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How Can an Accident Affect Your Auto Insurance? How to Keep Rates Low

Posted by attorney James Parrish

Looking to lower your auto insurance payments? recently released a ranking of states by premium (Louisiana topped it out with an average premium of $2,510/year, while Maine was on the lowest end with an average of $902.85).

So aside from moving, how do you keep your rates low? The formula is only slightly more complicated than the Da Vinci Code, but here's a somewhat typical breakdown:

Tier I: Primary zip code, age, gender and marital status

Tier II: Driving record, credit history, make and model of car.

Let's break it down. Typically, you can't change too many of the first-tier factors (and if you are willing to make those changes over insurance rates, your plan must be terrible to begin with). So let's look at what you can change.

Each individual vehicle make and model has a different risk rating assigned to it by insurance companies. Different insurance companies will have different systems in place, so it's best to get a side-by-side comparison of rates. The same goes for your credit history, as some state laws allow companies to weigh this more heavily.

Lastly, there's your driving record. This is the big one, in terms of factors you can impact. Speeding, traffic tickets, reckless driving charges and DWI/DUI charges are all things that can increase your premiums. Did you know that even no-fault accidents can cause your rates to increase?

Be sure to know your rights, and even things your insurance company doesn't want you to know. Check out my book, The Virginia Car Accident Guide, even if you haven't been involved in an accident. The things insurance companies do to make a buck will amaze you.

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