A Publication of WTVP

As businesses and families continue to buy vehicles to use as a means for transportation, we continue the need for automobile insurance. When reviewing your car insurance, many factors impact the pricing structure of your policy. Below is a list of some of the items to consider.


Almost all companies run three reports on each driver before they bind coverage on your vehicles. First will be a Motor Vehicle Report (MVR). This is the history of your driving record according to the state in which you're licensed. The companies will then assign points to each violation, which works into their pricing model.

Next, they run a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE). This is a record of all claims either assigned to your social security number or the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of your car. This is information shared by insurance companies to verify the application you complete with your agent.

Finally, most carriers also run some type of insurance scoring. This score is based on a formula the company has created to review your past credit history, which they claim to have determined will affect your future losses. Paying your bills on time can have a big impact on your automobile insurance. Many companies offer a good student discount for children still in school. They'll be required to complete an application, along with providing the insurance company a copy of their most recent report card. The State of Illinois has been cracking down on irresponsible youthful operators in recent years by instituting a new law that can cause a young driver to loss driving privileges until age 18 based on two moving violations.

Discussion Topics with your Agent

To help avoid the changing costs of automobile insurance, you need to work with your agent to advise him or her of the uses of each vehicle. Companies rate your vehicle on whether the vehicle is for business or personal use and how many miles it's driven back and forth to work. They also want to know the annual miles each car averages and which drivers are allowed to drive which vehicles. Some companies allow you to assign drivers to vehicles, while others assume all drivers have use of all vehicles and price accordingly.

Another topic to discuss is the vehicle. As the automobile industry continues to produce more advanced vehicles, the changes have varying impacts on your insurance rates. If you have anti-lock brakes, airbags, or security systems, you may be eligible for discounts. You also want to make sure your agent is aware of any customizing you've done to your vehicle. Most policies have standard insurance language and can have exclusions for changes you've made to your vehicle. As your vehicles age, you also need to consider pulling full coverage off and driving with liability only. If your vehicle is paid off, and its value is only a couple thousand dollars, you need to re-evaluate what you're paying to have comprehensive and collision coverage. In one year, those premiums could be close to the total book value of the vehicle.

Remember that insurance companies don't see auto insurance as a maintenance policy, so they want small property damage claims submitted for reimbursement. With that knowledge, it would also be advantageous for you to increase your deductibles to receive the savings in premium.

This is just a sampling of hints to help you control the cost of your auto insurance. The insurance industry is changing rapidly, so make sure you do periodic reviews of your insurance portfolio. IBI