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Farm Bureau Insurance®*  |  Insurance Products  |  Auto Insurance
Cost of Auto Insurance
How does my auto insurance company decide what it charges me? That’s probably the most asked, least understood question about motor vehicle insurance coverage. Each insurer has rates for each type of car, each driver and every geographical area in the state. Each company also has its own surcharges and discounts available that impact these rates.

1. They need to make enough money to cover all their policyholders’ claims and pay their overhead expenses (staffing, light bill, phone bill, etc.), and if they’re publicly held, still have enough money left over for their shareholders.
2. They want to balance their risk by charging higher rates to drivers who file more costly claims, more often and lower rates to those drivers who file less expensive claims, less often.
3. They want to stay competitive with other insurers in the markets they do business.


Colorado Government Regulations
How your insurance rates are set also depends in part on which state you live in, because rates are regulated on a state-by-state basis. The insurer has to follow the regulations of the state you live in.
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Auto Insurance Q&A
Why do things like my age, gender, credit and driving record affect what I pay for auto insurance?
What you pay for insurance is largely based on what kind of risk the company predicts you will be, based on known factors like your driving history, the kind of car you drive, how old you are, your gender, your marital status and where you live. These judgments aren’t just based on instincts or whims. Insurance rates are based on a wealth of statistical data compiled by your company over a long period of time (commonly up to 20 years). Most insurance companies divide auto risks into three basic types:
Preferred (low risk)
Standard (average risk)
Non-standard (a nice way of saying high risk)
 
Why does it matter what kind of car I drive?
Increasingly insurance companies are basing insurance rates on their claims experience when it comes to the safety record of the make and model of vehicle you are driving. Factors insurance companies may likely consider: crashworthiness, safety features (i.e. airbags, automatic seatbelts, anti-lock brakes), popularity with thieves, cost to repair, age of the vehicle. Every year new cars are separated into various categories according to price by insurers. The number of categories vary from one insurance company to another, but a basic premium is assigned to each price group. For more information on crash testing click here for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
 
Why do my premiums go up if I get a traffic ticket or I’m involved in an accident?
Getting several tickets in a short period of time or being involved in an accident can put you in a higher risk classification depending on the severity of the violation and cost of the accident. However, your rates won’t automatically go up.
 
Why do auto insurance premiums vary depending on what I use my car for?
Typically, cars are classified based on whether they are used for driving to work, business, pleasure or farming. Cars used primarily for pleasure tend to have the lowest premiums, while cars used for business generally have higher premiums. Insurance companies determine classifications by the number of miles driven per year since the more you drive your car the more likely you are to get into an accident.
 
What is the average cost of auto insurance?
The average insurance expenditure is calculated by adding all auto insurance premium collected for liability, comprehensive and collision coverages, and dividing by the number of insured cars for the year. This average is based on all policies - including liability-only and policies with optional comprehensive and collision coverage. Limits on policies vary widely and are based on state requirements as well as consumer choice. The average auto insurance expenditure nationwide was $795 in 2007, compared to $829 in 2005.

Source: National Association of Insurance Commissioners.



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