Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that exis...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jul 30, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • Understanding how car insurance is calculated can help you learn how to save money
  • You can control some of the factors that go into your rate, but others you can’t control
  • There are ways to save money on car insurance if you understand what auto insurance rates are based on and how insurance companies determine car insurance rates

How is car insurance calculated? Learn factors that lower auto insurance premiums and factors that increase auto insurance premiums so you can find cheap rates. If you drive, you’d better have car insurance! It’s the law pretty much everywhere in the U.S. except in a few states where, if you’re independently wealthy and can prove your financial responsibility, you can forego insurance.

The average person needs car insurance no matter where they live in America. But what determines auto insurance rates?

Everyone would like to save money while retaining the appropriate level of coverage for their situation, but you’ve probably wondered how do insurance companies determine auto insurance rates? By understanding the factors involved in calculating your car insurance premiums, you can take steps to get lower rates without having to sacrifice your policy.

An easy step you can take to find out if you could be getting better rates is to compare quotes. We have a tool above in which you can compare multiple car insurance quotes at once. Enter your zip code to get started!

Learn the factors that make car insurance cheaper. Understanding car insurance premiums and car insurance prices is an important step to finding the best auto insurance. Here’s what we cover:

Table of Contents

15 Factors that Affect Car Insurance Rates

Car insurance rates are calculated by actuaries. Purdue Department of Mathematics defines the professional:

An actuary is a business professional who analyzes the financial consequences of risk. Actuaries use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to study uncertain future events, especially those of concern to insurance and pension programs.

Essentially, the actuaries calculate how much risk you pose to the insurance company and the company then charges you enough so that they stand to make a profit.

If you’re not seen as a huge financial risk, you’ll pay lower premiums. If their actuarial model puts you at a high-risk, you’ll be charged higher rates so that the insurance company is able to protect their risk in taking you on as a client.

Not every insurance company uses all of these factors, and every company develops their own way to calculate risk so while you may be viewed as a moderate risk by a certain insurer, another may place you in the low-risk category.

Below is a list of factors that go into the calculation of your specific risk.

Now, whether or not you want to change these factors is up to you, but you do have an element of control over the following:

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#1 – Where you live

This factor affects rates in a couple different ways:

  • Your state’s requirements and general risk
  • Your zip code

The most expensive states for car insurance are:

  • Florida
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New York

Depending on what data is considered in the calculation, any one of these five could be considered the most expensive. In Florida, Michigan, and New York, the type and level of coverage required is the major reason the rates so high. These states require “no-fault” coverage.

So in addition to paying for standard liability coverage that required almost everywhere, residents are required to pay for varying levels of self-protection coverage.

Louisiana residents pay so much for coverage because of natural disaster risk and poorly maintained roads.

New Jersey’s rates are high because, in addition to no-fault coverage being required, there is a high rate of accidents.

Each state’s bottom line for insurance coverage premiums is governed by how much insurance is required to be purchased and how much overall insurance risk there is in the state whether it’s due to accidents, vandalism, or weather.

Your zip code also plays a significant role in your premiums and can sway your costs by up to 82 percent. Certain urban areas have a higher risk of vandalism and theft, there may also be an increased rate of car accidents in certain areas. You may want to consider moving to a new location to lower your car insurance premiums.

For instance, the states below represent the highest and lowest risk for vehicle theft which would also affect insurance.

 10 States With the Lowest Vehicle Theft Rates Per 100,000 Residents

State:Rate per 100,000 Residents:
#10 - Idaho123.2
#9 - West Virginia121.7
#8 - Virginia116.4
#7 - Massachusetts115.8
#6 - Pennsylvania101.5
#5 - Mississippi100.4
#4 - New York72.6
#3 - New Hampshire62.5
#2 - Maine58.2
#1 - Vermont45.1
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 10 States With the Highest Vehicle Theft Rates Per 100,000 Residents

State:Rate per 100,000 Residents:
#10 - Oklahoma307.9
#9 - Oregon313.6
#8 - Colorado352.9
#7 - Hawaii395.8
#6 - Alaska411
#5 - D.C.436.5
#4 - Washington442.6
#3 - Nevada448.3
#2 - California450.3
#1 - New Mexico559.2
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View all data here.

