How are Auto Insurance Rates Determined?

  • Car Insurance

Auto insurance rates, like all insurance rates, are carefully considered calculations based on statistical probabilities and strict underwriting techniques. Insurers don’t throw random numbers at you in the hope that something sticks and, contrary to what you might think, they don’t charge as much as they think they can get away with.

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In this guide, we’ll look at all the things that go into setting your car insurance premiums, from the ones you’d expect to the ones you definitely wouldn’t.

This is how auto insurance rates are determined.

Age

Your age is one of the biggest factors in determining your auto insurance rates. Car insurance companies have a wealth of data concerning the ages you are most likely and least likely to be involved in an accident.

A 16-year-old driver is three to four times more likely to crash than a driver in their early 20s. That’s a difference of just four years, but in the eyes of the insurer, it’s the difference between a high-risk driver and a moderate-risk driver.

In fact, the risk is so disproportionately great for 16- and 17-year olds that they are nearly twice as likely to be involved in an accident than 18- and 19-year olds. They are also more likely to get speeding tickets and receive violations for racing and reckless driving.

We’ve all been there. If you weren’t that reckless kid who wanted to put the pedal to the metal and impress your friends, you knew someone who was. Thankfully, most drivers mature very quickly, the risk plummets, and insurers are able to reward them with lower rates.

Gender

Young men are more dangerous than young women behind the wheel. One of the highest risk demographics is a 16-year old male driver. By virtue of their age and their gender alone, their insurance quotes will likely be higher than at any other point in their life, even if they later make a claim for an at-fault accident or get convicted of a DUI.

It seems unfair, especially if you consider yourself to be a responsible, careful, young male driver, but insurers aren’t interested in promises. They focus purely on the statistics and for teenage boys, those statistics don’t look good.

Young female drivers are still considered to be a greater risk than older females, but they can expect to pay less than males on average.

There are a few caveats here that need to be addressed.

Firstly, while young men are charged more than young women, the same can’t be said for older drivers. In older drivers, the accident rate is higher in women than it is in men and some insurance quotes will reflect this.

Secondly, a handful of states have outlawed the practice of discriminating based on gender. These states include Massachusetts, California, Michigan, Montana, Hawaii, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina.

Homeowner and Marital Status

Married drivers are safer than single drivers. It seems like a strange statement to make as there is no direct and obvious reason, and what’s even stranger is that the difference is considerable.

In one study, researchers found that single drivers were twice as likely to be involved in a car accident when all other parameters were accounted for. In other words, a 25-year-old driver with a clean driving history is twice as likely to crash than a 25-year old married driver with the same driving history.

You could pay as much as 15% less on your auto insurance premiums just because you tied the knot!

While there is no obvious reasoning behind this, it seems plausible to suggest that married drivers are safer because they have more responsibility and more to lose. Getting married also requires making a very big commitment, and such commitments are more likely to be made by people who are responsible and grounded.

Of course, that’s not to say that you’re irresponsible if you’re not married or that you’re responsible if you are. We’re talking about averages.

By the same token, homeowners can secure lower premiums than renters. Not only are they deemed a lower risk, but they are also a better prospect to the insurer, as they have more money, are more financially responsible, and can purchase a homeowners insurance policy along with their car insurance policy.

In this sense, a homeowner can save money in two ways, making homeowner status one of the biggest determining factors in acquiring cheap car insurance.

Location

Car insurance quotes differ considerably from state to state. Drivers in rural areas may pay less than those in built-up areas, but that’s not always the case.

Underwriters will look at the level of car crime (theft, vandalism) and car accidents in your area, before using this information to set your rates. Weather and animal collisions will also be considered.

Credit History

Credit scores are checked in most states and higher premiums are charged to drivers with bad credit and no credit as there is a higher chance (statistically speaking) they will make an insurance claim.

Your credit score is an essential component of your financial life, something you need to nurture carefully and check at least once a year. 

35% of your credit score is based on your payment history, and there is no quick and easy way to improve it. The same applies to the smaller parts of your score that are based on account age. The only way to improve these aspects of your score is to keep making payments, avoid too many applications and new accounts, and prioritize all debt payments.

30% of your score is based on your credit utilization ratio and this can be changed following a few simple improvements. Credit utilization looks at your total available credit (credit limits) and your total used credit (debt). By increasing your limits and paying off as much debt as possible, you can improve this aspect of your score.

