Will owning your home make you a better driver?

 New study finds homeowners file fewer auto claims New study finds homeowners file fewer auto claims Have a driving ambition to own a home? Purchasing that dream property may end up saving you money behind the wheel, suggests a new study. Insurance.com recently analyzed user data and found that 14.3 percent of homeowners had filed at least one car insurance claim in the past three years versus 16.8 percent of renters and 22.2 percent of drivers who reside with their parents. The data included claims of all kinds, from collision and comprehensive to liability and uninsured motorists. Des Toups, managing editor for Insurance.com in Foster City, Calif., says the study’s findings weren’t surprising.

“There is a strong correlation between homeownership and fewer claims, but no one is suggesting there is direct causation,” Toups says. “That is, buying a house does not make a bad driver into a good one.”

Jim Saxon, president of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, a Pittsburgh-based real estate company, says with homeownership comes responsibility, which creates caution. “Homeowners understand that they have something of substantial value at risk — therefore, they act with more cautiousness and restraint to ensure that their assets are protected,” Saxon says. “Also, to purchase a home you must have an above-average credit score, and people with good credit scores are not typically risk takers. The correlation between people with good credit scores — homeowners — and people who file less auto claims, is responsibility.”

Data like the aforementioned study helps 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.

“However, bundling home and auto doesn’t necessarily mean the combined total will be less than buying them separately,” Toups says. “We strongly suggest drivers compare rates both ways.”

— Erik J. Martin

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