#2 – Your marital status

According to a study done by The National Institutes of Health, drivers who were never married have a significantly higher rate of motor vehicle crash injuries than drivers who were married.

Higher risk equals higher premiums, so single drivers often end up paying more for car insurance. State Farm offers lower rates when a customer gets married, and they state that men under 25 years old will see an even more significant rate drop than other drivers.

According to Consumer Reports, a couple in their 30s who marries can save a combined average of $525 on car insurance a year.

#3 – Your driving history

Your driving history is one of the biggest indicators of your future driving risk. If you have a couple of at-fault crashes on your record, you’ll pose more of a risk to the insurance company and you’ll pay more for coverage.

Probably the worst driving-related thing you can do for your coverage costs is to get a DUI conviction. Typically your coverage costs will increase by a few hundred dollars after a DUI.

You can’t actually change history, obviously, but you can change how you drive now so that in a couple years your history will look different.

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#4 – The kind of car you drive

Picture a minivan driver. Now, picture a sports car driver.

You probably just stereotyped your mental image, and while not every minivan driver is a middle-aged woman, and not every sports car driver is a young male, these stereotypes have an element of reality as their basis, and car insurance costs reflect that.

The Honda Odyssey is the least expensive vehicle to insure. Not only do drivers of minivans tend to be safer than other drivers, but the Odyssey is one of the safest vehicles for occupants, indicating a lower risk of injury costs for the insurance company.

Cars that cost a lot of money to repair and vehicles that are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents cost the most to insure.

#5 – The number of miles you drive

Your mileage affects car insurance rates. More miles driven mean more opportunities to have an accident. So, people that drive a high number of miles a year will pay more than if they travel few miles.

Some insurance companies give low mileage drivers lower rates but with other companies, not much rate difference can be observed.

There are some insurance plans that are based on mileage. If you opt for that type of insurance, and you drive few annual miles — usually between 5,000 and 10,000 annual miles — you’ll probably see a significantly lower car insurance bill than you would with a traditional plan.

#6 – Your credit history

Once again, like your driving history, the past is what it is, but you can change your credit habits now for future benefits.

Your insurance credit score is different than your FICO credit score but both are based on the same credit information. Your insurance credit score is used by insurance companies to predict the risk that you will file a claim.

A lower score equals more risk to the insurer which equals higher premiums for the consumer.

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#7 – Occupation

Although banned in some states (eg Massachusetts and New York), many other states factor what you do for a living into your car insurance premium.

According to Clark.com, the following occupations represent low and high insurance risk:

Low RiskHigh Risk
AccountantsDaycare employees
DentistsStock clerks
EngineersBank tellers
Military OfficersRetail Workers
Teachers
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#8 – Education

This factor goes hand-in-hand with occupation, and in states where occupation is banned from being factored into rates, education level is banned as well.

Despite car insurance actuaries being able to prove education’s statistical relation to risk, some states have determined that these calculations are discriminatory.

Where education level is considered, Consumer Reports states that a college degree can help you save $90 a year compared to someone who didn’t finish high school.

#9 – Your gender

How your gender affects your car insurance rates depends on where you live and what insurance company is making the calculations.

Some states do not allow gender to be calculated into rates (Montana) and some companies don’t consider it. But sometimes there’s a clear difference between what men and women pay.

Traditional insurance theory says the gender and age combination that typically receives the highest car insurance rates is males under 25 years old. They are statistically more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident than any other age/gender classification, so they’re more likely to be charged more for insurance.

On the flip side, for all ages, women take fewer risks while driving and are rewarded by lower premiums.

However, in our research we found some interesting difference from the traditional theory.

