How much you pay for auto insurance can be influenced by your behavior both on and off the road, according to a report published by Yahoo!
And, while some of the behavior can also increase your chances of being involved in a Chicago car accident, other factors insurance companies look at have nothing to do with your behavior while behind the wheel. While consumer advocates continue to push for better consumer protections, some of the industry’s more questionable practices continue and many companies have grown even more aggressive in response to the economic downturn. Our Chicago injury lawyers encourage motorists to shop around when looking for auto insurance. Consider using an agent rather than an online quote, and purchase as much coverage as you can afford. The mandatory minimums will not even come close to protecting your physical and financial well-being in the event that you or a family member are in a serious accident.
Distracted driving, speeding, drunk driving and other poor driving habits are likely to result in a quick and often substantial increase in your insurance rates. “If the driver does get into an accident as a result of his behavior, his next policy renewal would reflect it,” said Robert U’Ren, senior VP of Quality Planning Corp., a company that assists insurers with validating and underwriting policies.
Texting While Driving
We continue to report the dangers of texting while driving. Thirty states, including Illinois, have outlawed the practice in an effort to reduce the number of serious and fatal accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 6,000 people a year are killed and more than 500,000 are injured. Only drunk driving and speeding claim more lives. And insurance companies are paying attention to the risks. If you are issued a citation for distracted driving or for violation a cell phone or text messaging law, you can expect an increase in your insurance premiums during your next billing cycle.
Not wearing a seat belt
As we reported recently on our Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, Illinois continues to toughen its seat belt law and the associated enforcement. Motorists who are cited for violations could see an increase in the cost of their car insurance.
Just adding a teen to your policy will include a drastic increase in the cost of car insurance. Call it guilt by association, but car insurance companies command a heavy premium to ensure young drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that car accidents are the leading cause of death of young people ages 15 to 20. And we have reported extensively on the dangers teens face, particularly when it comes to driver distraction.
Several other variables can increase the cost of insurance premiums and have nothing at all to do with your behavior while on the road. While consumer advocates continue to decry these practices, insurance companies continue to get away with them.
Insurance companies continue to use a driver’s credit score in setting insurance rates. Companies continue to claim that characteristics of a consumer’s credit score can help predict the likelihood of a claim. Those with poor credit are also thought to be more likely to engage in insurance fraud or other high-risk behavior.
Paying insurance in installments
Motorists have always received a bit of a break for paying their insurance all at once, or in six-month installments. But companies have really ratcheted up such fees. Consumers often do not see them as a fee, because companies market them as the cost of coverage, while offering discounts to those who pay in one lump sum. Whatever you call it, making monthly payments can easily cost you an additional several hundred dollars a year.
If you are injured in an accident, the Chicago Injury Attorneys at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.