companies. Things changes in life and what really matters is the position right now.

Points to Consider When Buying Automobile Insurance Policies?

Step by step approach to purchasing vehicle insurance can help motorists particularly the novice ones. Otherwise, it may get complicated and people may end up buying something for the sake of being insured. Start early so that you can take as much time as you want. Don’t go to buy a car without doing any research on possible insurance coverage required. Here are some of the things you should consider in the process.

Decide How Much Third Party Auto Insurance Liability Coverage You Want

Every state in the USA has a minimum level of property and injury liability coverage set for drivers. But these limits are as the name suggest minimum and most motorists go well beyond these limits. As guidance ten times of these minimums would be a comfortable level. The good news is that costs will not increase as much as you may think.

Even you only buy liabilities coverage you should consider increasing the level of protection to make sure your policy pays for every injury and property damage you caused. This will ensure that nobody will be coming after you for further payments.

Determine If You Need Coverage for Your Own Vehicle and Injuries

The next step is to decide how much protection you want. If you think your car is not worth a lot you may assume all the risks of losing it or getting repaired following accidents on yourself.  Most people with average automobiles like to purchase Collision and Comprehensive Coverage for it. This way, they are protected from damages and total losses due to accidents, auto theft, fire, flood, storm and many more perils.

Furthermore, liabilities coverage does not pay for injuries of drivers and family members. If you do not have good health insurance to cover for these losses you may consider buying Personal Injury Protection Cover which will pay for yourself and family members. As well as injuries this cover provides for loss of wages.

What Type of Auto Insurance Companies Are You Comfortable With?

This would be the next question to narrow down your search. Some people may only want car insurance quotes from top companies while others cannot stand these same firms because of their political or personal views. Knowing your priorities will make it easier for you to shop around and make a selection at the end.

Are You Comfortable with Shopping Around Online or Prefer Using an Agent?

Many people are very comfortable with finding their own ways on the world wide web. They can get quotes from many providers and compare them with each other, get further information wherever necessary and make a final selection. This is more readily available way of shopping for vehicle insurance policies as you have no time and choice restriction. You are not bullied into buying something you are not sure either with online solutions.

However, many people like to rely on vast experience of their brokers. Also, they may prefer to have a personal touch of an agent. A name to call whenever you have a question may appeal to you more than having extra flexibility online and full control. Making these determinations well in advance would help shoppers get the best deal out of their efforts in quickest time.

Practical Ways of Cutting Automobile Insurance Premiums

Many families are looking for ways of cutting their household costs and auto insurance has a large share in the budget. There can be many ways of reducing premiums but many motorists want savings and they want them now. They cannot wait to improve their driving records, license points to be deleted or credit score to improve a bit so that they can save money. Even though these progresses will have a large effect on their costs it may be dealt with in the long run. Here are a few methods of cutting premiums down a bit.

Look at Your Driving Habits, Car and Listed Drivers on Your Policy

Many motorists are paying surcharges because of these factors. For example, you may have never allowed anyone else except your partner to drive your automobile and it may be unlikely that you will ever do. Standard policies provide coverage for occasional drivers who use the insured vehicle with the permission of the owner. Obviously this is additional risk for insurers and they have to account for it in their premium calculations. It is possible that you can get a lower premium if you restrict drivers to only listed ones. This will clarify the position better for underwriters and they can offer good deals as a result.

Also, some drivers on the policy can be reduced to occasional drivers. For example, you may have a teenager who comes home occasionally from college or army training and you provide insurance coverage for him/her. You can talk to your insurer and ask them calculate the premium based on their limited usage of the vehicle. Teenagers are high risk group and affect your car insurance rates considerably.

Pay attention to what type of cars you buy. For example, older drivers can be more comfortable and save money if they bought an elderly friendly car that can be adjusted accordingly. Being already high risk they would be paying a lot more uselessly if they have a fast or sporty car. They are unlikely to test the powers of those vehicles to the limit.

Many people like the idea of owning an automobile but they do not drive it as much. Many people prefer to take the subway or train in big cities because of heavy congestions on the roads and costs of parking in city centers. However, your insurer would not know this fact. You should explain to them that your vehicle hardly leave the garage most of the days and you do not use it for commute. Companies do include commute and distance between home and work when they calculate premiums.

