What Makes Car Insurance Companies Think You’re a High Risk Driver?

Do you know the difference between a high risk driver and a good one? Chances are, your opinion is a little different from your car insurance provider’s! The question is, what does your insurer have to say about your driving history?

What Makes a High Risk Driver?

High risk drivers are a major concern for everyone. Most of us think of high risk drivers as people who get on the highways and do 70 in a 35, suffer from extreme road rage, like to have a few drinks before getting behind the wheel or have a tendency to doze off at 65 mph. These drivers definitely pose a greater risk to pedestrians, bikers and other drivers than the person that’s never broken the speed limit in their life, but for a car insurance company it’s not just about the risk they pose to others. It’s also about the risk they pose to their insurer.

Car insurance companies are in the business to pay out claims when their drivers are involved in an accident. Seriously-would any of us be paying our insurance premiums if they didn’t? Insurers aren’t philanthropists, however. They’re in the business to make money, and it’s not good business to pay out more in insurance claims than you draw in through premiums every year. That’s why they have to carefully assess the risk of all of their drivers before issuing a policy and do what they can to tip the scales in their favor.

High risk drivers are those that:

a) Are young and inexperienced. (Newly licensed teens and newly licensed adults are going to be judged using the same tape measure.)

b) Have been convicted of multiple traffic violations.

c) Have already caused an accident at some point in the last five years.

d) Are driving a souped up car that begs them to show off and break the rules a little bit.

e) Have been convicted of a DUI or DWI.

How Do You Know if You’re a High Risk Driver?

Chances are, after reading through the list above you’ve got a pretty good idea of what your insurance company thinks about you. If you’re not sure exactly where you fall on the scale of good, bad and ugly go to your friendly neighborhood DMV and ask them how many points you have on your license.

Car insurance companies depend heavily on DMV points to help them determine how big a risk you are behind the wheel. You earn points for being a good driver for five years or more and for completing a driver education or driver improvement course. You lose points for being convicted of a traffic violation or a DUI/DWI.

Yes, you can have negative points on your license. It happens all the time. Check with the DMV to see where your license is sitting.

How to Change Spots on the Naughty and Nice List

If you’re sick of paying ridiculously high premiums for your car insurance coverage, relax. You’re in good company! It’s easier than you might think to clean up your driving record and get back in the game.

Cleaning up your driving record and putting points back on your license isn’t as simple as just paying a few fines. Most traffic violations come off of your driving record after a maximum period of five years, which is why car insurance companies usually offer a five year good driver discount. All you have to do is keep your nose clean that long!

In the meantime, (voluntarily) sign up to take a driver improvement course. This probably won’t help you much if you’ve been court ordered to complete one after a conviction, but if you haven’t voluntarily doing so can definitely work in your favor. Driver improvement courses are offered in most counties and online, making it easy for you to complete a class wherever you happen to live.

Being a high risk driver is no fun, either for you or for your checkbook, but with a little effort you can clean up your record and be enjoying great car insurance rates and the kind of coverage you deserve. No questions asked.

Car Insurance Quotes Online Info: How to Find Quotes and Get Discounts on Auto Insurance

Thanks to the internet, car insurance is easier to buy than ever before. It’s so easy to get multiple car insurance quotes online at once from different companies, all at one site. The downside is that you’ll have to take the time to compare them in order to decide which option is the best for you. To help make the process go quicker, you should have all of your information prepared and ready to go.

Whenever you get an auto insurance quote online, whether through an agent or directly, you’ll need to provide some documentation such as your driver’s license, make / model of vehicle, address, VIN, age, social security number, etc. Like it or not, there are certain age groups that are considered “higher risk” than others. Your location might play a role in the types of quotes you get as well – especially if you live in an area prone to extreme weather and road conditions, or where there is a high rate of crime.

If your vehicle has certain safety features, like anti-lock brakes, front and side airbags, GPS, and an alarm system, you will likely qualify for a discount when shopping for car insurance quotes online. Many auto insurance companies give out discounts to safety-conscious drivers. Also, you can potentially save even more if you take a defensive driver’s course.

Other Factors Affecting Car Insurance Quotes Online

Another possible factor affecting the quotes you will get is your credit score. Those with poor credit will have a more difficult time getting a good rate on their car insurance. If you have poor credit, the best thing you can do is try to look for as many discounts as possible. Some insurance companies offer a wide variety of discounts so you will probably be eligible for at least one of them.

