Insuring a vehicle is probably one of the least pleasant aspects of owning a car. And because it's required by law you just can't do anything about it. Most people choose going with the flow when it comes to car insurance and simply take the first policy they come across. Others, however, take the time to learn what can be done to lower the costs and still get sufficient coverage. If you are one of those inquisitive people there's good news for you - this way you have a much higher chance of getting inexpensive car insurance. But before you will be able to shop around effectively you should first learn what actually affects car insurance rates and why they tend to differ between various customers.
First of all you have to understand that the insurance company sets individual rates for each customer based on a set of different factors. These factors help the company determine the actual risk of a particular person to file an insurance claim. And the combination of these variables is what determines the final auto insurance quotes you get when simply trying to learn how much the policy would cost you. Moreover, each company uses the same factors in different formulas when calculating the customer's premiums so there's usually a fluctuation in rates even if you're trying to get the very same policy from two different providers.
So what does affect your insurance rates? The following factors have a certain influence on how much it will cost you to insure your vehicle: car make and model, engine volume, top speed, repair costs, theft rates, driving record, credit score, place of residence, marital status, education and some less important things. Now, as you see the list isn't very small and there are a lot of things that can make your car insurance cheap or expensive. And as mentioned previously each company uses its own methods for calculating rates and this means that you can get a totally different result when the same data is being used by two different providers.
Knowing the factors influencing auto insurance quotes is very important for effective comparison shopping. Quite often you may find that some factors may be favorable for affordable insurance while others tend to push up the costs. So the main aim would be finding a provider that relies more on the factors that are favorable in your case and less on those that are not as good as you would want them to be. And rest assured, with so many companies out there on the market you will always be able to find a provider that will suit your requirements from this perspective.
Be smart when looking for auto insurance quotes and consider all the factors that will influence your rates. This will help you set the expectations adequately and be more precise when choosing between different companies. It isn't hard at all but in the end you may end up paying hundreds of dollars less for having your car insured compared to buying the first policy you come across.
One of the more interesting features of insurance is the degree of trust the insurer shows in what you say. Unless you are asking cover for something expensive and unusual, no insurer is going to ask to see whatever it is. You are allowed to add the vehicle or top-of-the-range electronic gizmo to the policy without question. But, if it later turns out you were less than honest, the insurer is allowed to cancel the policy and leave you without any cover. So the insurer is always protected and you pay the price of facing any claims without a policy to pay. Yet, while this has been standard in the insurance industry as a whole, there's been a reluctance to trust drivers to report their mileage honestly. Younger people claiming unusually low annual mileage have been greeted with skepticism. To qualify for a discount, people have been forced to drive to the local office of the insurer to have someone verify the odometer reading once a month. This has been inconvenient and not so many people have taken up the discount offer.
With new technology, all this is changing and insurers are now moving into the pay-as-you-drive market with more enthusiasm. In part, there are also environmental reasons for this change. No matter what you think of the climate change debate, there's no doubt more cities are being affected by smog. So whether this is big picture or the number of people lining up with asthma attacks at the local emergency rooms, there's a move to encourage people to drive less. Accompanied by improvements in the mile-per-gallon performance of new cars and better emission controls, there's now hope the air will stay breathable for longer. The pay-as-you-drive option gives people a direct incentive to drive less. Fewer miles driven means fewer accidents. If the full technological capabilities are introduced, it will also be possible to monitor whether drivers keep to the speed limits. Any vehicle reported stolen can automatically be tracked and recovered.
The first real signs of activity are coming in California. State Farm Mutual and the Auto Club of Southern California are introducing new policies in February 2011. Drivers will be given the choice of independent verification of their odometer readings or fitting a data transmission device. State Farm is estimating that people driving less than 2,000 a year will see their premiums fall by 45%. Using this as a base, State Farm is aiming to sign up at least a quarter of their current policy holders. Everyone who drives modest distances will save with rates set in 500 mile steps. Auto Club has four steps of 2,500 up to 10,000 miles and then the premium rises in 5,000 mile steps. At present, the Californian Insurance Commissioner is protecting drivers' privacy, so no general data will be collected by insurers.
So, if you live in California, your auto insurance quotes should include this option come February 2011. While this is not a revolution, it's certainly a change for the good, protecting the environment and encouraging better driving. Auto insurance is going green.