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Insurance companies are in the insurance business to earn money for their investors, so they intend to make enough money to pay the claims of their policyholders, pay overhead costs, and still have money left over for the stockholders.
To do this, they attempt to charge higher rates for those more likely to have insurance claims. Along with this, they need to remain competitive with other sellers of insurance in the chosen area.
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Statistics are collected in the insurance industry more prevalently than in any other. Ratings are based upon statistics and carefully balanced to ensure profit.
Automobile insurance is a highly personalized product because rates are determined by the following:
- Age of drivers – Young, inexperienced drivers are more likely to have accidents as are older drivers whose faculties may or may not be impaired.
- Gender of drivers – Young women, according to statistics, have fewer accidents than do young men – rates, therefore, are separated by gender.
- Credit – Credit ratings are statistically related to claims and accidents, individuals with lower credit ratings tend to have more claims.
- Driving record of drivers – Individuals who have poor driving records often do not improve their driving habits. A history of infractions often leads to accidents.
- Marital status – Married individuals tend to have fewer accidents and claims than singles.
- Occupation and education of drivers – People with the ability to persist toward a degree and a secure occupation are usually more responsible and less likely to have claims.
- The kind of car you drive – Insurance companies collect statistics about repair records of different models and brands of cars. Some vehicles cost more to insure than others did.
- Automobile usage – A vehicle used to commute daily to work is more likely to have accidents than one parked at home in the driveway.
- Location – Insurance premiums vary by state, depending upon your state’s insurance regulations. Urban areas typically have higher insurance rates than rural areas.
Average Cost of Auto Insurance in the U.S.
In 2014, the average cost of automobile insurance in the United States was $907.38.
Averages vary by state, for example, Alabama’s average cost per vehicle was $1,529, and in California was $1,962 in 2014.
If you are reluctant to share personal information with either an insurance agency or company, your quotations can only be estimates of average insurance costs and not very reliable.
Protecting Your Privacy
When searching for quotes on car insurance, it will be necessary to provide a great deal of personal information to acquire accurate information. If providing the information on-line, make certain that the URL for the insurance company begins with “https” indicating a secure line.
Look for certificates on the site indicating Internet security. Consult with a trusted representative to ensure computer security.
Insurance companies and agencies have been dependent upon the Internet for quite a while and are used to dealing with issues of secure information. In most cases, their security is quite effective.
Getting Quotations from Several Insurance Companies
A wary shopper usually obtains insurance quotes from three different insurance companies to ensure adequate comparisons of premium and coverage.
Comparison-shopping is the most effective method of shopping for insurance.
Information Needed to Obtain Insurance Quotes
Prepare the following information to obtain insurance quotes:
- Names, dates of birth, drivers’ licenses, and addresses for all members of your household.
- Social security numbers, occupations, and education levels for members of the household
- Telephone number and e-mail address
- Automobile make, model, and VIN numbers for all owned vehicles
- Completion dates for Driver’s Education and Defensive Driving Courses, if any
- Record of accidents and driving infractions for the last three to five years
Desired Limits of Liability
Go to your states’ Department of Insurance website to determine what the statutory limits required in your state. You will need the following coverage:
- Bodily Injury Liability – Legal responsibility for injuries to others resulting from an accident – State-mandated limits or $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident.
- Property Damage Liability – Legal responsibility for damage to the property of others resulting from an accident – State-mandated limits or $50,000 per accident.
- Medical Payments – $5,000, depending upon your state’s requirement to protect you and your family in an accident. This is intended to pay for transportation and emergency services because of an accident.
- Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist’s Coverage – To protect you and your family if you are the victim of an accident caused by an underinsured or uninsured motorist. The limits are required to match those purchased for Bodily Injury and Property Damage Liability.
Physical Damage for Your Own Cars
Liability coverage does not protect you against damage to your own cars. To acquire that coverage you have to purchase the following:
- Comprehensive Coverage – pays for theft, vandalism, animal damage, fire, storm damage, and glass breakage to your own car.
- Collision Coverage – pays for damage to your own car resulting from collision
A deductible must apply to physical damage. This means that a certain amount will be deducted in a loss from any of the named perils.
Deductibles begin at $500 usually and can be higher. Higher deductibles can reduce your premiums.
Examine the Insurance Companies from Which You Acquire Quotes
It is illegal for people to sell insurance in a state unless they are licensed within the state.
Unfortunately, fraud artists have discovered that selling false insurance is a good way of making money.
This practice can leave you unprotected at a time when you need insurance.
Go to the following places to verify and look at insurance companies:
- Your state’s insurance department – may be found on your state’s government site – for licensing and consumer information
- National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) for financial information and information about complaints filed
- A.M. Best Ratings
- Standard and Poor’s Ratings
Under the current ratings structures adopted by insurance companies, personal information is necessary to obtain exact quotations. Agencies and companies are ethically bound to maintain confidentiality about their quotes and policyholders.
Make certain that your Internet connections are secure to help maintain confidentiality of this information. Your insurance company and your agent will be equally careful.
Be sure to compare quotes using the FREE search tool below!