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14 Little-Known Facts About Auto Insurance & The Factors That REALLY Determine Auto Insurance Rates

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By Andrea

When it comes to your auto insurance policy and the factors that go into determining your auto insurance rates, here are a few things about auto insurance coverage that you might not realize…

It's in your best interest to explore these little-known facts about auto insurance and the fators that determine auto insurance rates photo by daveynin on Flickr


#1 – Doesn’t Cover Items Lost Due To Vehicle Theft

Your personal items lost due to vehicle theft are not covered by your auto insurance policy.  Your homeowner policy covers these items instead.  If you regularly have expensive items in your vehicle such as laptops and a GPS device, you should carry a rider to cover those expensive items. You should also have photographs of those items.


#2 – Auto Insurance Is Tax Deductible For Business Use

Simply determine the amount of time that you use your car for solely business purposes. For example, if it’s 30% of the time, then 30% of your auto insurance may be deductible.  It may be to your best advantage to take the flat per-mile reimbursement instead.

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#3 – Purchasing A Low-Risk Vehicle Reduces Rates

If you purchase a low-risk vehicle (which is based on the cost of the vehicle, plus safety and theft data) and/or a low-profile vehicle (one that is less likely to be stolen), then your auto insurance rates will be lower. Which cars will cost you less is a bit of a secret in the auto insurance industry.  However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has data that you can research to help you make an educated decision. And here’s how to look up your relative risk.


#4 – Your Job Affects Your Auto Insurance Rates

You probably didn’t realize your occupation affects your auto insurance rates, right?  For example, engineers get discounted rates because they are deemed less likely to “wrap their cars around the trunk of a horse chestnut tree”.  Teachers can also ask for a discount based on their occupation.


#5 – Cancel Your Old Policy

If you switch your auto insurance policy, don’t forget to cancel your old policy!  Otherwise, it will be reported on your credit report as canceled due to non-payment.


#6 – Ask For Reimbursement If Your Vehicle Has Been In An Accident

You can ask for a diminished value reimbursement on your car if it has been in an accident and is repaired — because it will be worth less than if it were not in an accident.  This can only be done if you live in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia and if the accident was not your fault.


#7 – Properly List Vehicle Info On Your Auto Insurance Policy

Make sure your vehicle information is listed properly on your auto insurance policy.  Little inaccuracies can make a big difference in your auto insurance rates!  Believe it or not, mistakes like this are quite common: incorrect mileage listed, mistaking a 4-door vehicle for a 2-door, and the wrong model of vehicle listed (since so many model names sound very similar).


#8 – Sign Up For AAA & Look Into Other Discounts

Affiliation with AAA and other professional organizations will lower your auto insurance rates.  Check with your employer to see if they offer any group insurance rates.  Ask your insurance rep which groups & organizations would lower your auto insurance rates.

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#9 – If A Friend Gets Into An Accident Driving Your Car You’ll Need To File A Claim

If a friend borrows your car and gets in an accident, you will have to file a claim with your auto insurance company. That means you will have to pay any deductible that applies, and your auto insurance rates will probably go up as a result of your claim.


#10 – You Can Ask For Reimbursement If Car Is Totaled

Your auto insurer has to pay the insurance for your replacement car if your previous vehicle is totaled.  If you live in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin be sure to ask for a reimbursement.


#11 – Insure Home & Car For A Multi-Policy Discount

You should insure your cars and your home with the same company for a multi-policy discount.  In addition, ask for an abstainer from alcohol discount (if you don’t drink) and a discount if you use an anti-theft device.

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#12 – Check With Insurance Company About Sales Tax On Replacement Vehicle

In 28 states, auto insurers are required to pay the sales tax when you replace your totaled vehicle with a new or used car. It’s recommended that you make the request (even in states that do NOT require this reimbursement), but don’t expect the insurer to offer to pay upfront. In the end, many auto insurers will not deny your request — because the auto insurance policy requires that they make you “whole” (return you to where you were before the accident at no cost to you).


#13 – Pay Attention To Your Credit Score

Your credit score affects your auto insurance rates.  Research has proven that there’s a link between your credit score and the likelihood that you will file a claim.  Plus, car insurers know that if you pay your bills on time and you’ve had the same credit accounts for a long time, then you’re generally more stable and far less likely to pay late or open & close accounts a lot.  Auto insurance companies use all of this information to come up with an “insurance risk score” for you.  That is one of many factors which are used to determine your auto insurance rates.


#14 – The Color Of Your Car Doesn’t Affect Auto Insurance Rates

The urban legend about the color of your car affecting how much you pay for auto insurance is false.  While the color of your car is an indicator of your personality and driving habits, “despite the mistaken belief by 25% of drivers that color affects your car insurance rates, it really has no effect on your insurance at all.” 

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