As for age and gender, males are usually required to pay higher rates than women since women are considered to be more cautious when driving. Also, drivers younger than 25 are statistically more likely to be careless, so they are usually charged higher premiums. If you are a student who makes good grades, however, you will probably be eligible for a discount.

There is a newer thing some insurance companies are offering called “usage-based insurance”. This means that they are giving drivers the option to have their driving monitored via a mobile app in exchange for possible discounts and lower premiums.

One good company that offers this type of app as well as car insurance quotes online is esurance. Check out its “DriveSense” feature, which is free for anyone to use. Those who enroll as a customer can save a lot of money.

Insurance Claims For Single Car Accidents

Car accidents can be extremely dangerous and stressful. Most single car accidents happen due to bad weather conditions or animal encounters such as deer. Many drivers do not feel that they are at fault in a single car accident since there is nothing that could have been done to prevent the accident. However insurance companies tend to have a different view, unless your vehicle was struck by a flying object that damages your vehicle or caused loss of control.

What Are Some Single Car Accident Examples?

Driving While Distracted

Distracted driving caused accidents have been on the rise. Many drivers tend to multi-task while they are driving. Unfortunately today there are more distractions than ever. From cell phones, GPS, on board television sets really take away the attention from the road. If a distraction causes you to lose control of your vehicle and it is damaged, your insurance claim will be considered an at fault accident meaning that it was your fault.

It is really important to minimize multi-tasking and cell phone use while driving to avoid the possibility of an accident. In fact many states and metro areas have been passing laws to make cell phone use illegal while driving. If you are caught using a phone while you were in an accident you may have to pay hefty fees and tickets which can also make your insurance premiums increase.

Extreme Weather Conditions

Driving on slick roads is the number one cause of single car accidents. It is really difficult to spot ice patches on the road which can cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle. Hitting a ditch, tree, guard rails, or snow banks will be considered at-fault accidents even if you receive no moving violation by the police. If you file an insurance claim for this it will add points to your policy and your insurance may increase.

Sometimes if the weather conditions are extreme it may be a good idea to stay home or use public transportation. If you have to drive always give yourself extra space when stopping and decrease your speed whenever possible before you hit the brakes.

Pot Holes

Pot holes have been an increasing problem for drivers. Severe climate changes especially in the northern states have been damaging roads at alarming rates. Hitting a pot hole is still considered a single car accident where the driver is at-fault. This may seem unfair especially since avoiding pot holes is almost impossible sometimes because there is no place on the road to go. Insurance carriers do not want to be responsible for damaged vehicles because these types of claims are common and almost unavoidable.

If you want to avoid pot holes try to drive cautiously and whenever possible swerve around the hole. If you cannot swerve, then decrease your speed and drive very slowly over it so that you do not damage your car. Always be alert and give yourself extra time and space to slow down.

Hitting an Animal

Trying to avoid animals on the road by swerving is a natural reflex reaction. Sometimes this can be dangerous however. If you swerve you may lose control of your vehicle and hit a guard rail, embankment, tree, ditch, or even swerve into oncoming traffic. It is unfortunate but it is safer to actually hit the animal. A collision with an animal is considered a comprehensive claim; something your insurance will cover and not hold you at fault. If you do swerve and are involved in an accident your insurance carrier will count this as an at-fault collision.

Pay attention to signs that warn of deer populated areas and be alert while you are driving through. If you cannot avoid the animal; it is safer to hit it than to swerve out of the way.

Hitting a Flying Object

If your vehicle is struck by a flying object it is the one time that it will not be considered an at-fault accident. Flying objects can be rocks that hit your windshield, debris from other vehicles, or tree branches that fall on your car while you are driving. All of these incidents can be considered comprehensive claims and your insurance will cover the damage.

The driver is always responsible to keep control of the car at all times during bad weather conditions, roads with pot holes, or animal populated areas. Even if you do not receive a fine or ticket for a moving violation from the police the insurance company considers your claim to be at-fault. Sometimes it may even be beneficial not to report the accident to the insurance carrier if the damage is not too high to avoid an increase in insurance premiums.

There are many useful tips and advice on car insurance online, so make sure to do your research before making a purchase.