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Ever wonder how or why certain changes to your auto insurance policy affect your premium? Everyone knows that getting into an accident or a new ticket can up your premium, but even small changes can increase or decrease your rate, and we’re here to let you know what those changes are, and what things you can do to keep your premium as low as possible.

  • Moving – Depending on where you move to, your new address can either increase or decrease your premium.  Certain areas can jack up the cost of your policy depending on a few different factors; if the town that you move to has a high level of accidents that occur, that will increase your premium.  If there is a high crime rate (vandalism and robbery especially) in the town or if it is highly populated with licensed drivers, that can increase your premium.  All of these factors put drivers at a higher risk for accidents and therefore claims against the insurance company, which is why they will up the cost in areas where those incidents are more common.  However, if you move to a small town with a low population and crime rate, your premium will likely go down.
  • Payment Plan – The type of payment plan you’re on can have a bigger affect on your premium than you would think.  Going green and signing up for electronic payments not only gets you a discount, but there is typically either no service fee or if there is it is $1.00.  For those that are on bill by mail payment plans, they receive no discount and are charged an additional service fee every time a payment is made, this fee typically ranges from $5.00-$7.00 but varies by carrier.
  • Payment History – Think you can get away with late payments over and over?  Think again!  Paying your insurance on time can only help your cause, but if you continuously make late payments or are pending cancellation, be prepared for an increase in your premium when your renewal comes around.  Your payment history is a rating factor when your policy comes up for renewal, so be sure to make any and all payments right on time to ensure the lowest possible price.  If possible, try to pay in full because you will also get an additional discount for that.
  • Deductible – Your deductible can either increase or decrease your premium depending on how much you want to pay out of pocket in the case of an accident.  If you’re willing to increase your deductibles, you can typically expect to see your monthly payments drop.  The more you are willing to pay in the event of an accident, the less the insurance company will have to pay.  Obviously this is a lot more appealing to carriers so they will usually reduce your monthly bills.  If you reduce your deductible, the insurance company will have to pay more out of their pocket should you get into an accident, so your monthly bill will be more expensive.  It all depends on how much money you would be able to spend if your car was damaged, if you can pay a high amount up front, it will cost you less in the long run premium wise.  If you can’t afford to pay a large deductible up front in the case of an incident, you may be better off with the lower deductible but higher monthly payment.  If you are an experienced driver with a good record, going for the higher deductible might be a better option.  If you never get into an accident, the deductible will never come into play but you’ll still benefit from the reduced monthly premium.  The only thing that could prevent your premium from going down even if you increase your deductibles is if you have a multiple points on your record and are considered to be high risk by insurance carriers.
  • Adding Drivers – This goes without saying, the more drivers on your policy, the more expensive it will be.  What you need to keep in mind though is that adding YOUNG drivers is especially expensive.  Parents, be prepared for your policy to increase by hundreds of dollars once you add on your new driver(s)!
  • Adding/Replacing a Vehicle – If you’re adding a vehicle onto your policy, it is definitely going to increase the premium.  However, replacing a vehicle can go either way, depending on the cars themselves.  Older cars are less expensive to insure, so if you’re replacing your 2010 Honda Accord with the 2002 model, your premium will likely decrease.

These are only a few of the potential changes that can be made to auto policies.  While we can’t gurantee the above statements, they are the likely results of such changes unless there are extenuating circumstances.  Be sure to alert your insurance agency or carrier about any changes being made, even if they won’t affect your premium.  Contact information is one of the most important changes of all, so if you get a new phone number or email address be sure to update it with your agency or carrier as soon as possible!  Keeping your insurance company informed and up to date will only benefit you in the long run!

Photo By: Riebart