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Where You Live And What You Drive Can Impact Your Car Insurance Costs

By Abbey Wagner, InsWeb
auto insurance quote

We all know that there are many factors that can affect your auto insurance costs. Some of the more obvious determinants are:

Gender and Age. Young male drivers are typically the most expensive to insure, especially if they have any type of mark on their driver's record.

Driving Record. Tickets, accidents, being caught driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol…they all add up and translate into higher auto insurance costs.

Miscellaneous Discounts. If you are a good student, if you have safety features installed on your car, if you have low mileage on your car, if you are a senior, if you are in the military…all of these can mean discounts on your auto insurance costs.

But, did you know that where you live and what you drive may also impact your auto insurance costs?

Location, Location, Location

It's a fact, auto insurance rates in rural communities are almost always lower than those in large urban centers. Accidents tend to happen much more frequently in big cities, usually due to the high amount of cars on the road (AKA: Traffic!)

Certain states have higher insurance rates than others due to the percentage of claims filed. States like New Jersey, Washington D.C., New York and Massachusetts typically have the highest average insurance rates.

It can also cost more to settle claims in certain areas, and this can add to the cost of your insurance premiums. Expensive cars cost more to repair or replace, and wealthy urban communities will sometimes have higher average insurance rates.

Pick a Low-Profile, Safe Vehicle How your vehicle holds up in a crash is also important to auto insurance companies. Think about it, the more a vehicle costs to repair after a crash, the more auto insurance companies will have to pay out. If there are certain vehicles that tend to be involved in more accidents, tend to incur more damage and involve more bodily harm to passengers when in those accidents, it is safe to assume those vehicles will cost more to insure. Vehicles such as sports cars and some SUVs tend to rate lower in terms of crashworthiness, and therefore carry higher insurance rates.

Another important factor is whether or not your vehicle is on the list of those most frequently targeted for theft. Non-profit organizations such as the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) track the most commonly stolen vehicles. The NICB lists tend to track all vehicles on the road (often meaning the most popular cars are those most commonly stolen), while the HLDI tracks results based on the number of insured vehicles on the road (meaning those with higher theft claims top the list). The NICB lists the five most commonly stolen vehicles in the U.S. in 2001 as the Toyota Camry, the Honda Accord, the Honda Civic, the Oldsmobile Cutlass/Supreme/Ciera and the Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee. The HLDI list the five vehicles with the highest theft claim frequencies in 2001 as the Acura Integra, the Jeep Wrangler, the Jeep Cherokee 4WD, the Honda Prelude and the Mitsubishi Mirage.

Basically, all these cars will most likely be more expensive to insure. Make sure you check out the insurance costs of a particular vehicle before purchasing it.

If your car is stolen, make sure to contact the police right away. Have information such as the year, make and model of your vehicle, your license plate number, the VIN (vehicle identification number), where the theft occurred and what time of the day. Next, you should inform your insurance company that the car was stolen. The more quickly you do this, the more quickly they can get started on processing your claim.

For more information:
National Insurance Crime Bureau: www.nicb.org
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety/Highway Loss Data Institute: www.highwaysafety.org

Conclusion
Along with the obvious factors about you, the person to be insured, other factors about your vehicle type and where you live are likely to affect your auto insurance costs. Make sure to compare quotes before purchasing an insurance plan, and find one that best suits you, your vehicle, and your locale.

You can start here to shop for online auto insurance.

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