When searching for an auto insurance policy, there are things we expect will impact our rates: demographic details like age, home address, even credit score. But in the world of car insurance, there are still surprises, believe it or not. Below, you’ll find the top seven most surprising things that can impact your car insurance rates, taken straight from a comprehensive research report on the state of the auto insurance industry compiled by The Zebra.
1. Your history of car insurance — or lack thereof — can mean big-dollar differences on your rate
If you’ve had a long history of insurance coverage, and if you’ve chosen policies with better coverage, you’ll pay less for your auto insurance. For example, in the case that you cause a collision that results in injury to another person, but you have higher coverage limits, that leads insurance companies to believe that you’re a more responsible person than someone else with a history of choosing the lowest possible coverage.
So what level of coverage do you need in order to see savings? The Zebra’s research shows that people with a five-year history of carrying $100,000 of bodily injury coverage per person and $300,000 per collision (often designated as “BI 100/300” in insurance documents) can expect to pay an average of $184 less a year for the same new insurance policy as someone with no history of insurance coverage.
Further, if you have any lapse in auto insurance coverage (even a few days), that can also cost you big time, as it indicates high-risk behavior to insurers.
Note: The only exception is for residents of California, which is the only state that doesn’t consider insurance history when determining average annual auto insurance premiums.
2. Insurance companies care why you drive
Do you drive solely to get to and from work? Do you use your car for business or to haul stuff around your farm? When you apply for your car insurance policy, the agent will ask how you use your vehicle, and your answer could have a big impact on your insurance rate. The Zebra found that prices can vary up to 18% depending on how a person uses their vehicle, even when every other detail stays the same.
People who use their vehicles on a farm will pay the least, while those who use their cars for business will pay the most for car insurance — up to $227 more each year. You can’t lie about what you use your car for, lest you risk a canceled policy, but you can make sure you tell the agent how you use your car when shopping for a policy to ensure you get the best rate (especially if you’re insuring a farm vehicle!).
See full story at www.marketwatch.com