Operating a vehicle involves a whole host of expenses. There is the purchase of the vehicle itself, the fuel to run it, regular maintenance, along with registration and insurance. Insurance can often be the single biggest expense per month that a driver incorporates, but besides driver training and a bigger deductable, are there ways in which you can help to reduce that cost?
Insurance companies are in the business of betting that you won’t need to make a claim. They make money when you pay the premiums per month but don’t actually ever need to use insurance to reclaim lost assets either through the course of an accident or from a theft. This is why they need to gather so much information when you sign up for a policy in the first place. They want to know how old you are, how often and for what purposes you use your vehicle, what type of vehicle you’re driving, what type of insurance you require, and how much of a deductable you’re willing to take on. They will also need to know what your driving history looks like, and will investigate how many tickets (whether speeding, parking or otherwise) that you’ve received over the last few years. This gives them a complete picture on what type of driving risk you pose.
Driver behaviours and patterns, roadway design, equipment failure, and poor road conditions or maintenance are the 4 primary factors that contribute to accidents. Most, however, involve some type of poor or risky operator behaviour. Although initially it may appear to be the icy road conditions or some type of brake failure that is at fault, most often if the driver had maintained enough distance from their vehicle to the next, and driven according to road and weather conditions, the accident could have been avoided entirely.
Since one of the claims that insurance companies see most often is one involving a rear end collision, your braking habits could have a significant impact on your insurance premiums. Following too closely behind another vehicle will increase the likelihood that you will be directly involved in this type of collision, and studies show that “hard brakers” and tailgaters are far more likely to cause a rear end collision than someone who has enough time and distance between the vehicle in front of them and their own to brake more slowly and easily. In fact, drivers who leave enough space between their vehicle and that of other drivers show an average of 40 seconds to come to a stop (from 60 miles per hour to 0 miles per hour). Compare this with only 12 seconds on average for those who don’t consider the ramifications of leaving enough distance between vehicles. For an insurance company, someone who drives smoothly (even if this means they drive a little faster than others) is less of a liability than someone who drives in a hard go/stop motion.
How do insurance companies know if you’re not a safe driver? This can be achieved in a variety of ways; they check your driving violations, they check with previous insurance companies for collision history, and they can also offer programs like “Snapshot” which logs your driving style through a device mounted in your vehicle. Safer driving can mean lowered premiums, good driving discounts, and even accident forgiveness.