You’re a careful driver. You haven’t had an accident or a ticket in years. You drive the same old car. Maybe you drive less because you retired, or bike to work. Why did your auto insurance price go up?
It’s not just you. Average US auto insurance rates increased by about 11% the 5 years from 2011 to 2016. Maine’s rates remain among the lowest in the nation, but so are our incomes. Fortunately, your personal behavior and situation greatly affect your car insurance costs. You do have some control over what you pay for car insurance.
Why Did My Car Insurance Increase?
You Had an Accident
Insurance companies charge more after an accident – some even charge if the accident wasn’t your fault. That’s because insurance data shows that if you’ve had one accident, you’re more likely to have another than someone who hasn’t had any. Some insurers charge for 3 years, some as much as 5.
You Got a Ticket
Speeding tickets and other moving violations flag you as a higher accident risk to insurance companies. Some insurance companies don’t charge for the first ticket, but they charge for the next, and even more for any future tickets. As with accidents, different insurers surcharge your policy for 3 or 5 years after a violation.
You Have a Young Driver
Inexperienced drivers have more accidents, so they cost more to insure – at least until they can establish a good record. If your child recently got their license or permit, expect to pay more for a few years. Insurance companies do offer discounts for honor roll / dean’s list students, students who are away from home without a car, and those who passed a driver’s ed course. Check with your agent to be sure you’re getting the discounts you deserve.
Your Credit Score Recently Dropped
Drivers with excellent credit tend to pay less than others. Insurance records show that they file fewer claims than those with lower scores. Credit score impacts your “insurance score”, which almost every insurer in Maine uses to set your rate. Some insurers review your score every few years. Others freeze your score when you apply, unless you ask them to re-run your score. If your score isn’t as good as when you started your policy, your car insurance may go up. Each insurer uses a different formula for insurance score. Talk to your agent to see if your current insurance company is still the best value.
Your Insurance Company Has Lost Money
Overall insurance company results affect your rates, too. Insurance pools the experience of your neighbors with yours. That’ good, because it reduces your risk and limiting your expense to a budgetable amount. It’s bad if your insurer has paid so many claims for other people that it affects your rates.
Insurance companies are good at estimating claim expenses. But, they’re not perfect. A large hail storm, or unexpected factors (like lower gas prices) can catch them off-guard. Some years, your insurance company pays more in claims than they collect in premium. If they do that for too many years, they must increase rates to collect enough to pay future claims.
Your Insurance Company Thinks You Drive More Than You Do
How you use your car affects your car insurance rates. When you started your policy, your agent asked whether you drove to work and how many miles a year you drove. If you’ve since changed jobs, retired, or commuting a different way, call your agent.
Some insurers offer custom rates if you allow them to monitor your driving. The savings can be considerable: as much as 30% if you drive very few miles. Contact your agent if you’re interested in learning more about these pay-as-you-drive plans.
How Can I Reduce My Auto Insurance Costs?
First, drive safely. A clean driving record is the best way to control your auto insurance price. Here are some others:
- Maintain a good credit score;
- Make sure you’re getting all the auto insurance discounts you deserve;
- Consider increasing your deductibles;
- Pay your premiums up-front or automatically (some insurers offer discounts);
- Take a Maine defensive driving class (55+ drivers earn an insurance discount for 3 years);
- Remove comprehensive and collision coverage on low-valued vehicles.
- Suspend liability coverage for seasonal vehicles.
Should I Shop My Car Insurance?
If you live in Southern Maine, contact a Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance agent for a review at 207-799-5541. Not ready to talk to a human yet? You can still compare prices from up to 6 Maine auto insurance companies online on our web site.
When you chat with us, we can provide personalized, custom, professional advice. As a Trusted Choice insurance agent, we are independent and committed to you.
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