As the saying goes, time heals all wounds, and even insurers eventually forget the past. How long this takes depends on the individual car insurance company, but there are steps you can take to improve your situation the next time you shop for car insurance.
Drive more defensively. Most motorists know that being a good driver, obeying speed limits and traffic rules, for example, can help lower car insurance premiums over time. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 29% of the approximately 32,000 road deaths in the United States in 2022 were speed-related. It’s also a good idea to avoid other types of aggressive driving that can lead to a ticket — running red lights, not giving way when you should — and never drive under the influence no matter what. Worters says all of these behaviors can result in points on your license that can last for several years and, depending on the severity of the incident, affect your insurance rate even longer than that. “Insurers look at frequency and severity,” says Worters, adding that if you’ve been convicted of multiple moving offenses or been involved in a number of accidents that resulted in costly repairs, your rates will go up. result.
Unplug distracted driving. According to the NHTSA, distracted driving has eclipsed drunk driving as the leading cause of traffic fatalities, and it accounts for nearly a third of all crash-related costs in the United States. Although many cars now have technology that allows the driver to make hands-free calls using voice commands, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found that hands-free calls are just as distracting as pick up a phone to make a call. Needless to say, resisting the temptation to use your phone for anything will reduce your risk of crashing. Some insurance companies offer a discount if you opt for a telematics program that allows them to track your driving habits. Although CR and others have noted significant privacy issues, Progressive, USAA and others, for example, use app-based trackers that call drivers to, among other things, answer calls or pick up a call. phone for any reason while driving.
Take a defensive driving course. Worters says a defensive driving lesson can help lower your insurance premiums, although remaining points on your license will still have an impact. But in some states, a defensive driving course won’t make a difference to your rates — or points accrued on your license — if you were forced to take the course because of a conviction for a moving violation. Many courses are offered online, but make sure the one you choose is accepted by the state that issued your driver’s license. A quick search of your state’s DMV website can be helpful in identifying a suitable course if one exists where you live. A CR staff member with a clean driving record discovered he could save 10% by taking a 6-hour online course.
Improve your credit score. Only three states – California, Hawaii and Massachusetts – do not allow car insurance companies to consider a credit score when pricing insurance. The rest allows practice. According to Value Penguin, an organization that provides financial advice to consumers, insurers charge people with low credit scores more, not because they’re more likely to have an accident or get a speeding ticket. speed, but because they think they are more likely to file a claim. . (A recent car insurance survey conducted by CR found that age is more likely than income to influence a person’s decision to file a claim. Older drivers are more likely to file a claim. ) CR is fighting to ban the use of credit scores in insurance pricing, but in the meantime, it pays to monitor your credit score and credit reports. Start by getting a free annual credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Transunion, and Experian) at annualcreditreport.com, and review it to make sure the information is accurate.