insurance rates

Your Insurance Rate: What Factors do you Control?

Are you a resident of Brockton, Revere, Lynn, Springfield, Chelsea, Roxbury, Dorchester, Charlestown, or Hyde Park? If you live in any of these cities, you’re probably paying 30 to 40% in more for automobile insurance. According to a study conducted by ValuePenguin Inc, motorists living in towns on the west side of the state pay about 20% less in premiums than the state average, while people who reside in Boston and the surrounding area pay as much as 136% more.

Why such a significant gap in rate and what can you do about it? In this article, I will examine the most common factors that determine auto insurance rates and what you can do to lower your costs without suggesting you move to New Salem or Edgartown.

There are six factors that determine your insurance rate:

Garaging Town

The ValuePenguin study suggests that the town where you live makes a big difference in your insurance rate. While actuaries are responsible for financial consequences, we don’t know all the elements that go into mitigating risk from one town to another. For instance, some have asked, “What if my vehicle is parked in a garage?” Unfortunately, in most instances where you park is irrelevant.

Experience

Unlike states that determine experience based on driver age, Massachusetts considers experience based upon the actual number of years licensed. It doesn’t matter if you were first licensed in another country, if you can prove licensure most carriers will accept it. Otherwise, you pay a higher premium if you have less than three years driving experience and/or more than three years but less than six years.

Driving History

Incurring points on your driving record costs you dearly, no doubt about it. Everyone starts with a score of 00. From there, you can go up or down to 99 or 98. Anything that’s not a 99, 98, or 00 incurs a surcharge which has a tremendous impact on rate and acceptability to carriers. ”At fault” accidents are also heavily penalized. Even not at fault, frequent glass claims, and hit-and-run incidents are heavily weighted against the insured when it comes to premiums.

Coverage

Insurance coverage is like buying a car, the more options you add the more costly it becomes.

Vehicle

You can’t expect to pay the same for a Maserati than you do for a Ford. If it’s a luxury vehicle, you will pay more, even if it’s an older model.

Carrier

Rates differ from carrier to carrier. Sometimes it’s a slight difference and sometimes it can be a significant one. Carriers adjust their rates at the minimum every year, therefore, it’s likely you’ll see a rate increase yearly or semi-annually.

So as a consumer, what can you do to save money on auto insurance?

  • Consider insurance rates in the area where you plan to buy or rent a home.
  • Driving history is important. If you can avoid moving violations and accidents, you will save yourself a lot of money on auto insurance and carriers will fight for your business. It’s a good situation to be in.
  • You have leverage on coverage; you can save a bundle by increasing your deductible to buy more coverage.
  • You always have the option to buy a cheaper car, but if you opt for a luxury vehicle, be prepared to pay a premium for insurance.
  • Unless you are a delinquent driver, you can find great savings shopping for carriers. You can also decide to switch at any time. In auto insurance as in life, there are consequences for overstaying your welcome.

Need to learn more about your options? Click here for a comparative quote.

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