There’s been a huge rise in accidents due to there being more cars on the road, the increase in speed limits (not only the high-impact crashes from speeders, but this, combined with those who are not keeping up with the flow of traffic), and more in-car distractions (such as cell phones and GPS). Due to insurance companies paying out unprecedented sums and claims, you will notice that it is likely that your insurance rates increased. My insurance recently went up 40% with no citations nor change in status. When I called my insurance agent to ask why, she asked me to answer a few questions. She asked approximately how many miles I drove last year; how many of those miles were driven for commuting, work and pleasure. I told her that I thought since I commuting to work, they were the same darned thing. And I certainly don’t like to drive for pleasure…ugh! And that brought my insurance rate back down. I was also told that since full-coverage insurance includes uninsured and under-insured motorist coverage, if you’re paying for those items as an add-on (these also include things like roadside assistance and additional coverage), you may be paying “twice” for those two items.

There are so many items that affect your insurance rates. Here is a list of some of those items:
• Your age (under 21/25 and over 62)
• Gender (boys under 25…yikes!)
• Your zip code
• What you drive
• Full coverage or bare-bones liability
• Married or single
• Own or rent your home
• Longevity/Loyalty (how long you had coverage with your last insurance company)
• Claims history
• Your credit score (although I recommend shopping around for better rates if yours increases, insurance companies will check your credit report, resulting in a “soft hit” on your credit report, which affects your credit score a bit).

I remember the good old days when my full-coverage insurance rate was $61 a month. And it even included roadside assistance and towing. When I added my 16 year old daughter to my insurance plan, my insurance more than quadrupled. I thought “Thank God she’s a girl and not a boy. How much would my insurance rates have increased if she had been born a son?” And I did the math. It would have been cheaper to fly her to Sweden to get a sex change.

If you review the items above with your insurance agent, perhaps a few of those items can be addressed and may help to lower your insurance rates. Good driver discounts and good student discounts can also be addressed. Most insurance companies still give a discount for taking a state-approved defensive driving class. It just makes sense that they would prefer that you take a “refresher course” to help make you a better driver. And some reward you for doing so. The discount is typically 10% off your liability insurance for three years (but can be anywhere between 5% and 25% off). Ask your insurance agent about this and all discounts.

Until next week…

Daun Thompson
Writer / Comedienne / Artist

Insurance Rates Increased – Comedy Defensive Driving