The premiums that you pay for an auto insurance policy will depend on several diverse factors. Some of them are within a driver’s control, but others are not. For example, the age and gender of a driver may affect their premiums. Men tend to pay higher premiums than women, and very young drivers tend to pay higher premiums because statistics show that they pose a higher level of risk. Another factor that may or may not be within your control is your location. If you live in an area with heavy traffic or recurrent poor weather, you may pay higher premiums. You could move, in theory, but most people will not choose their home based on auto insurance premiums.
Factors Within Your Control
The type of car that you drive may affect the amount of your premiums. Some vehicles may be more expensive to repair or may have a higher risk of requiring repairs. An insurer may demand higher premiums if you are buying a new sports car, for instance, so you may want to review estimates of premiums before purchasing that car. On the other hand, you may benefit from lower premiums if your vehicle comes with safety features that are not present in all cars. If your car has anti-lock brakes, automatic braking, blind spot technology, or daytime lights, among many other examples, you may pay less for insurance. This may be an issue to consider when you are choosing among cars with varying types of safety features.
Also, you can keep your premiums in check to some extent by driving safely. If you get involved in accidents frequently, especially if you are at fault, you can expect your premiums to rise. Receiving traffic tickets also can increase your premiums. If you drive for your business or drive for long periods of time, you may pay more for auto insurance. In general, premiums will rise in proportion to the amount of time that a driver spends behind the wheel. A driver in this situation may want to consider alternatives such as public transportation (if available) to keep premiums manageable. You should not lie to the insurance company about how you use your vehicle and how much you use it, since this can justify denying a claim.
This last factor may not seem intuitive, but a low credit score can lead to increased premiums. This is because insurance companies have found that people with low credit scores typically file more auto insurance claims and file claims of greater value. Getting lower premiums is just one of many reasons to improve your credit score. You should seek advice from a professional on how to improve your credit if you believe that it is lower than it should be.
Drivers can take certain actions to trigger discounts on their auto insurance policies. Perhaps the most common strategy is to compile a record of safe driving and limit the number of miles driven each year. This can result in a merit-based discount. You also might be able to get this type of discount if you complete a defensive driving course or a similar program. A very young driver might be able to receive a merit-based discount based on being a good student.
Certain other discounts are known as affiliation-based discounts. Your eligibility for this type of discount is usually outside your control, since it hinges on your membership in a certain group. Some examples of affiliation-based discounts include discounts for senior citizens, veterans, or people with especially low incomes.
Like consumers in other areas, drivers who are loyal customers of an insurance company might receive a discount on that basis. Customer-service discounts might apply to people who stay with a certain provider for a certain period, who agree to automatic payments, who renew their policies early, or who get insurance for more than one car with that company. You also may be able to get a customer-service discount if you purchase other forms of insurance from the company. You should find out more about the discounts that may be available by contacting your insurance company. Often, a driver will not be aware of an option unless they ask.