There are a bevy of factors that can impact your auto insurance premium, from your age to moving to a new area to your car’s security features.
Above all, however, the No. 1 factor that impacts your auto insurance premium is your driving record – hence, if you get a ticket in the state of California, your auto insurance rates are likely to increase.
Here’s a closer look at how auto insurance rates are determined in California and how tickets can affect your premium.
Here’s a look at various factors and how they impact your auto insurance:
- Age: It’s common sense that older drivers have much more experience than younger drivers. Hence, younger drivers – think between the ages of 16 and 25 – are likely to pay much more for their auto insurance premiums than older ones because the thinking is that their inexperience makes them more risky to insure.
- Sex: If you’re a man, there’s a good chance that you’ll be paying more for auto insurance over the course of your lifetime than if you were a woman.
- Area: The likes of population, crime and accident statistics all play into how much your auto insurance premium will be. For instance, if you live in a busy metropolitan area such as Los Angeles, you’re likely to pay more for auto insurance than if you were to reside in a more rural area of California.
- Driving Record: The No. 1 factor that goes into determining your auto insurance premium is none other than your driving record. Those with good driving records pay less for auto insurance than those with poor driving records.
- Credit Score: Some auto carriers factor your credit score into your auto insurance premium. Why? The thinking is that it helps them to judge responsibility. Regardless, the better your credit score, the lesser your insurance rate.
- Habits: Where, when and how you drive factor into your premiums. For instance, those that commute 45 miles to work every day are likely to pay more than those who might only drive 45 miles a week. The thinking is that the more you drive, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident.
- Car Type: Is your car a newer model, equipped with all the latest bells and whistles designed to keep you safe from injury and it safe from thieves? You’ll likely see a savings on your car insurance compared to, say, sports cars or older models.
All it takes is one ticket to see a car insurance premium increase in California. Insurance.com is even kind enough to provide a calculator that will let you see for yourself how much more you can expect to pay if you’re pulled over and cited. Fittingly titled an “Uh-Oh” calculator, here’s a closer look at what the following citations can do in terms of increasing your auto insurance premium:
- Failure to yield: 8.8 percent
- Speeding 1 to 14 miles per hour over the posted speed limit: 10.62 percent
- Speeding 15 to 29 miles per hour over the posted speed limit: 12.22 percent
- Tailgating or following too closely: 13.37 percent
- Improper passing: 13.65 percent
- Improper turning: 14.33 percent
- Failing to stop: 15.38 percent
- Speeding 30 or more miles per hour over the posted speed limit: 15.9 percent
- Careless driving: 16.08 percent
- Reckless driving: 21.9 percent
Simply put, maintaining a good driving record is the best way to avoid auto insurance increases, especially when something as seemingly minor as failing to yield can cause your rates to jump by nearly 9 percent. Here’s a look at some other ways to minimize increases:
- Bundle services: Bundling your auto, home, boat, etc. under one provider can help you secure discounts.
- Go back to school: Traffic school, that is. If you’re dinged with a citation, you can prevent the points from appearing on your record (thereby preventing your insurer from finding out about the ticket and upping your rates) in many cases by simply taking and passing a traffic school course. They’re good refreshers, inexpensive to enroll in and many can even be done online.
- Shop around: If you think you’re being charged too much for auto insurance, regardless of your driving record, it certainly doesn’t hurt to shop around to see if there’s a better deal out there. In some cases, insurers are eager for new business and may offer more incentives.