Don’t Try to Insure 100% of the Losses for 100% of the Time

In most cases it is impossible to do that anyway. Motorists can save hundreds of dollars every year by assuming higher risks. The easiest way of doing it is by increasing deductibles that will decrease premiums. Many motorists do not have accidents often and a few go years without one. In such circumstances it is a simple math to understand the benefits. For example, increasing deductibles from $500 to $1,000 could save you $200. If you have not had an accident in the last five years you can understand its value to you. In the next five years you can save $1,000 should you not have any accidents. If you have only one you pay $500 more deductible but this does not matter since you saved $1,000 already.

If you have two accidents then you would still save money. How you may ask since your savings is $1,000 and you have to pay $1,000 for deductible. You have to remember that you pay premiums in advance and you will have to pay deductibles only when you have an accident and you make a claim for it. When you have $1,000 deductibles you are unlikely to make claims for small damages anyway that will further save money due to low claim numbers in your records.

Preparing Motorists and Cars for Safe Winter Driving

Winter conditions are much more punishing or at least painful than any other season. It would only take few hours outside in freezing weather to suffer hypothermia and frost bites. Motorists need to be always prepared for the worst weather and worst thing happening on the road. It may be a routine weekly walk in the woods but you may be stranded with a flat battery in your car and perhaps on your cell phone.

You Should Keep Winter Cloths in Your Automobile and Wear Sensibly

No matter how short you expect the journey to be you should always get your coat in the winter. A short journey can be extended with tire punctures, accidents and other unexpected hold ups. Motorists get stranded in most unexpected places at odd hours. There may be moderate level on snow on the roads but a turn in the wind would bring all on the road and close it.

Rescue will take time even you manage to request one. They may have to face the same problem that stranded you or bogged down with many other calls. If you have warm clothes, blanket, hat and glows you will be able to hold out even overnight if you have to. It is a good idea to keep some energy food like chocolates in the vehicle to help you out.

What Precautions You Should Take with Your Car in Winter?

There are certain maintenance precautions you can take with automobiles especially in colder regions. This involves topping up antifreeze in the water containers and changing oil with freeze resistant alternatives. Usual oil and lubricants may be prone to freezing. You should always check oil and water levels regardless of where you are and what season it is.

All-season tires may be alright for occasional snow. But for heavy snow regions it would be a wise decision to buy set of tires for winter. This will make sure that pressure on them will remain the same and traction will always be reliable. Many cars skid and end up on the side of the road or in the ditch because of lost traction in the winter even on a straight road. These tires become extra important in hilly areas.

Windshield wipers are cheap to replace and repair but they carry an important function. They may need to be replace with winter ones that are made especially for freezing conditions. Experts advise that you should keep your fuel tank filled in winter. Empty tanks can result in freeze in the fuel pipes that stop engines or prevent them from starting. Furthermore, there are gas line anti-freeze additives to reduce this possibility.

For the possibility of being stranded in worse winter conditions you should prepare a survival kit in the car. Clothing, blankets, gloves, hats, non-perishable food and drinks are some of the essentials for yourself. A battery jump cable, ice scraper, flashlights and may be a shovel are some of the essential items for your automobile. When the outside is freezing cold your vehicle may be the safest place to be. Unless you are only a short distance away and sure to make the next help point you should wait it out.

Things to Know While Buying Car Insurance Policies

Some people concentrate on coverage on offer within an auto insurance policy while others care more about the premiums charged. Many agents and brokers would tell motorists that coverage is more important that the price. It is easy to make this argument when you are not paying for the premium (and in fact being paid percentage commission on the final amount in case of intermediaries).

When the money will come out of your pocket and there is not much money in that pocket to start with you have got to worry about the costs. Many auto owners like to buy a lot more coverage but cannot afford and start dropping them. Ideally you want to get a decent coverage at affordable prices and this is a possible outcome especially when you carefully shop around.

Car Insurance Rates Vary Greatly Between Insurers

You should not even think of buying a policy from the first company you get a quote from. No need to rush as it only takes around six or seven minutes to get another quote online. If you are really unlucky this second quote can be even more expensive and make you keener to buy from the first provider. Hold your nerves a little longer and get another one, it is all free anyway.

It is best to demonstrate the possible premium gap between insurers. A recent experiment showed that three different basic liabilities auto insurance quotes for a thirty year old good driver can be $3,000, $1,500 and $1,000 in one of the largest cities in the USA. This goes to show how much you can save if you could manage to locate an affordable car insurer.

