It is difficult to shop for car insurance because the insurers require lots of information from you before they quote a price, and it seems like you are comparing oranges to apples. Some insurers quote prices that can be twice as high as others. Insurers base their auto premiums on many things, such as your age, driving record, and the type of vehicle you have.

Recently, Consumer Reports (“How to Save on Car Insurance,” March 2017) published results of its research, indicating that for more than based upon 2.7 billion premiums, the bulk of auto insurance policies in the U.S., additional factors were discovered that premiums were based on which have nothing to do with your driving. Such things as your auto accident and credit history and your education are also considered in setting premiums, which appears to be unfair.

Here are some examples of things that cause your car insurance to go up or down:

  • Turning 30 years of age or older helps reduce your premium.
  • Poor credit makes your rate skyrocket with many insurers. You need to “shop around” to find a better deal. Although three states forbid this practice, Arizona allows auto insurers to use credit scores to set rates.
  • Accident not your fault. This may still cost you in some cases, but by law it should Accident not your fault. This may still cost you in some cases, but by law it should not. Arizona Revised Statutes §20-263(A) states that “No insurer shall increase the motor vehicle premium as a result of an accident not caused or significantly contributed to be the actions of the insured.” If your insurance premium is raised, you are entitled to written notice of the reason why from your insurer. Bring this up if you are quoted an increased insurance rate by your auto insurer after an accident that was not your fault.
  • College graduates, on average, save about $90 a year compared with those who never finished high school.
  • Getting married and having a joint auto insurance policy can save an average of about $525 per year compared to what the total would be if they were both still single. On average, having a baby and changing your vehicle from a small sedan to a minivan can reduce the married couple’s (with two cars and no teens) auto insurance by an average of about $240 per year.
  • Simply owning your own house can save a two car couple about $110 per year. Adding a teenage boy to a married couple’s auto insurance costs about $1,740 a year on average; for a girl, it’s about $1,455 of increase nationally.
  • Moving from a family car to a sports car or luxury vehicle can cost a lot more, such as an addition of $440 per year for a Chevrolet Corvette, $250 a year for a Porsche Boxster, or $450 for a Mercedes-Benz E350.
  • Insurers start raising rates after drivers turn 60, especially in some states. Signing up for mature driver’s education class can save single drivers about $50 a year. Check with Hartford as an AARP member, and that may save you some money.

Tips for best value in car insurance:

  1. Driver’s education class can save single drivers about $50 a year: Check with Hartford as an AARP member, and that may save you some money.
  2. Shop around, and shop repeatedly every two or three years: This is especially true if your situation changes and you’re driving less miles or if the carrier has adjusted its ratings for you or its premium cost schedule. There is little benefit in sticking with the same insurer year after year because the “long-term customer discount” is mostly a fantasy.
  3. Go to TheZebra.com, which collects and analyzes insurance policy rate filings by different insurers: Zebra offers estimates from between 18 and 35 auto insurers, depending on the state. Other competitors compare between 3 and 10 quotes.
  4. Consider raising your collision and comprehensible deductibles: Auto collision insurance covers damage to your vehicle caused by impact from another auto, regardless of who is at fault. Comprehensive covers theft of your vehicle and damage from fire, flood, or other similar problems. The average driver files a comprehensive or collision once every five to ten years, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The higher your deductible (the amount you pay before the insurance kicks in), the lower your premium.
  5. Protect yourself: Make sure you get enough liability coverage. Jensen Phelan Law Firm, P.C. recommends a minimum of $100,000 per incident, $300,000 per occurrence, and $100,000 property damage, which auto insurance pays for bodily injury/wrongful death claims of others against you up to $100,000. Importantly, you should also buy uninsured/underinsured (UM/UIM) coverage for the same limits, in case you are hit by a hit and run driver or someone who doesn’t have enough auto insurance. This is the best auto insurance bargain you can find, because it does not cost that much if it’s for the same coverage limits as your liability coverage. Also, you should at least consider an umbrella policy, typically for one million dollars of coverage in addition to your auto policy, which operates as a general liability policy protecting you from all sorts of claims, and it only costs between $200 and $400 per year if you have auto insurance typically of at least the $100,000/$300,000/$100,000 level.
  6. Consumer Report’s survey as to which insurers have the best satisfaction ratings: Amica Mutual Insurance Company - 94 USAA Group – 92 Auto-Owners Insurance – 90 State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance – 87 The Hartford – 87 American Family Insurance – 85 Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company – 85 Ameriprise – 85 CSAA Insurance Group – 84 Liberty Mutual Insurance – 83 Progressive Insurance Company – 83 Farmers Insurance – 82 Allstate Insurance Company – 82 Travelers Insurance Company – 82 Conclusion: According to the Consumer Report research, in Arizona, the “best deal” for value for singles and couples, as well as families with teens, comes from Liberty Mutual Insurance. Shop around when your next insurance bill arrives. Go online with TheZebra.com to find the best deal. Bundling your auto insurance with your homeowners can save you about $240 a year for a two car couple, so try to include that when shopping for better auto rates.

If you've been injured in a car accident, please contact our lawyer in Prescott today at 928-778-2660 for a FREE consultation. The Jensen Phelan Law Firm, P.C. serves clients in Northern Arizona including Prescott, Cottonwood and Prescott Valley.