It’s a sad truth, but there are many, many reasons why your car insurance rates go up. Fortunately, there are also steps that most drivers can take to prevent nearly all of them, said Chris Wukovits, an insurance manger for AAA Northeast.
However, there is one scenario in which drivers can do nothing to prevent their rates from rising.
“Rates will sometimes go up through no fault of the insured,” Wukovits said. “The carrier will, at times, have to analyze profitability and ensure it has adequate premiums to pay the claims it has or expects to have, so based on the findings, the carrier will increase rates. It could, for example, take an overall 10 percent increase for the state of New York, but certain areas could see increases above or below that statewide average increase.”
But under most other scenarios, drivers can take personal precautions that will hopefully prevent a major spike in their rates.
How to prevent your auto insurance rates from rising
Crashes and violations
“There are things that cause your insurance rates to go up that can be prevented, such as having car crashes or getting violations,” Wukovits said.
Drivers who accrue too many speeding tickets will also likely see a surcharge or have their insurance tier adjusted, he said. The tier system is a relatively new way of doing things in the insurance industry.
“Persons with the least number of occurrences pay the lowest rate,” he said. “If you have more accidents or speeding tickets, you pay more.”
The insurance provider uses the tiers to rank customers based on their risk of being involved in another vehicle mishap. While not many people like to be ranked, the industry uses the system to get a more precise evaluation of your driving habits and it sometimes helps prevent rates from skyrocketing for a driver just because of one accident.
Age and location
Your age and where you live can also affect your insurance rates. Drivers who put newly licensed teenagers on their insurance policies will see their auto insurance rates increase, since teenagers are typically involved in more crashes than any other age group.
And where you call home could make a difference in your auto insurance rates as well.
“If you move from Westchester County to Queens or Brooklyn, you’ll pay more money due to the exposure [to crashes],” said Wukovits. Some cities also have a higher rate of vehicle thefts and others also require drivers to have glass coverage for their vehicle’s windshield, which can lead to more expensive car insurance rates.
It might seem like just yesterday when you completed your six-hour defensive driving course, but the certificates of completion only net you a discount for three years. If your car insurance rates have recently gone up, ask your insurance agent if you have had any discounts recently expire. While you’re at it, ask if you or your family members qualify for any additional discounts like a good driver discount, auto club discount or good student discount for your son or daughter with good grades. Some providers also offer discounts for safety features on your car, pay in full discounts, multi-vehicle discounts and bundling home and auto insurance policies together. Make sure you’re not missing out on these savings!
Lastly, insurance rates go up for all drivers due to the fraudulent practices of a few. Examples include drivers who moved but didn’t report it, parents who don’t add teenage drivers to their insurance plans to prevent increases, staged accidents and drivers who ask for higher estimates at body shops. Unfortunately, these actions affect what others pay for auto insurance rates.
As we mentioned earlier, drivers can complete a defensive driving course for up to a 10 percent discount on their auto insurance rates for three years. This discount applies to collision, liability and no-fault insurance. Drivers can also reduce up to four points on their driver’s license by completing the course.
The AAA Driver Improvement Program is one way you can complete the six-hour course for auto insurance rates savings. It is available online and in the classroom, where drivers can learn best practices from the car experts at AAA.
Visit AAA.com/DriverImprovement for information on online and classroom AAA defensive driving courses.
“For a nominal fee, the benefit on the savings of your insurance for three years is outstanding,” Wukovits said. “Obviously, other ways to keep your premiums low is to drive safely and self insure, such as not putting in small claims and carrying higher deductibles for damages to your vehicle. And you can also offset increases by taking out additional policies or products with your carrier.”
AAA Insurance offers much more than just auto coverage. To contact an insurance agent or get a quote, visit AAA.com/Insurance.