States Where Women Pay More

StateRate IncreaseStateRate Increase
Alaska7.7%Arizona
6.6%
Arkansas20.5%California0.7%
Colorado17.1%Delaware31.6%
District of Columbia10.9%Florida11.7%
Georgia26.9%Idaho5.7%
Illinois11.5%Indiana7.9%
Iowa14.4%Kansas7.4%
Kentucky12.8%Louisiana17.5%
Maryland14.5%Michigan21.8%
Minnesota50.7%Mississippi1.1%
Missouri12.2%Nebraska7.3%
Nevada8.2%New Hampshire9.1%
New Jersey16.4%New Mexico16.3%
New York14.5%North Dakota10.5%
Ohio6.1%Oklahoma8.2%
Oregon10.2%Rhode Island3.3%
South Carolina4.6%South Dakota4.7%
Tennessee1.8%Texas11.7%
Utah7.5%Vermont4%
Virginia3.4%Washington18.5%
West Virginia25.1%Wisconsin5.9%
Wyoming2.7%
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States Where Men Pay More

State: Rate Increase:
Alabama15.3%
Connecticut5.1%
Maine6.6%
Massachusetts11.2%
Montana1.2%
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Our team plans to do more research with different ages and driving history to further investigate.

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#10 – Your age

When you’re a teen or in your early 20s, it’s impossible to have had many years of driving experience. Lack of experience is the biggest cause of teen driving accidents, so a young driver will pay more than an older driver who has more years of driving under their belt.

Senior drivers may see their rates increase as their risk of being involved in fender benders increases.

State:Worst
Age Group:
Percent of all
Fatal Crashes:
Alabama30-3411.46
Alaska20-2415.74
Arizona20-2412.78
Arkansas25-2911.23
California20-2415.14
Colorado20-2413.41
Connecticut20-2412.38
Delaware20-2414.71
District of Columbia30-3428.95
Florida20-2413.28
Georgia20-2411.95
Hawaii20-2415.03
Idaho20-2412.46
Illinois25-2912.13
Indiana20-2413.35
Iowa20-2411.99
Kansas20-2410.43
Kentucky20-2411.57
Louisiana25-2913.21
Maine30-3410.68
Maryland25-2913.09
Massachusetts20-2415.77
Michigan20-2412.08
Minnesota20-2410.09
Mississippi20-2412.24
Missouri20-2411.34
Montana55-5911.32
Nebraska20-2413.58
Nevada20-2413.20
New Hampshire20-2415.03
New Jersey20-2413.32
New Mexico20-2415.17
New York25-2912.79
North Carolina20-2411.83
North Dakota45-4910.87
Ohio25-2910.28
Oklahoma30-3411.87
Oregon20-2411.75
Pennsylvania20-2411.34
Rhode Island20-2419.70
South Carolina25-2912.46
South Dakota19 and under13.77
Tennessee20-2411.37
Texas20-2413.24
Utah20-2411.94
Vermont20-2422.08
Virginia20-2411.70
Washington20-2412.29
West Virginia20-2412.85
Wisconsin20-2412.42
Wyoming25-2913.25
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#11 – Number of years driving

Very similar to age playing a role in car insurance quotes, the number of years you’ve been driving indicates your level of experience. The longer you’ve been driving, the more experience you’ve gained and the lower your insurance costs can become.

The policy you choose will make a difference in how much you pay for coverage in the following ways.

#12 – The type of policy

The bare minimum insurance coverage required by your state of residence is called “basic coverage.” In tort states, where the at-fault party must be responsible for all accident-related costs, this coverage includes just liability protection.

Basic coverage is the cheapest car insurance option, and it will not provide any benefits for damage incurred by the at-fault driver.

A more expensive option is adding comprehensive and collision to basic liability (see table in the next section). These types of coverage will cover your own damages after you’re at fault in an accident or other events like hitting an animal or a natural disaster.

Because your insurance company stands to lose more if you crash, you’ll pay more for this coverage, but you will be better protected.

