Although Vermonters might be surprised, car insurance premiums in Vermont are generally lower than in other parts of the country. There are many factors like age, gender, your driving record, the type of car or truck you have and the type of coverage you have that determine what you will be paying for car insurance. Sometimes it seems your premium is going up for no reason at all, but that is not always the case. Vermont drivers don’t realize that they have a direct impact on the increase in their auto insurance rates. While getting into a motor vehicle collision is one of the most common factors, it is not the only one.

Getting into a crash that isn’t your fault is not supposed to affect your rates. It is what the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation calls a non-ratable occurrence. That means if you are in a crash that is not your fault, your rates are not supposed to go up. However, insurance premiums sometimes seemingly go up for no reason at all and sometimes policies are canceled for unknown reasons. I had a policy canceled a number of years ago, even though I hadn’t filed a claim in years. I called the insurance company to ask why and they didn’t have an answer. For all I know, they decided they didn’t want to have any attorneys as their customers.

Increasing your mileage will generally affect your insurance premiums. Obviously, the more your drive, the higher the premium. The logic is apparent because the likelihood of a crash increases the more you are on the road.

Using roadside assistance might increase your rate. Auto insurers may add roadside services you request as a claim to your C.L.U.E. report. This is what is known as the Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange and is the insurance version of a credit report. Any roadside assistance you receive may be reported, and if you use it frequently, may increase your premium with insurance companies. It is similar to having bad credit.

As many Vermonters know, every consumer is entitled to obtain one free copy of her or his consumer file from consumer reporting agencies once during each 12-month period, as provided for in the Fair Credit Reporting Act. What most people don’t know is that Vermonters are also entitled to their C.L.U.E. personal property report, which provides a 7-year history of losses associated with her or his personal property claims. The following data will be identified for each loss: date of loss, loss type and amount paid, along with general information such as a policy number, claim number and insurance company name.

The C.L.U.E. auto report provides a 7-year history of automobile insurance losses associated with an individual. To learn how to obtain your report, go to personalreports.lexisnexis.com. You can either call a number and be on hold forever or print out the form and mail it to the LexisNexis Consumer Center.

Changing your address will cause your premium to change since premiums are partially based upon demographic factors such as where you live, park, commute and work. If you live in a quiet, rural area in the Northeast Kingdom or Lamoille County and then move to a more urban area such as Burlington, let alone New York City or Los Angeles, your premiums will go up.

Another factor which will cause your premiums to increase is if your credit score is lower. There is a direct correlation between the amount of your premium and having a good credit score, even though this has nothing to do with whether or not you are a safe driver.

Notwithstanding that your premiums might go up, it is always a good idea to check into the reputation of an insurance company and how likely they are going to pay a valid claim.