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Factors Influencing Your Auto Insurance Rates

Updated on January 7, 2011

When you purchase a new or used automobile, SUV or truck, you probably don’t worry how much your insurance premiums will change for the better or for the worse until after you get the bill. Having to supply auto insurance is required by Washington State Law (Revised Code of Washington) RCW 46.63.

If you buy a car outright Washington State law requires a minimum coverage:

1.  $25,000.00 of bodily injury or death of one person in any one accident.

2. $50,000.00 of bodily injury or death of any two people in any one accident.

3. $10,000.00 of injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.


If you finance your new vehicle, the lender requires full coverage to offset any loss they may incur from accidents or injuries while you own the vehicle. So what factors should you take into consideration while insuring your vehicles?


COMPARISON SHOPPING is a smart choice. Utilize on-line comparison websites or telephone various insurance companies to assist with the decision to purchase a policy remembering of course what entity you are trying to satisfy: Lender or State of Washington.

WHERE YOU LIVE has an impact on how insurance companies determine rates: Rural living means less traffic thus less accidents potentially resulting in lower insurance premiums: Urban living usually has higher losses and accidents than rural living so it makes sense that areas with higher claims would have higher insurance premium rates. Vehicle Thefts: living in a neighborhood that has had a high rate of vehicle thefts, could mean you might pay a higher premium. Miles driven daily to work impacts the risk factor for insurance premiums because high mileage puts you at a higher chance of being involved in an auto accident.

AGE of the driver(s) has a direct bearing on auto insurance premiums. Statistically underage drivers are a greater risk of being involved in an accident. They may have to pay high risk premiums until age 25. Ages 26 to 73 usually have less reporting of claims while those aged 74 or older have higher occurrences of claims resulting from accidents.

This vehicle is on the list for the 10 most sought after by thieves.
This vehicle is on the list for the 10 most sought after by thieves. | Source

DRIVING RECORDS determine how much of a risk you are to the auto insurance company. If you have had claims for theft, accidents or moving violations, most likely you will be put into a higher risk classification. The time periods used by insurance companies to review your past driving record can be 3, 5 or 7 years. It all depends on the individual company. Conversely, if you have never had any moving violations or thefts or accidents, you will probably being paying lower auto insurance premiums.

Other factors such as marital status, occupation, gender, credit history, prior coverage with another company, and Vehicle make, model and style all impact how you are analyzed by the auto insurance industry.

Every car has a history associated with its make and model. The type of car and its value have a direct impact on the premiums you pay for liability and uninsured motorist coverage. Some vehicles are prone to higher theft than other vehicles. If you purchase some of the following vehicles, you may be looking at higher premium payments.

The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) puts out a yearly list of different makes and models of vehicles that sustained losses. Here are a few factoids:

· Four door cars are 93% less likely to have a claim related to theft than two door cars.

· Buick LeSabre’s are less likely to be stolen than other vehicles.

· Chevrolet Corvette’s are five times more likely to be stolen than the average vehicle.

· Lowest injury claims are from large cars, pickup trucks, and SUV’s.

· Highest injury claims are from small two door and four door cars.

· Highest collision costs are from small cars and sports cars.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) creates a list for top safety performance which should be reviewed in order to determine how the car of your choice rates in crash tests and the kind of damage it sustains. This list is important to the insurance company industry because it tells them how and what kind of damage and the cost to repair the vehicles. The cost is the deciding factor in assessing rates.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB) issues statistics on auto theft. Before buying a car, check here to see if the make and model of your choice is a “hot” car for thieves. Here is a brief list of 2010 cars which have the honor of being the most stolen vehicles:

· Honda Accord

· Toyota Camry

· Ford F-150

· Acura Integra

· Nissan Sentra

· Toyota Corolla

· Toyota Pickups


Investigate the vehicle make and model you are interested in buying with the HLDI, the NCIB and the IIHS agencies to see where the car would land in their data base. The worst the ranking of the vehicle you wish to buy may mean you will likely pay higher premiums for auto insurance.

Become a “smart” consumer and pay less for auto insurance by asking for discounts: select higher deductibles in order to save on rates: On older cars eliminate the comprehensive or collision coverage because if the older car is lost, stolen or damaged, the deductible is subtracted from the already depreciated value of the older car usually resulting in zero payout.

How to compare auto insurance rates


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    • profile image

      Ted Ward 6 years ago

      Very Timely