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Bronx auto insurance rates through the sunroof

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Hold on to your steering wheel.

A new study confirms what most Bronx drivers already feel in their deflated wallets - auto insurance rates are through the car roof in the Bronx.

In fact, the borough ranked second, just behind Brooklyn, as the county with the highest rates in the state.

The study by the consumer advocacy website NerdWallet.com, which helps people make better decisions about purchasing financial products and services, compared auto insurance rates in every zip code in New York State.

Averaging the zip codes, the Bronx came in second, with rates about 50% more costly than in Manhattan, said NerdWallet.com spokeswoman Maxime Rieman. Brooklyn ranked first statewide.

“We decided New York is such a populous state and this is not something we have ever heard discussed in New York,” she said. “Obviously, the insurance companies have an incentive for a lack of transparency, so we wanted to really help people see what they could be paying and saving.” .

Based on rates for a 37-yearold single female driver, data from NerdWallet showed an average range by Bronx zip code of from $2,721.89 a year in City Island (10464) and part of Riverdale (10471) to seven zip codes in the south and west Bronx that saw an premium of $3,349.89 (10451, 10451, 10452, 10454, 10455, 10456, 10457, and 10474).

Among the lowest priced zip codes were 10463 (south Riverdale/­Kingsbridg­e), 10465 (Throggs Neck and Country Club) 10470 (Woodlawn/­Wakefield) and 10475 (Co-op City) which all had an average premium of $2,775. Also ranking relatively low was 10461 (Pelham Bay/Morris Park/Zerega) at $2,883.78 a year.

Larry Pistillo of The Pistillo Agency at 1892 Eastchester Road in Morris Park said that Allstate, which his agency represents, recently changed its criteria for determining rates from having “north Bronx” and “south Bronx” zones to relying more on zip code, as well as on credit score and highest education level obtained.

“Now the insurance companies are figuring there are certain areas which unfortunately are producing more claims, and some of the areas where people thought the rates should be the best are not,” he said.

“Some of it,” he said, “I personally don’t think is very fair.”

For drivers looking to minimize their auto rates, Rieman said that a person planning on moving can explore the average rates in different zip codes.

Another way is to be a safe driver or raise your credit score. Taking a safe driving course either in person or on line can also lower policy rates.

“Also, we recommend just generally that people re-shop their auto insurance about once a year,” she said.

“When you shop for auto insurance, oftentimes you get a bunch of discounts very early on, but some of the discounts expire or you stop qualifying for them.”

Consumers should also reshop after they have a major life event or a minor accident, she said.

Senator Jeff Klein’s Independent Democratic Conference also commissioned a report recently that showed that people registering their cars out-of-state, committing insurance fraud, are driving rates higher.

“The sheer number of accidents each year in New York City contributes to a big part of the cost,” said Klein, “but unacceptable levels of insurance fraud here in the Bronx are driving average premiums way up.”

Klein, who is co-leader of the state Senate, added that that he is now working on legislation to bring rates down.

For a link to the study, see here: www.nerdwallet.com/blog/insurance/2013/12/03/top-expensive-counties-car-insurance-new-york/

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393
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