High risk auto insurance in Connecticut is not always cheap. But there are many policies that are underwritten by the most respected and biggest companies that can keep premiums affordable until the rate starts to gradually reduce. And that is one positive about nonstandard policies. Eventually, your premium has to come down! And often, premiums reduce quite a bit since you will not need your SR 22 bond any more, as your tickets and accidents eventually are dropped from your MVR record.
If you find yourself in this substandard category, of course, your CT vehicle rates have drastically increased. If you’re fortunate, the large increase will be isolated to a single vehicle or perhaps only the driver that has most (or all) of the tickets and accidents. Of course sometimes, it may just be many little claims instead of one big one.
Often, turning in three claims that total $1,000 in damages, will impact your rate more than submitting one $10,000 claim. This also often occurs for homeowner’s policies, which is one reason why higher deductibles often make the most sense. We also discuss this situation below.
Insurers often frown upon the “quantity” of claims just as much as the amount of money that is paid out. For example, if you have four small claims totaling $2,000 in damages, they may be viewed more negatively then a single $25,000 claim. And here’s a tip: Accidents involving your vehicle (only) often create the most concern for underwriters.
Although drinking or texting may not have been the cause, many times it is suspected. Single-vehicle mishaps, especially late at night, are viewed with extreme caution by an underwriter. Often, it is a good idea to furnish an explanation regarding the details why you were on the road at such a late hour.
This information should be provided to the agent/broker, who can ensure the underwriter is aware of the reason for the odd-hours driving. Repeat accidents in the morning hours, without just cause for being out at that time, could result in a terminated policy. Of course, a single DUI or “Hit And Run” may cause the same reaction. And any violation involving a school bus or speeding in a school zone will have serious consequences.
Request A Copy Of Your Driving Record
One of the most important things to do is to request a copy of your driving and accident record from the Department of Motor Vehicles. You should also ask for a printout of your claim history with your current company. Whether you stay with your existing company (which is probably the best option if you have multiple violations), or attempt to change to a different carrier, you’ll need to know the exact dates and details of every incident for the last 3-5 years. And that applies to all drivers in the household, not just you.
If there are two or more violations (or at-fault accidents) that are about to drop off your record, the best advice may be to stay put and wait a few months before attempting to change car insurance coverage. The magnitude of the rate reduction could be large, perhaps as much as 30%-50%. So why jeopardize a substantial rate reduction by applying for a new policy to early. And each year you wait, you may see reductions as much as 15%-25%.
If your “bad” drivers moved out of the household (college doesn’t count!), and can show proof of residence, you may be able to remove any surcharges that they were responsible for. Also, you may become eligible again for discounts that were temporarily lost.
It’s possible that your carrier will request proof that the risk is no longer present in the household. A copy of a rent, mortgage, utility or phone bill with the verified new address is usually sufficient. Also, if the non-rated driver (now in a different household) wants to drive your covered vehicle (with permission, of course), it should be allowed.
Shop! Naturally, our website (after you request a quote) will handle all of the research and shopping for you. But you won’t know if there are better available offers unless you look. You can also take a defensive driving course. They’re available in many areas and the cost of the course will probably be offset by the savings in your premium.
Perhaps a bit drastic, but exchanging, trading or selling your vehicle and replacing it with a less expensive vehicle could make a substantial difference. After your shift from non-standard to standard is complete, you could shift back to a more expensive car. Of course, keep your record clean during this transition.
Impact Of Tickets And Accidents
Non at-fault accidents and other incidents (such as vandalism, theft, fire etc…) must also be disclosed. While each auto insurance company treats them differently, these incidents must be reviewed by the underwriter along with any other blemish on the record. Accidents where the other driver received a citation may have little or no impact on the underwriter’s decision.
But if both parties were at fault, that may count against you. If neither party was cited, it may depend upon how much (if any) of the damage you were held responsible for. If you are involved in an accident or altercation on private property, and you feel the other party was at fault, if possible, take pictures, video and comprehensive notes.
It’s likely the police will not be able to issue citations, so any evidence you present to a claims adjuster will help your cause. It’s also possible that you may be able to avoid paying a deductible, if the damages can be proven to be caused by the other party. The more written and video proof you have, the greater the likelihood the other person’s company will have to pay.
Role Of The Underwriter
An underwriter for your insurance application does not necessarily determine your exact premium. They will evaluate many pieces of information, including your driving record, how long you have been insured with them, claims history and possible credit history. However, they can determine if that particular company (Geico or Farmers, for example) will accept you as a new policyholder. Of course, often, we can anticipate a decision in advance, which saves much time and paperwork.
Since they may choose to reject your application, it is never a good idea to cancel your active policy and then start checking rates from other insurance companies. Keep your existing coverage active unless you are 100% certain you have been accepted AND you are going to actually make the change. This confirmation should be in writing (hard-copy, fax or email).
Rates are often quite different when you are comparing multiple companies. Underwriting guidelines and cancellation procedures are never identical from one carrier to the next. But you can’t simply haphazardly apply to handfuls of companies. For that reason, knowing, or perhaps getting a good inclination of an underwriting decision BEFORE you apply for a policy is a must.
Application Process Tips
Your own personal health history could also impact your premiums. Often, when you reach a specified age (perhaps 70 or 80), you may be asked to provide documentation that you are in good health, although not all companies request that information. If there are serious medical issues that impede your driving ability, your rate could possibly be impacted, as could your driving privileges. So staying fit is a must.
In rare cases, a physical may be required as a condition of being named as a covered driver on the policy. And typically, another physical may be required in 2-4 years. So if you have serious medical concerns, don’t change companies.
Sometimes a “non-bound” application will be accepted, and this method is recommended. This option often allows you to apply for an auto insurance policy without committing to the purchase. With many companies, no advanced payment is required, although there is no guarantee that you will be offered a Connecticut policy. If your hesitant if you should change policies, this option makes sense.
September 3 2014 – Non-standard prices in the state have remained stable. From 2013 to 2014, average rates slightly decreased. Compared to other states, Connecticut prices remain among the highest, ranked 40th out of 50 states. Michigan and Alaska have similar pricing while Iowa, Idaho, South Dakota and Wisconsin feature the best offers. Typically, states with the largest cities and metropolitan areas, are the most expensive for non-standard drivers.