3 Factors Drivers Should Get Right on Their Car Insurance Quotes

Apart from the car you drive, the driving record and your credit score, there are a lot more factors that play into how insurers determine your rates. Every time you get a car insurance quote, the list of questions your agent (or online system) asks you does more than keep a record of you, as every answer plays a role large or small into the final number you see. Here are three factors that you definitely want to get as accurately as possible because they make a larger impact on your rates.

Mileage: To the insurance companies, the more miles you drive, the higher the chances for accidents and claims. On the other hand, if you drive less than you did before, your insurance cost should drop relatively lower, all else equal. Most of the larger insurance companies, such as Allstate, GEICO, and State Farm, assess average mileage driven by brackets and when you fall within a bracket, there is a specific factor assigned to your policy that eventually plays into the calculation of your premium. This is why a pay-by-mile program such as Progressive's SnapShot is able to advertise itself as a savings opportunity to consumers; chances are, you followed the agent's suggestion and went with the most common average annual mileage for commuters, but in fact your real average mileage falls below that factor bracket. Take a few minutes to measure the actual distance between home and work, and calculate your annual mileage based on that.

Age first licensed: When you were first licensed determines how many years of driving experience you have. It is no secret that teenage drivers cost more to insure (or, now you know!). Apart from being associated with reckless driving behavior, teenagers also have fewer years of driving experience compared to older drivers. In fact, a recently updated study by the Insurance Information Institute on teen drivers stated that motor vehicle crashes are among the main causes of death among drivers 15 to 20 years old. Again, insurers use a formula to predict and calculate the risk of their policyholders, and the number of years licensed is one factor that they zero in on. A one year difference actually does move the needle, especially if you're a student driver .

Primary driver assignment:
When you have more than one car and multiple drivers in the house, your insurance company will want you to identify at least one driver per car to be the primary driver so they know who will be driving the car the most often. If your insurer allows it, it's most affordable if the safest driver is designated as the primary driver of the most expensive car to insure. This could be the person who has the best driving record, longest driving history (as long as he or she is between the age of 25 and 65, as insurers find anyone below or above that age to be higher risk.

The bottom line is, car insurance is a complicated matter and the more you take control, the more likely you can save while still getting the coverage you need. Another piece of advice for consumers would be to compare quotes across at least three insurers before buying a policy. Taking auto insurance rates in New York as an example, rates could differ by as much as 4x between the most expensive and cheapest insurance provider.