The best part of it is that all three of these quotes came from one of the top ten companies according to the number of policies they sold. So, quality of the insurer who quoted $1,000 is not in question. What is in question is what were the underwriters thinking when they quoted $3,000 for a basic liabilities policy.

Monetary Difference between Basic and Decent Auto Insurance Coverage

It is possible to achieve good level of coverage if you could pay only little more. You may be paying around $700 for a basic liabilities cover. It may be possible to buy a full coverage policy package at $1,000 assuming a good driving history and average car (not to expensive, sport or anything like that) to be insured.  In other words, by paying only thirty percent more you can have it all.

This is of course just an example to show what is possible in the market place. Generally, many companies offer great value package policies designed for good drivers over the age of twenty five, with good credit records and average quality and price automobile. As you deviate from this example of desirable qualities and common characteristics you may end up paying a little more.

Other Points to Consider

It is highly important to provide accurate information to the best of your knowledge when you are arranging insurance cover. The only real source of information at this stage is you and the insurers will have to take it as the truth when they are setting their prices. You cannot tell half-truth, bend the facts a little so that you can get cheap auto insurance or you cannot hope to get away with false information.

Remember to tell them about other drivers and cars in your household as well. This is considered important by most insurers even though other members of your household may not be intending to drive your vehicle.

What Prevents Motorists Purchasing Sufficient Car Insurance?

When there are many motorists who drive without any insurance it is an acceptable assumption that many people would not have sufficient coverage. Adequate auto insurance would need to cover large portion of possible losses to take away financial strains of an accident or other losses. However, it would be perfectly acceptable to leave out some of the risks if you are comfortable with them. Many people choose to have high deductibles to reduce their premium and this would not be an issue too as long as you have enough savings to pay the deductibles you set.

Undisputable Money Problems Can Stop Drivers Buying a Decent Auto Insurance Policy

Insuring yourself and your vehicle properly is of course important. Nonetheless, people have more urgent expenses to pay for and they may take priority. One thing can be said in this situation is that consumers should make sure they are not with one of the more expensive auto insurers. This can make already difficult case impossible. There are many affordable insurers and they can help you with payments as well.

Experience and Knowledge Help Drivers Arrange Good Automobile Insurance Coverage

Many people may think that car insurance is a complicated arrangement. However, it gets much easier and cheaper if you know few key tricks. One of them is to shop around for the best deal. Many motorists can buy much larger policy packages at much cheaper prices and they can achieve this objective while they are being insured with a reputable firm.

Another point to remember is that you don’t get charged a flat rate by insurers. If you bought $50,000 liabilities coverage for $500 you don’t get charged another $500 when you double the coverage level to $100,000. Additional premiums required will most probably be less than $100 in this case. The more you buy the less the rates become. If you know how companies set up their charges you would not hesitate to ask for quotes at least for a larger cover.

Not Using Helpful Sources When Arranging Vehicle Insurance

Educating yourself and checking your options can help save money while getting what you want as well. There are thousands of online auto insurance quotes comparison websites that allow consumers to check as much as they like and whenever they want. This is one of the simplest ways of making sure you get the policy you need and not charged too much for it. The savings can reach to thousands of dollars depending on your age, zip code and driving history.

Furthermore, there are thousands of independent brokers all over the country who are happy to do all the searches for you and explain ins and outs of policies they recommend to you. If you communicate your requirements accurately they will work towards achieving your objectives. Of course they will tell you what they think is best for you. But you are the person who will make the final call on the subject.

When people are looking for solutions they generally find them. The problems cannot be solved when sufficient time is not allocated for them and due care is not taken. It is in your best interest to have good level of vehicle insurance coverage. This will offer peace of mind and financial security.

Drive Safe and Avoid High Automobile Insurance Costs

Car insurance companies have many ways of keeping a tab on their policyholders apart from the obvious indicators like having at fault accidents and making claims. They regularly check with Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) for traffic violation tickets and point deductions. They also check the latest financial position of policyholders by getting credit report from credit agencies. They can run the automobile to be insured for any past accidents, damages and claims too to make sure they do not insure a salvaged auto.

When they come across any negative information they can add a surcharge to their usual rates. The opposite is true as well since they offer discounts for clean policyholders. Both are in fact the same thing in terms of premiums. Whatever they are called the end result is that your premium can go up, down or stay in its current low level.

Effects of Negligent Driving on Car Insurance Rates

Surely nobody believes to be born as a bad driver. Over time people can keep getting better with experience and cut out behaviours that can cause accidents behind the steering wheel. They develop better respect for traffic rules and do not pick up traffic tickets any more. All these improvements will show results almost immediately.  As soon as you complete one year without any troubles on the roads you will start getting discounts.

