Where and Why Do Drivers Pay More For Auto Insurance?

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    Nationwide, millions of Americans may be concerned about the rising cost of their auto insurance coverage, and many have good reason to do so. However, when it comes to the most popular vehicles sold nationwide each year, the ways in which those costs can add up varies widely by where they live. As a consequence, it might be important for insurance agents to start doing more to try to educate their clients about why they pay what they do for coverage on an ongoing basis, to help avoid some of the frustrations that can arise as a result.

    In the 25 biggest cities nationwide, the people who tend to pay the most when they drive the most popular sedans, versus the most popular SUVs or trucks, according to new data from the consumer financial advice site Nerdwallet. In all, the average premium on a sedan comes to about $1,581 per year, versus $1,454 and $1,443; the reason for this is that larger vehicles tend to have better safety ratings. In fact, SUVs in California, for instance, actually cost less to insure than sedans or trucks.

    What else is at play?
    Of course, the cost of coverage in, say, Detroit is far greater than that in Austin, Texas, the report said. That’s because even the best drivers in some areas are more likely to get into crashes or have their car stolen in some cities than others, and they pay higher rates as a result, regardless of their driving record.

    In fact, Detroit had the highest auto insurance premiums in the nation by a wide margin, as it usually does, the report said. Across the eight best-selling automobiles, the average premium paid in the Motor City was more than $5,435, well above the roughly $2,127 seen in second-place New York City. Meanwhile, the lowest such premiums on these vehicles was observed in Columbus, Ohio, where the average price tag for coverage is just $950 per year.

    What’s interesting, though, is that another issue over which drivers have no control but which can greatly affect their interest rates is weather, the report said. Places where there is more snow or rain over the course of a year tend to face higher premiums than those with dry climates. And this is added cost is usually especially true of drivers with sedans, because trucks and SUVs tend to do a little better in bad weather.

    Consumers may not always know why they're paying as much as they do for coverage, especially if they have clean driving records.Consumers may not always know why they’re paying as much as they do for coverage, especially if they have clean driving records.

    What can agents do?
    Auto insurance agents will typically be wise to keep in close contact with their clients, and do more to help keep them informed about what their policies do and do not cover, and why. This is because polls generally show people tend to feel better about their coverage when they understand it, and have a good working relationship with insurers or agents. That, in turn, will typically translate into higher customer satisfaction ratings for agents, which can lead to higher rates of client retention going forward.