22 Aug Why Did My Insurance Rate Go Up?
One of the biggest complaints when it comes to Florida insurance policies is the rate fluctuation. People want to know why they’re paying one rate today and a higher rate at the time of the policy’s renewal. Many are frustrated by what they assume to be an insurance company simply trying to take advantage of them. However, insurance rates aren’t arbitrary numbers made up by your insurance company – they are carefully planned calculations based upon a number of factors, such as your location, driving record, lifestyle and occupation.
At Strassman Insurance Group, our goal is to inform our customers about everything they should consider before buying an insurance policy. Here are some of the factors that can determine your insurance premiums and may cause your rates to increase. Please note that these are offered as general guidelines, and are not intended to be comprehensive. Your Strassman Insurance Group agent will be glad to answer questions about your existing policy, or provide information regarding additional coverage or a new policy.
Using your ZIP code, your local auto insurance company can look at statistics regarding stolen cars in your area, cases of vandalism and the number of claims overall, as well as damaging weather. This is how the insurer is able to calculate the risks associated with insuring your car in that location. Expect to pay a higher rate if you live in an urban area, as your chances of being involved in an auto accident increase along with traffic on busy, crowded roads.
The best years to enjoy reduced rates are from ages 25 to 65, when auto insurance rates tend to gradually decrease as long as you maintain a good driving record. Adding a teen driver to your policy involves pros and cons concerning rates, as teenagers are considered at higher risk for being in an accident due to their inexperience and lack of judgement.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), teen drivers have three times as many car accidents per mile as drivers 20 and older. Adding more risk to your policy can increase your rate. While extending coverage to your teenager may make you eligible for a discount, you also can be penalized with increased rates or loss of special discounts if he/she causes an accident or is ticketed for multiple moving violations.
Rates again increase for drivers over age 65, due to declining eyesight, hearing and reflexes. Older drivers also are more likely to be taking prescription medications that can affect judgement and/or reaction time.
The make and model of your vehicle
The type of vehicle you drive can affect your rates. Standard, sport and luxury models are all insured at different rates, with several other factors figuring in. For example, the base model of a particular vehicle typically costs less to insure than its sport model. Other factors include:
- Purchase price
- Theft rate
- Cost of repairs
- Accident rate
- Safety tests
Your credit score
Many car insurance companies use credit-based insurance scores to help determine risk. But consumers need to understand that there is a difference between credit-based insurance scores and credit scores.
Credit scores are based on information from your credit report, and are used by lending institutions to determine how likely it is that you’ll repay a loan on time. Credit scores determine interest rates and loan qualifications. Credit-based insurance scores don’t factor in your job, income history, gender or any other personal information. Car insurance companies use them to help determine the likelihood of an insurance claim in the future. If you have a high credit-based insurance score, an excellent driving history, and zero claims on your record, you’ll typically qualify for lower rates.
Your claims record
Insurance companies don’t just look at your driving record, but also at your claims record with them or with previous auto insurers. At-fault claims may result in a surcharge while not-at-fault collisions and comprehensive claims may not. The number of claims you have made also matters. The higher the number, the higher of a risk you are considered by insurers.
Smokers (and users of all tobacco products) are charged higher life insurance premiums because smoking is associated with the increased likelihood of developing catastrophic diseases and early death. If you quit smoking, contact your Strassman Insurance Group agent to learn the steps needed to change your status to non-smoker.
Your health history
Insurers may require access to your health records before issuing a life insurance policy. A history of serious illness, such as heart disease or cancer, will raise your insurance premiums. Insurers also look at factors such as weight, cholesterol levels and blood pressure to determine if you are at higher risk of developing serious health issues. Family health history may also be a factor, as a family history of cancer, heart disease and diabetes can have a negative effect on the cost of your life insurance policy.
Your occupation or hobbies
If your job requires you to put yourself in dangerous situations, you will likely pay a higher premium. The same is true for pursuing such pastimes as parachuting, scuba diving or hunting. Our June 20, 2018 blog post covers how to determine the amount of life insurance you need – the most important factor being how much your family will need to cover future expenses in the event of your death.
By the way, we strongly advise against withholding this type of information. In his article for U.S. News and World Report, Geoff Williams notes that if your insurance agent asks about it, or you are asked to disclose high-risk activities on the form, you must answer honestly. And the higher the amount of the policy, the closer attention will be paid to your social media accounts and any other evidence that you engaged in risky activity should your life end while participating in that activity.
Our experienced Strassman Insurance Group agents can write a policy that meets your needs and budget, and will be able to help you recognize eventual or upcoming changes in your life that may result in a higher premium – and, if possible, help minimize the financial impact of such change. Contact us today to schedule a free, no-obligation appointment.