07 May

Steer Clear of These 5 Things That Could Raise Your Car Insurance Premiums

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When it comes down to car insurance, the last thing we want to do is inadvertently raise are premiums just because of a stupid decision we made. Even more damning, what if that one dumb mistake caused all your future car insurance quotes to raise as well? That’s exactly what you have to try to avoid. In life there are things that you can’t change or have no control over – your age, where you live, and other things that are a tad easier to change – like the kind of car you drive don’t happen from one day to the next.

Data from Florida drivers collected by NerdWallet shows how much car insurance premiums are increased when drivers committed very silly errors. It goes to illustrate how much your behavior impacts your pocketbook.

NerdWallet gave us a control, an average driver, for comparison. The average driver’s quote was a stable $1,786 for all intents and purposes. Let’s look at the first two silly mistake that could mistakenly raise your car insurance quotes. Tailgating, or otherwise known as following too closely, and bad credit management. Let’s dive deep into the first one.

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We get it, it’s tough driving in traffic. What makes it all-the-more difficult is that we’re very social, territorial critters. We don’t like people invading our space and when you look up to your rear view mirror and see a car approaching several things kick in. First, we have a psychological response of discontent and anger. To fuel the situation further, we often (and I myself have a tendency to do this) take things personal. We see the car as an adversary trying to wrong us or do as wrong, but in reality the person driving the other vehicle knows nothing about you. However, we still find a way to make things personal and make it seem as if the person is attacking us, telling us that we’re going to slow or invading upon our space. That’s why tailgating is such a risky behavior, and a red flag to most car insurance companies. In fact, according to Wisconsin’s Department of Transportation, one-third of all rear-end accidents are caused by tailgaters. Tailgating accidents are costing these insurance companies a good chunk of cash, which is why they won’t hesitate to pass the bill on to the people who are more likely to do it.

Average Driver Car Insurance Premium: $1,786

Tailgater’s Car Insurance Premium: $1,943

Difference: $157

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Now, talking about credit spending, and general credit habits, this has the potential to affect more than just your car insurance. Including, but not limited, future financing opportunities, job offerings, and ability to operate financially under certain circumstances. In general we would want to avoid this mistake at all costs because it has the potential to damage more than just your can insurance premium. It is true, we all have those moments of impulse where we buy this or that on the spur of the moment without thinking of how we’d be able to pay those creditors back. In the case, it’s very important to keep good budgeting habits and maintain financial hygiene. Good resources available to use is Reddit’s Personal Finance subreddit and Bank of America’s very informative guide on credit. Nonetheless, let’s take a look at how much you can expect your car insurance premiums to rise because of a shoddy credit history.

Average Driver Car Insurance Premium: $1,786

Driver with Subpar Credit History Habits: $2,102

Difference: $316

Let’s move along the list, the next two easy mistakes to avoid are getting three speeding tickets in less than two years, and driving drunk. These two are perhaps the easiest to avoid, they are predicated directly to our behavior and very avoidable. As such they are intrinsically linked to our personality. Are you more risk averse, or are you willing to risk your or someone else’s time for an increase in speed or time? Driving drunk is also a citation that may carry very severe penalties beyond just car insurance. Nonetheless, we’ll read a little deeper into speeding tickets.

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As often as you may drive, you probably feel like an experienced, cultured, good driver. That’s where the need for speed may come in, you tell yourself, “why is this guy going so slowly,” “hurry up, I need to make it to a meeting,” or perhaps, someone is genuinely going over the speed limit and you just really need to get somewhere. Whatever the case may be, you have to be cognizant of your surroundings, driving conditions, and current traffic. You may be apprehended for a speeding ticket even though you were going the speed limit due to the fact that it may’ve been foggy, rainy, or just bad driving conditions in general. Furthermore, you always have the option of purchasing a radar or laser detector. While these options are available, and we certainly do not condone you use them for speeding, they are supplemental and you could still be flagged for speeding while using these devices. On the flipside, you are given some leeway to correct the erroneous driving as you would have to pick up three speeding tickets in the span of two years. Let’s see the size of the hole that speeding could put in your wallet.

Average Driver Car Insurance Premium: $1,786

Driver with Three Speeding Tickets within 2 Years: $2,388

Difference: $602

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Drunken driving simply carries no excuse. There are a multitude of services available such as, Uber or Lyft, which will provide transportation in the event that you are unable to operate a vehicle. Driving while under the influence of alcohol is simply a risk you should not be willing to take. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has reported that every two minutes a person is injured by a drunk driver. Penalties for drunk driving range from a fine, suspended license, to incarceration. It is no wonder why car insurance companies levy such high penalties for this behavior. In fact, on average, when compared to the average driver, a driver with a drunk driving citation will pay on average, 36% more.

Average Driver Car Insurance Premium: $1,786

Drunken Driver Insurance Premium: $2,430

Difference: $644

Lastly, the one thing that could save you the most money on car insurance (that most people fail to do) is by shopping around. Check out our earlier article on how to effectively and efficiently shop around for car insurance. Research done by NerdWallet showed that in Florida, the average quote for an average drive ranged from $1,126 and $3,252. That is a 189% increase from $1,786, simply shopping around could save an enormous amount of money. Despite the fact that it is one of the easiest things you could possibly do, most people fail to do this one simple thing.

Conclusion

There are things in life we obviously cannot change or have no control over. That is okay, and we have to accept it, however for the things we do have control over like our behavior, we must make sure to do all the necessary things in order to keep our wallets fat and our car insurance premiums in the gutter. Simply avoiding the 5 things mentioned could save you a bunch of money now and into the future.

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