The way insurance companies decide how much to charge drivers is changing. Instead of basing your rate on your answers to a few questions, insurance companies are beginning to have drivers place insurance telematics devices in their cars. You drive around with the device for a few weeks, and it monitors your driving moves. Based on its findings, the car insurance company decides how risky of a driver you are -- and they base your insurance rate, at least in part, on these findings.
So, if you want to get a better insurance rate, one thing you can do is try to improve your driving habits while the telematics device is in your car. Here are four ways to do just that.
1. Always wear your seat belt.
It's not just how you drive that is taken into account. The telematics device also records if and when you wear your seat belt. Of course, you are at less risk of injury if you wear your seat belt. If you are not a dedicated seat belt wearer already, make wearing one a habit. And buckle it up before you even start the car so that the device registers your safety behavior.
2. Stop sooner.
Many people have the bad habit of waiting too long to brake, especially when they are coming up to a red light with a line of cars in front of them. The later you brake, the greater your chances of actually rear ending someone when you are not able to stop quickly enough. Get into the habit of braking sooner. Take your foot off the gas when you know you will have to stop, and then slowly start applying the brake to come to a gradual stop.
3. Use turning signals.
Failing to use turning signals is another common little mistake that a telematics device will pick up on. Even if nobody is around, you need to signal -- it's the law. Failing to signal puts you at risk for an accident since another driver may make false assumptions as to your direction and may turn into your vehicle.
4. Change lanes slowly.
When you need to change lanes, always signal, look, and then change slowly. Zipping from lane to lane is more dangerous, and the telematics device will register this as high-risk driving. Try to minimize lane changes by only switching lanes when necessary. Remember to stay in the left hand lane unless you are passing, too.
If you improve your driving with the tips above, your insurance company is likely to offer you a lower-priced policy.