Carrying on the same direction of constantly making mistakes will result in worrying driving records. This could come to a point that you will be paying large chunk of your wages for car insurance. Some drivers will even find it harder to find auto insurance policies. If you have been having accidents for the last three years on a row it is clear that you are in line for a big one and it is probably soon. Why should any insurer take a chance with you?

When this starts to happen it may be time to go back to driving school and learn it all over again. There are several courses under various names to help you do that. Safe driving or advance driving courses can help you correct some of the mistakes you have been doing. A positive change in your attitude will not be gone without notice.

How Long Does It Take to Clean a Driving History?

As mentioned above you need to take it step by step. Get the first clean year under your belt and move from there. The longer you avoid accidents, claims and traffic tickets the larger the savings. Depending on your age, gender and the company you are with the savings can ranger between twenty to forty percent for three years of no claims and tickets.

Usually, most car insurers look at the last three years of driving history. Some gives further discounts up to five years. So, you would be considered a pretty good driver if you have not had any claims in the last three years. In addition, most points you receive on your driving license due to traffic tickets gets removed from DMV records after three years. In some states serious incidents may take four years and DUI would most likely stay on your record at least five years.

Joint Car Insurance Policies and Consequences of Accidents

When more than one drivers are likely to drive a vehicle on a regular basis the owner of the vehicle should include them on the policy. This ensures that all the drivers would be able to use the benefits of the policy without any arguments with the insurer in the future. Drivers who are listed on the policies have similar rights as the policyholder. But the drivers who happen to use the car occasionally may not be granted the same rights.

Advantages of Buying Joint Car Insurance Policies

In many cases buying joint policies may be a requirement instead of a choice. When someone is regularly using your car you need to include them in your policy. Also, family members who are over driving age should be included in the policy if they are likely to drive the insured auto. Otherwise, their existence in the household should be disclosed along with their access to the vehicle. For example, youngsters may have own cars and they may not be driving parents’ one. Still, if they are living with you they must be disclosed.

Sometimes, a friend or a partner may be using the car at times and it would be better if they are listed in the policy. In business vehicle insurance policies it may be a good thing to include employees and business partners in the policies as well. Overall, it makes things safer, clearer and comfortable to have joint policies or have others listed in your policy.

Joint policies are normally cheaper than two separate policies. Furthermore, people might have two separate cars and still like to have joint multi-car policies because especially partners can switch cars whenever it is more convenient. When you have one car between two people then it is only logical to have a joint policy.

Even though policies are joint one driver is listed as policyholder and the rest are listed drivers in many cases. Who will be the policyholder can make a difference in the premium charged. Generally it makes sense to buy the policy on the one driver with more mature age and better driving history. Sometimes, a partner with good driving history may help the other with bad driving record to be insured at reasonable cost.

Disadvantages of Joint Automobile Insurance Coverage

Unless drivers are in a traditional marriage (where husband and wife share all the burdens and benefits) or partnership joint policies may create issues from the start and some point in the future. First of all, how the cost would be split between drivers could be an issue since the bad driver’s record would make it harder to get a low premium quote. Nonetheless the costs would probably be cheaper than having two separate policies.

The real problems arise when there is a claim. Even though the policyholder has a clean driving history any accident caused by a listed driver or even for an occasional driver who is not listed in the policy would go down as a claim on the policy and on the records on the policyholder. Suddenly, both parties would have an insurance claim record.

If they are two go their separate ways and buy two separate policies in the future the effects of one claim would almost be double. So, motorists should think carefully when they are co-signing a policy especially for the benefit of a bad driver. Unless they are ready to face the consequences of any accident they should refuse it politely. Also, it can be considered an insurance fraud to buy a joint policy to help a bad driver to get reasonable rates. If you have no intention of using a car you are not supposed to insure it under your name.

When Would A Vehicle Be Considered Total Loss?

A total loss means that the automobile is beyond repair or the repair costs are too high. Policyholders can be for or against this decision. Some people may want their car to be totalled for personal, financial or physiological reasons. Others may want exactly the opposite and keep their beloved car.

Who Makes the Decision to Total A Car?

Regardless of how you feel this decision is usually based on calculations, company policies and industry standards. This decision is usually taken by claims adjuster. They inspect the vehicle and make a quick judgement based on their experience or they go through the process of working out how much it would cost to repair it.

