Auto insurance is often a sticky subject. Everyone feels like they’re paying too much to insure their car, and wants to know how to get their premiums down. It’s an industry that really lacks an effective way to make price comparisons, leading many people to switch every few years the way they do with credit cards or phone providers.
When you understand the factors that go into deciding the price you pay for auto insurance, however, you should find it much easier to read the market and use it to your advantage. This article should give you a basic grounding, but whole books have been written on the subject – it’s up to you how much you want to learn.
The most basic thing you need to understand is that insurance companies don’t decide premiums based on how much they like you, or how much they think you can afford. Insurance is based on one thing, and one thing alone: risk. Every time the insurance company has to pay out for an accident, they keep a record of the amount, and every other factor they can find – the make, age and model of the car, the age and gender of the driver, where they live, how long they have had a license, and so on. There are hundreds of factors.
From this, the insurance companies can build up what is called a ‘risk profile’. This allows them to work out the risk that they will have to pay out to any given person, and how much they would be likely to have to pay, based entirely on past experience. This is why a newly-qualified male driver in his twenties driving a sporty car has to pay so much to get insured – the statistics show that this group is by far the most likely to have an accident.
Once you understand this system, you can use it to your advantage. Obviously you can’t change who you are, but you can change your car. The make, model and age of your car are three quite important factors in your risk profile, and they’re all open to you to change. It is not difficult to use online insurance quotation tools to find out which cars are pricey in insurance terms, and which ones are cheaper, and use this to help you make buying decisions.