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Car Insurance By Location

By April 10, 2023July 20th, 2023No Comments

Hi everyone, I’m Joe, and I’m a new Commercial Lines Executive here at Encharter. I wanted to take a moment to talk to you about car insurance rates, and how your neighbors might have a very big impact on them. And I wanted to illustrate that with my own experiences.


A Tale of Three Cities

Six years ago, I was living alone in Florence, MA, and the premium for my car insurance policy was very low. Then I had to move back with my parents in Holyoke for a few months, and my rates jumped by almost $300 just because of the move from Florence to Holyoke. Later that year, I married my wife and moved in with her in Springfield, and my rates jumped again… this time by over $600! Even with the great driving records both I and my wife had, I was still paying $900 more per year than I did when I lived in Florence.


So why was that? Why should where you live affect what your car insurance costs? A lot of people think “I’m a good driver, that’s all that should matter.” Unfortunately, even if you’re the best driver in the world, there are still a lot of factors out of your control. In the insurance world, we call those Hazards – conditions that increase the likelihood of a claim happening – and they can vary greatly depending on where you live.  If you have any questions, contact our office at 413.475.7283 or Complete our online quote form today!


Hazard County

Below I’ll discuss some of the big location-based factors that can increase rates.


Number of Accidents – If other drivers are getting into a lot of crashes in your town, that means that some of them are more likely to crash into you. And folks who drive recklessly often do not have very good insurance coverage, so your rates may be higher to account for the increased hazard of dangerous drivers in your area. Any of you who live near a large college might have seen your rates get higher because college kids sometimes are not the best drivers, and may make poor choices on a Saturday night. This is reflected in the car insurance rates of college towns across the country.

Road Construction/Condition – Whenever the road is being worked on, damage can happen to your vehicle. Whether it’s gravel scratching your paint, a tire popping from a nasty pothole, or a rear-end accident when the driver in front of you slams on their brakes because they didn’t see the construction until the last second. The more construction in your town, the more your rates will be affected.


Severity of Accidents – Just as important as the number of accidents in your area is how bad they are. Let’s say there might be 10 accidents a year in a small town due to slipping on the ice. If these are all on small country roads where folks are driving slowly already, the overall damage caused will be low, and people are not likely to be hurt. If those same 10 accidents happened in a big city on a crowded highway, the vehicles would likely be traveling at higher speeds, and both the physical damage to the cars and the chance that someone would get seriously hurt (or killed) increase dramatically. If an insurance company is likely to have to pay big claims in a city, they are going to charge more for folks living in that city. Springfield, where I live, for example, as of June 2022 was 11th worst in the nation of most dangerous cities to drive in.


Car Thefts – Most of us have only seen car theft in the movies. It’s flashy and exciting and the hero is always justified when they hotwire someone’s car. In reality, it’s much worse, whether someone is stealing your entire car or just a part of it (like a catalytic converter). You feel violated and lost afterward, and you’re not the only one. The more car thefts that occur in a town, the higher that town’s car insurance rates will be.


Total Number of Cars – This one is a simple numbers game. If 5% of all drivers get into accidents, then there will be a lot more accidents in a city of 30,000 drivers than there will be in a town of 300 drivers. More cars also means more traffic, which can lead to more accidents. Those numbers are reflected in the car insurance rates of each city and town.


Weather Woes – Anyone who lives in New England knows the dangers of winter weather. However, if your town has a lot of damage to cars because of one or more weather events of any kind in a year, that can drastically affect rates. Locally we saw that happen with rates in Palmer & Springfield after the tornado damage of 2011, and nationwide the rates in areas prone to hurricanes, floods, or wildfires are often much higher than in areas that are far from those hazards.


So What Can We Do?

There are certain realities about the insurance world that none of us can control. Car insurance in Springfield will always be more than the same car insurance in Florence. But you don’t want to fall into the trap of lowering coverage to try and lower your premium. With the roads filling with distracted drivers, with weather events getting more severe every year, and with crimes like car theft on the rise… you do not want to get caught with minimal coverage if you do have to make a claim. Our agents will happily go over your driving history, your vehicles, and your coverages to make sure that you have the proper coverage to protect you, your family, and your automobiles.


However, many carriers also offer options to help lower your rates. Some offer driver-monitoring apps to reward people who drive safely. Others have low mileage discounts for those who drive less. Bundling your auto policy with a Home or Renters policy can also create big savings. There are many options, and the first step is talking to your licensed Encharter agent about them. Give us a call, send us an email, or drop into our office and we’ll happily go over your coverages. And if you’re planning a move (or if your child is taking a car to college in another town), ask us to map out what premium changes you should be prepared for. Stay safe, and remember that in uncharted world of insurance, Encharter can show you the way.


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