When An Auto Is Usually Totalled?

This could depend on many factors. The decision may be easier with the older vehicles as they are closer to their economic life. Many companies would total a car when the repair costs are at about 70-80% of its open market value which is the value a car would fetch if it was sold today in before accident condition.

Companies usually save around 10-15% when they wrap up a claim quickly. They don’t spare any more employee times, pay extra money to claim handlers and they do not have to deal with repair shops. Also, they could get money from salvage companies for it. Overall, they can afford to write it off quickly and do away another claim.

What Would Insurers Get Out of Totalling an Auto at 70% Repair Costs?

Some companies can even go lower than that and write off a vehicle that costs only 50% of Value to repair. Especially when the car is old this would probably please the policyholder. They could get their money fast and go out and buy another one. Perhaps they put a little out of their pocket or get a loan and buy a better one as well. In other words, they would have the option. The company can send the check next day. It is not a bad deal after all; one happy customer and one claim off their hair.

This would almost guarantee that the policyholder stays with the company. In that case, it would be better for the insurer that customer does not have accident repaired car. Besides, if the repairs are not satisfactory the company would be having the customer back on them. You never know how the repairs will turn out and if the customer would be happy with it.

What If You Don’t Want Your Car to Be Totalled?

You can talk to the claims adjuster but they would not probably reverse their decision unless their decision was on the border line. Another option is to buy the salvaged auto from the insurance company and get it repaired yourself. There are a few things to keep in mind if you are going to go this route.

First of all, you will need to get the vehicle tested for road worthiness and re-register after the repairs complete. In that case the title will be re-washed and most auto insurers you go for insuring it again will know about the crash. A few of them may decline to quote or apply a surcharge for its history.

What Are Auto Insurance Surcharges and Their Implications?

When car insurance companies calculate premium quotes they use rate charts applied according to drivers’ history, age, type of car insured, zip code and so on. Each company determine own rates and therefore quotes would be different from each of them. Then, each company may apply discounts to bring down the costs a bit more.

A surcharge is an extra charge applied on top of premiums once they are determined by rates. In other words, it is the opposite of discounts and it raises your premium at certain percentage. Most companies talk a lot about how much discounts they offer to their customers. They hardly talk about possible surcharges and why would you face them.

What Are Possible Surcharges and Why They Are Applied?

Auto insurers set rates for certain group of people, cars and other factors. They group policyholders and set rates accordingly. An applicant may fit well in certain rate group but would have something that bother the insurer. So, the company would set the rates for this person and apply a surcharge for the one mishap they see. For example, they may decide to increase the rates for this otherwise a good driver around ten percent because the company found out about the 6 points in the driving license. Here are some of the possible surcharges.

Traffic moving violation tickets such as getting caught by a red light camera or for speeding are common reasons for surcharges. These tickets go onto your DMV records and can be seen by auto insurers. Policyholders need to inform their insurer of such mishaps. Even they don’t companies will find out about them at some stage and increase the rates accordingly.

There points on the driving license of a perfectly good driver may get a five percent surcharge while a DUI can get as much as three hundred percent surcharge with some companies. It is simply a way of an insurer saying get lost. Some companies may just refuse to offer any renewal terms or cancel the policy the moment they hear about DUI. This would be the ultimate surcharge.

Accidents and claims are common reasons for surcharges as well. When you have a claim you will see some increase in your premium at renewal. For example, if the over claim payments were large and your insurer had to pay them all as you were 100% at fault you would see a surcharge of around thirty to forty percent. This may increase if you got a ticket as well for the accident.

Who Determines Vehicle Insurance Surcharges and Amounts?

Each state may have certain rules and regulations about maximum surcharges and maximum period they can be applied. But in most cases each auto insurance company is free to determine why they would apply surcharges, how much and how long. They should normally disclose their surcharge charts but with most companies they will only provide it if you ask.

While one company charges thirty percent extra for one issue the other one may only charge ten percent. That is why surcharges are as influential as discounts on the final premium requested.

How Long These Automobile Insurance Surcharges Are Applied For?

Luckily they are not forever and usually most surcharges expire after three years. This may be enforced by states or become an industry standard since most companies follow it. For example, a speeding ticket could cost you four points on your license. These points would be removed from your license after three years and your insurer would remove the surcharges.

