If you’re shopping around for auto insurance quotes, chances are you’ve learned a few things. You know there are lots of steps you can take to lower your rate. Never being in an accident certainly helps, so you always drive carefully. You trust yourself as a driver, so you want a policy with a high deductible. You picked a “low risk” car with a lot of safety features, like antilock breaks and airbags. You even started walking to work so you can get a low-mileage discount. In short: you know your stuff!
Unfortunately, there are some things working against you that you can’t control. Your age and gender can both increase (or decrease) your rate, as can the number of years you’ve been behind the wheel. And unless you’re looking to move, you location is also on the “can’t control” list. Where you live has a significant impact on how much you pay for car insurance. If you’re in a suburban or rural area, your rates will likely be lower. If you’re in the city, you will pay more for insurance. This is true of most urban areas, but some cities are more expensive than others. Here a few of America’s most expensive cities for auto insurance.
Detroit, MI. In 2011, the average car insurance premium rate was almost $6,000 in Detroit. This is partly due to the state’s no-fault insurance system, and partly due to the high vehicle population.
Philadelphia, PA. In 2011, the average car insurance premium rate was just over $4,000 in Philadelphia. This is due to a high vehicle population and overcrowded streets.
New Orleans, LA. In 2011, the average car insurance premium rate was almost $3,600 in New Orleans. The reason for the astronomical insurance rate is a little different in this city; it’s due to judicial ruling. In the state of Louisiana, claims are settled out of court unless they total over $50,000.
Miami, FL. In 2011, the average car insurance premium rate was almost $3,400 in Miami. This is partly due to a high number of fraudulent claims, and partly due to the state’s no-fault auto insurance system.
Newark, NJ. In 2011, the average car insurance premium rate was almost $2,900. This is primarily due to the state’s no-fault insurance system.
Of course, this works in reverse, too. Just as some cities have astronomically high rates, other areas are lucky to have extremely low rates. When shopping around for auto insurance quotes, you’ll find the best prices in Bullhead City, AZ; Chloride, AZ; Oatman, AZ; Pine Point, ME and West Scarborough, ME. All of these cities have average premium rates between $730 and $735.
People tend to be more unhappy in the winter. Early sunsets, cold weather and grey days all take their toll, and the inevitable slip-and-fall on the ice can ruin even the best of days. And it certainly doesn’t help when you add a car accident to the mix.
Yes, auto accidents are far more common in the winter months, due in large part to poor visibility and slippery roads. As if that weren’t enough to deal with, there’s the increased risk of damage being done to your car even when you’re tucked away inside, enjoying a cup of apple cider by the fire. Weather is unpredictable, and a blizzard or hurricane can cause significant damage to your vehicle within seconds. So if that happens to you, what happens to your insurance?
Well, there’s good news and bad news. The good news is, your premium is unlikely to go up due to a natural disaster at least not the first time. Weather damage is included in your comprehensive insurance, along with theft or damage done by animals. Most insurance companies won’t punish you for filing your first comprehensive claim. After four or five claims, though, you may start to see higher auto insurance quotes.
The bad news is, if you live in an area prone to bad weather, chances are you’re already paying for potential damages. If you frequently see hurricanes, blizzards, high winds or flooding, your insurance company already knows and is prepared for it. How do they prepare for it? By charging you extra.
Where you live always impacts how much you pay for insurance. In general, auto insurance quotes are higher for people living in urban areas. This is because a greater population means a greater accident risk, and because it is far more likely that you will be the victim of theft or vandalism. But, being in an urban or rural area isn’t the only factor. If your area often sees bad weather, you are paying for it with a higher insurance premium.
No matter how careful of a driver you are, there are some factors affecting your auto insurance that you can’t control. Your age and gender are probably the most well known, but the weather also holds a prominent position on that list. Even if your car is never the victim of a knocked over tree, you will pay more just in case it happens someday. Of course, this can also work in your favor if you are the one whose car got crushed during the last big storm. A damaged vehicle is never fun, and the hassle that follows can be exhausting. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about increased auto insurance quotes on top of everything else.
It would be good to believe the world always works the way you expect, i.e. in a way that’s basically fair. Except, if you choose to believe such a thing, you will nearly always be disappointed. More importantly, by not protecting yourself, you are opening yourself up to potential losses. Take auto insurance as an example. Perhaps in a perfect world, all the focus would be on you as a driver. The insurer would look at how well you have been driving, whether you have made any claims and, if so, how much the insurer has had to pay out. You might believe the insurer uses each person as an individual profit center. So if you pay $1,000 for ten years and there’s only one payout of $1,000, the insurer has made a gross profit of $9,000 on you so that should earn a loyalty discount and premium rate reductions to celebrate. Except that’s not how insurance works. Everyone pays into a central fund. No one is counted as an individual profit center. The profit is calculated by looking at whether there’s enough money collected in the fund to pay all the claims plus the administration costs.
