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Over the years, you've been a claim-free driver.  You obey the speed limit, traffic signals and stop signs, and haven't been involved in an accident for more years than you can remember.  You know you should be an ideal customer receiving some kind of recognition for a good driving record.  But does the insurance company reward you with a claim-free discount?

There is a possibility you can save money if you qualify for a claim-free discount.  Let's take a closer look at how claims affect your car insurance premium, how you can qualify for a claim-free discount, and what it might be worth.

How to Qualify for a Claim-Free Discount
To qualify for a claim-free discount on your auto insurance, insurance companies generally look at your claims history for at least three to five years.  It is important to note:

• Carriers review the number of auto claims and severity of a period of time.  Several small claims can indicate a pattern that causes a carrier to drop your policy.

• Property damage versus bodily injury may also be viewed differently by your car insurance carrier, the latter being treated more severly.

Understand What Auto Claims Are
Claims occur that may be covered under your auto insurance policy in several ways.  There are at-fault claims and not-at-fault claims.  The line between the two is sometimes fuzzy.

• If you fail to stop at a stop sign and cause an accident, you are likely at fault and your record will be charged with an accident.  Any claim will be paid by your car insurance carrier.

• If you are sitting in a parked car and are hit by a passing vehicle, you are likely not at fault.  If the other driver has no car insurance, your policy will protect you under your uninsured motorist coverage.

• What if you are driving and suddenly a car swerves into your lane, and you instinctively swerve to avoid the car but hit another car and also hit the car that swerved in your path?  Both you and the driver who swerved in front of you may be liable and be considered responsible for the car accident.

• If you are found at fault for a collision while driving someone else's car, the claim is charged against your record, not the owner of the car.

How to Minimize Your Risk of an Auto Accidents
There are time-proven ways to help you avoid accidents and claims:

• Watch your speed and always observe driving conditions.  As your speed increases so does your brake time.  If you double your speed, brake time quadruples.  If road and weather conditions are unfavorable, adjust your speed regardless of the posted speed limit.

• Know what is around you.  When changing lanes, always check rear view mirrors and make sure another car is not in a "blind" spot.

• Take a defensive driving class.  An approved defensive driving class not only teaches good habits, it also may entitle you to a safe driver discount from your car insurance company.

• Avoid driving when tired.  Also, check the effects that certain medications may have on your ability to drive.

• Keep the inside of your car under control.  Kids should be buckled up, distractions minimized, and cell phones turned off.  Some states are severely limiting the use of cell phones while driving.

What a Claim-Free Driver Discount is Worth
The claim-free discount can be as high as 25% off your car insurance premium.  Add to that the cumulative effect of years of the discount and you can readily understand the significant of the claim-free discount.  Remember, even if you may not qualify for a full discount, you may qualify for a partial discount depending on your record.

Insurance Discount Help is Here
As a driver, you understand that obeying traffic laws and being attentive behind the wheel are important  for more than just your safety.  Safe driving can also have a long-term impact on your auto insurance premiums and your wallet.

As your independent insurance agency, we work to find you the best coverage at the most competitive rates.  Contact our Personal Risk Advisor, Leslie Hicks today to find out if you qualify for a claim-free driver discount.  Call 800-797-3371 or 580-223-7300.

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