Naturally, insurance companies use your driving past as an indicator of how you will drive in the future. It can be difficult to find affordable car insurance if you have a checkered driving history. While it’s very unlikely you will find an insurance company that won’t increase your premium after an at-fault accident or other violation, the degree of the rate increase will vary by company. Let’s compare rate increases for some common violations across major insurance companies.
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Between September and December 2017, The Zebra conducted comprehensive auto insurance pricing analysis using its proprietary quote engine, comprising data from insurance rating platforms and public rate filings. The Zebra examined nearly 53 million rates to explore trends for specific auto insurance rating factors across all United States zip codes, averaged by state, including Washington, DC.
In arriving at the relative cost of car insurance between cities in North Carolina, we obtained auto insurance quotes for our sample driver across in 112 locations in the state. The driver we used as our benchmark was a single 30 year old male to have a standard comparison across the 100+ places. Our benchmark driver owns a 2011 Toyota Camry vehicle - no renting or financing. He averages 12,000 miles a year on the road for daily commute to and from work, and in the most recent five years, have not had any accidents or traffic violations. Quotes were obtained for a policy with basic liability protection for the Camry from companies such as State Farm, GEICO, and the North Carolina Farm Bureau.
Liability coverage is legally required in Virginia and pays for injury and lost wages that you cause to another driver or their passengers as well as damage to the other driver’s vehicle in the event that you are considered “at fault” in an accident. The coverage limits are determined by each individual state and normally split into three categories. In Virginia, the minimum is listed as 25/50/20 and explained below:
A large part of an insurance premium depends on the type of car you drive. Is it a Corvette? Lamborghini? Maybe a Ferrari? Or perhaps you drive a Chevy Volt? Each car will impact the base cost of your monthly insurance mainly for the replacement value of the vehicle. In fact, some states and auto insurance companies will not cover certain vehicles. Also, high theft risk cars cost more to cover as well. Hummers, for example, are more costly than other SUVs and one of the determining aspects is the Hummer is stolen more often than other models. Either way, your premium may be higher due to one of those situations. Since you probably won't be going out and buying a new car just to lower your auto insurance, it's good to know what else can affect the costs of a new policy.
Unless you’re a teen driver, your gender isn’t a significant auto insurance rating factor. In fact, the national difference between car insurance premiums paid by women and men is less than 1%. For teenagers, this premium difference is much more dramatic: male teen drivers pay nearly $600 more per year than do female teens. Again, this comes back to the main goal of an insurance company – anticipating and limiting exposure to risk. Car insurance companies' historical data says young male drivers are more likely to take risks while driving than are female drivers in the same age group.
After a DUI, Nationwide's premiums increased by more than $1,300 to become the third-most-expensive company, while Liberty Mutual became the cheapest. While Liberty Mutual isn't the cheapest auto insurer without a DUI, the $785 increase is the smallest financial penalty for drinking and driving. This is why it’s important to not become complacent with your insurance company. Just because Nationwide was the cheapest insurance company before a DUI doesn't mean things will stay as-is with a serious violation on your record.
In some cases, the damage to a vehicle is so severe that it’s not economical or safe to attempt to repair it. If the insurer feels this is the situation, your vehicle will be declared a write-off and you will receive the amount covered or the agreed value. If you have comprehensive insurance, some policies allow for the replacement of your car with a new vehicle and coverage of on-road costs, if your original vehicle was declared a write-off after being stolen or damaged within the first two years of its first registration.
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