There are many reasons why drivers want to avoid collisions or accidents. Expensive auto repair, drawn-out interactions with police and insurance agents, and potential time spent without a car are all near the top of the list. However, there's one consequence of these events that could have a long-term impact on drivers: insurance rate increases.
Insurance companies are in the dark
A recent report from InsuranceQuotes.com detailed how insurance providers deal with traffic tickets. According to the data, just 19 percent of U.S. drivers who have received a violation in the past five years are paying more for their insurance because of it. That's a significant drop from 2013, when more than 31 percent had their premiums increase.
The reason for this could simply be because insurance companies aren't paying close attention to driving history. At the very least, these organizations are being selective about which motorists they check. InsuranceQuotes.com noted that it costs these companies more to look into the history of experienced drivers.
"Insurers typically don't know as much about you as you might think," said Laura Adams, senior industry analyst for insuranceQuotes.com. "Oftentimes, unless you're a young driver, they are unaware of minor tickets and violations you receive on the road."
Problems for young drivers
However, companies know to follow the habits of younger drivers. Studies have found that this age group is more likely to fall victim to distracted driving, and they are often known for texting behind the wheel. This reputation for dangerous behaviors - even if it is unfounded in certain situations - has an impact on how insurance companies act.
"Younger people have a bad reputation of being risky drivers and typically face additional scrutiny from insurance carriers," Adams explained. "Most carriers check a young driver's record every six months, but won't regularly check an older driver's as these checks can be costly - and older drivers typically are safer drivers."
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety confirmed this train of thought with a recent report. Its study showed that distractions are responsible for 6 out of 10 crashes involving teens. This includes cellphone use, interacting with other passengers, looking at something other than the road or even dancing along to music. According to the study, these behaviors frequently led to drivers taking their eyes off the road for about 4.1 seconds out of the six before an accident, which in turn gave way to injuries, car damage and other problems.
How to avoid major expenses
There are ways to avoid car-related expenses. You could start by paying out of pocket at an auto repair franchise following an accident, which helps you avoid filing insurance claims and facing the premium increases that may come about as a result.
People who have accumulated some traffic tickets in the past have options as well. InsuranceQuotes.com recommended enrolling in traffic safety school or similar driving classes. Motorists who complete these courses are often allowed to have negative points removed from driving records. This is also a great way to avoid future problems. Whether you brush up on defensive techniques or learn how to change tires in a pinch, the lessons may be extremely helpful on the roads.
Another underrated aspect of vehicle maintenance is making sure you keep up with your car's registration and your own licensing. Driving with an expired license or out-of-date plates comes with a heavy fine and potentially even suspensions. Pay attention to expiration dates and follow a schedule to guarantee your paperwork is getting the same necessary care as your engine.