Homeowners are better drivers
Reviewing an accident analysis done by motor insurance comparison site Insurance.com, a recent Wall Street Journal article says insurers have believed for a long time that drivers who own their homes file fewer auto-insurance claims, on average, than those who rent – and that several companies already take this into account when calculating premiums.
However, says Des Toups, managing editor of Insurance.com, to determine whether homeowners are really less likely to file a claim than tenants, the site decided to analyse data from more than 700 000 drivers who completed an online questionnaire between January 2012 and July 2014.
And what it found, unsurprisingly, was that those most likely to file an accident claim are drivers between 18 and 24 who live with their parents. About 24% of drivers in this group had filed a claim in the past three years, compared to just under 20% of drivers in this age group who were tenants, and just under 18% of drivers in this age group who own their own homes.
The analysis also revealed that this pattern persists well into drivers’ 40s and 50s, albeit at lower levels. For instance, in the 45 to 54 aged group, just over 13% of drivers who own their own homes had filed a claim in the past three years, compared with 14% of drivers who were renting their homes.
Overall, only 14,3% of drivers who are homeowners had lodged an accident claim in the past three years versus 16,8% of drivers who are tenants and 22,2% of drivers who reside with their parents.
Toups says this confirms that there is indeed a strong correlation between homeownership and fewer claims, “and helps to explain why many consumers receive an auto insurance discount simply for owning a home, or additional reductions when they bundle their auto insurance and homeowner’s insurance policies with the same insurance carrier”.
But he does also cautions that just buying a home will not automatically make you a better driver. It is longer-term home ownership, and the responsibility and additional caution that comes with that, which appear to make the most difference to people’s driving habits and thus the likelihood of being involved in an accident.