Have you noticed over the last several years that auto insurance companies are quick to tout their “Safe Driver Discounts”? And, did you notice their ads spew a constant stream of advice stating that a “good driver” will pay less for car insurance? Providers like Progressive even offer a device for your car that monitors how safe you truly drive. It turns out that the opposite may be true. So, why are some insurance companies seemingly punishing good, accident-free drivers with higher rates for coverage than some of their more accident-prone drivers?
Most companies that provide auto insurance allow customers to obtain a “quote” which gives a general breakdown of the type and cost of coverage one would receive based on the personal information provided. According to auto insurance companies, your rates are determined based on a wide variety of factors to determine the likelihood that you will be in an accident. These include factors such as age, location (urban versus rural), the make and model of your vehicle, driving record, and sometimes, your credit history.
However, a study by the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) found that most auto insurers are putting more weight on income-related factors, like education or occupation, than driving-related factors. The study compared the quotes for two hypothetical customers in 12 cities to solicit rates. One woman was a single renter with a high school education, a lower-income job and a pristine driving record. The other woman was a married homeowner with a higher-income job, who had recently been in an at-fault accident. Across the five major insurance providers, the woman with the higher education and income who had been in a recent accident consistently received a considerably lower rate than the other woman with the clean driving record.
The personal injury attorneys at Hupy and Abraham suggest that you always take measures to ensure you are not overcharged unnecessarily for your auto insurance. Here are some measures/tips to help you:
-Utilize the comparison feature that many insurers provide on their websites, and always shop around for the lowest possible rate. If your provider tries to raise your rate, mention a lower quote from a competitor or threaten to switch.
-Avoid complimenting your insurer's customer service agents. It sounds strange, but one strategy used by insurance providers to determine if you will accept a higher premium is whether you have complimented a sales representative or the company in a letter or through social media. Alternatively, those who never call to complain about services are assumed to be passive about a rate change.
-Check for all discounts available to you by insurers, including those for “safe drivers” and “good students.” Or, consider a low-mileage discount. Do you truly need full coverage for an older vehicle, or have you begun driving your vehicle less (perhaps you’re retired or opting for public transportation)?
Getting in an accident is stressful because your rates go up and sometimes you have a higher premium to deal with as well. But when you’ve managed to maintain a safe driving record, you should never be punished for it, especially when it is required by law to obtain auto insurance. With the above information and tips, we hope you can find or switch to a provider that is affordable, fair and right for you.
In the event of an accident, you deserve to recover and move on without having to argue with your insurer about cost of coverage. The personal injury attorneys at Hupy and Abraham know firsthand how hard it is to get insurance companies to give their customers what they are owed. In the event that you or a loved one are injured in an accident and are in need of representation for compensation, please call 800-800-5678 for a free consultation.