How Theft Rates Affect Car Insurance Premiums

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When you buy auto insurance, you have the option of purchasing comprehensive coverage in addition to the collision coverage that pays for damage your car suffers in accidents. Comprehensive coverage can provide compensation for a variety of non-traffic events such as fires, fallen trees, hail and theft. If you choose to buy comprehensive coverage, auto theft rates can influence the cost of your insurance premiums.

Neighborhood Theft Rates

The cost of auto insurance is based on the amount of money your insurance company expects to have to pay for any claims that you make. If your policy covers theft, you are likely to face more-expensive insurance premiums if you live in an area with high auto theft rates. On the other hand, if your neighborhood has low crime rates, you are not likely to have to make a claim for a stolen car, so your insurance company may be willing to give you a lower rate.

Commonly Stolen Cars

The cost of auto insurance varies from one make and model to another. Valuable cars tend to be expensive to insure because they are costly for insurance companies to replace, but the value of a car isn't the only factor that influences premiums. Cars that are easy to steal, such as those with outdated anti-theft technology, may be more expensive to insure. The National Insurance Crime Bureau publishes an annual list of the 10 most commonly stolen vehicles in the U.S. According to Esurance, the 1994 Honda Accord, 1998 Honda Civic and the 2006 Ford Pickup were the most commonly stolen vehicles in 2011.

Anti-Theft Devices

Although high theft rates in your zip code can mean higher insurance premiums, you might be able to get break on your insurance costs if you install an anti-theft device in your car. For instance, if you have a car alarm or a recovery system a such as OnStar or LoJack, you might get an insurance discount. Discounts can range anywhere from 5 to 25 percent of the cost of your comprehensive coverage.

Insurance Claims

When you make an insurance claim, it is a tip-off to your insurance company that you may make additional claims in the future. If you make a claim for an auto theft, your insurance company may increase your insurance premiums, because the claim is red flag that you may be the victim of theft again at some point in the future.