If you have a loan or lease, you’ll be required to purchase more coverage. If you own your vehicle outright, you can decide which option is right for you.

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#13 – The level of coverage

Even if you decide to purchase only liability coverage, you may wish to purchase higher levels than your state’s requirements.

Purchasing higher limits will cost more, but most of the time, the price increase will be insignificant when compared to the protection increase.

Most experts recommend increasing bodily injury liability coverage from what your state requires (somewhere around $20,000 per person, $40,000 per accident) to $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident.

In addition to a full coverage policy, there are many additional protections you may wish to add:

Coverage ConsiderationsDescription
LiabilityMost states require you set amount of liability coverage which protects other drivers in the case of an accident
ComprehensiveThis coverage and collision coverage are typically required by your lender or lease holder. If you own your vehicle outright, this is an optional coverage. It will pay for damage from non-accident related events such as hail, vandalism, and theft.
CollisionThis provides financial protection for your vehicle. It will pay for damages after a crash.
Personal Injury Protection (PIP)This coverage will pay for your own medical costs including lost wages.
Medical Payments (MedPay)Similar to PIP, MedPay covers injury costs but doesn't cover lost wages like PIP does.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist ProtectionInsurance companies are required to offer this coverage to you and it will pay for your own damages beyond what another's liability covers when they're responsible for an accident.
Guaranteed Auto Protection (GAP)You may owe more on your vehicle than it's worth because of how quickly cars depreciate. This coverage will pay the difference between the value and what you owe if your vehicle is totaled.
Personal Umbrella Policy (PUP)This option provides an "umbrella" of coverage over several types of insurance.
Rental ReimbursementIf your car is a total loss or needs repair, do you have another vehicle you can drive? If you'll need a rental, you should consider this option.
Emergency Roadside AssistanceYou can purchase this option from your insurer or a driving club.
Pay-As-You-Drive or Usage-Based InsuranceThis isn't a good choice for everyone, but if you drive few miles, it might be cheaper for you to purchase this kind of coverage.
Non-Owner Car InsuranceThis option is for people who do not own a car but borrow one occasionally.
Modified Car Insurance CoverageIf you've made modifications to your vehicle, your regular full coverage won't take those changes into consideration when paying for damages. Adding special coverage for those modifications will protect the value of them.
Windshield CoverageWindshield coverage will help you pay for the replacement of your broken glass (check state laws for specifics)
Mechanical Breakdown InsuranceThis coverage is similar to a manufacturer extended warranty and you should weight the benefits of both a warranty and breakdown insurance to see which is best for you.
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More coverage always results in more costs. You can weight the costs with the benefits to find the level of coverage right for your situation.

#14 – The discounts available

Discounts will help you save money from the base policy rate. Below are some of the common discounts. How much savings each discount offers depends on the company offering the discount. These won’t be offered by every insurer, but they are fairly standard:

Common Auto Insurance Discounts Offered by Insurance Companies

Vehicle DiscountsDriver/Customer DiscountsPersonal Discounts
Active Disabling DeviceClaim FreeEmergency Deployment
Adaptive Cruise ControlContinuous CoverageFamily Legacy
Adaptive HeadlightsDefensive DriverFamily Plan
Anti-lock BrakesDriver's EducationFederal Employee
Audible AlarmDriving Device/AppFurther Education
Automatic BrakingEarly SigningGood Student
Blind Spot WarningFull PaymentHomeowner
Daytime Running LightsGood CreditLife Insurance
Economy VehicleLoyaltyMarried
Electronic Stability ControlMultiple PoliciesMembership/Group
Farm/Ranch VehicleMultiple VehiclesMilitary
Forward Collision WarningNew Customer/New PlanNew Address
Garaging/StoringOccasional OperatorNew Graduate
Green/Hyrbid VehicleOnline ShopperNon-smoker/Non-drinker
Lane Departure WarningOn-time PaymentsOccupation
Newer VehiclePaperless/Auto BillingRecent Retirees
Passive RestraintPaperless DocumentsStable Residence
Utility VehicleRoadside AssistanceStudent Away
Vehicle RecoverySafe DriverStudent or Alumni
VIN EtchingSeat Belt UseVolunteer
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#15 – The deductible

This factor only applies to you if you have full coverage. Liability coverage doesn’t include a deductible, but first party benefits (full coverage policies) do.