Claims History

Insurance companies will check your claims history before setting your premiums and may charge you more if you have any at-fault claims in your recent history.

It’s a different story if you have comprehensive claims and accidents that weren’t your fault, but generally, the more you cost your current insurers and previous insurers, the higher your premiums will be.

Driving Record

Your driving history is one of the biggest things affecting your car insurance rates. The more moving violations you have on your record, the more likely you are to be hit with high rates.

Even a speeding ticket can increase your rates by between 15% and 30%, while DUI/DWI convictions and reckless driving/racing charges could bump your costs by as much as 70%.

Type of Vehicle

One of the biggest mistakes that young drivers make is to purchase a flash, fast car that looks great but is far from practical. No 16-year-old boy dreams of buying a used Honda; they want sports cars, luxury cars, something they can show off to their friends.

Underwriters look at the likelihood of the vehicle being stolen (based on national and local statistics) and account for anti-theft devices, safety features, and the cost of repairs. The fewer features it has and the harder it is to find affordable and suitable parts, the higher your auto insurance quotes will be.

Instead, look for a vehicle that is a few years old but has a high safety rating, lots of safety features (front and side airbags, anti-lock brakes) and is not targeted by thieves. The difference between some luxury German cars compared to cheaper Honda and Toyota cars can be over 200%.

Mileage

How much you drive isn’t as important as you would expect. The difference between a driver who does 5,000 miles a year and one who does 15,000 is often just a couple of percent. It doesn’t make much sense at first, because surely the driver who does 15,000 miles is three times as likely to be involved in an accident as one who does 5,000.

But, as always, it comes down to statistics. 

Statistically speaking, the more miles you do, the more experienced you are, and this experience pays off. People who limit their driving to just a few thousand miles may do so because they don’t like driving in the dark or refuse to drive too far from their homes or on busy roads. They may not be confident behind the wheel.

Of course, that only applies to a small percentage of them, but that’s enough to skew the statistics and to balance things out. 

Lower mileage drivers will still be quoted less, but because of these factors, the difference won’t be as impressive as you might have thought.

Driving habits are just as important, with the underwriters looking at where you do those miles, how busy the roads are, what time you drive, and how common car accidents are in that area.

Bottom Line: You Won’t Always Pay More

In all of the above cases, we looked at risk and how it can impact car insurance rates. However, you won’t always receive higher insurance rates based on some of the factors we discussed. You will certainly be deemed a higher risk, but many states don’t allow insurers to discriminate in some of these areas.

As noted above, in some states, California included, it is illegal for insurance companies to charge higher rates based on gender. Make sure you check with your local authorities and insurance providers to better understand what is and isn’t considered when determining your auto insurance rates.

Source: pocketyourdollars.com

13 DC Apartments under $1500 Available to Rent Today

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DC-APARTMENTS-UNDER-1500

 You may have read recently that apartments in DC aren’t affordable.  If you’re new to DC, understanding the affordable housing options in the district can be a challenge, so we made you this handy guide. We also went on the hunt for you and found 13 apartments for under $1500 available to rent now in Washington, DC!

Apartment hunting on a budget in Washington, DC is all about what trades you are willing to make.  A less trendy neighborhood will likely result in a larger apartment or a lower rent. Is a state of the art gym a must-have amenity for you? That’s okay, just know that you’re going to be squeezing into a smaller apartment.  The good news is, there are plenty of options!  This week we bring you 13 studio or one-bedroom and even a two-bedroom apartment for under $1500 available to rent now!

Looking for something different?
Search other available apartments in the Washington, DC area.

Rent-control-apartments-DC-Meridian-Park-Apartments

The Foreland

Studio $1295 | Available Now
23 2nd  Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002

Everyday living is made comfortable and effortless at The Foreland. You can look forward to a convenient location, shopping, and a multitude of dining options. The units are equipped with hardwood floors and ample closet space. Multiple windows in each apartment provide ample amounts of natural lighting. The community is located directly across the street from the Supreme Court building and within walking distance of Capitol South Metro, the National Mall, Capitol Hill, and Union Station. Convenience and comfort are guaranteed at The Foreland.WC Smith embraces the belief that great customer service is our best amenity. Living at the Foreland means experiencing a higher level of service. Our service team is available 24 hours a day and you can access your resident account online any time; day or night. Discover classic charms and modern conveniences of the Foreland, located in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Washington, DC.