Varying levels of surcharges may be applied during this period. For example, you may get a forty percent premium increase at your first renewal after a serious at fault accident. If you have no other issued in the following year, it may be reduce to twenty percent for the second and ten percent for the last year.

Again, one company may apply the surcharges in a scaled down fashion as above while the other company would be applying a flat surcharge. They are not set in stone and each company chooses their own application. Therefore, it is always best to get alternative quotes at each renewal and see which company is more advantages for you following the changes in your circumstances.

How Vehicle Insurance Premiums Are Determined?

Car insurance rates are the base of premium calculations. If you get the low rates you will end up with low premiums. They are like charts of multipliers that used for each applicant. These multipliers may be different for each group of drivers. Each auto insurer has their own way of determining rates to be used. They get approved by state insurance commissioners but they have hardly anything to say about their level. Commissioners can stop unfair rate settings and discriminations but they cannot really tell a company to drop their rates.

Auto Insurance Rates vs. Discounts

Some companies rely heavily on rates to determine the premiums. They apply lower rates for low risks to differentiate the premiums. On the other hand, some companies may use similar rates for most people except certain high risk groups. However, they use discounts heavily. A company that regulates the premiums with rates will include their discounts within the rates. A company that relies heavily on discounts would calculate a base premium and start applying discounts to bring them down.

So, the company that advertises to offer certain discounts may not necessarily be cheaper at the end. Another company can beat their quotes easily since their base rates are already lower. They already cut their rates to reflect good driving history, no claims, safe cars and so on. In other words, it may be too early to assume that a company would be cheaper because of high discounts they offer. You will have to see the final quotes before you can make a comparison.

Why Would You Be Offered Cheaper Automobile Insurance Rates

Gender:  There are many reasons why you would be getting the best rates from certain insurers. Gender is one of them. Ladies on average get better rates than male drivers. Based on long statistical studies many companies see female drivers to be lower risks and therefore being one would qualify you for cheaper auto insurance quotes.

Age: is another key consideration. Teenage drivers get the highest rates for several reasons. First of all they have hardly any driving experience. Secondly most of them, especially the male ones like to take chances with their driving. They like to see how fast their car can go, how it handles the curves on the road and they may not think much of driving while drunk or sending a text.

Things start evening out after the age of twenty five. From then onwards the rates applied may stay stable for some time until the age of seventy. Older drivers are another group that is considered high risk and high rates are applied to them as well.

Cars are another area on the rate chart. Depending on the car insured people get high or low quotes. Each automobile comes with own risk ratings. The higher the risk the higher the premium gets. Usually, cars that can withstand accidents, protect their driver and passengers better, has a low chance of being driven fast or turn over in sharp bends are considered safe and deserve good rates.

Zip code: is one of the key factors as well. The main division is between cities and sleepy towns in countryside. Big city drivers face with high car insurance rates because of the risks associated with living and driving in cities. Vehicle insurance costs can be as much as twice more in metropolitan areas.

Credit Score: Credit history of drivers is included in the premium calculations. Drivers with good credit standing are separated from the ones with bad credit. This could be considered within rates or certain percentage discounts applied depending on how good your driving history is.

Driving History: is the last but not the least important rate setting factor. Good drivers get charged much lower rates compared to the ones with claims and points on driving license. This could result in serious premiums difference at the end.

Affordable Auto Insurance Quotes from Top Insurers

At times there has been bad publicity against large corporations suggesting that they are there to rip off their customers (and even the treasure with the bank bailouts lately). This may be engraved in some motorists’ mind and affect their choices when they are looking to get car insurance quotes. In other words, some drivers may not even give a chance to larger insurance corporations.

However, they may lose out because of this decision as much as those companies. It is an undeniable fact that top auto insurers offer better security as most of them are well established over the years and larger selection of policies. In most cases, they can offer better customer support due to their large presence across the country with agent and service provider networks.

How Can Larger Vehicle Insurance Companies Offer Lower Quotes?

There are several reasons for it. First of all they can attract the best risk analysts and underwriters. They can pay them more money and offer better working conditions as well as more respectability. This would result in sharper automobile insurance rates. They can also offer many different products that allow applicants to choose the most cost effective one with the best coverage for money.

Their overheads per policyholder would be lower as well. Cooking for only two people would be more expensive than cooking for a family of ten. Even a smaller company would have to have certain positions filled with high salaries. When you spread the business running costs to their thin customer base each policyholder would end up pay larger contributions. Remember high overheads have to be reflected on the final price offered to consumers.

