That Texting-While-Driving Ticket Can Also Lead to a Car Insurance Penalty

“These features work,” Ms. Connolly said. “But they are not reducing car insurance rates because they are expensive to repair.” And many advanced safety systems are available only on newer cars and aren’t always standard, so their full impact hasn’t yet been seen.

The average surcharge for using a cellphone or texting while driving has been rising and is now nearly $300, Ms. Connolly said.

The Zebra’s analysis, conducted from September to December, is based on more than 60 million quotes from insurers as well as public rate information filed with insurance regulators by the top 10 auto insurers in each state.

The analysis used a base profile of a 30-year-old single man with a good driving history, driving a 2014 Honda Accord EX, and changed the profile to include driving violations to obtain the change in premiums.

Here are some questions and answers about car insurance rates:

Can factors besides my driving record affect my car insurance rates?

Yes. In many states, insurers consider criteria like your education, sex, marital status and credit score to help set your premium, although more states have begun to restrict the use of such “nondriving” factors. Michigan, for instance, passed an insurance law in May that, among other things, bans the use of credit scores. New York last year barred consideration of occupation and education. And California this year became one of a growing number of states that exclude the use of a driver’s sex in setting premiums.

Efforts are also afoot in Congress to propose federal legislation barring the use of nondriving factors to set auto rates. Historically, auto insurance has been regulated by the states, rather than by the federal government. The proposals may not pass this year, but they may at least result in hearings, which could help shed light on the practice, said J. Robert Hunter, an insurance expert with the Consumer Federation of America.

How can I keep my auto premiums as low as possible?

One way to lower your premium is to raise your deductible, the amount that you pay out of pocket when you make a claim. Increasing your deductible to $1,000 from $500 can lower your premium by 11 percent, the Zebra found.

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