Put another way, the insurers do look at you as a person but the focus is not just on you as a driver. The idea is to make an overall assessment of you as a “responsible” adult. Based on the statistical evidence, insurers take the view that people who are not responsible in the management of their money are less responsible when driving on the road. The cold reality of this view is to penalize people who are already struggling with their finances. Indeed, it specifically targets the poor and marginalized members of the community who may, through no fault of their own, miss a payment on a debt or make one or more payments late. This does not make them dishonest nor does it bear directly on their ability to drive. But making such people pay higher than average premium rates is distinctly unfair. These people probably live in parts of a town or city not well served by public transport. Without access to a car, they cannot find and keep a job. This locks them into poverty unless they take the risk of driving uninsured. If they are caught, they are criminalized.
No matter what your financial situation, you must ensure your credit score is at least accurate. You have a legal right to a free copy of your credit history. If you find mistakes, you have the right to correct the record. If your score improves, the next car insurance quote will be lower. To ensure you get the best rates, use this site to get comparative car insurance quotes. Only if you are proactive on this issue can you protect yourself, particularly in more expensive no-fault states. Remember this site delivers Florida car insurance quotes free of charge. You can quickly see whether you are paying too much.
The first and most important rule is never to lose your temper. If you take the behavior of the insurance company or the claims adjuster personally, you will just make difficulties for yourself. Try rational argument first. If this fails, ensure you do not prejudice any appeal you may make against the insurer’s decision. To get into the right mindset, understand the role of the adjuster. This is an employee of the car insurance company. He or she does not represent your interests against the insurer. Indeed, the terms of employment probably give the adjuster a direct financial incentive to force the lowest possible settlement figure. Remember the insurance company is not trying to cheat you. If you look at the insurance industry’s PR mission statement, it aims to keep all the policyholders happy. If too many get upset and begin to complain or move their business to other companies, individual insurers lose out. So they actually want you to be as happy as possible while still accepting low settlement figures. In the larger frame of reference, adjusters are allocated a given number of open claims at the beginning of each quarter. They are expected to have a higher clearance rate and to bring the total settlements in under a target. This allows then some discretion on individual cases but they do not have the time to investigate every case. So you need to get your adjuster on your side by presenting a very professional information pack with everything properly described and explained.
Suppose, for example, you think the adjuster may total your vehicle rather than authorize repairs. Look up the blue book value of your vehicle and check round the local garages for the same make and model on sale. You need clear evidence of the current market value. Now look at the repair quotations. The majority of insurers aim to total a vehicle if the cost of repair is more than 70% of the market value. One of the key factors in the decision will be the value of your vehicle when broken for spares. If you have new tires and everything is in an excellent condition, the insurer will get a good price on salvage. Now look at the projected costs of replacement parts and labor. If you think any of these prices are too high, get evidence – list prices for spares and alternate quotes from reputable garages who will do the work for less. Do not allow yourself to be rushed into a settlement. If you find yourself under pressure, step away and arrange for the negotiations to continue on an another day.
The car insurance claims process is designed to push you into accepting low-ball settlements. Although the theory says this will keep car insurance rates low, the actual motive is to maximize profits. If you think the negotiations will fail and a dispute will follow, get car insurance quotes from the other insurers to see whether you can move at an economical rate.
In the early days when gun-toting bandits were likely to rob the stagecoach or attack a bank, it was every man and woman for him or herself. Although insurance as we know it today had developed in London early in the seventeenth century, the idea was not widely accepted in most of America until much later. Individual companies were established in the mid-eighteenth century, but it’s not until the 1850s that states began to regulate the industry and appointed Insurance Commissioners. From then on, progress has been rapid. The idea is essentially simple. The insurer estimates the total amount of claims it’s likely to have to pay in a given year and divides that sum among all those wanting insurance. Everyone pays into the fund. That money is invested and slowly grows over the year. As claims come in, money is paid out. If there’s more than enough money to pay the actual claims, the insurer makes a profit. Should the insurer make a loss, all the insured pay more the next year. Because the losses are shared between a large number of people, each person pays a small amount to buy peace of mind.
Whatever the car insurance companies agree with the policyholders has to be consistent with the local laws. Until fairly recently, all the laws focused on financial responsibility. All the companies had to have a minimum amount of capital as a buffer against claims. That way, if they were hit by an unexpected run of claims, they would not fall into bankruptcy. For the policyholders, the relevant laws were self-preservation and tort. As a matter of practicality, if you own property and it’s destroyed in a fire or some other natural disaster, you want to replace it. With insurance, this is usually practical. The law of tort make you liable to pay compensation if you damage goods belonging to someone else, or injure them. If we were cynical, we could say you can ignore this liability if you injure someone poor. But injure a rich man who can afford an attorney to sue you and you realize the advantage of having liability insurance.
Because the majority of states thought all drivers should be responsible, they imposed a mandate. Now apart from drivers in New Hampshire, everyone who sits behind the wheel of a vehicle on a public road must carry a minimum amount of liability insurance. Because of the mandate, this is relatively affordable online car insurance. To check out exactly how much you will have to pay, get free car insurance quotes from as many insurers as possible. In most states, this is the cheapest form of insurance. It would be even lower if the law enforcement effort was greater. As it is, as many as 20% of drivers are uninsured in each state. Because the number of policyholders sharing the loss is smaller than it should be, every car insurance quote is higher. This is an unfortunate situation.