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Commuting Bicycle commuting is easier than you think, before you know it, you'll be hooked. Learn the tips, hints, equipment, safety requirements for safely riding your bike to work.

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Old 07-07-06, 12:10 PM   #1
maximusvt
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Auto insurance rates for bike commuters?

I was in the middle of a five car pileup a few weeks ago (first time I had been in my car in almost a month and that's what I get!!) and I am still swimming around in police reports and forms and calls to the insurance company. My car is still drivable, but it's pretty sketchy to drive and I haven't used it at all since the crash.

Anyway, the crash wasn't my fault and my insurance company should be able to handle paying for the repairs without causing any damage to my wallet. The agent I've been talking to is pretty helpful and seems to appreciate my patience, and he's also pretty impressed by the fact that I ride my bike and don't miss the use of my car at all.

Unfortunately there is a thing called winter here and it can't be that way all year round...

But it made me wonder, has anyone seen their insurance premiums go down because they told their insurance co. they were a cyclocommuter?
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Old 07-07-06, 12:13 PM   #2
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My car insurance company definitely has different rates. When I was walking to work I put my car in "pleasure use only" category and it was MUCH MUCH cheaper. I think it was also based on miles per year, and the cap was like 5000 for pleasure use only.

Now I drive to work 3-4x per week and the rate is based on distance from work; I'm not sure if they count the fact that I'm only driving 60% of the time.

So definitely look into the pleasure-use-only category
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Old 07-07-06, 12:14 PM   #3
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Mine decreased due to the fact I drive so little. Not simply because I ride a bike to work.

That and only having one car since the wife destroyed mine. Anyhow, my family doesn't need two cars. Good ridance.
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Old 07-07-06, 12:28 PM   #4
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Ours is down just 'cause we don't need a 2nd car. If we did have a 2nd car, it would get less than 5k miles a year and would get a discount that way.
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Old 07-07-06, 12:31 PM   #5
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I told our insurance company that neither my wife nor I commute by car, and our rates went way down. Something like a 40% discount, no mileage restrictions.
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Old 07-07-06, 12:32 PM   #6
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Same here in Massachusetts. It's based on miles, not based on what you do with it.
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Old 07-07-06, 12:55 PM   #7
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I asked. We have a family car, I bike. I do have a VW pop-top van that I use as a second car when I need one, but it is really more of a recreational vehicle, and gets driven very little, but the insurance is still the same. My rates are already pretty low, but my agent said there is no seasonal or recreation vehicle rate.
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Old 07-07-06, 01:28 PM   #8
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My rates are already quite low, mostly because my cars are 11 and 13 years old respectively so I don't carry the coverage that replaces them in the event of an accident. Dropping that coverage made a huge difference in the premium.

I was inclined to say suck it up and cycle in the winter, but I'm in NC and you're in VT so I have no right.
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Old 07-07-06, 01:43 PM   #9
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Watching this thread with interest.

Shop around. Some insurance companies that I've got quotes from recently want to put me in the same premium catagory as a hardcore 80-mile-a-day car commuter because I drive for work maybe two days a month. They are all about the "you either use your car for work or you don't".

I'll be avoiding them like the plague.
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Old 07-07-06, 02:28 PM   #10
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I told my insurance company that I do not use my car for work. I either take the bus or bike. I had to clarify that I do not even ride the car the one half mile to the bus station. My insurance dropped about 20%.

Unfortunately, I (as of this week) have a new assignment that requires off site meetings 1-2 days/week, and too far for a bike. As my mileage gets reimbursed, am using the promotion money to upgrade my commuter/touring bike (Rivendell here I come)
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Old 07-07-06, 02:46 PM   #11
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Don't have a car so I can't say, but I'll keep this in mind when (if?) the time comes!
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Old 07-19-06, 04:08 PM   #12
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I had some business with my insurance agent today. I asked her about my car rates given how much milage I put on my bike. She changed my car's status to "pleasure vehicle" and my rates are now cut by almost 50%, with no milage restrictions. Since I use my car only 2 or 3 times a week (at most, I haven't filled the tank in over a month) it qualifies.

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Old 07-19-06, 05:14 PM   #13
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All the insurance companies around here allow 6 days to work per month on pleasure use, which is great for me. Unfortunately, the discount is only about 10%.
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Old 07-19-06, 09:04 PM   #14
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I also moved my homeowner's coverage over to the same company, that cut me some slack as well.

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Old 07-19-06, 09:28 PM   #15
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Yea, I had a similar experience. Got to talking to my agent, asked her about a discount, and she sent me a new quote that saved about 20%. My original quote was already pretty low and the discout has convinced me to keep the paid-off car for recreational and occasional errands. Though my brother just bought a pickup, so maybe I can ditch the car and get a spare set of his keys...
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Old 07-20-06, 05:50 AM   #16
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Most insurance is based on annual miles driven (in addition to other factors). My yearly mileage dropped below 7000 miles once I started cycling to work. My premium dropped ~25 to 30%.
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Old 07-20-06, 06:26 AM   #17
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My insurance allows me 25km each way for driving to work without a jack in rates (assumption being that I am driving to work), and will discount it if I tell them that I do not drive to work at all. Even with that latter status, I get to take it sometimes (I forget the precise ammount) without taking a rate hit. Now, if I have to use it as a part of my work duties, then the rates will go up. They also go up if I have to drive more than 25 km each way.
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Old 07-20-06, 07:08 AM   #18
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My insurance is based on mileage, too. Unfortunately my wife still has to drive to work, so we can't claim the car as a pleasure use vehicle.
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Old 07-20-06, 07:08 AM   #19
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We're a one-car family with annual mileage around 7500. FWIW, State Farm told me they have no distinctions below 10,000 miles. Our biggest savings is in having only one car ... and a garage, believe it or not. I guess that's Chicago!
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Old 07-20-06, 10:49 AM   #20
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I'm not sure what the *exact* discount is with my insurance, but there is a drop. I told them about my bike commuting when I added my wife and her car -- adding a spouse significantly reduces costs. As I understand things, it all depends on how your company deals with discounts. Mine takes commuting into account, so when you subtract commuting from their equations, the premiums go down.

Proudly, I'll add that I last filled up the tank in the beginning of May and there's still a bunch left. The odometer indicates only 200 miles since then, which includes taking the bikes on a weekend trip.
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Old 07-20-06, 11:07 AM   #21
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Best way to lower your car insurance is to take a defensive driving course and not have any accidents on your record. I should know, an accident came off my record (3+ years ago) and got credit for the course. My bill went from $800+/6 months down to $460!

I have to give kudos to my insurance agent (for life, ha ha) for finding me a great rate in the first place. And now, it's an awesome rate...
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Old 07-20-06, 12:51 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maximusvt
I was in the middle of a five car pileup a few weeks ago (first time I had been in my car in almost a month and that's what I get!!) and I am still swimming around in police reports and forms and calls to the insurance company. My car is still drivable, but it's pretty sketchy to drive and I haven't used it at all since the crash.

Anyway, the crash wasn't my fault and my insurance company should be able to handle paying for the repairs without causing any damage to my wallet. The agent I've been talking to is pretty helpful and seems to appreciate my patience, and he's also pretty impressed by the fact that I ride my bike and don't miss the use of my car at all.

Unfortunately there is a thing called winter here and it can't be that way all year round...

But it made me wonder, has anyone seen their insurance premiums go down because they told their insurance co. they were a cyclocommuter?
Off topic, but I happen to know that winter riding is very possible for the determined.
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