Auto insurance rates vary significantly, but a recent
survey sheds some light on the methods that agents often use to determine a driver’s
monthly premium. Many of the metrics have absolutely nothing to do with
Most all people assume that companies offer a loyalty discount, but the
opposite is often true. Some companies raise rates for customers who have
had their policies for more than 15 years; the theory is that these customers
do not shop around. In a similar vein, some companies use a statistical
buying analysis (price optimization) to determine how much of a rate increase
certain customers will tolerate. In addition to auto insurance shopping
habits, a company may consider the number of luxury items that customers
purchase. Finally, a low credit score often means higher rates, as the
firm assumes that people with money problems are more likely to file fraudulent claims.
In California, insurance companies cannot legally perform a price optimization
check or consider credit scores.
Traffic Tickets and Insurance Rates
The restrictions on insurance companies in The Golden State are basically
a two-edged sword. While it’s a good thing that companies set rates
on how you drive as opposed to who you are, traffic tickets are about
the only way for the company to assess risk, so their effects are magnified.
Some of the most common traffic tickets that you get in Lamont or Shafter
also have the most
adverse effect on your rates. Some examples include:
Texting While Driving: Although it is a non-point violation, this infraction still appears on
your driving record if you’re convicted. Statistically, distracted
driving is about as dangerous as drunk driving (although if you quit texting
or get off the phone, you’re immediately back to normal. That doesn’t
happen when you have been drinking alcohol) and some companies will raise
your rates commensurately.
Speeding: Some companies may overlook one ticket for 15mph or less over the limit
for a valued customer, but two or more in three or fewer years causes
up to a 50 percent rate increase.
Driving without Insurance or a Valid License: Insurance companies do not consider these violations to be ticky-tack.
Drivers without a valid license are normally un-insurable, and there is
a substantial penalty for any gap in coverage. And, rightly or wrongly,
some companies consider these violators to be “scofflaws.”
As a rule of thumb, the actual price of a California traffic ticket is
twenty times the base fine, thanks largely to higher insurance rates.
The lookback period is usually at least three years, and can be much longer,
in some cases.
Getting Legal Help
The aggressive lawyers at Bigger & Harman, APC, are committed to giving
individuals a voice when dealing with speeding and traffic tickets. Call
today at 661-859-1177 or email
to receive the personal professional attention you deserve. En español,
llame al 661-376-0214.