A person with a magnifying glass to check dollars

Understand What an Auto Insurance Premium is

An auto insurance premium what you have to pay to maintain your car insurance policy. This auto insurance premium is based on what type of car you drive, your age, gender, and many other factors. It is important to understand that car insurance companies use a variety of factors to determine your premium amount, and the exact mix of those factors are company secrets.

Which means that getting a lower premium is all in the small details – details the insurance company will not always share with you. So you have to figure out how they think. Since insurance often cost more than general repair and maintenance, you should put some effort into it.

How They Think

Based on the policy options you pick and your history, an insurance company will quote you a base price. Qualifying for one or more discounts will reduce your car insurance premium. Make sure you ask for all possible discounts. Also, ask what you can do to lower the premium. Lower mileage, over-night parking alternatives, anti-theft devices, and auto safety features may not only affect your premiums, they may also have other advantages.

The insurance company will try to figure out how much of a risk you are to them. The more you can convince them that you are a safe driver and a low risk, the better.

When You Get a New Car

Be proactive. When you get a new car, consider how your choice of model will affect the premiums. Some cars are cheaper to insure than others. Look for safety features and good safety ratings. Your insurance company will not like a car that have a history of high damage or injury claims.

Protect your new car. Both newer cars and older cars are prone to theft. The older model years are often stolen for their parts, newer cars for their high value. Do what you can to eliminate theft. If you have a garage at home and/or at work, always park there. Be sure to tell your insurance company. Pick monitored, gated, or supervised parking when you can. Activate anti-theft devices.

Safe Driver

Make a pledge to become a better and safer driver. There are usually several ways to convince your insurance company that you are a safe and responsible driver. Ask for programs you can join. For example, Progressive has the snapshot device and Allstate the Safe Driver Rewards Program. If a completed defensive driver course will lower your premium – take one! They do not cost much and can pay off quickly.

If you can lower your mileage by using other means of transport sometimes, it can also help lower your premiums.

Credit Score

Unfortunately, all insurance companies still think credit history is a powerful predictor of risk. Do what you can to have your credit history and credit score in good shape. Before getting a car insurance quote, you should always make sure that your credit history does not contain any unfavorable errors.

Insurance companies also give “good students” discounts, basically because they think “good student” means lower risk. So, if you are still at school – think ahead.

How Much Should You Pay?

Expect to pay lower insurance premiums if you live in Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, or Idaho. In those states the average car insurance premium is between $630 and $664. You will pay the highest premiums if you live in Delaware, Florida, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, or Louisiana. Average premiums in those states range from $1,110 to $1,277.

The reason for those differences is higher rates of vandalism, theft, and accidents in urban areas compared to small towns or rural areas.

Which means you could also be proactive when you move. A neighborhood with low crime rates will usually mean lower car premiums. But, then again, picking your new home based on expected car insurance premiums is perhaps stretching this too far?

Illustration by: Liu Ming

West Virginia Driver's License

License Punishments

There are basically three types of license punishments: suspensions, revocations, and cancellations. The meaning vary slightly between the states, but in general the following applies:

  • Suspension: A temporary withdrawal of your driving privilege. When the suspension period has passed, everything goes back to normal and your license is restored. You have served your time.
  • Revocation: A indefinite withdrawal or complete termination of your driving privilege. When the revocation period has passed, you must apply for a new license and often go through the whole testing phase again. There is no guarantee that you will get your license back. Your state may deny your application for several reasons.
  • Cancellation: The reasons for your privilege no longer exist or you are disqualified. This is often the case when you gave wrong information in your application or shouldn’t have been issued a license in the first place. Your license may also be canceled for health reasons.

A license can be suspended or revoked by the court or by the DMV, or by both.

Ways to Lose Your Driving Privilege

Even if laws differ between U.S. States, there are some violations that will most likely result in a loss of your driver’s license in every state. They may lead to either a suspension or a revocation. If your license is suspended or revoked in one state, you will not be issued a license in another state.

