Originally created 11/30/03

Biz bites



Take a number

A new survey of 600 mobile-phone users suggests many are ready to switch wireless services now that new laws allow you to be wedded to your cell phone number, while demanding a divorce from your wireless carrier. Plenty of folks are ready to do that when their service contracts expire.

Fifty-nine percent of the respondents said they were aware of the new cell phone number "portability" law that took effect Monday, according to the survey by market research firm InsightExpress. Nearly a fifth, 18 percent, said they're likely to ditch a traditional phone line at home and use their mobile.

When choosing a wireless plan, the monthly fee and brand name were cited as the most important factors by nearly half the people in the survey, conducted earlier this month. Coverage area was next, cited by 16 percent. The least important factor? The number of monthly minutes in a plan.

Auto insurance

When it comes to the fundamentals of auto insurance rates, adults and teen drivers have a few things to learn.

Quizzing a group of 1,000 teens and 1,000 adults, the nation's third-biggest car insurer found the two groups were about equally knowledgeable on the basics of what affects rates.

Nearly three of four teens didn't know that your credit history plays a role in how much you pay for auto insurance, while more than half of adults (63 percent) didn't know this.

Nearly a third of adults, 30 percent, said the color of a car would affect the cost to insure it. More than a fifth of teens, 22 percent, also believed color was used to set rates. It's not.

Fortunately, most people do know the importance of age and experience when paying for insurance. Only 2 percent of teens believed age is not a factor in setting rates, and 9 percent of adults were laboring under that misconception.

The online survey was conducted by Progressive Corp., based in Mayfield Village, Ohio.

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Contact Business Editor Damon Cline at (706) 823-3486 or dcline@augustachronicle.com.