The numbers of policyholder big insurers have plays an important role in premiums charged as well. Let’s say that both a large company and a small one want to make $200 profits. Smaller company has only 50 clients and they have to make $4 dollar profits from each of them (50 x $4 = $200) to reach their profit goals. And the larger provider has 200 clients and they only need to make $1 profit from each policyholder to achieve their profit targets (200 x $1 = $200).

Larger car insurers have clear advantage over the smaller ones. Looking at the number of policies each of the top ten car insurers have sold it suggests that they are using it well. Millions of policyholders cannot all be wrong. In addition, the large volumes these companies operate with would be a good recommendation for the new applicants.

Should We Always Choose Larger Companies Over Smaller Ones?

The argument above is not for which company you should choose. It is for making a point that you should get auto insurance quotes from larger companies as well leaving what you heard and your political views aside. This would allow motorists to make a better choice and possibly save money. In the same way, you should get quotes from smaller, local and specialized insurers as well.

Smaller regional companies can be very effective in risk assessment due to their specialized set up for the region or specialist marketplace. They would run out of few select offices and as they are local to you this would not cause any concerns. They may have few hardworking staff members that keep the costs down. It is not unusual for employees to hold several positions in smaller companies.

Whatever type of company you choose at the end you will probably get it right if you shop around enough. You should not reduce your possibilities with hearsay and prejudice. You want to buy the right policy and save money in the same time.

Competition in the USA Auto Insurance Industry

There are hundreds of vehicle insurance companies in the United States of America. Quite a few of them operates in most states and otherwise there are enough companies licensed in every state. However over seventy percent of all policies are sold by top ten companies. This may suggest that there is over concentration of business among a few select providers.

Another way of looking at it is that there are at least ten great companies to get car insurance quotes from. These companies are not connected with each other and each of them is strong, reputable and well-known enough to make top ten. Any one of them would be good enough insurer. This does not mean that many other large, medium and smaller companies are not good enough.

How Different Automobile Insurance Quotes Can Be?

Even you stick with the top ten for the sake of easy comparison in terms of quality, reliability and security the rates applied to you by each company can be widely different. For example, a recent report suggest that basic liabilities coverage costs can be over thousand dollar different between two top companies in some zip codes.

Each company has a different culture, underwriting background and criteria and they consider each factor’s importance differently. While you are getting large discounts for being a good driver from one company the same one may ignore the fact that you have excellent credit score. So, you may need to find a company that will offer you the maximum overall savings for your good driving and credit history. Don’t be afraid of exploring your options at all.

How Come Car Insurance Rates Be Different When They Have to Be Approved?

State insurance commissioners do check and approve vehicle insurance rates set by each company. However, they do not interfere with their level but more with their fairness and equality across policyholders. Insurance commissioners are not underwriters to determine how much a company can charge for insuring cars.

There is a considerable misunderstanding on this area. Many motorists are led to believe that the rates would not be different regardless of which company they go to. This is to suggest that shopping for lower premiums is pointless and makes the lives of agents who are working only for one company easier.

Unfortunately this point is taken as if it was fact by many policyholders. Many of them do not bother to look for alternative quotes and may be losing thousands of dollars over the years. You have to make the most of competition as a consumer and purchasing automobile insurance policies are not different.

What Is the Best Way of Checking Your Options in the Market?

First thing to do is to look at your requirements and priorities. For example, you may only want to be insured by a household brand or a large company. Even then you have plenty options to choose from. Any motorist can easily count a few auto insurer names. Then, think about what coverage you would want your policy to include.

The next step is to get several quotes without compromising from your needs and wants. Since you have already pre-qualified the companies you are getting quotes and determine the acceptable level of coverage it should not be difficult to choose one of the quotes by considering their price.

Large Automobile Insurance Discounts

There are plenty discounts offered for motorists when they are buying auto insurance. Every little one of them will of course help you reduce costs. However, some of the larger discounts are the ones that make a real difference. If you cannot get them you will need to get a few of the small ones to make up the loss. Here are some of those bid discounts.

Good Drivers Always Get the Best Car Insurance Rates

If you really want to see as much as forty percent lower rates you need to be a good driver by avoiding claims and traffic tickets. If you can manage to keep it clean for three years you can get between twenty to forty percent savings depending on the company you apply. Some companies keep giving further discounts for up to five years no claims.