1. Failure to stop at the Scene of a Crash

All states require you to stop at the scene of an accident. Hit-and-run driving, especially when it involves death or injury to another person, is one of the most serious offenses on the road and in some states considered a felony. If you are convicted of fleeing the scene, you will most likely lose your license.

Remember, if you are involved in a crash, even it is just property damages, you must stop at the scene or close by. You must identify yourself and show driver’s license and proof of insurance to other drivers and to law enforcement officers.

2. Willfully Fleeing a Police Officer

If you are ordered to stop your vehicle by a law enforcement, you must do so. If you willfully refuse to stop your vehicle in compliance with the officer’s order, you will be charged with something that is generally known as Fleeing and Eluding. If you try to speed away from a police officer, you will probably also face additional charges, like reckless driving.

This offense will not only lead to a loss of your driving privilege for a long time, it will also result in heavy fines and/or jail time.

3. Drunk Driving (DUI)

All U.S. States may revoke your driving privilege if you are convicted of multiple drunk driving offenses. The more severe punishment in form of a revocation usually kicks in after the third offense, which is often seen as a felony.

Drunk driving penalties have become harsher over the years, and do not only include suspension or revocation of your driver’s license. You will also see severe fines, court costs, and possibly jail time already after your first offense.

4. Engaging in Drag Racing or Speed Contests

No state allows drag racing on public streets. It is not only dangerous, it may also have severe consequences with a possible revocation of your license. The same applies to repeated offenses of reckless driving.

5. Committing a Felony Using a Vehicle

Using a motor vehicle to commit a felony (a serious crime) is also a sure way of losing your driver’s license. This includes basically any type of crime that is considered a felony and in which you used your car.

Example: Mandatory License Revocations in West Virginia

To understand how revocations are used in some states, study this list of convictions that will result in a mandatory DMV revocation of the driver’s license in West Virginia:

  • Manslaughter or negligent homicide resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle
  • Two or more moving violation convictions as a graduated driver
  • Providing false information to the DMV
  • Leaving the scene of a crash that results in death or personal injury
  • Three convictions of reckless driving in 24 months
  • Racing on streets or highways (drag racing)
  • Driving while license is suspended or revoked
  • Failure to satisfy a civil judgment against you as a result of your involvement in an automobile crash
  • Conviction in this state or in any other state for driving under the influence of alcohol, controlled substances, or drugs
  • Failure to pay for gasoline upon second conviction
  • Any felony committed using a motor vehicle

 

NC DMV Practice Test Videos

NC DMV Practice Test Videos Now on YouTube

Our permit practice tests on YouTube now include three videos based on the NC DMV Practice Test. Use these three videos for quick viewing and reminder of the most important questions. We still advise you to several North Carolina permit practice test on driversprep.com to learn and fully understand the contents of the DMV driver’s handbook. Look at videos when you are on the go.

The First Three Practice Videos

The first set of NC DMV practice test videos consists of three videos. There will be additional sets published during spring. Be sure the check out the NC Permit Practice Test playlist on YouTube.

Remember, to earn the privilege of driving in North Carolina, you must use the driver’s handbook to learn and reinforce your safe and defensive driving techniques. You must do your part to help make North Carolina roads safe for the millions of citizens who travel them, whether by car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle or foot.

Do not try to just memorize phrases from our tests. Make sure you fully understand questions and answers. A vast majority of serious teen driver crashes are the result of inexperience and lack of knowledge. The more you know, the better driver you will be. Take the information in the handbook and every NC DMV practice test seriously.

Practice That Will Pay Off

Applicants who use our NC DMV practice tests more than 10 times on at least two occasions have an overall pass rate of 93%. This means that studying the North Carolina Driver’s Handbook and using the free online practice tests at driversprep.com will pay off.

Our NC DMV practice tests are highly rated by high schools, colleges and driving schools. You can rest assured that we will give you the questions and answers you need to pass.

