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the harlem times

Car Insurance in Harlem – Expensive Business!

by: Carl Woollen
November 21, 2014

Cars: sometimes you can’t live without them! But in order to live with them, you have to deal with acquiring insurance. It’s also no surprise that New York City is the most expensive to get insurance in. The boroughs ascend in cost going from Manhattan, Staten Island, Queens, the Bronx, and then Brooklyn. (Several places in nearby Nassau County were also price)

One reason why insurance prices change is population density. The high populations of the city correlate with accident rates because more people have to drive in congested areas as opposed to many smaller cities and towns upstate and to the west, where populations and densities are less. With the congestion and complexity comes more complex driving experiences which increases chances of driver error.

A company called ValuePenguin produced a study, which can be found at the following link: http://www.valuepenguin.com/best-cheap-car-insurance-new-york

This study gives overview level information about various prices of insurance across both the various neighborhoods of the city, and other cities and towns across the state. One reason that Manhattan could be the least expensive is because it has relatively few people commuting in their own vehicles, estimated at 200,000. From there, the Bronx climbs to just over 500,000, and Brooklyn tops the list at 800,000. While less of a factor, high population densities also increase the risk of urban crimes such as auto theft and vandalism (which also factor into insurance rates). Queens has over a million commuters, but its large land area reduces the population density factor, which can ease the complexity of commutes and so reduce accident ratios.

Harlem and Washington Heights emerged as among the most expensive boroughs for insurance rates. Certainly, these are dense areas. However, the East Village is also packed full of vibrant residents, yet their rates are a little lower. The precise reasons for this are unclear. Insurance companies keep their precise formulas as proprietary. A broad way to describe these influences is, in the words of ValuePenguin analyst Ting Pen, “the experiences that different insurers have with the varying areas.” For example, different areas for different companies could have varying quantities and types of claims processed.

It’s important not to become overly wrapped up with which neighborhoods rank where on a listing. Most of the variants in Manhattan are few hundred dollars — it’s unpleasant that Harlem and Washington Heights were near the top of the list, but certainly not a reason to move or avoid living there.

A couple of the providers reported much higher rate quotes than the others, which makes the averages much smaller. Another factor is that Geico was the least expensive, but it is mostly an online company, and drivers who need a more personalized relationship with the agent may not have the best experience with them — premium isn’t everything!

It’s important to do your own research in detail before choosing a policy. There are many factors to consider, and an independent agent can help sort out the complexities. Drive safely!

Tips to reduce car insurance costs provided by Ting Pen at ValuePenguin
Good Driver Discounts: No accidents or traffic violations in the past three years (some

insurers stretch this out to five years)

  • Discounts for Home ownership: Can be combined with a multi-policy discount if you insure your vehicle and house with the same company
  • Lower Rates for Married Couples
  • Student Discounts: Earning grades of B and above, making the honor roll, leaving forcollege or living far away
  • Safety Features Discount: For cars with anti-lock brake systems (ABS), airbagcapacity, daytime running lights, and anti-theft devices
  • Lower Rates for Reduced Miles Driven: Typically for annual mileage less than 10,000
  • Multi-Vehicle Discount
  • Discounts for Professional and Organization Affiliations: Some companies discountpremiums for nurses, teachers, policemen, safety officers, federal employees, and military members in recognition of their services. Check for discounts for your employer, alumni association, trade group, sports conference, or industry organization
  •  Discounts for Mature Drivers: Proof you’ve passed a licensed mature driver improvement course can get you up to 5 – 7% off
  • Defensive Driving / Driver Education Savings: If you take a licensed driver re-education course every couple of years, you can save up to 10%
  • Lump Payment Methods: Paying in full and going paperless avoids installment and administrative fees
  • Customer Loyalty: If you should be a long-standing customer of a company, you should squeeze some extra consideration for this by asking for loyalty discounts.
  • Green / Hybrid Vehicle Discounts
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