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CHUCK'S CORNER

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CAR INSURANCE RATES
By Chuck Wells

In the old days (more than 10 years ago according to today's standards), we figured your car insurance rates based upon your driving record. That was simple. The more tickets and accidents you had, the higher your premium would be. Everyone understood that and accepted it.

Today, your rate is based upon your driving record and your credit history. That's right, your credit history helps determine what you will pay for car insurance now.

Insurance companies are now using complicated formulas to determine what rating "tier" you will be placed into based upon your driving record, claims turned in, and how you pay your bills.

If you do not pay your bills on time, have collections against you, have too many credit checks (every time you apply for credit), have too many credit cards, or have too much debt, your credit rating for car insurance gets worse.

In fact, most companies have a minimum credit rating established and if you do not meet that, they will not even consider taking you no matter what your driving record!

How can you get better car insurance rates in the future? Don't turn in minor claims which will count against you (carry higher deductibles for collision and comprehensive), don't get tickets, drive defensively to avoid even not-at-fault accidents, pay your bills on time, don't have too many credit cards, don't apply for credit with multiple vendors, and don't let bills go to collection.

I don't agree with all of this new criteria either but for the time being, knowing the rules the insurance companies are using can help us get better rates.

LOOKS ARE EVERYTHING

Men prefer women who are in shape. Researchers placed phony classified ads in newspapers and found that men would rather date a former drug addict than a woman who is significantly overweight.

However, the percentage of men who say figure, shape, or build is what they first notice about a woman declined from 44% to 37% in the past ten years while the percentage of women whose eyes are first drawn to a man's figure, shape, or build has risen from 20% to 22%.

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