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Why do Insurers Care About the Way You Drive?

Having car insurance is not a question of choice when it comes to respecting the state’s laws, but a question of making the best choice and keeping it when you start shopping for a policy because you need to be protected as a driver and a car owner.

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The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) offers the public a comprehensive guide regarding the need for car insurance, the liabilities, the coverage (varying from state to state and from one company to another) and the deductibles, also mentioning those special cases of people being involved in accidents, losing their insurance or being unable to find a proper insurance policy.

However, besides the rates and the deductibles, there are more things to know about you as a driver and car insurance owner, as driving, unfortunately, may involve accidents, injuries and death.

Let’s take a look over the numbers first

The U.S. Department of Transportation together with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration published in August this year a synthetic report assessing the data concerning motor vehicle traffic fatalities that occurred in the first quarter of 2013. The results may be reassuring for all of us, as the report state that “an estimated 7,200 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes. This represents a decrease of about 4.4 percent as compared to the 7,530 fatalities that were projected to have occurred in 2012.”

On the other hand, if you take a look at every State Justice Department statistics, you will find worrying numbers regarding people getting arrested for driving under the influence. California was on the first place, with 214,828 DUI arrests in 2012, followed by states such as Texas, North Carolina and many others.

How do these reports correlate?

Don’t think for a second that these statistics don’t correlate with each other. Even if at a first glance, the fatalities reported this year may lead to the conclusion that people are now driving more safely and more responsibly, other numbers (including the ones regarding DUI / DWI) show that there are still a lot of people driving recklessly, without any concern for their cars, lives and, most importantly, about others’ safety. Some concerning statistics provided by the MADD Organization (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) tell us that:

  • Almost every 90 seconds, a person is injured in a drunk driving crash (as reported by NHTSA FARS in 2011)

  • An average drunk driver has driven drunk 80 times before first arrest (according to the CDC reports in 2011)

  • Every day in America, another 27 people die as a result of drunk driving crashes (data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration FARS in 2012.


As you see just by taking a look over the data, the problem with risk drivers is that they are a constant and real threat to themselves and society. Besides any legal, medical and moral aspects that are commonly associated with this problem, there is also the insurance problems we mentioned earlier. So let’s see how these accidents, incidents and fatalities are seen through the eyes of insurers.

Good driver, bad driver. What does the insurance company think about you?

It is possible that you are a clumsy driver and thus attract your friends and family’s constant reproaches or mockery and yet to have a perfectly clean record and be the favorite client of your insurance company. On the other side of the fence, you are a skilled and experienced driver, a real Michael Schumacher on the streets, a real Dominic Toretto in car mechanics and skills, and yet to have troubles of finding an insurance policy or being the constant concern of your insurer due to your multiple traffic violations or DUI record.

So how risky are you anyway?

From one state to another and from one company to another, risk drivers are defined and classified with little difference, but the main criteria is the same for everybody.

  1. Low – risk driver

You have a clean record, good insurance credit scores, not many major traffic violations tickets piled up on your record, you own a house, you don’t file claims like a maniac and you definitely haven’t been arrested or charged with DUI.

  1. Standard risk driver

It is only human to make mistakes, and insurance companies are not absurd. They will consider you a “standard” if you have some minor traffic violations, only an at-fault accident case but no more, an insurance policy and average scores.

  1. High – risk driver

These are the ones that make it to those afore – mentioned statistics and are insurance companies less favorite clients. A high risk driver is the one with a tome of major violation traffic records, bad insurance scores, a history of DUI, many at – fault accidents and so on. There are still other criteria to consider and if you take a look over you will not only find a series of very well researched articles regarding the extended  insurance risks drivers are exposed to if having records of DUI, the lack of at least a 6 months prior insurance, driving with the license suspended or revoked and so on, but they also offer some protective solutions to all who fit the high – risk driver profile, meaning the SR22 insurance, a safety net and a wise decision for all those with a less clean traffic and insurance record.

Listening to the good advice

According to the Insurance Information Institute, as a driver, you are bound to dangers and accidents, even if you never even considered drinking before sitting behind the wheel or speeding havoc on the streets impersonating some movie characters: “you could be the victim of a hit-and-run driver, a deer could dart in front of your car resulting in a crash, or a tree could fall and crush your car during a windstorm” experts from I.I.I. say and you should take into account their advice.

What other coverage should you consider besides the current liability protection you already have?

The experts from I.I.I consider that you should keep in mind to ask your insurer about:

  • Collision

  • Comprehensive

  • Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Coverage

  • Rental Reimbursement

Besides driving responsibly, there are other means of co-existing in peace with the law and your insurance company. There are a lot of tips on how to keep your rates affordable and also a lot of resources for you to get informed on the risks of having a minor at home, a driving teenager or on how to exclude a family member from your policy to save some money. Get informed and… drive safely!