Rent-control-apartments-DC-Kenmore-apartments

The Kenmore

1 Bedroom  $1495 | Available Now

5415 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20015

Experience a lifestyle that is as rich in history as it is in local activities. The Kenmore’s Connecticut Avenue location is distinct and convenient. This residence offers a 24-hour concierge beautifully renovated, classic style interiors. Spacious studios, one and two bedroom apartments are equipped with expansive windows that offer exceptional views.

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Hilltop House

Studio $1450 | Available 11/29

1475 Euclid St NW
Washington, DC 20009

Hilltop House is a hidden jewel of the Adams Morgan neighborhood. This community offers studio and one-bedroom apartments for rent. Each apartment has large windows and breakfast bars; creating a cheerful, open, and bright atmosphere. To keep apartment living and budgeting easy, all utilities are included with your rent. Hilltop House faces Meridian Hill Park, where residents may take in a variety of social and cultural events. Every Sunday the park is activate with kickball leagues, yoga classes, Frisbee sessions, and drum circles. Just a couple of blocks from the Hilltop House apartment community is the Columbia Heights Metro station with access to both the green and yellow like. Hilltop House Apartments have the perfect location to take in all that Washington, DC has to offer.

apartments-under-1800-1400-van-buren-street-washington-dc-apartments

1400 Van Buren

One Bedroom $1395  | Available 11/14

1400 Van Buren NW
Washington, DC 20012

1400 Van Buren is an apartment community with one and two-bedroom apartments for rent in the Brightwood neighborhood. You will feel comfortable and at home in these apartments with their beautiful hardwood flooring, ceiling fans, central A/C, and spacious floor plans. The apartments are located in a charming brick building with controlled access, on-site maintenance, on-site management, on-site laundry facilities, and more. 1400 Van Buren’s convenient location gives residents access to everything they need on a daily basis.

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Baystate Apartments

Studio  $1495  | Available 12/4

1701 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

Looking for features that look and feel like they came from a book and tell a story? The Baystate offers beautiful studio apartments for rent in a variety of floor plans. All utilities are included! No need to worry about extra bills. With the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, DC only two blocks from your front door, be fascinated with local culture and flavor. Having the Red Line Metro within walking distance means all of Washington, DC is yours to explore. Find touches of extraordinary in the every day.

Rent-control-apartments-dc

The Shawmut

Studio $1500 | Available 11/14

2200 19th Street NW
Washington, DC 20009

Classic style and modern amenities are the perfect combinations to make you feel right at home. This pet-friendly building in the heart of Adams Morgan, just across the street from Kalorama Park, creates a comfortable living space for all. The Shawmut’s elegant, New York-style exterior gives way to beautiful one and two-bedroom apartments featuring hardwood floors, 9′ ceilings, and updated kitchens.Step outside and you are in the heart of a vibrant, thriving community. From the bustling 18th St Corridor down to Dupont Circle, you are never far from the energy of Downtown DC. Want to get away? The L2, 42, 43, and H1 bus lines are right outside your front door with direct connections to the Green, Red, and Yellow metro lines.

rent-control-apartments-DC-Frontenanc

Studio  $1450 | Available Now

4550 Connecticut Ave NW
Washington, DC 20008

The Frontenac is nestled in the heart of elegant upper-Northwest. The Frontenac boasts spacious apartments with updated kitchens and bathrooms. Its classic architectural style, evident in our grand lobby’s high ceiling and in our apartment units’, arched doorways and traditional wainscoting, attracts tours of local art history students.You can meet your neighbors or take advantage of WiFi on the Frontenac’s peaceful roof deck or in its spacious laundry room. Take a stroll to the Van Ness metro station, Giant, Whole Foods, pharmacies, dry cleaners, restaurants, shopping, and great schools for students of all ages. Our neighborhood is full of hidden gems..

All-Utilities-Included-DC-Apartments-Hampton-Courts-Apartments

Hampton Courts

Studio  $1460  | Available 12/1

2013 New Hampshire Ave NW
Washington, DC 20009

Constructed in 1926, Hampton Courts has the elegant appeal of the early 20th-century architecture. The building is equipped with two elevators, a controlled intercom entrance, and a laundry room with a card payment system. The studio, one, and two bedroom apartments at Hampton Courts has updated appliances and spacious floor plans. All utilities are included in your rent, so no need to worry yourself about additional bills. The U Street Metro Station is three blocks away and provides access to the yellow and green lines. Zipcar and car2go vehicles, as well as Capital Bikeshare bicycles, are just a block from the building giving you endless means of transportation. The Saturday Farmer’s Market, Yes Organic Market, Trader Joes, Vida Fitness and several yoga studios are all a few blocks away from your front door. Come and explore the city living in Hampton Courts.

