Not every expense in life can be controlled, but avoiding rate hikes for auto insurance is as simple as driving safely.
Alex Case, of Case and Son Insurance, said things such as driving under the influence, repeated speeding tickets, and accidents can affect how much a person pays for insurance.
“One speeding ticket more than likely will not affect your rates at all, but two speeding tickets will usually result in your rate going up,” Case said.
When someone’s license is suspended, an insurance company has to complete an SR22 form to prove the driver has insurance. Many insurance companies will drop coverage if a driver needs one.
“Only a small handful of companies will do that,” Case said.
If the company won’t fill out the form, another insurance company has to be found.
“You have to go through a nonstandard company like Progressive,” Case said.
An insurance company can also cancel a policy or decline to renew it at its annual renewal date, Case said. A company will give the customer advance notice of that decision so they can seek new insurance, Case said.
Case said getting a new policy can mean your rate can go up as much as 50 percent.
Caleb Good, independent insurance agent at Vintage Bank Kansas in Peabody, said he writes policies for five insurance companies and has additional companies available if none of the five are working for the customer.
The customer’s driving record has a lot to do with whether they will sell a policy, Good said.
“Some of these companies are preferred companies who won’t write the risk,” Good said. “You may actually have to find a whole new policy.”
If a company cancels a policy, the customer is usually told they have a designated amount of time to find something different, Good said. Or they simply increase the rate.
“They’re going to go sky high,” Good said.
A different company might take the customer, but accidents, DUI and numerous speeding tickets will drive up the insurance rate a new company charges, and Good will have fewer options to offer.
“We don’t run across these kinds of situations very often. When it happens, we check with underwriting to see what we can do,” Good said.
Case and Good offered advice for drivers looking to keep their rates as low as possible.
“The theme is not to drink and drive,” Case said.
“Take time and drive safe,” Good said.