Vehicle Insurance Myths

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Myths

Red cars cost more to insure.

Color is not a factor used to calculate car insurance rates — we don't even ask you what color your car is when you get a quote from us. Factors that do matter are the year, make, model, body type, engine size and age of your car, as well as drivers on your policy.

One speeding ticket will make my car insurance rates go up.

Sometimes this is true, but in many cases, you have to get two tickets before your rate goes up. Your driving history, the length of time you've been insured with a company and how fast you were going when you were cited can affect whether your rate increases or not. Keep in mind that a speeding ticket may not be the sole reason your rate increases, as several factors are considered when reviewing them.

Auto insurance rates aren't regulated, so auto insurance companies can charge what they want.

Each state requires auto insurance companies to file how they calculate customer rates, and insurers cannot deviate from these filed rates. Each state also has regulators who review that information and the rates companies charge.

I only need the bare minimum amount of car insurance.

Many states have minimum car insurance requirements, but the minimum amount of required insurance may not cover all of your costs. If you cause an accident that results in a lawsuit and your insurance limits don't cover all of the damages, your assets could be pursued.

Cheaper cars cost less to insure.

If your cheaper car has a large engine, weighs a lot or is an unusual model, it might cost more to insure than a more expensive small car. However, if you have a cheaper car, you will pay less for Comprehensive coverage, which covers damage caused by vandalism, hail, fire or animal accidents.

If someone driving my car causes an accident, I won't be held responsible.

It's possible you'll be financially responsible for an accident — even if someone else is driving your car. In most states, the car insurance policy covering the vehicle is considered the primary insurance, which means that the insurance company for the vehicle must pay for damages caused by an accident. Even so, it's still possible that the driver's insurance company could be responsible for some of the damages. Why? If the vehicle's insurance limits are too low and don't cover all the damages, the driver's insurance may be next in line to pay for the remainder of the damages.

Since policies and laws differ by state, knowing how your state's insurance system works could influence who drives your car.

Older cars are cheaper to insure.

Car insurance rates for all vehicles vary depending on several factors, such as who drives a vehicle and its annual mileage. For older vehicles, many drivers choose to carry only Liability (BI/PD) coverage, which covers injury or damage to other people or property, not damage to the insured person or vehicle. Liability only coverage may be cheaper than insuring a vehicle with Liability, Comprehensive and Collision coverage.

My car insurance rates will be higher if I'm a smoker.

Your car insurance rates will not be higher if you smoke — we don't even ask you if you're a smoker when you get a quote from us.

My car insurance rates will be similar to my neighbor's rates.

Car insurance rates are individually determined, so factors such as age, driving record, type of vehicle and marital status are considered. Each person's situation is unique, and car insurance rates will vary because of this.

Car insurance rates go down dramatically when drivers turn 25.

Younger and older drivers typically have the most car crashes, and customers of different car insurance companies have different claims experiences. When determining auto insurance rates, insurers generally consider a variety of information about you, including age, vehicle information, claims history and the claims experience of other customers like you.

While it's generally true that rates will go down when you turn 25 if all information about you and your vehicle remains the same, changes in one or more of the other pieces of information used to calculate a rate could lead to you getting a higher, lower or the same rate when you turn 25.

Comprehensive coverage protects drivers in all situations.

Comprehensive coverage is one type of protection available on an auto insurance policy (others being Collision, Uninsured Motorist, etc.). Comprehensive coverage pays only for damage caused by an event other than a collision, including:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Weather (hail, floods, etc.)
  • Vehicle collisions with animals

I can use Rental Reimbursement coverage to rent a car for my vacation.

Unless your insured car is in the shop as the result of an accident, you won't be able to use Rental Reimbursement to rent a car for vacation. Depending on the limits you selected when you bought your policy, Rental Reimbursement coverage pays for some or all of the cost of a rental car — but only when your insured car is in the repair shop because of a car accident.

Realities

People who live in the city pay more to insure their cars than people outside the city.

Within a state, city dwellers usually pay more for car insurance than rural residents. Cities have a higher risk for claims due to more traffic, more people and more theft, which generally means higher car insurance rates.

An accident can make my rates go up, even if it's not my fault.

Accidents that are your fault have a direct effect on your car insurance rate. Depending on the circumstances, you also may be placed in a group of customers who receive higher rates, even if an accident isn't your fault.

Progressive will group drivers with others who share similar risk characteristics.

Common practice in the car insurance industry is to rate drivers based on data collected for other drivers who share similar characteristics, which overall is a solid predictor for car insurance rating.

Anyone who drives my car with my permission is covered if I have insurance.

If you allow someone to drive your car, that person is covered by your insurance policy. Keep in mind that if the person who drives your car doesn't have insurance and causes an accident, you could be held responsible for the damage, which could make your car insurance rate go up.

Information from my credit report is used when determining my car insurance rate.

We order your credit report and use information from it to calculate your insurance score — this score is used when determining your car insurance rate. We use credit because numerous studies have shown that credit is a very powerful and independent predictor of the likelihood of future accidents or insurance claims. In fact, Progressive data shows that consumers with the worst insurance scores are twice as likely to have an accident or insurance claim as those with the best scores.

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