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6100 14th Street

1 Bedroom  $1395  | Available Now

6100 14th Street NW
Washington, DC 20011

Located in the Brightwood neighborhood of Washington, DC. There are no limitations set when living at 6100 14th street; tons of shopping and dining options nearby, a Metro bus stop right at your doorstep and only a mile to the nearest metro station. Offering spacious and affordable one and two bedroom apartment homes.

Rent-control-apartments-DC-Penn-View

Penn View Apartments

2 Bedroom  $1315  | Available Now

2515 R Street, SE 
Washington, DC 20020

Design cannot be defined by one component but rather the artful intersection of style and function. Located just minutes away from Capitol Hill, Penn View apartments offer affordable efficiencies, one, and two-bedroom apartment homes for rent. Penn View’s luxurious kitchens and functional floor plans are just a few of the features you’ll find at this community. Quality is always on trend.

1401-Sheridan-one-bedrooms-under-1500

1401 Sheridan

Studio $1250 | Available Now

1401 Sheridan Street NW
Washington, DC 20011

1401 Sheridan boasts spacious floorplans which include separate dining rooms in each apartment. Beautiful hardwood floors, expertly landscaped grounds, and abundant closet space add to the charm and convenience of these studio and one-bedroom apartments. 1401 Sheridan is located between 14th and 16th Streets near Georgia Avenue providing easy access to Rock Creek Park, Carter Barron, and much more.

Apartments-all-utilities-included-dc-Jetu-apartments

Jetu Apartments

2 Bedroom $ 1125 | Available Now

2100 Maryland Ave NE
Washington, DC 20002

Discover our beautifully landscaped community located in the heart of Northeast, near Langston Golf Course and National Arboretum. Jetu Apartments offers affordable one and two bedroom apartment homes for rent. Featuring gas range stoves, upgraded kitchens, frost-free refrigerators, mini-blinds, and wall to wall carpet. Each apartment offers a separate dining area with chandelier lighting. The grounds include two new playgrounds, a community room, and a community garden.

Skyland-one-bedrooms-under-1500

Skyland Apartments

One-Bedroom $1029 | Available 11/16

2333 Skyland Place SE 
Washington, DC 20020

Moving to the Skyland means you have a choice of a townhouse or apartment home. Our beautifully landscaped community is impeccably maintained. Enjoy the features of your new updated kitchen including; gas ranges, frost-free refrigerators, and garbage disposals. Dishwashers are available in 3 bedroom apartments. There is also an on-site dry cleaner and a tot lot. Skyland Apartments is located near Anacostia Metro and the new Safeway. Uncovered parking is available.

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Also published on Medium.

Source: blog.apartminty.com

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

I’ve long had a love affair with wide plank hardwood flooring. I can’t actually pinpoint when the look seeped into my consciousness. I suspect it started when I began voraciously collecting European design magazines, as wide plank hardwood flooring is a mainstay of European and specifically Scandinavian design. Yet for so long wide plank floors were only used in “rustic” design in the United States. But I am the first to say that wide plank hardwood flooring is not only modern but timeless. I so firmly believe this, I made the decision from day one that I would put a wider plank hardwood throughout my own house!

Five years later, I only wish I’d know about Carlisle Wide Plank Floors when we were in the middle of our renovations. Going with a company like Carlisle Wide Plank Floors would have made my life so much simpler. They literally are your one-stop-shop for wide plank hardwood flooring – offering different wood species, various stains, and the ability to customize just about everything – you can find virtually any look you’re going for.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

I’m particularly smitten with white oak. White oak wears incredibly well, can take a variety of stains and will blend seamlessly with the look of any home. The typically lighter hue helps make spaces feel open, brighter and bigger. And while you think light floors would show dirt, dust, dander, pet hair and scratches, that all shows much more on dark floors. Trust me, I’ve had dark floors and it was not so fun.

A wonderful example of white oak wide plank flooring is in the stunning modern kitchen and dining space pictured above. I am obsessed with the idea of a floating kitchen – one that simply exists in the space – rather than being a room unto itself. The wide plank floors from Carlisle offer beautiful sweeping movement across the room without feeling busy or distracting.

