Safe Drivers Get Cheaper Rates, Experts Say


Car insurance specialists are warning many Americans against dropping their policies in light of the severe economic environment. Recent statistics are indicating a higher percentage of uninsured drivers on the roads.

TETRRF-00002712-001Traditionally, the number of uninsured motorists coincides with the unemployment rate. With the unemployment rate expected to reach 10 percent by next year, experts fear more uninsured motorists on the nation’s highways and roads.

Industry analysts say that with no end in sight for the economic recession, the U.S. can see more uninsured drivers behind the wheel. As a precaution, they are suggesting that motorists undergo re-education courses or driving classes. Enrolling in defensive driving classes can mean significant discounts for motorists in some 25 states.

Experts contend that enrolling in accredited driving classes and programs can shave off up to 15 percent from insurance premiums. Discounts are also valid for three years, after which, drivers have to re-take the course to qualify for premium cuts. At present, several organizations and groups sponsor special classes for drivers who want to improve their driving knowledge and get discounts on their coverage as well.

In the state of New York, the AAA has been holding driving courses for some 30 years now. These courses are designed to refresh the driving skills or motorists, most of which have not taken re-education classes since the day they acquired their licenses.

There are even online courses developed by private companies in cooperation with the DMV and other government agencies. Designed to act as refresher courses, the online classes are just the same as the classroom version, albeit, more technologically advanced. Drivers have to navigate through virtual streets and deal with different driving situations.

Insurance providers also prefer low risk drivers, analysts say. Generally, motorists with clean driving records can get lower premiums compared to drivers with multiple violations. Insurers look at driving records to assess if a policyholder is a potential liability. A bad driving record would indicate a high probability that a driver would get into an accident and file for a claim. A safe driver, on the other hand, would be cheaper to insure.

Traffic violations and fines can make insurance rates skyrocket, according to experts. Moving violations and even citations can also tarnish a driving record and make a permanent impression on insurance companies. Worse, getting arrested and charged for DUI can mean skyrocketing premiums for at least three years, specialists add.