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Insurance companies have started using credit ratings of their policyholders to determine risk. Drivers with good credit scores get lower insurance premiums, as it is believed that they are more financially stable, more responsible and have the financial means to better maintain their vehicles. Those with lower credit scores can have their premiums raised or insurance canceled outright. It has been shown that good drivers with spotty credit records could be charged higher premiums than bad drivers with good credit records.
The immediate impounding of an apparently uninsured vehicle replaces the former method of dealing with insurance spot-checks where drivers were issued with an HORT/1 (so-called because the order was form number 1 issued by the Home Office Road Traffic dept). This 'ticket' was an order requiring that within seven days, from midnight of the date of issue, the driver concerned was to take a valid insurance certificate (and usually other driving documents as well) to a police station of the driver's choice. Failure to produce an insurance certificate was, and still is, an offence. The HORT/1 was commonly known – even by the issuing authorities when dealing with the public – as a "Producer". As these are seldom issued now and the MID relied upon to indicate the presence of insurance or not, it is incumbent upon the insurance industry to accurately and swiftly update the MID with current policy details and insurers that fail to do so can be penalised by their regulating body.
For example, a 50-year-old woman with 30 years' driving experience and a squeaky clean licence is in a prime position for one of the cheapest insurance policies available. Her 18-year-old daughter on the other hand, recently unleashed onto the roads, will be considered a far higher risk for the insurer, consequently increasing the overall cost. Read our guide on getting cheap insurance for young drivers if this applies to you.
As with any credit check, a record of this search will remain on your file – and your credit rating will affect the amount of APR that you’re charged. If you have a poor credit rating, you may be charged up to 20% APR. And if you’ve struggled to pay credit in the past, or if you have a CCJ to your name, then you may be denied the option to pay monthly. If you think you’ll have issues with your credit rating, you can read our guide on improving your credit score.
When the premium is not mandated by the government, it is usually derived from the calculations of an actuary, based on statistical data. The premium can vary depending on many factors that are believed to affect the expected cost of future claims. Those factors can include the car characteristics, the coverage selected (deductible, limit, covered perils), the profile of the driver (age, gender, driving history) and the usage of the car (commute to work or not, predicted annual distance driven).
The Progressive Corporation launched Snapshot to give drivers a customized insurance rate based on recording how, how much, and when their car is driven. Snapshot is currently available in 46 states plus the District of Columbia. Because insurance is regulated at the state level, Snapshot is currently not available in Alaska, California, Hawaii, and North Carolina. Driving data is transmitted to the company using an on-board telematic device. The device connects to a car's OnBoard Diagnostic (OBD-II) port (all petrol automobiles in the USA built after 1996 have an OBD-II.) and transmits speed, time of day and number of miles the car is driven. Cars that are driven less often, in less-risky ways, and at less-risky times of day, can receive large discounts. Progressive has received patents on its methods and systems of implementing usage-based insurance and has licensed these methods and systems to other companies.
Road Traffic Act Only Insurance differs from Third Party Only Insurance (detailed below) and is not often sold, unless to underpin, for example, a corporate body wishing to self-insure above the requirements of the Act. It provides the very minimum cover to satisfy the requirements of the Act. Road Traffic Act Only Insurance has a limit of £1,000,000 for damage to third party property, while third party only insurance typically has a greater limit for third party property damage.
There are three states that do not have a private CTP scheme. In Victoria, the Transport Accident Commission provides CTP through a levy in the vehicle registration fee, known as the TAC charge. A similar scheme exists in Tasmania through the Motor Accidents Insurance Board. A similar scheme applies in Western Australia, through the Insurance Commission of Western Australia (ICWA).
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