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Two factors determine what you pay for auto insurance. 1. Underwriting - Insurance companies underwrite to assess the risk associated with an applicant, group the applicant with other similar risks and decide if the company will accept the application. Based on the results of the underwriting process, the rating assigns a price based on what the insurer believes it will cost to assume the financial responsibility for the applicant’s potential claim. 2. Rating - Each company adopts its own rating system, although there are general guidelines that all companies follow. The single greatest influence on the rating process is claim frequency. This does not mean how many times you specifically have made an insurance claim, although that will have an additional effect. Claim frequency measures how often an insured event occurs within a group relative to the number of policies contained in that group. Persons sharing characteristics with high claims groups will be charged more for insurance coverage.
Specific Factors that Affect Your Auto Insurance Rate
• Your driving record – drivers with previous violations or accidents are considered to be higher risk
• Your geographic territory – urban areas have more claims than rural areas
• Your gender and age – males have more accidents; certain age groups have more claims
• Your marital status – married people show lower rates of claims
• Prior insurance coverage – if you have been cancelled for non-payment of premiums
• Vehicle use – higher annual mileage results in higher exposure to risk
• Make and model of your vehicle – luxury and sports cars average a higher number of claims
You’ll find it helpful to have your current policy in front of you whenever you are obtaining new insurance quotes.
You will need to provide:
• Vehicle Identification Number(s) for each vehicle you want to insure
• Vehicle year, make, and model for each vehicle you want to insure
• Estimated annual mileage
• Number of claims and/or violations in the last five years
• Your driver’s license number
• The number of drivers in your household
It’s also helpful if you know:
• Dates of claims and/or violations
• Name of current insurer and coverage limits
• Amount of deductible you are comfortable paying
The cost of home insurance coverage depends largely on where you live. Crime rates vary from community to community and so does the access to your local fire department, police department, and water supply. These factors help determine the protection class. Along with the value of your house, the following factors determine the rates you pay for homeowner's coverage.
• Type of Construction: Frame houses usually cost more to insure than brick.
• Age of House: New homes may qualify for discounts. Older homes may not qualify for preferred programs. Insurers may require older homes to have updated heating, plumbing, wiring and roofing.
• Local Fire Protection: Your home’s distance from a fire hydrant and the quality of your local fire department determine your fire protection class.
• Amount of Coverage: The amount of coverage you buy for your house, contents and personal liability will affect the price you pay.
• Deductible Amount: Your choice of a higher deductible will reduce the price for homeowners insurance.
Your need for life insurance varies with your age and responsibilities. It is a very important part of financial planning. There are several reasons to purchase life insurance. You may need to replace income that would be lost with the death of a wage earner. You may want to make sure your dependents do not incur significant debt when you die. Life insurance may allow them to keep assets versus selling them to pay outstanding bills or taxes.
Consider how much insurance your dependents would need to maintain their lifestyle without your income:
• How much cash would your family have to cover unexpected expenses, such as hospital bills, funeral expenses, and debts like car loans and credit cards?
• How much is your mortgage? What about daycare, utilities, taxes and other month-to-month expenses? Multiply this amount by the number of months or years until your family could replace your monthly income.
• How much do you think it will cost to pay for your children's education, to replace the family car, or to support aging parents?
• Are you a single parent? If so, determine how much it would cost to pay for childcare 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
• Are you a dual-income household? If so, consider life insurance for each income producer in the family.