Also, you would have the chance to look in those low vehicle insurance premiums by qualifying for accident forgiveness coverage and buying it. Most companies would look around three to five years no claims before they can offer this cover. Once you have it the insurer promises to look the other way when you have a claim the next time. They let one accident slip without increasing your premium.

Good Credit Score Is More Important Than You Think In Car Insurance

Many motorists suddenly see as much as twenty five percent rise in their premiums at renewal and cannot figure out why. Suddenly letting your credit score drop can do that to your vehicle insurance costs. More and more companies sign up to this concept of financially stable motorists making lower risk policyholders.

Not many people argue about the relation between claims and credit score anymore. The statistical relevance of credit score has been proven by even state insurance authorities while they try to disprove it. Look after your financial affairs well and save money on car insurance. It is hard to get around twenty percent discount for any other reason. Some companies do offer large discounts on this while few may not pay as much attention. So, if you have an awesome credit record look for better quotes.

Choose the Right Car If You Don’t Want to Pay High Insurance Premiums

Another area closely looked at when determining quotes is the car insured alongside personal details of the drivers listed and their driving history. Premiums demanded can easily be doubled depending on your car. Sports and high horse power cars, Sports Utility Vehicles (SUV) and most stolen automobiles are expensive to insure because of the expected losses.

Insurers like the cars with solid body that can withstand accidents. They also look for features that reduce injuries to drivers, passengers and occupants of other cars they crash onto. Advanced seat belts and air bags are some of these features appreciated. The ram bars installed on some of the SUVs are not appreciated as they cause more damage and severe injuries on third party people and properties.

If you are considering changing your car or buying the first one for your teenager you should get quotes for the models you are considering first. This will allow you to see how these cars are liked by insurers and help you to make a decision.

Other Factors and Ways of Saving Money

Age and gender of drivers is a very important factor in premium calculations but there is not much you can do about these factors. Education level, profession, homeownership, being married, having a low mileage and living in a safe neighborhood are some the other factors that affect your rates. Try to pick some more discounts by qualifying for them where possible.

Shaping Car Insurance Coverage by Reverse Engineering

One way of looking at how much car insurance coverage you should buy is to look at possible losses you may suffer and how you would financially be affected by them. We cannot just forget about possibilities with a positive thinking that nothing ever will happen. Hopefully, nothing ever will happen but nobody buys insurance hoping that something will happen. The point in buying insurance is to be protected against unknown future mishaps and misfortunes.

Sensibly you would want to pass the risks you would struggle to handle on your own to the insurer. And you may choose not to insure for smaller damages as you can pay them out of the pocket. Maybe you would prefer to pay small damages out of the pocket anyway to keep the claim numbers down. Depending on how you feel about risk you can choose how much to take on and what to insure.

Possible Liabilities Claims

Since it is legally required to buy liabilities auto insurance coverage in every state to be able to drive cars legally we should start from here. Should you just buy the minimum state required coverage and be done with it or buy sizeable coverage and be safer? It is probably not a nice way of thinking that you should think about your assets when there is a chance that some people may not be paid for their injuries and damages.

In fact, buying sufficient liabilities coverage protects your assets better. Because your liabilities cover has been exhausted people are not going to stop there. They will come after you and your assets will be on the line for the payments. If they are awarded damages you will have to sell your home and pay them if you have no other means. So, you should increase the liabilities cover limits to a comfortable level if you can afford it.

Protecting Your Car

Motorists invest as much as they can for a new car. If they had more money they would probably buy a better one. If you do not have sufficient spare money on the side you would financially struggle to deal with large repairs let alone a total loss of your automobile. Therefore, it would be essential to insure them comprehensively unless you really are driving a clunker.

There are always a few reasonably priced fully comprehensive package policies available on the market. The options are higher for good drivers and would go down as your driving history gets worse. These policies would include Liabilities (generally generous limits), Collision, Comprehensive and Uninsured Driver Coverage. Package policies are great in providing coverage for most of the possible large losses and offer affordable premiums.

Adding Extras

If you like to pass on most of the risks involved with your car you can buy more comprehensive policies. You can add legal defence and punitive damages to your liabilities coverage or buy additional umbrella liabilities coverage to include any other liabilities. Good policies do include defence coverage these days so you should check it first.

You can buy Rental Reimbursement Coverage if you like. Depending on your health insurance provisions you may decide to buy Personal Injury Protection Coverage or leave it. Think about what else you may need and there is a high chance there will be insurance policy to cover it. But you will have to think your budget as well.