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Here’s how texting while driving is increasing your car insurance rates

  • Cars Explained
  • Renee Martin
  • 7 minutes

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Texting while driving is one of the most deadly forms of distracted driving. Here’s how the increasing number of road accidents due to distracted driving affects your car insurance.

You’re probably aware that causing an accident due to distracted driving increases your car insurance rates. But did you know that other drivers’ bad behavior can also have an impact? The rising number of drivers who text while driving has significantly driven up car insurance rates.

According to the National Safety Council, more and more people are texting and driving every year. This practice has led to 1.6 million crashes and nearly 400,000 injuries each year. That’s one out of every four car accidents! This makes driving riskier for everyone and contributes to higher car insurance rates. In fact, it is one of the leading causes behind the rise in car insurance rates.

Here, we look at how texting while driving can be dangerous and why you should avoid this bad practice.

Is texting while driving dangerous?

Of course, it is. Most people know that texting while driving is a bad idea, but only a few are aware of the reasons why. Taking your attention away from the road can have consequences even for a second or two. Texting while driving requires one to take their eyes off the road, thus reducing their ability to pay attention to what’s ahead of them.

Driver error is responsible for more than 90% of all crashes. According to the NHTSA, the most common type of driver error is “recognition error,” which includes “driver’s inattention, internal and external distractions, and poor surveillance.” This is surprising since most drivers typically assume aggressive driving or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are the leading causes of road accidents. 

Read: How long does a DUI stay on your insurance record?

In most cases, people believe they can pay attention to the road while doing something else simultaneously. However, that isn’t true. When you are on the phone or texting someone, you are splitting your attention between the task of driving and responding to the call or text. And, as flawed humans, we only have a limited amount of time to devote to anything.

How does texting while driving affect my insurance rates?

If you are texting while driving, then put your phone down immediately! Using a cell phone while driving is extremely dangerous, and several insurance firms have begun tracking the use of cell phones by the drivers they insure. Allstate, for example, uses a system known as Arity to track whether or not drivers are using their phones while behind the wheel of their vehicle. The researchers discovered that drivers who used their phones while driving were more prone to accidents on the road.

Read: A quick guide to telematics car insurance discounts

While factors such as your age, gender, location, your driving record, and the distance you travel typically determine your car insurance rates, little do people know that the behavior of other drivers could also affect them indirectly. Since drivers who text while driving are on the rise, car insurance companies have raised premiums to minimize losses due to the increasing number of payouts every year.

Should I anticipate an increase in my car insurance premiums?

It all depends on where you reside. Insurance rates have increased by more than 20% nationwide since 2011, with inattentive driving being the primary cause. If you’re a teen or a young driver, your rates will likely rise much more. However, distracted driving is not limited to teenagers – approximately 40% of drivers admit to texting while driving.

Read: Factors that determine your car insurance rates

Is texting while driving the only reason behind higher car insurance rates?

No, it isn’t. Insurance companies also analyze various other factors before hiking their premiums. For example, car insurance rates could go up when the gas price is low, and a lot more drivers take to the road. In this scenario, insurance companies will assume that the roads become more congested, resulting in more accidents. 

Read: Soaring gas prices: Top 10 cars with over 40MPG

One could also blame the advent of modern technology in cars for rising car insurance rates. With the average cost of repairs rising due to cars becoming more tech-centric, the average insurance payout has also risen over the last few years. Ultimately, the business model of an insurance company is to make money and not lose them in the form of higher payouts. Thus, increasing car insurance premiums is the only feasible way to recoup the losses.

How can I keep my car insurance rates low?

There are several ways in which you can reduce your car insurance rates. One of the most effective ways to reduce your premiums is to improve your credit score. If your credit score is below 580, you’ll likely spend $1,400 more on car insurance than someone with a score of over 800.

Read: How does my credit score affect car insurance rates?

Many insurance companies now offer technology that records your driving behavior, and if the technology proves you are not distracted while driving, you may be eligible for a discount. Bundling your homeowners’ or renter’s insurance with your auto insurance policy is another proven method to help reduce premiums.

Alternatively, you could click on the banner below and get affordable car insurance quotes from several car insurance companies in under 10 minutes! There’s no better way to find the best car insurance policy for your needs other than shopping around and comparing rates. Start your search for the best car insurance now to save hundreds of dollars in the future!

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Distracted driving facts and figures that might shock you!

  • According to the National Safety Council, cell phone use while driving causes 1.6 million crashes per year.
  • Each year, about 390,000 people get injured in incidents caused by texting while driving.
  • Texting and driving causes one out of every four car accidents in the United States.
  • Driving while texting is six times more likely to result in an accident than driving when intoxicated.
  • Responding to an SMS for around five seconds diverts your attention. That’s enough time to go the length of a football field at 55mph.
  • When you text while driving, you spend 400% more time with your eyes off the road.
  • Texting is by far the most harmful of all cell phone-related activities.
  • 94 percent of drivers support a ban on texting while driving.
  • 74% of drivers support a ban on handheld devices while driving.

Texting and driving FAQs

Is texting while driving illegal?

Yes, texting while driving is against the law in every state. However, the penalties may differ from one state to the next. For example, a ticket for texting while driving not only results in a fine and increase in insurance premiums but could also add points to your driving record. If you accumulate too many points, you risk losing your license. Four points in 12 months in California, for example, can result in a six-month suspension of your driving privileges and a year of probation.

Is a texting ticket going to raise my insurance?

Points on your driving record influence your car insurance rates. They’ll almost certainly result in a premium increase if they show up in a check of your driving record. More so if you have previous violations or have been in a recent accident.

How does a cell phone ticket impact my driving record?

A texting-while-driving ticket could result in points on your driving record in some areas. As a result, your insurance premiums will certainly rise.

Is a cell phone ticket considered a moving violation?

Most states consider a cell phone ticket a moving violation. If you live in a state where a texting ticket is considered a traffic offense, your insurance company will handle it like any other minor ticket. However, there is a significant difference in how different organizations handle tickets.

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