Cheap car insurance. Virginia.

Auto insurance. Virginia.

From auto insurance guide

   Virginia has a competitive rating law. This means that different companies will be charging different prices for auto insurance. Choosing your insurance company is like choosing your favorite brands of other products. Price is important, but it should not be the only thing you think about. Before buying your insurance, you should consider contacting a number of insurance agents or companies to find the best combination of quality and price for your needs.

   If you decide to shop for auto insurance, the first step is to get to know the product you are buying. If you know what you want before you shop, you are less likely to buy what you do not need. Then, call several insurance companies or agents. Ask each one to give you a quotation of how much the annual premium for a policy insuring your auto would cost.

   Most companies sell policies that are renewable every six months. Consider buying a one-year policy if it is available so that there will be more time between premium increases. And be sure you ask if the prices you are quoted are for six months or one year. Tell each one how much insurance you want and describe yourself and your auto. Many companies have premium payment plans available. However, a separate service charge may be added to each installment. Premiums can also be financed through premium finance companies. A separate service charge and interest will be applied when financing your premium through a premium finance company. Any additional charges should be considered when comparing premiums. Use the Automobile Insurance Quotation Worksheet at the back of this guide to keep track of the information you will need to give them and the prices they give you.

   The Bureau of Insurance publishes a consumer guide designed especially for comparing sample auto insurance premiums in Virginia. Contact the Bureau for a copy of this guide.

   Once you have narrowed your search to two or three companies with the best range of prices, you should consider each company’s reputation for financial stability, policyholder service, underwriting practices, and claims handling practices. Service is difficult to measure. However, you can get some indication of a company’s quality by talking to different insurance agents. You may also ask your friends and neighbors who are policyholders of the companies that you are considering about experiences with their companies.

Saving on auto insurance

1. Tell your insurance agent or company certain facts about yourself and your driving habits. If these facts apply to you, they may entitle you to a lower premium:

  • the existence of an anti-theft device, automatic seatbelts and/or air bags;
  • the car is used for pleasure driving only; you do not drive it to work;
  • you are in a car pool and drive to work an average of no more than two days per week;
  • you are a full time student and qualify as a good student (generally B average or above);
  • the distance you drive to work is short;
  • you drive less than 7,500 miles per year;
  • you have had no accidents or violations;
  • successful completion of a driver education or defensive driving course.
2. Ask whether the insurance company plans to return some of your premium dollars. Many mutual companies pay dividends to their policyholders at the end of the year. In some cases, dividends amount to more than 10% of premium costs. Remember that dividend amounts are not guaranteed. Many consumers have failed to benefit from various discounts simply because they did not supply the necessary information to their agent.

3. Ask whether a company sells a Family Auto Policy, a Personal Auto Policy, or a Special Package Auto Policy. Discuss the differences in the coverage among the three different policies with your agent.

4. Ask your agent if he charges any additional fees over and above his commission. Agents are allowed to charge fees for services, such as photocopying, mailing and faxes, as long as the applicant or policyholder consents in writing before the services are performed. A schedule of fees must be kept in the agent's office. If you think your agent is charging too much, check with other agents to find out if they charge additional fees.

5. Ask if a company charges a membership fee when a policy is issued or renewed. Some companies have additional charges not included in the annual premium amount that can significantly increase the amount you will have to pay.

6. Do your shopping as far in advance as possible. This will give you time to consider more companies and it will prevent a hasty decision. Remember, policyholders who change companies at times other than the renewal date of a policy are charged for the administrative costs of canceling the policy.

7. If you have been turned down by one insurance company because you had an auto accident or traffic violation, try other companies. Do not assume that you will be turned down by all companies. Just as companies have different premiums, they also have different underwriting standards. Keep trying. If several companies with low premiums turn you down, try some companies that have higher premiums.

8. If all else fails and you are unable to obtain auto insurance, any licensed agent can obtain insurance for you through the Virginia Automobile Insurance Plan. The Plan should be a last resort because the premiums are often higher than those of private companies.

Information for Seniors

   Virginia law requires insurance companies to give a reduction in premiums to persons 55 years of age and older if they have successfully completed a motor vehicle accident prevention course approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles. Each insurer must determine the appropriate reduction. The qualification for reduced premiums is good for three years following the completion of the accident prevention course. Insurance companies are also permitted to make an appropriate reduction in premiums based solely on age to an insured person over the age of 55.

   If you are a senior citizen be sure to ask how much of a discount you are entitled to receive.

Information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)

   Teen drivers have the highest crash risk of any age group. Per mile traveled, teen drivers have the highest involvement rates in all types of crashes, from those involving only property damage to those that are fatal.

   Due to the innate fact that teen drivers lack experience driving a car, mistakes will be made. After all, that is the nature of learning a new skill. However, the ramifications of a mistake behind the wheel of a 3,000 lb. vehicle are far more drastic than most other decisions you make on a daily basis.

   The NHTSA has gathered information on teen drivers nationally and has noted that:
  • Teen drivers' fatal crashes are more likely to occur when other teenagers are in the car. The risk increases with every additional passenger.
  • Night driving is a high-risk activity for beginners. Per mile driven, the nighttime fatal crash rate for teen drivers is about twice as high as during the day.
  • Teenagers generally are less likely than adults to use safety belts.
  • More of teen drivers' fatal crashes involve only the teen's vehicle. Typically these are high-speed crashes in which the driver lost control.
   There is a good chance that either you or a friend will be involved in a teen-related accident. Avoiding some of the issues presented above will reduce your risk of injury.

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