Questions to Ask an Insurance Agent in My State

Insurance rules and rates vary from state to state and carrier to carrier. Rating factors that affect your auto insurance rate include age, car make and model, gender, marital status and driving record. You will want to ask your insurance agent questions about how dramatically these factors affect your final quote. Keep in mind the variability of the factors can also reduce the cost of your auto insurance, so be sure to ask your insurance agent about any discounts that you may be eligible for.

In terms of homeowners insurance, factors that would affect the cost include age, marital status, condition of the home, location of the home, insurance history and the age of the home. Younger people tend to receive higher rates on average because they are deemed less responsible by the insurance agent. However, married people (no matter what age) are usually treated as more responsible and thus given discounts.

If you have a certain record that you are concerned with — say several accidents in your driving history — you will want to focus your questions around this factor, in particular. Your insurance agent may be lenient about the poor record, but he or she may also be incredibly unforgiving and increase the quote dramatically for this factor alone. Even if your record is clean at the time, you will want to ask questions about how the insurance cost would change if you had been in an accident. Cover as many scenarios as possible with your questions so your insurance agent can give you a good idea of the future of the plan. This will help you avoid a situation where you may be stuck in the plan and paying higher rates than necessary.

Does Mileage Affect Auto Insurance Rates?

Your monthly or annual mileage can affect your auto insurance rate in your policy. Most insurance companies have statistics that reveal a correlation between auto accidents and claims and the miles you drive.

Common Factors that Influence Auto Insurance Rates

Along with your typical mileage, other factors can influence insurance rates. Among these factors, the following have the most influence, for better or worse.

  • Moving violation traffic tickets. In most cases, non-moving violations, such as parking tickets, have little or no effect on your auto insurance rates. Moving violations, however, such as speeding tickets, will increase the rate you pay. Since moving violations statistically lead to more car crashes, the rates for coverage are higher.
  • Number of claims filed. Along with the high cost of serious claims, even minor claims generate cost, as insurance companies must designate personnel to administer claims and pay for minor "fender benders."
  • Size of deductibles. Since you, the insured, assume more risk when selecting higher deductibles, your policy rates are typically lower. The smaller the deductible, the more you’ll pay in premium costs.
  • Location. Your zip code influences your auto insurance rate. For example, if you live in a rural area, you’ll typically pay lower rates than your brethren that live in highly populated cities.

Mileage and Insurance Rates

Groups, such as AAA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), compile statistics on auto accidents and miles driven. With a focus on highway and specific automobile model safety, their statistics also tend to verify the perceived correlation between mileage and the number of auto insurance claims.

For example, the IIHS performs crash tests on new and older car models to rate their safety. Their results are available for organizations in the insurance industry. Whether you drive a vehicle that IIHS rates as safe or not, the more mileage you accumulate each year, particularly in densely populated cities or suburbs, the more likely you are to have an accident.

The best way to save money is to get multiple quotes from a variety of highly rated insurance companies. Getting online policy quotes from multiple companies from independent agents will give you the information you need to select the best, most cost-effective coverage. Since mileage can affect your premiums, getting up-to-date information from various companies helps you save money and have sufficient protection.