How Reckless Driving Affects Insurance & How to Get a Better Premium
Inattention, driving under the influence of alcohol and excessive speeding are all reckless behaviors that have bad outcomes. Such drivers ultimately cause accidents, which may end the lives of innocent people. In addition to the expenses and punishments stemming from legal trouble, reckless drivers also experience higher auto insurance rates. Before this happens, their licenses may be suspended for a period of time. To have a license reinstated, a driver must usually take classes and pay a fee. Auto insurance following such a reinstatement is much more expensive than traditional rates.
When auto insurance companies calculate premiums, the most important issue they research is the customer's driving history. Speeding tickets and auto accidents usually stay on a person's record for more than three years. Age, gender, driving frequency, parking location, car type, desired coverage and credit history are also considered. Keep in mind that insurers use a different type of credit scoring than lenders do.
Although people do not have control over their age or gender, there are several other ways to keep rates down and prevent reckless driving. Safe driving is the key to lowering rates. To practice safe driving, policyholders should refresh their knowledge of road rules. Free booklets are available at any DMV office or online. Drivers should also avoid speeding and try to stay out of accidents. Driving defensively is the best way to avoid an accident. One important thing every driver should do is avoid cell phone use in the car. Texting, talking without a hands-free set and studying digital maps while driving can lead to accidents. Every driver should remember that reckless driving is not only expensive but also deadly.
Thousands of people die in vehicle crashes each year. In about 20 percent of cases, speeding is a factor. About 15 percent of crashes result from driving under the influence, and almost 10 percent are due to inattention. If drivers feel their abilities are lacking, it is best to enroll in driving classes. After receiving a ticket, there are also several steps to lowering insurance costs.
Request higher deductibles. For collision and comprehensive coverage, a higher deductible will mean a lower premium. It also means paying more upfront for an accident, but that is a good incentive for drivers to be more careful. Raising a deductible may help a driver save up to 40 percent.
Combine auto and homeowners insurance policies. Buying a homeowners or renters policy from the same company issuing the auto insurance results in a discount. If more than one vehicle is insured, there may be an additional discount.
Lower coverage for older cars. Some people have one or more older cars that are rarely used or just collect dust. If this is the case, lower the coverage for these vehicles. Every state requires liability coverage, so be sure to stay within the state's minimum requirements.
Ask about discounts for low mileage. Insurers may offer discounts for drivers who do not drive excessively. People who carpool to work usually also qualify for this discount.
Improve and maintain credit. Insurers use a special formula for calculating the credit score they use, but a good FICO score and good credit history mean a better insurance score.
Ask about group insurance. Many insurers offer group discounts for drivers who obtain insurance from their employers' plans.
Insurance companies have different discounts, and some companies have more offers than others. It is best to ask an agent about any other available offers. For example, some students qualify for discounts when they maintain a good grade point average. To enjoy a better rate, be sure to follow these tips and practice safe driving at all times.
-Lucas R. Zeiler