Does Distracted Driving Affect Car Insurance Rates?

Distracted driving and car insurance do not mix well. Most people have heard that if you have an at-fault accident your car insurance prices will go up. But what happens to car insurance prices due to distracted driving incidents? Will your car insurance rate go up? What if it isn’t your fault? The answer may surprise you.

3 Ways Distracted Driving Will Cost You More on Your Car Insurance Costs

There are three ways the problem of distracted driving is costing us more money .We tend to think of car insurance in terms of our own experience and driving record. As brokers, we speak to clients every day about their driving record and look for ways to find discounts on their policies. Many of the discounts we are able to provide are linked to good driving records, rewarding drivers who haven’t had any claims, responsible or not. Distracted driving is not only dangerous, but may be causing you to pay more on your insurance rates even if you’re a good driver. Here’s how:

1.When You Have an Accident Because of Distracted Driving

If you have an accident and it is your fault, your rate will increase on your next insurance renewal.

If you have a not-at-fault accident distracted driving may cost you money too. You may lose special bonus discounts for never having had a claim.

2. When You Don’t Have an Accident

More accidents in general  also cause insurance companies to increase general car insurance rates. Insurance is based on distributing losses among the population, so if the losses or claims start to increase, then the rates in an area may increase even if you haven’t had an accident. Examples of this can be seen with the high rates for liability insurance in Ontario, or the increases in home insurance prices due to the water damage claims across the country. It’s in all our best interest to stop distracted driving so that we don’t pay for the costs.

3. If You Get a Ticket for Distracted Driving Your Car Insurance Can Go Up

Insurance companies give discounts to people who do not have any tickets, so by driving safely, you pay lower rates. Also, insurance companies surcharge drivers who have multiple moving violations, so if you start getting tickets, your insurance rate will go up. Distracted driving can cost you money even if you don’t have an accident.

Cut Costs on Your Car Insurance and Prevent Distracted Driving

Technology has helped make programs available with several insurance companies that can reduce your rates up to 25%. Usage-based insurance is a great program for anyone who is a good driver because it rewards good driving behavior by lowering your insurance costs.

Parents of teens and young drivers can really benefit from this program because it allows you to monitor driving habits while giving you an additional discount on your insurance policy. If you avoid distracted driving incidents like sudden breaking or drastic driving maneuvers, the usage-based insurance (UBI) system will monitor driving habits and reward safe driving by allowing the discount on your policy. Enrolling yourself or a teen driver in a UBI program can also be a great strategy to cut costs on those expensive rates for young drivers.

Young Driver Insurance and Distracted Driving

For young drivers, distracted driving is a major risk.  They already pay very high rates for insurance, the risk of distracted driving will cost even more.

Keeping Your Family Safe: Talk to Your Teen About Distracted Driving

According to an American study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 60 % of teen car crashes are caused by distracted driving.

Getting teens to stop distracted driving can be a big challenge and concern for parents. Having a discussion about the risks for young drivers with actual distracted driving statistics can help teens drive more safely. It is a good idea to discuss how to avoid distracted driving. Parents can teach teens the following so that they know they have alternatives to what can be devastating driving habits:

  • Pulling over to a safe spot if something is distracting in the car until they can focus on driving again.
  • Get directions to new locations before getting into the car, so they can be prepared and understand the roads they will be taking. Reviewing directions beforehand instead of just relying on a GPS step by step can avoid problems often caused by having to look at the GPS or trying to figure out difficult directions while trying to drive at the same time.
  • Ask your kids to consider getting their friends involved. If your teen can make a deal with their friends that they will not text each other while driving, there will be less distraction. Young drivers should message their friends before they get in the car, letting them know they will be driving so they will be out of touch for a brief period. Turn off social network alerts while driving. This avoids the temptation to check incoming messages as alerts sound. As their parent, also make a deal that you will not try to reach them while you know they are driving.

Talking to your teenager about distracted driving is an important part of creating safe driving habits for life. It’s a good opportunity to have an adult-to-adult conversation to share ideas about how everyone in the family can commit to stopping distracted driving. If you take the approach that it is a family problem-solving discussion, rather than a lecture you may be surprised at solutions your teen may come up with for themselves too!

Distracted Driving Resources

There are many distracted driving videos and educational sites as well as articles that can help you and your teen stop distracted driving.

Parachute Canada is a good site to check out if you would like to learn more about distracted driving statistics and programs in Canada. Remember, distracted driving affects everyone and working together to stop it not only keeps everyone safer but will save you money on your insurance premiums.