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How to decode your insurance premium, and get the most from your Insurance dollar
By Lindsay Russell - Business development Agent
One of the things I often find myself doing as a sales agent in the insurance game, is acting as an advisor for my clients, who have many of the same questions all centered around how insurance premiums are determined for each individual. These are important questions to ask, and although there are many factors out of your control that go into determining a premium, there are some things that you as a consumer can harness some power over, to an extent.
First off, I will start by saying, insurance premiums are highly scientific calculations with many variables and many considerations far beyond my job description to delve into. I also want to keep this topic light and enjoyable. I will say that government regulations, statistical analysis of accident claims in previous years as well as market fluctuations are the biggest factors and heavy hitters in premium determination.
Now on to the helpful tidbits! How is my insurance premium calculated?
Let’s talk about the numbers of vehicles you are going to insure within the same household. If there is more than one vehicle to be insured, most companies offer a multivehicle discount. This usually does not include ATV’s, other recreational vehicles or trailers.
Another thing that goes into this equation is the number of years you have been licensed. There is a significant difference in risk stratification when comparing a well-established driving record of 30 years with someone who might just be starting out with 1 or 2 years licensed.
The years licensed plays into the next point I want to mention. The years a person is insured, or their insurance history. Parents; when it comes to insuring your children on your own policy, they begin to build their insurance history which will help them tremendously when they are going off on their own, and purchasing insurance for themselves. A solid insurance history with no lapses in coverage, and a responsible payment history, works wonders for everyone’s overall insurance premium. Many companies like to see 10 years or more for the most savings, but even as little as 2-3 years makes a huge difference in premium for this category of insurance premium considerations.
The next factor is probably obvious to most of you, that is, your motor vehicle record or MVR. Your MVR gives the broker/agent a detailed history of your driving infarctions, if any. We see things like major and minor convictions, as well as any suspensions. Tickets of minor convictions will affect your premium for 3 years from the date listed on the report. There is calculations that go into this based on how old the conviction is, and simply put, the older the ticket the less surcharge you will incur. Minor convictions include things such as speeding tickets (within a certain range) and major convictions include things such as reckless or careless driving, racing and texting while driving.
The number of at-fault accidents on your insurance history is one of the major components in premium calculation. One at-fault accident within six years could cost you a surcharge of up to 75% on top of the base premium. This surcharge is the most expensive the more recent the accident is, and decreases as you continue to remain accident free for the next 6 years. If this does not motivate you to be an exemplary driver, I don’t know what will!
The remaining factors I will be discussing are straight forward.
Where you live, more specifically the postal code, will typically rate higher than others. This is based on the population of your area, the accident history for that area, as well as other factors. More vehicles on the road at any given time, combined with more incidences of accidents and a much higher city population, increases the risk that any given company takes on, as a result, your wallet will take a harder hit.
Bundling your Home and Auto
Another factor that can save you some serious cash is whether or not you bundle your home and auto, or a tenant package and auto. Most companies, including Allstate, will offer discounts as high as 30% when you bundle your home and your auto with them. This seems like a no brainer, when you rent or own this makes the most sense for savings. Note: In recent years, more and more landlords have been making tenant insurance a requirement in order to live in their buildings, and tenant packages are included in this bundle discount with most companies.
Federal and Provincial Regulations
Last but not least, federal and provincial government regulations, coupled with inflation, and accident claims for the previous year within a certain location, all play into the base premium of any insurance calculation. This is pretty self-explanatory, and leaves little room for companies to negotiate.
This is not a complete list, but as I mentioned earlier, there are so many factors that come into play when determining someone’s premium, some are not listed, but the ones that are have the most impact. I hope this article has left you better informed, and more insurance savvy when it comes to looking for ways to improve your rate.
The overall message here; start building your insurance history early, ask for bundles when applicable, do not drive without insurance, and for more obvious reasons than insurance purposes, please drive safely and responsibly! If anyone out there has a better understanding of how insurance premiums are determined, I would love to hear your feedback, feel free to reach out to me for a quote with Allstate or for any other information you are seeking on what we have to offer. Best of luck to all in your insurance purchasing endeavors!
This is for information only and is not intended to be insurance or legal advice.