-Higher rates for younger drivers
Drivers under the age of 25 are more at risk when it comes to having trouble acquiring affordable insurance. In New York, for example, drivers under the age of 19 pay a rate that is over 100% higher than drivers in the age range of 60 to 74.
However, there are ways to get a better insurance rate such as driving less expensive, non-sporty cars or cars with smaller engines. Younger drivers’ rates will also see a decline after putting about three years of driving experience under their belt. Another option, depending on the insurer, is to take a defensive driving course, which will sometimes result in a lowered rate.
-Verify the value of your totaled car
When a car is totaled insurance companies don’t necessarily take their valuations from sources the policyholder would expect. Instead of using Kelley Blue Book, for example, your insurer may use an outside claims servicing company to determine the value.
If your car ends up being totaled you have the option of looking for a better comp; Edmunds.com or AutoTrader.com are both good resources. There you can contact sellers to verify the prices on your insurer’s report. If the car is worth more than $1000 you may want to hire a separate appraiser to perform an appraisal-arbitration process.
-You choose your repair facility
Auto insurers keep lists of repair shops that they recommend to the consumer, and some companies even own repair shops all around the country. This close relationship between insurers and repair facilities has long troubled consumer advocates; the practice effectively lets the insurance company control the process of repairing your car. In order to keep their costs low, your insurer’s repair facility of choice may be cutting corners.
Ultimately the decision on where to have a vehicle repaired is up to the consumer. It may be convenient to just go with the insurer’s recommended shop and, occasionally, this can result in your deductible being reduced or waived. Should you choose to go this route, though, it is a good idea to hire a post-repair inspector to ensure your repairs are performed properly.
-Know your credit score
Insurers have long recognized a link between low credit scores and numerous claims. According to the Insurance Information Institute a vast majority of insurers base their underwriting on the credit history and score of consumers.
Given the wide-spread nature of this practice it is very important that you review your credit rating and check for any inconsistencies before you go shopping for insurance. To obtain a free credit report from each of the three major credit reporting bureaus point your web browser to www.AnnualCreditReport.com.
-Your repaired car’s value will diminish
When the other party’s insurance is paying to repair your vehicle you have the option of choosing parts from the original manufacturer instead of generic, low-cost parts. Though this may seem to be a good way to get your car back to its pre-accident value the unfortunate truth is that a repaired car will usually be worth less than an identical used car or trade-in.
Simply put, no matter how much work goes into repairing your vehicle, an accident history will diminish the value. Again, this is why it’s a good idea to find a post-repair inspector; not only will they make sure that the work done on your car was satisfactory, but also to assess how much the value has diminished.