You’re probably aware that smoking raises your life insurance premiums. Almost everyone knows that. But, did you know that your general lifestyle and occupations can also affect your auto insurance? It can. Here’s how and what you can do about it.
Previous Driving and Accident History
Actuaries are professional mathematicians who spend their entire careers, day in and day out, looking for small statistical nuances that predict the likelihood of a claim. What they find usually surprises even them. They use this information to adjust how insurance products are built.
Consequently, this means that lifestyle, diet, and careers can all play a role in what an insurance company charges you for a policy. And, while each insurance company makes rulings on what it will accept as evidence for increasing premiums, one thing that almost al insurers agree on is your previous driving history and accident history.
The more accidents you have, the higher your rates. Your driving history and things like speeding tickets can also negatively affect your insurance rates. When you get a speeding ticket, it’s correlated with more risky driving behavior in general. Even if this is your first ticket, some insurance companies see this as you merely being caught, and that you may have unusually bad or risky driving (and other) behaviors that put the insurer at an increased risk for claims.
Of course, not all insurers will raise your rates based on a first-time speeding offense. This is where shopping around and asking about company policy pays off.
If you’ve been in an accident, this is another thing that may negatively affect your insurance rates – especially if you were found at fault. Working with this Dallas accident lawyer might help you out, if you’re currently battling with an insurer over fault. Outside of that, there’s nothing you can do to reduce premium rates for past accidents.
You may be able to offset higher premiums, or flat extra premium charges, by taking safe driving or defensive driving classes. Some states, and some insurers, will accept this as proof of your willingness and ability to improve driving habits and will offer you credits. While this does not eliminate the flat extra premium for a speeding ticket or an accident, it will credit you premium, so the net result is a lower total premium payment.
Your Credit Core and Insurance
Insurers have correlated low credit scores with more reckless behavior on the road. So, if your credit score is low, even if it makes you mad that insurers think this way, you’ll pay more for insurance.
But, to be honest, most people with low credit scores know they have a spending or saving problem – probably both. They may not want to admit it, or may get upset when someone points it out, but the fact remains. All this is to say that it’s a very good idea to get your financial house in order and raise that credit score. Become more financially responsible and you’ll probably (mysteriously) find that you’ll become a better driver, at least in the eyes of insurance companies.
Your Job and Insurance Rates
Your education and profession can affect your insurance rates. There’s a correlation between low education and high accident rates. Each level of education you complete might help reduce your rates, according to Robert Hunter, director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America.
Trade professions, and professional careers, like doctors, lawyers, teachers, and financial professionals, also enjoy lower insurance rates.
Likewise, engaging in risky professions raises your rates. If you’re a professional race car driver, forget about it. Do you drag race on the streets? Your rates may be prohibitively expensive and many insurers may refuse to insure you at all.
If you drive a delivery truck, the sheer number of hours on the road makes you a higher risk, and truck drivers and trucking companies pay some of the highest insurance rates in the world. If you work in construction, this is another risk factor insurers look at, especially if you own your own construction company or are a small contractor driving on the public roads from one job site to another.
Your Zip Code and Your Insurance
Where you live can make a dramatic difference in your insurance rates. Zip codes with high accident rates pay more. If you live in an area where people, in general, are more reckless, you’re suddenly in a high risk pool of drivers.
If you live in a rural area with few accidents, your rates could drop by hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars.
Regis and Shane Mullen are a father and son legal team and are the principals of the Mullen & Mullen law firm. Mullen & Mullen have been serving Dallas with top rate legal advice and representation for over 20 years. Regis Mullen has a unique perspective on cases having worked on both sides of personal injury claims. Prior to practicing law, Regis worked as a claims adjuster and litigation supervisor for major insurance companies.