As a statewide increase in vehicle collisions and insurance claims works to drive up car insurance rates, insurers are working to create ways for customers to save.
There are a myriad of factors agencies consider when determining insurance rates, and the data used varies by the company. Paris-based Peeples Insurance, for example, looks at everything from a customer’s driving record to their zip code to their marital status. Along with traditional data such as age and gender, State Farm considers factors such as changing technology in vehicles, future storm impacts and different demographic trends, public affairs specialist Gina Wilken said. In Texas, hail damage and storms are particular risks the agency notes, she said. Occupation can even factor into how much an insurance premium will cost.
That’s because insurance is based on risk. Insurers typically “set rates using predictive factors such as your age, gender and history of crash and claims,” writes Alex Glenn for NerdWallet. But in today’s highly technological world, many insurers are asking customers if they may track their driving habits in order to provide them a greater discount.
Progressive’s Snapshot program bases insurance rates on individual driver factors, also known as usage-based insurance. Drivers can download a mobile app or install a device in the car that tracks drivers’ speed, brake frequency, cellphone usage and drive times. All these factors can earn drivers a discount, according to Progressive’s website. While the agency warns other pricing factors exist, and rates could increase with high-risk driving, Progressive said Snapshot earns the average driver a $130 discount, along with a $26 signup discount.
Tips for improving Snapshot discounts include limiting hard brakes and accelerations; avoiding late night driving; driving less overall and avoiding cellphone use while driving, according to Progressive’s website.
State Farm also offers a “Drive Safe & Save” discount through its mobile app and Bluetooth car beacon. The program tracks driving data and odometer miles to determine rates. The discount is adjusted at each policy renewal, typically every six months, according to the company’s website. “Drive Safe & Save” can save customers 30% and offers a 5% discount just for enrolling, State Farm Public Affairs Specialist Gina Wilken said.
State Farm bases its rates off future risks, not isolated incidents, Wilken said. The agency has one of the largest market shares in the state at 15%, and boasted lower rates over the past year.
“Starting in January 2018 to the present, State Farm has had a 12% decrease in insurance rates,” Wilken said.