I’m also often asked if you can/should mix wood tones in your home. The answer is a resounding yes and that kitchen is another excellent example of why multiple wood tones work so well together. The darker woods used for the cabinetry and storage area add more warmth that plays off the white oak floor while the black accents throughout – chair backs, counters, light fixture, and the stove hood – serve to anchor everything.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

In contrast, the wide plank floor used in this kitchen offers a more casual feel to what would otherwise be a very classic all-white kitchen. The floors selected here are quartersawn, meaning they’re cut to enhance the natural grain and showcase the knots and texture found in the wood. A minimal, matte stain was used, giving the wood a natural look. The wide plank floor is the perfect complement to the modern stools, stretches of classic marble and brass hardware used in the space.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34 Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

If you’re looking to make an update to your home and want an elegant, timeless yet decidedly modern style, I strongly suggest considering wide plank hardwood flooring. I know I’ll put wide plank flooring in any home I do in the future (can you tell I’m itching for a new project!).

This post is in partnership with Carlisle Wide Plank Floors. Thanks for supporting posts that have kept Apartment 34’s doors open. If you’re interested in collaborating with us, please CLICK HERE.

photography courtesy of Carlisle Wide Plank Floors and by Seth Smoot for Apartment 34

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Source: apartment34.com

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

I’ve long had a love affair with wide plank hardwood flooring. I can’t actually pinpoint when the look seeped into my consciousness. I suspect it started when I began voraciously collecting European design magazines, as wide plank hardwood flooring is a mainstay of European and specifically Scandinavian design. Yet for so long wide plank floors were only used in “rustic” design in the United States. But I am the first to say that wide plank hardwood flooring is not only modern but timeless. I so firmly believe this, I made the decision from day one that I would put a wider plank hardwood throughout my own house!

Five years later, I only wish I’d know about Carlisle Wide Plank Floors when we were in the middle of our renovations. Going with a company like Carlisle Wide Plank Floors would have made my life so much simpler. They literally are your one-stop-shop for wide plank hardwood flooring – offering different wood species, various stains, and the ability to customize just about everything – you can find virtually any look you’re going for.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

I’m particularly smitten with white oak. White oak wears incredibly well, can take a variety of stains and will blend seamlessly with the look of any home. The typically lighter hue helps make spaces feel open, brighter and bigger. And while you think light floors would show dirt, dust, dander, pet hair and scratches, that all shows much more on dark floors. Trust me, I’ve had dark floors and it was not so fun.

A wonderful example of white oak wide plank flooring is in the stunning modern kitchen and dining space pictured above. I am obsessed with the idea of a floating kitchen – one that simply exists in the space – rather than being a room unto itself. The wide plank floors from Carlisle offer beautiful sweeping movement across the room without feeling busy or distracting.

I’m also often asked if you can/should mix wood tones in your home. The answer is a resounding yes and that kitchen is another excellent example of why multiple wood tones work so well together. The darker woods used for the cabinetry and storage area add more warmth that plays off the white oak floor while the black accents throughout – chair backs, counters, light fixture, and the stove hood – serve to anchor everything.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

In contrast, the wide plank floor used in this kitchen offers a more casual feel to what would otherwise be a very classic all-white kitchen. The floors selected here are quartersawn, meaning they’re cut to enhance the natural grain and showcase the knots and texture found in the wood. A minimal, matte stain was used, giving the wood a natural look. The wide plank floor is the perfect complement to the modern stools, stretches of classic marble and brass hardware used in the space.

Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34 Why I Love Wide Plank Hardwood Flooring and Why You Should Too on Apt34

If you’re looking to make an update to your home and want an elegant, timeless yet decidedly modern style, I strongly suggest considering wide plank hardwood flooring. I know I’ll put wide plank flooring in any home I do in the future (can you tell I’m itching for a new project!).

This post is in partnership with Carlisle Wide Plank Floors. Thanks for supporting posts that have kept Apartment 34’s doors open. If you’re interested in collaborating with us, please CLICK HERE.

photography courtesy of Carlisle Wide Plank Floors and by Seth Smoot for Apartment 34

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Source: apartment34.com

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Good Financial Cents, and author of the personal finance book Soldier of Finance. Jeff is an Iraqi combat veteran and served 9 years in the Army National Guard. His work is regularly featured in Forbes, Business Insider, Inc.com and Entrepreneur.