Car insurance by location
Hello everyone, my name is Joe and I am a new Commercial Lines Executive here at Encharter. I wanted to take a moment to talk to you about car insurance rates and how your neighbors can have a very big impact on them. And I wanted to illustrate that with my own experiences.
A tale of three cities
Six years ago, I lived alone in Florence, MA, and my auto insurance premium was very low. Then I had to move back in with my parents in Holyoke for a few months, and my rates went up almost $300 just because of the move from Florence to Holyoke. Later that year I married my wife and moved in with her in Springfield, and my rates went up again… this time by over $600! Even with the amazing driving records that both my wife and I had, I was still paying $900 more per year than I did when I lived in Florence.
So why was that? Why should where you live affect what your car insurance costs? Many people think “I̵7;m a good driver, that’s all that should matter.” Unfortunately, even if you are the best driver in the world, there are still many factors out of your control. In the insurance world, we call these risks – conditions that increase the likelihood of a claim occurring – and they can vary greatly depending on where you live. If you have any questions, please contact our office at 413.475.7283 or Fill out our quote form online today!
Below I will discuss some of the major location-based factors that can increase prices.
Number of accidents – If other drivers crash a lot in your city, that means some of them are more likely to crash into you. And people who drive recklessly often don’t have very good insurance coverage, so your rates may be higher to account for the increased risk of dangerous drivers in your area. Any of you who live near a large college may have seen your rates go up because sometimes college kids aren’t the best drivers and can make bad choices on a Saturday night. This is reflected in car insurance rates for college towns across the country.
Road construction/condition – When the road is being worked on, damage can occur to your vehicle. Whether it’s gravel scratching your paint, a tire popping from a nasty pothole, or a rear-end accident when the driver in front of you brakes because they didn’t see the construction until the last second. The more construction in your city, the more your prices will be affected.
Severity of accidents – Just as important as the number of accidents in your area is how serious they are. Let’s say there may be 10 accidents per year in a small town due to slipping on ice. If all of these are on small country roads where people are already driving slowly, the overall damage will be low and people are unlikely to be injured. If the same 10 accidents occurred in a big city on a busy highway, the vehicles would likely be traveling at higher speeds, and both the physical damage to the cars and the chance that someone would be seriously injured (or killed) would increase dramatically. If an insurance company is likely to have to pay large claims in a city, they will charge more for people who live in that city. Springfield, where I live, for example, in June 2022 was 11Th worst in the nation of the most dangerous cities to drive in.
Car thefts – Most of us have only seen car thefts in the movies. It’s flashy and exciting and the hero is always justified when they hotwire someone’s car. In reality, it’s much worse, whether someone steals your entire car or just a part of it (like a catalytic converter). You feel violated and lost afterwards, and you’re not the only one. The more car thefts that occur in a city, the higher the city’s car insurance rates will be.
Total number of cars – This is a simple numbers game. If 5% of all drivers have accidents, there will be far more accidents in a city with 30,000 drivers than in a city with 300 drivers. More cars also means more traffic, which can lead to more accidents. These numbers are reflected in the car insurance rates for each city and town.
Weather accident – Anyone who lives in New England knows the dangers of winter weather. However, if your city has a lot of damage to cars due to one or more weather events of any kind in a year, it can drastically affect prices. Locally, we saw that happen with prices in Palmer & Springfield after the 2011 tornado damage, and nationwide, rates in areas prone to hurricanes, floods or wildfires are often much higher than in areas far from those risks.
So what can we do?
There are certain realities about the insurance world that none of us can control. Car insurance in Springfield will always be more than the same car insurance in Florence. But you don’t want to fall into the trap of dropping coverage to try to lower your premium. With the roads filled with distracted drivers, with weather events getting worse every year and with crimes like car theft on the rise… you don’t want to get caught with minimal coverage if you have to make a claim. Our agents are happy to review your driving history, your vehicles and your coverages to make sure you have the right coverage to protect you, your family and your cars.
But many operators also offer options to lower your prices. Some offer driver monitoring apps to reward people who drive safely. Others have low mileage discounts for those who drive less. Combining your car policy with a home or rental policy can also create big savings. There are many options, and the first step is to talk to your licensed Encharter agent about them. Give us one callsend us one E-mail, or come into our office and we will be happy to review your coverages. And if you’re planning a move (or if your child is taking a car to college in another city), ask us to map out what premium changes you should be prepared for. Stay safe and remember that in an unknown world of insurance, Encharter can show you the way.
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