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In Georgia, shorter commute doesn't lower car insurance rates


In some states, an increase in annual miles driven can add up to a big increase in car insurance rates. But in Georgia, even if you drive more miles per year, your rates will increase just a little.

On the surface it sounds good to save money,  but the flip side means there is little incentive for drivers across the state and in metro Atlanta -- one of the most traffic challenged metros in the country -- to drive less.

Related: Atlanta drivers show no mercy for Ga. 400 flex lane abuser caught on video

A Georgia driver who increases their annual mileage from 5,000 to 20,000 will see a rate increase of 2.53% according to insuranceQuotes.com's annual survey of the average economic impact annual miles driven has on the cost of auto insurance .

That is less than the national average of a 9% increase, and well below the highest increase in California where adding 15,000 miles to a commute means a 25% increase in insurance rates.

“When determining rates, auto insurers typically use mileage as a major factor. But the amount varies considerably depending on where you live. Consumers who live in states with the biggest hikes have more opportunity to save by driving less,” said Laura Adams, senior insurance analyst at insuranceQuotes.

In metro Atlanta, there aren't many incentives to drive less, but things are starting to change. Since 2012, several regional transit groups have worked together as  Georgia Commute Options to help metro Atlantans find free services to get to and from work without using their cars.

According to a 2011 Metro Atlanta Regional Commuter survey, of the people who use commute alternatives, 40 percent telework, 30 percent carpool or vanpool, 28 percent use transit and 2 percent bike and walk.

The alternatives are good for the environment, less expensive, can offer health benefits and are definitely less stressful than getting stuck in traffic snarls. Here are some commuting alternatives and how they may save (and earn) you money:

Carpooling

You use your car and share the ride to work with your friends or co-workers. Georgia Commute Options offers several incentives for locals to switch from single car riders to carpoolers and vanpoolers including the chance to earn $3 per day.

Vanpooling

This alternative to carpooling is typically set up by an employer, a building or co-workers who pool their money and cover gas. They generally meet at a park and ride location then drive to work. Some groups have designated drivers; others rotate driving duties. This option is ideal for commuters who have a long drive. Employers may subsidize the cost, and both employers and commuters can get tax benefits. You can find existing vanpoolers online and you qualify for some of the same incentives as carpoolers.

Mass Transit

MARTA offers many passes and discounts that can help you save money. There are also discounts for students, seniors and corporate partners, which get discounts based on the number of employees enrolled. Some companies may also subsidize the cost for employees who take public transportation. There are also neighborhood commuting options such as “The Buc,” Buckhead’s free shuttle, and Cliff Shuttles in the area of Emory University.

Car/Ride Sharing

Zipcar , Lyft.com and Uber.com  have rapidly evolved over the last few years are a viable option for many commuters, typically those who need a car for limited use instead of a daily commuting.

These are also good choices for anyone looking to improve their health and you can always combine biking or walking with another commuting alternative and still save money and earn incentives. Atlanta Bicycle Coalition helps you stay on top of new bikeways that have been completed so you can plan a safe route .

Read more: Beat Atlanta traffic with an electric bike

Telework/ Compressed Work Weeks and Flextime

Work from home, work “off” hours, or work 40 hours in four days. Any of these options can reduce the time and money you spend on your commute and all are becoming more acceptable in a range of industries. If you need help making the case to your boss, Georgia Commute Options offers services and assistance to commuters and employers.


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About the Author

Nedra Rhone has been a features reporter with the AJC for 10 years. She’s written about everything from fashion to food to news.