Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Variables affecting your auto insurance – part 1 of 2

While you are certain to know at least a couple of the most likely factors to affect your auto insurance rates, you may be surprised by just how many variables are actually taken into consideration, and by how each of these variables is specifically assessed. Some of these may be familiar to you, and some may not:

Age: Insurance providers rely on data collected over several years to help determine which age groups are most likely to be involved in collisions. What this means for you is that if you fall within one of those age groups, your premiums will be higher. For example, drivers between the ages of 16 and 23 are four times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than the average driver, and 16 year old drivers have the highest driver fatality rate of any age group. The other age group that has been found to have a high rate of accidents is the 75 plus crowd. So when can you expect your age to give you a bit of edge with lowering your premiums? It turns out the safest group of drivers (in terms of age) are those between 40 and 50 years.

Gender: Gender is actually very closely linked to age in that it is more of an affecting factor when assessing younger drivers. While we have determined that the riskiest age group for drivers is the 16 to 23 range, this risk is not shared evenly among genders: young male drivers are far more likely to be involved in a fatality than young female drivers. Interestingly enough, drivers in this category may get a bit of a break if they are married: it turns out that married men are less likely to engage in risky driving than their single counterparts. The more advanced you become in years, the less likely gender is to be a factor in determining your premiums. That said, there are insurance companies that will consistently offer lower rates to women.

Your home: What? But I don't drive my home, I drive a car! Ah, but where you live certainly has a bearing on how likely it is for you to be involved in collision. For example, those living in densely populated urban regions are far more likely to be involved in an accident than those living in remote, rural areas. When buying a new home, and trying to decide between the convenience of being in the heart of the city versus the relative quiet and affordability of the suburbs and beyond, perhaps the effect your neighbourhood has on your auto insurance rates should factor into your decision!

Daily driving time: Even if this was not one of the factors that immediately occurred to you as having an effect on your auto insurance premiums, certainly the reasoning here is intuitive to you: obviously, the more time you spend on the road, the more you increase your chances of being involved in a collision. Shorter commutes equal less risk. (Perhaps this is a factor to consider in favour of choosing a home in the city if you'll need to be there daily!)