There are many factors considered when formulating an individual’s car insurance rates—some of which are out of your control. The crime rate in your area—calculated by dividing the number of reported crimes by the total population—is one of them.
Higher Population Means Higher Risk
Car insurance companies consider the crime rate of your area in order to determine your risk. Higher rates of vandalism, theft, and accidents often means urban drivers pay a higher auto insurance price than those in rural areas. If you live in a densely populated area with higher rates of theft and vandalism, it is likely to factor into the overall cost of your car insurance premium.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, four of the top U.S. Metropolitan Statistical Areas for motor vehicle theft by theft rates were in California in 2019, with he the other six being Kansas, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas and Washington.
Where You Park Can Have Perks
Not only where you live, but where your car lives, reflects on the likelihood of you filing a claim, increasing your risk. Where you park your car (on the street or in a secure garage) and anti-theft features may impact your rates as well. Some insurers offer discounts for drivers who keep their car in a garage, which is presumably a safer place than parking it on the street or driveway.
Statistics show that vehicles in garages are less likely to be stolen or in accidents. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports, motor vehicles were stolen at a rate of 219.9 per 100,000 people in 2019.
It’s important to check with your insurer to find out what conditions are necessary for a car to be considered “garaged”. Some auto insurance companies require certain structures or lengths of time that the car is in the garage to earn a discount.
Even where your garage is located can make a difference. A multilevel parking garage or detached garage may not offer as much savings as an attached garage to a single-family home. This is especially true if the parking structure is public as opposed to a private, gated garage.
Where you park your car while at work can also be a consideration. If your company garage is located in a high crime area, you might not save as much on your rates as someone whose employer uses a garage that is considered to be in a safer area.
Either way, insurers will nearly always agree that a garage poses less of a risk to an automobile than parking on a street or an open parking lot. It means your car is less likely to be impacted by severe weather or to be hit by traffic nearby. Many parking garages are either gates or totally enclosed, offering security with regards to theft and vandalism.
Anti-theft Measures Can Save You Money
Installing certain anti-theft devices, such as alarm systems and steering wheel locks are ways you can earn discounts if living or parking in a high-crime area. A car that is harder to steal poses less risk in the eyes of insurers. If you are in the market for a car, consider looking at ones with built-in security features, such as anti-theft and engine cut-off systems, which may qualify you for lower car insurance premiums.
Other auto theft-deterrent features that may help get you a discount include smart keys; fuse cut-offs; kill switches; starter, ignition and fuel disablers; wireless, ignition authentication; audible alarms; steering column collars; steering wheel/brake pedal lock; brake locks; wheel locks; theft deterrent decals; identification markers in or on vehicle; window etching; and micro dot marking.