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“Just why is my car insurance going up every year or 6 months?” If you’re wondering that, it can be the kind of thing that fills you with anger while you’re dealing with bills on your laptop at the kitchen table. Yes, you know that tickets, claims, and accidents drive up insurance rates, but you don’t have any to speak of.
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For that matter, you probably know you’re supposed to shop around every time you need to renew to get the best rates. Having said that, if you like your current rate and carrier, you’ve got a good thing going, so why rock the boat?
That also makes sense, but you wind up feeling very betrayed when your current carrier would raise your rates at renewal time, even when your driving has been spotlessly perfect. You might start feeling road rage right there at your dinner table. Hopefully, the kids are already in bed or another room.
The answers aren’t always simple as to why your car insurance would go up each year or renewal period when you have no wrecks, claims, points, or tickets to speak of. There are dozens of possible reasons why this can happen, some of which you have control over, and some of which you don’t. Keep reading to find out what they are, as well as what you can do about some of them at least.
Things You Can Control
Let’s dial back the kitchen table road rage for a moment and look at four factors you can have some sway over:
1) Rate Changes:
Many insurance carriers change their rates month to month. Only shopping around will get you the best deal. The savings can be drastic, considering that some insurance carriers hike rates in what is deemed to be dangerous seasons or months where you live.
2) Your Credit Score Dropped:
Even if your driving has been perfect, a dip in your credit score can jack up your insurance rates. Someone with a credit score of 720 and a DUI on their record might pay less for their insurance than a driver with spotless driving and a 550. The exceptions are Hawaii, Massachusetts, and California, which make it illegal for credit scores to matter in insurance rates.
Learn here how to increase credit score fast legitimately.
3) Your ZIP Code Matters:
Specific ZIP codes are seen as higher risks given the crime rates and population density resulting in more accidents. These are facets of your local community you really can’t influence and can boost prices by as much as 60%. Unless you move to cheaper postal codes, you’re at the mercy of demographics.
4) You’re Not A New Customer Anymore:
Many carriers discount rates for new customers to hook them, hoping they don’t shop around at renewal time when they start sneaking up prices again. Beat this by shopping around.
The Things You Really Can’t Control
It’s time to buckle up again. The following are 14 factors you can’t control over rising premiums, and some of them can be anywhere from infuriating to shocking:
1) Insurance Companies Go Under Or Pull Out:
The fewer players there are in a market, the less competitive rates have to be for everyone else.
2) States Change The Laws And Requirements About Insurance:
New legislation that takes effect can change the legal requirements for coverage options and rates, including personal injury and liability protection.
Insurance companies sometimes make mistakes. Human and computer errors alike can hit you.
4) Distracted Drivers:
Accidents are rising lately, thanks to smartphones and the use of internal technology. Nearly 3,166 people died because of distracted driving incidents in the year 2017 alone, making insurance companies pay out more.
5) Repair Costs Are Rising:
Cars are getting more complicated and have manufacturer-only parts. All this technology means they’re more expensive to put back together, which is more money insurers are shelling out. That’s more than they have to collect in premiums.
6) People Are Logging More Miles:
Cities are growing, so people have to cover more ground to get to work. A strong economy also means more leisure travel, partly fueled by cheaper gas prices.
7) Higher Speed Limits Don’t Help:
Many areas and states are raising speed limits to try and account for safer cars but also to ease traffic congestion. This still means more accidents.
8) Healthcare Is Getting More Expensive:
When drivers and passengers get injured in accidents, insurance kicks in to pay the hospital bills, which are rising much faster than nearly everything else in the economy. Spending is projected to grow 6% a year over the next decade.
9) Extreme Weather:
Climate change is hotly debated, but the prevalence of severe weather is undeniable, and this results in more claims from everything like flash floods to hail storms.
10) Uninsured Drivers:
The national rate of uninsured drivers is rising, and that puts more burden on drivers like you who are doing the right thing and paying your premiums. A typical uninsured motorist claim is around $20,000, costing paying drivers $2.6 billion (in 2012).
11) Insurance Fraud:
You might be truthful with your insurance company, but not everyone is as upstanding as you are. White lies might be okay with most people, but the industry loses $29 billion each year in premium leakage.
12) It’s Not All Dope:
Sometimes dope means heroin, which isn’t legal anywhere, and sometimes it means marijuana, which a growing number of states are legalizing or relaxing rules about. The ones that do wind up seeing more accidents and insurance claims. You might not high, but your insurance rates can.
13) Carriers Need More Claim Reserves:
Paying out more money for more claims means insurance carriers need a larger pool of funds in reserve. They can only do that by charging higher premiums.
14) You Lost A Discount Qualifier:
Changes in employment, professional discounts, group memberships, license restrictions and reclassifications, medical conditions, and even changes in your work commute are all factors beyond your control that might bump your rates up even with a clean record.
What Else Can You Do to Lower the Premium?
So, four factors you can control and then 14 you can’t. If you’re considering selling your car and looking up prices for bus passes in another tab at this point, I don’t blame you. Still, there are fortunately more things you can do to get lower rates and avoid mysterious premium raises when you renew with a clean record.
Here they are:
The first thing you can do is to start calling independent insurance agents. If you shop around only using online quotes or just calling individual companies, you’ll only get quotes for those companies. This will even happen with ‘captive’ agents associated with just one carrier. Independent agents can shop around for you, and they’re more likely to know about state-specific or regional carriers that you don’t know exist.
If you want to speak to an independent agent right now call this toll free number – (855) 838-6093
Secondly, aim for the highest deductible you can comfortably afford. When deductibles go up, premiums come down. The carriers do this since smaller claims won’t be filed as often.
Third, enroll in the telematics program any company offers. Look at Progressive’s SnapShot or RightTrack with Safeco. Such programs collect hard data on your driving, and then they match your insurance rates to your actual safe or minimal driving.
Fourth, add safety features to your car. Dashboard cameras, electronic stability controls, anti-lock brakes, and anti-theft devices make it less likely you’ll file a claim, so you get discounts for such devices.
Fifth, pay your premiums in full. Monthly installments mean more paperwork and typically finance charges.
Sixth, sign up for autopay, regardless of how often you pay. Many carriers offer discounts for this as much as getting paid in full at the start of a policy term.
Seventh, and this is where it gets a bit out of hand, just buy yourself a cheaper car. A vehicle with less value doesn’t cost as much to cover. Having said that, if you wind up buying something thieves love, your rates could still go up again!
Eighth, tinker with your specific coverage. Consult your agent about anything that can be tossed out. If you bundle policies, you might have overlapping coverage in certain areas. If you never rent cars, you don’t need your policy to stretch that far. If you have AAA, then roadside coverage can be dropped; this is especially true as some insurance companies secretly raise rates on those who call for lock-outs and flat tires too often, even if the service seems ‘free’ to the driver.
Driving safely should save lives and money, so if your rates go up at renewal time when the last six months or year were downright dull on the road, you’re right to be livid about it. As you can see, there are 14 things you can’t control about it, but there are four factors you do have influence over, as well as eight more things you can do about it. Play your bills as smart as you drive, and I promise you that you’ll be just fine.