What is considered the proper insurance rates for auto insurance?

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Things to Remember...
  • Auto insurance rates vary from provider to provider and from area to area
  • Some state auto insurance laws only require drivers to purchase minimum coverage amounts
  • According to the AAA, the average annual auto insurance premium is now $968
  • Ask your insurance company for auto insurance discounts
  • Check your auto insurance rates on an annual or bi-annual basis

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The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) reports that the average cost for auto insurance in 2008 (the last time the data was gathered) was $789.

This expenditure includes liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage–although not all drivers may purchase all three types of coverage.

Washington, D.C. was the priciest state for insurance, with an average cost of $1,126. North Dakota was the least expensive, with an average car insurance cost of $503.

These numbers, as listed later in this article, have changed over the past three years, but still, give you an idea of the diversity in rates.

How does where I live affect my auto insurance rates?

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Some state auto insurance laws either don’t require drivers to purchase all three types of auto insurance coverage or they require them only to purchase minimum coverage amounts.

Based on the NAIC’s report, about one-quarter of U.S. drivers in 2008 didn’t buy comprehensive coverage, and nearly 30 percent didn’t have collision coverage.

Purchasing just liability coverage will lower your rate by more than half. Living in a city will generally lead to higher auto insurance rates.

Insurance companies cite the increased incidence of vandalism and theft, while higher traffic density also leads to more minor “fender bender” type accidents, along with more serious accidents.

The NAIC also notes that people living in or near cities tend to be higher wage earners, resulting in more expensive car purchases, which leads to more expensive insurance coverage.

We’d all like to have our auto insurance rates as low as possible, while still maintaining the highest and most comprehensive coverage available.

Factors that are mostly out of our control set the threshold for auto insurance pricing, yet, most of us are not likely to move from the city to the country, or from one state to another, just to reap the rewards of less costly insurance rates.

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What is the current average annual auto insurance premium?

The Automobile Association of America (AAA) just released its annual “Your Driving Costs” study for 2011. According to the AAA, the average annual auto insurance premium is now $968.

However, unlike the NAIC 2008 average of $789, the AAA cost was calculated specifically.

This $968 represents a married 47-year-old man with a good driving record, driving a sedan, with a $500 deductible for collision and a $100 deduction for comprehensive coverage.

If this profile doesn’t fit your description, your premium probably won’t be the same. For instance, costs for insuring a minivan are higher than insuring a sedan.

AAA’s average example also has a short commute, while you may drive 40 miles, one way, to work each day.

What can I do to lower my auto insurance premium?

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There’s no magic to lowering your auto insurance premium; just a little due diligence. Keep yourself in good standing financially, so that your auto insurance score is as favorable as it can be.

Practice good driving habits–obey speed limits, don’t talk or text on your phone while behind the wheel, leave a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you, etc. so that you have a clean driving record.

Lower your policy coverage or raise your deductibles. If possible, you may choose to get rid of collision and/or comprehensive coverage altogether; especially if you drive an older car with little “Blue Book” value.

Ask your insurance company for auto insurance discounts. Some offer discounts for clean driving records, multiple policies and multiple vehicles on the same policy.

Also ask your insurance company about little-known factors that may affect your premium, such as:

  • Installing a theft prevention system
  • Joining a carpool (which results in less commuting miles attributed to your car)

Consider a smaller car instead of the SUV you’re driving or an older model instead of the newest vehicle on the lot.

Check your auto insurance rates on an annual or bi-annual basis. Shopping around at other insurance providers will let you know if you’re paying a reasonable amount for your auto insurance or if it’s time to change companies.

Use the free comparison tool on this site now by entering your zip code in the designated box on this page!

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