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What you need to know for 10/22/2017

Base insurance rates on driving

Base insurance rates on driving

Insurance companies discriminate by using factors not related to driving record

Your insurance rates should be determined by how well you drive a car, not a golf ball.

But according to a recent survey by the New York Public Interest Research Group, car insurance companies are giving better insurance rates to executives and college grads than to those with nonprofessional jobs and high school diplomas.

The resulting difference in premiums was, in some cases, 15 to 25 percent and amounted to hundreds of dollars extra in premiums per year.

Because minorities and others from lower economic backgrounds tend not to have big jobs or fancy degrees, this practice opens the door to discrimination based on factors unrelated to driving ability.

A motorist's driving record, the number of miles driven each year, experience level and type of vehicle are certainly legitimate factors in setting insurance rates. Even such factors as gender and occupations that require a lot of driving can help determine the odds of one getting into an accident or running afoul of a radar gun.

But in what way can it be proven, all other factors being equal, that a bank executive or an accountant is necessarily a better driver than a cashier or a window washer? When in college do they teach you the extra-special driving skills you didn't learn in high school?

Because of the potential for discrimination, the state needs to step in and ensure that all New Yorkers are paying car insurance premiums based solely on the actual practice of driving.

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