FAQ – Auto

How is my premium determined?
There are hundreds of factors that go into the calculation of your premium. Some are obvious, like your past driving record, age, claim history, and coverage choices. Some are less obvious, like your insurance score (see below), your choice of payment plans, marital status, ratio of vehicles to drivers in the household.

Your choice of vehicle makes a big difference, but it’s not just the age and cost of the vehicle that gets taken into consideration. Crash-worthiness is a factor, as are safety devices like air bags and anti-lock brakes. Also, the past claim history of each individual model is considered.

How can I save money on my auto insurance?
Driving carefully and choosing a safe vehicle are the best ways to keep your insurance premium down over the long run (also see our tips to improving your insurance score). With many companies, paying your premium in full earns you a substantial discount. You can also save by insuring both your auto and home with the same company (if you are a renter, the savings on your auto policy can offset half or more of the renters policy cost). You can save 10% on liability and collision premiums by taking an approved accident prevention course.

Save money on your car insurance

What’s an “Insurance Score”?
Most insurance companies are now using insurance scores as a factor in determining rates for auto and sometimes home insurance. The formulas, which vary by company, use information from your credit history to establish an insurance score for you. Based on this score, you are assigned to a tier or rating group. Of course, many other factors affect your auto insurance rates, including your driving history, vehicles, and coverages selected.

Insurance scores are different than credit scores. Insurance scores use only those factors from your credit history that show a direct correlation to future claim potential. Insurance scores generally do not consider income, assets, or total debt.

Three Steps to Improving Your Insurance Score

When do I add teenage drivers to my policy?
Most companies start charging when your child gets a license. Even if you forget to tell us right away, the companies still charge you back to the date of licensing. These rules change from time to time, so it’s a good idea to give us a call when your child gets a permit.

Be sure to check out our tips for teenage drivers.

Should my teenage children have their own insurance?
As far as cost is concerned, it is usually less expensive to add children to the parents’ policy. They get the benefit of multi-car discounts and the parents’ preferred pricing tiers.

There are valid reasons why some parents prefer to have children on their own policies. First, it develops responsibility for them to pay for their own vehicle and insurance. Also, you can choose different limits and deductibles that may be more appropriate. There may also be a legal benefit in protecting the parents’ assets if the car is in the child’s name.

Do I need Canadian insurance cards?
Though it’s rarely an issue in the Niagara Falls area, we have had situations where our customers have had hassles when traveling deeper into Canada. Please feel free to stop by and pick up a set. Canadian cards are free and are good until you switch cars or insurance companies.

Do I need to purchase the extra insurance when renting a car?
If you are renting a car in the US or Canada, for personal use, and for less than 30 days, your New York personal auto policy may already provide much of the coverage you need. There are good reasons to consider purchasing the rental company’s damage waiver anyway: avoiding hassles over unreported damage, avoiding a large charge against your credit card, and avoiding having to file a claim with your own insurance company.

If you will be renting a car internationally or for business purposes, give us a call to discuss your situation.

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