Why Did My Car Insurance Go up When I had No Claims?
- DetailsWritten by PolicyBazaar -
Updated 04 January 2019
While most of us are troubled with the hassles of getting car insurance and the meticulous processes that follow, few of us have other agonies related to insurance. For those of you, who ensure you drive your car properly, take care of the upkeep and maintenance on time and ensure your car is in the best shape it can be, will be surprised to know that your insurance premiums can still go up. Even if you haven’t made any claims on your insurance, you’re likely to pay a higher premium over time. There are various factors that govern this and in this article, we will dive deeper into them.
Factors that Govern Car Insurance Premiums
There are commonly two major factors that will affect the price of your car insurance policy when you are renewing your car insurance. Being aware of these factors will help you take pre-emptive actions and also look for the ideal policies that can give you the cover you are looking for while helping you saving money. Using car insurance calculators are very helpful in deciding the average premium you are likely to pay and if you explore a few different types online, you will also find some that incorporate the factors we are about to discuss. Furthermore, knowing these factors gives you insight into how the insurance companies set your premium amount and what you can do to negotiate the best price for yourself.
What does the Insurance Company Consider when Setting your Insurance Premium?
Insurance companies will consider a variety of factors when arriving at the premium amount for your car insurance policy and several of these factors are within your circle of influence. The following are a list of factors that the insurance company is most likely to look into:
- The history and record of your car insurance claims
- Any history of criminal offences and traffic violations under your name
- Your location and place of abode
- A change in the primary driver of the insured car. Addition of drivers is also considered
- If you had a parent policy with the insurer and you chose to discontinue that while continuing your car insurance policy with the same insurer
- Change in the number of cars or vehicles insured under the policy. Oftentimes, insurers provide discounts if you insure more than one vehicle under the same policy
- Changes in your work employment can affect the policy charges or discounts apply to you
- Classification of you, as the primary driver, under any of the medical conditions that could risk your ability to drive safely
- A computing error or mistake on the part of the insuring company
- Changes in plans tariffs or structure of the insurance policy
While most of these factors are within your control and can be easily challenged, there are other factors that insurance companies consider when doing a car insurance calculation for your insurance premium. Some of these factors may not be directly within the purview of your influence but knowing will help you better negotiate for a good deal.
The Right Representative
Or more specifically the wrong representative can be detrimental to your insurance plan and getting the best deal. Insurance companies grant their officers and representatives with the authority to make decisions with respect to insurance plans as long as they operate within the terms and conditions set by the organization. Now, this leaves a lot to speculation. The insurance officer or representative is involved in assessing the risk of insuring your automobile for the insurance organization. If they perceive the risk to be higher they will most likely compute a higher premium value on your automobile. And a large part of this can be subjective. For example, one representative may look at a scratch on your car and note that you are a reckless driver which will most likely increase your premium rate. Another may notice that apart from one scratch, your car is spotless, which means this was a one-time incident and would give you merits for maintaining your car well. As a result, your insurance premium could be lower.
Now, it’ll be hard for you to ascertain whether an insurance representative is a good one or not, so the best that you can do is to get a second opinion or rely on a trusted source. Leverage online car insurance calculators to give you an estimation that you can hold as the benchmark. Also, try dealing directly with the insurance company’s representative rather than a third party vendor.
Factors for One-Year-Old Cars
Since insurance companies are calculating risk to themselves vs. risk to you there are lots of aspects they consider with respect to older cars, even if your car is simply one year old. Apart from the entire vehicle, the insurance provider will check the manufacturer's warranties on parts of your car also. Some parts are only warranted for six months by manufacturers which indicate an expense to the insurance company in the event of a claim. Therefore as an imitative action, insurance companies are likely to increase the premium on such liabilities.
Despite No Claims
Most car owners assume that if all things remained as is, you should continue paying the same premium amount upon renewal. Well, that rarely is the case because while things on surface value might seem to remain the same, they rarely are on second glance. External factors can also play a part in your premium calculations. If a certain area has had an increase in car thefts or claims arising from damages to cars, and you happen to reside in that area, you are most likely going to be summed a higher premium amount. In comparison to the previous year’s costs, the insurance companies may be liable to greater risk in the New Year and this impact on premium amounts for all the stakeholders that fall under those increased risk conditions.