Feedback is Welcome

If you find errors, or don’t like something on our permit practice tests, let us know. It also helps if you let us know if we missed something that appeared on your examination. We constantly work to improve.

If our practice test helped you to prepare and to pass your examination, let others know! By helping us spread the word to your friends, we have a chance to become even better!

Current Online (February 2015)

Big Tex, Dallas State Fair

Confusing Texas Cell Phone Laws

In 2011, Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a veto against Texas House Bill 242, which would have banned texting while driving. Perry said supported measures that make Texas roads safer for everyone. But he refused to “micromanage the behavior of adults“.

This have made the map of legal and illegal cell phone use in Texas a total mess. Although Texas has no statewide law banning all use of cell phones while driving, there are many local ordinances that prohibit or restrict the use of cell phones while driving.

This confusing map of Texas laws will continue. The next Texas Governor, Greg Abbott, shares the current governor’s dislike of further distracted driving legislation. Meaning, Texas will be left with a patchwork of local ordinances to confuse drivers for a long time.

Summary of Texas Cell Phone Laws

1. There is no statewide law banning the use of cell phones while driving for all drivers.

2. Drivers with learner’s permits are prohibited from using handheld cell phones in the first six months of driving. If over 18, drivers may use hands-free cell phones.

3. Drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using all wireless communications devices.

4. In school zones, all drivers are prohibited from texting and using handheld devices while driving.

5. Local ordinances may ban all uses of wireless communications devices while driving, ban on texting and other manual uses of wireless communication devices while driving, or ban just texting while driving.

According to the Texas Legislative Council, the following cities have ordinances prohibiting texting while driving: Alamo, Alice, Amarillo, Aransas Pass, Arlington, Austin, Bellaire, Brownsville, Canyon, Conroe, Converse, Corpus Christi, Denton, El Paso, Farmers Branch, Galveston, Grand Prairie, Harlingen, Helotes, Laredo, Magnolia, Maypearl, McAllen, Meadowlakes, Mission, Missouri City, Mount Vernon, Nacogdoches, Palmview, Pampa, Penitas, Richwood, Rowlett, San Antonio, Shoreacres, Sinton, Stephenville, Tomball, Universal City, West University Place.

Austin and San Antonio updated their ordinances on January 1, 2015. Both cities now ban all handheld devices as well as all texting. In Denton, the texting ban grace period will be over on Monday, February 16, and police will be start issuing tickets.

California YouTube Videos

California Permit Practice Now on YouTube

In an effort to make our permit questions and answers more accessible, we have uploaded additional permit practice tests on YouTube. The idea is to make video short enough for quick viewing and easy to digest. Studying to get your California permit or full driver’s license has probably never been easier.

We suggest that you take several permit practice test on our website to learn and fully understand the contents of the 2015 California Driver Handbook. Use the videos when you are on the go and need a quick reminder.

Three Practice Videos Online

The first California DMV Permit Practice set consists of three videos. We will release additional sets during March and April, until we cover all DMV questions.

Remember, questions can be asked in many different ways. Just trying to memorize phrases is usually not a good idea. Make sure you fully understand questions and answers. The overwhelming majority of serious teen driver crashes are the result of “critical errors” and “lack of knowledge”. The more you know, the safer you will be on the road. Take every test seriously.

Studies That Will Pay Off

New drivers who use our California DMV permit practice tests have an overall pass rate of 95% on their first California Driver Examination. In other words, studying the California Driver Handbook and taking several online practice tests at driversprep.com will pay off.

Our tests are highly rated by high schools, colleges and driving schools. We also have great reviews on social media. You can be sure that we have the questions and answers you need.

Give Us Feedback

If you find errors, or don’t like something on our permit practice tests, let us know. We constantly work to improve. If our practice test helped you to prepare and to pass your examination, let others know! Help us spread the word to your friends.

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