Imagine moving with your family to your dream house to the suburbs. Gone is the hustle and bustle of city life! You’re now in the midst of what most people will call “peace”, where you actually know the names of your neighbors, where the pace of life seems to slow from a mad spring to the finish line to a leisurely walk in the park. Ah, this is the life!
Everything appears to be perfect…Except that during the weekdays, you will have to drive more than 10 miles back to the accursed city which you are trying to escape, and work in your office cubicle for 8 hours straight. For the sake of your family and your own sanity, you are prepared to take this bullet for the team. However, what you didn’t expect was the hike in insurance premiums when you next report your daily one-way commute distance.
Questions hover in your mind: Why does this happen? What’s the correlation between the distance you commute every day in your car, and the auto insurance rates you have to pay?
Why do long commutes increase auto insurance rates?
If you have been a “victim” of this hike, you will be wondering: I’m just driving for longer distances; why is my insurer trying to take more money out of my pocket by hiking premiums? Well, you will have to understand that if you drive for longer distances, the probability of you being in an accident is much higher than people who, say, drive less than a mile per day. It is very logical – the longer you are in contact with other road-users, the more chance you will have of getting into an accident. You might be a very safe driver, but if the other motorists somehow slammed their vehicles into you, you’re still in an accident. Traveling longer distances just gives these reckless drivers more chances to do so.
Hence, to protect their profits, auto insurance companies will raise your auto insurance rates according to the distance you commute in a one-way trip. The rates may vary, but most auto insurance companies will only increase your auto insurance premiums if you’re driving more than 3 miles in a one-way trip. At less than 3 miles, you’re considered to be a “pleasure commuter”, and no surcharges will be applied. This increase in auto insurance rate from long commutes will peak at 20 miles – no further hikes will be applied to your auto insurance premiums after 20 miles.
So, how do I save on auto insurance premiums for long commutes?
There is only one core concept on reducing auto insurance premiums for long commutes – drive less often! If you drive less often, the distance traveled through driving will logically be lower, thus reducing your auto insurance rates. Although auto insurance companies look at the distance of one-way trips to determine the increase in your auto insurance rates, your insurer may give you a bit of a leeway if you prove that you drive these ultra-long distances only once in a while.
In addition, you might want to carpool. Carpooling is an excellent method of saving on auto insurance premiums arising from long commutes. By carpooling, you’ll be able to also reduce the distance you drive. In addition, you’ll even be able to save on gas if you carpool!
There are people that advocate increasing the deductibles you pay for your comprehensive and collision coverage, so that your auto insurance premiums will be lower. As you know, the higher the deductibles you are willing to pay, the lower the premiums you have to fork out to maintain your auto insurance policy. However, this move is not recommended. As a regular road-user, you will be in contact with many other motorists on the roads. Who knows when the driver on your right will decide to swerve into your direction, causing an accident? With you using the roads at such a high frequency, it is inevitable for an auto accident, no matter how minor it is, to occur. As such, it will be counter-intuitive to raise your deductibles, knowing that you already have a higher probability of getting into an accident.
For many of us, these hikes in auto insurance premium from long commutes are unavoidable. We may not be able to switch jobs to one which is nearer to our homes because we’re bound by our contract. This hike may seem unreasonable. However, these rates are for the insurance companies to decide. All you can really do is to sigh, and pay the auto insurance premium.