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UPDATED: Jul 17, 2017
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Some of the most important changes in your life will impact the type of car insurance that you need to carry and what rates you pay for that insurance.
For instance, when you get married and take out a joint policy with your new spouse, you can expect a change in your rate for better or worse.
When your baby grows into a teenager and wants to borrow your car, you’ll face a rate increase that comes with having a young driver on your policy.
Car insurance companies don’t have the right to access your medical records when you apply for coverage. Unless you walk into an agent’s office to complete your application or ask questions, the insurance company won’t even know that you’re pregnant.
If you have maintained one policy for a long period of time, you can enjoy your pregnancy and give birth without your insurance carrier questioning this major change in your life.
When Medical Conditions Interfere with Driving Privileges
Millions of drivers pull onto the road every day with known and unknown medical conditions, and the majority of those conditions have no impact on their ability to safely handle their vehicles.
In most cases, insurance companies aren’t aware of the medical histories of their customers because medical records are protected by HIPAA laws.
In order for a driver’s medical records to become a driving-related factor, one of the following must occur:
- A doctor may report a diagnosed medical condition to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). If a patient suffers from a condition that is a risk to themselves or others while driving, medical practitioners are required to report their concerns
- A police officer may report concerns regarding a driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle due to a suspected or known medical condition
- A family member may report concerns to the DMV or police department
- The driver is involved in a traffic incident that highlights a known or suspected medical condition which may lead to future accidents
There are reports that help professionals within the insurance industry determine connections between medical conditions and risky driving conditions.
The medical conditions studied are specific, and pregnancy doesn’t make the list.
Carrying a child in no way impairs your ability to drive safely, so your auto insurance company isn’t concerned.
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Factors that Do Impact Car Insurance Rates
You may have to move the driver’s seat in your vehicle further from the wheel as your pregnant belly grows, but you don’t have to worry about it interfering with your insurance rates.
Now that your mind is at ease, let’s consider what factors can have an impact on your eligibility for insurance and the rates you are charged for insurance:
— Your Vehicle
Insurance companies have access to statistical data that shows which vehicles are most likely to be involved in accidents and which vehicles are most likely to require expensive repairs after an accident.
Each vehicle is judged according to this data, and then drivers are given discounts for operating vehicles with the lowest risk.
Your vehicle’s year, make and model are taken into account to determine your risk level.
— Your Neighborhood
If you live in an area with high crime or other factors that put your vehicle at risk for vandalism or other crimes, the insurance company will see that as a risk.
You can expect your insurance rate to go up as the local crime rate goes up.
— Driving Habits
The more time you spend on the road, the more you can expect to pay for insurance.
You may also have to pay more for insurance if you drive for a ride-share service like Uber or use your vehicle for other commercial purposes.
— Driving Record
History is the best predictor of the future, so what does your driving history say about you? If you have a history of breaking traffic laws or causing accidents, the insurance company will see you as a greater risk.
— Personal Facts
All companies will consider your sex, age, and marital status when determining your insurance rate.
For instance, data shows that older and younger drivers are more likely to cause accidents, so teenage and elderly drivers often have higher insurance rates.
The older you get, the more likely you are to take medications that impact your driving ability or suffer medical conditions that impair your cognitive and physical functioning.
Insurance companies can’t check your medical records, but they can make assumptions based on your age and other personal factors.
— Credit Ratings
Studies indicate that people with poor credit tend to file more insurance claims, so most auto insurance companies will include your credit score and data from your credit report when determining your risk factor.
If you’re concerned about your credit increasing your insurance rate, there are some companies that don’t consider consumer credit.
You may find that other companies offer you a better deal even with your credit factoring into the equation.
Don’t Test Your Luck — Compare!
If you have ever compared quotes from different auto insurance companies online, you probably know that the range of prices delivered sometimes varies significantly.
While each company is legally required to report how they determine insurance rates to ensure they are consistent and fair to consumers, every company has their own system in place.
This is why one company may offer you a rate much lower than another company even when the terms of the policies are similar.
Take the time to compare quotes online. Even though all of the factors outlined above are considered by most insurance companies, every company places emphasis on different factors.
You never know which company may assign the lowest risk to your data and give you the best deal, so comparing online is essential to smart auto insurance shopping.