While you may not have affected the insurance companies’ profit margins by making any claims, there is the possibility that the insurance company had other insured parties making liability claims. If this number was higher than what the insurance company predicted for the year, there is a chance they will try to balance profit margins by hiking premium rates on all customers for the following year. Also, if the insurance company notices an increase in the insurance claim trends, they will take pre-emptive actions by increasing premium rates across their clientele.
Increase in Reported Cases
Changes in crime patterns and the number of insurance claims clubbed with them are often a reason for insurance companies to increase premium margins across their portfolio. These environmental and market changes lie beyond the control of the insurance company and deter their ability to ensure the safety of their insured parties, which means a greater risk of investment for the insurance organization. Under the likelihood of such risky insurance ventures, the organization will try and mitigate the risk factor by increasing the premium charges for customers.
Your Car and Its Parts
Now, this might come as a surprise to some of you but insurance companies also monitor demand and supply of automobiles in the industry as well as the demand and supply for their parts. The reason for doing this is that thefts are often associated with the value of the commodity and the value is subject to demand and supply trends. For example, you’ll be certain that the insurance premium on a Ferrari will be higher than that of a Volkswagen Polo. The reason for this isn’t just the price difference between the two cars. In the event of a theft, the Ferrari is more likely to be sought after by the robbers than the polo. Now, you might be thinking that you don’t own a Ferrari and the car that you do own is commonly available in the market. Although the same principle applies to car parts, some version of common cars may be discontinued making their parts more valuable in the market that has a demand for them. In which case, while your car doesn’t have an extremely high possibility of theft, you are still likely to pay a higher premium for insurance.
Insurance that Exempts Depreciation
Lately, many insurance companies offer insurance covers that exempt depreciation. This means that even if your car value has depreciated, the insurance company promises to cover the full value of the car at the time of purchase. This is supremely beneficial when you undergo part changes due to damage several months or years after purchase. Simply because the cost of new parts isn’t covered by the cost of a depreciated part and with such a type of insurance plan, you are covered from having to incur additional expenses. Although such insurance plans also become complicated as your car gets older. As the depreciated value of your car increase, the margin for the insurance company covering the non-depreciated value of your car increases and in order to safeguard against risk, they are likely to increase the premium amount on your insurance policy upon renewal.
Flat Rate Insurances
Sometimes, you may be offered an insurance policy that locks you in for a period of one year or more and provides a fixed rate for the tenure. In such cases, the insurance company is considered a different way of calculations and upon completion of your lock-in tenure would re-adjust their calculation metrics which would result in a higher insurance premium. This may be surprising to you upon renewal but if you consider reading the terms and conditions carefully, you’ll find that the insurance company provides details of their calculation metrics for the specified tenure and what would change post the tenure.
The practice of including a person’s credit ratings when issuing insurance policies isn’t a practice that all insurance agencies follow, although some do and this can have an adverse impact on your premium rates if your credit score is not good. In some cases, despite a poor credit score, insurance companies are mandated to provide you with a preferred premium amount although this may not apply in all cases. When applying for a new insurance policy or renewing an old one, you must check with the insurance representative if the company is factoring in your credit rating when calculating your car insurance premium. If so, you need to also find out the impact this can have for you and what other options you have at your disposal.
All said and done an insurance company is, after all, a company. And all companies are involved in the business of making a profit. If an insurance company had to experience losses beyond that which they anticipated in any given year, they will increase their premium rates across their products to remain profitable. Sometimes, if the insurance company has not checked their previous year’s rates and assessed them with the current risk, they may by default increase the rates which would possibly be unnecessary. To get the best quotes on your premium amount, check with a car insurance calculator and also get quotes from multiple insurance companies. This way you have a benchmark amount to measure the others based on and choose the one that best suits you.
There may be several other factors that or considered by insurance companies and as time passes it’s certain that the number of factors will increase although the basic principles would remain the same. If the risk remains low, the premiums would also remain lower, therefore if you do a good analysis you will most likely be able to find yourself a great deal. Car Insurance Calculators, independent brokers and good old-fashioned studying will help you get the best insurance premium for your automobile. Also, you can speak to your broker or insurance agents to understand insurance saving schemes and areas where you can quite easily reduce your premium amount. They are better equipped with the current trends in the market as well as inside information on the policies of the insurance provider. If they choose to help you, they can provide you with the insights that can help you significantly save money and get the right deal.
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