A deductible is a predetermined amount that you will have to pay before your full coverage benefits kick in. Five hundred dollars is a fairly standard deductible. If you raise your deductible to $1000, you must be willing and able to pay that amount before you receive compensation from your insurer.

If you choose a $1000 deductible, your monthly premium will be lower than if you choose a $500 deductible. If you have the money and are willing to take the risk, raising the deductible is a great way to save money.

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Factors that Won’t be Considered

There are some factors that are universally illegal to be calculated into your car insurance rate.

The following are universally banned from being used to calculate your car insurance premiums:

  • Your race
  • Your religion

It has come to light, recently, in a Consumer Reports analysis, that people who live in minority neighborhoods pay more – up to 30 percent – for car insurance than those in white neighborhoods. This report has led many states to reevaluate their discrimination laws regarding car insurance.

The Insurance Information Institute disputes the finding because the study did not take into account other factors.

Discrimination in car insurance based on a person’s race or religion is definitely prohibited.

3 Proven Strategies to Find Cheap Car Insurance

Saving money while maintaining adequate coverage should be your goal, and the following tips can help you do just that.

#1 – Shop Around

One of the easiest steps you can take to get car insurance at a lower price is to shop around for coverage. This page has a comparison tool that will allow you to enter your information one time and then will generate quotes from several different insurance companies.

Once you see how much switching providers could save you, you can do a little more research into the companies you’re considering to make sure they’re financially sound and have a good customer satisfaction rating. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars a year by switching companies.

#2 – Combine Policies

Another great way to save is to combine policies within a company. If you have more than one vehicle, see how much you could save by insuring the vehicles with the same company and then adding homeowners or renters insurance.

#3 – Rethink Your Coverage

Consider dropping full coverage from an older vehicle. If the cost of full coverage annually is more than 10 percent of your vehicle’s value, most experts recommend dropping the coverage.

Find out from your insurance company what changing your deductible will do for your monthly premiums. If you stand to save a lot, you may decide to risk having a higher deductible.

Understanding what factors are used in determining your car insurance rates can help you see what you can do to save money. You can get started on the road to finding savings by entering your zip code below and comparing car insurance quotes.

Top Factors That Impact Auto Insurance Premiums

To recap, the top five factors that affect auto insurance rates are, (1) your age, (2) your location, (3) vehicle type, (4) driving history, and (5) discounts offered.

  • There are a variety of factors that impact auto insurance premiums
  • Driving history and vehicle type are both factors that you can control
  • Finding out about possible auto insurance discounts is also important

Many factors will influence what you will pay for auto insurance.

These factors are measured and subjected to statistical analysis in order to determine how much each factor will be considered in calculating your premium payments.

Each factor represents a specific risk for a certain segment of the population.

The equation is simple the greater the risk, the higher the premiums. Those drivers who are statistically at the lowest risk for an auto accident will pay the lowest premiums.

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1. Age of Driver

Of five factors that are considered important in determining risk, the first is the age of the driver.

Drivers under the age of 25 are considered to be in the highest risk category.

Parents should consider adding their teenager as a part-time rather than a full-time driver on the family auto policy.

Students who are away at school and may only get behind the wheel during vacation or school breaks are at a reduced risk for accidents and will be charged lower insurance premiums.

On the other hand, drivers between the ages of 50 and 65 generally have the best driving records. These drivers are often rewarded for their safe driving habits with sharply reduced premiums.

The oldest drivers, those over age 65, tend to be higher insurance risks. Statistical research shows that older adults often have slower reaction times and are more prone to judgment errors.

Older adults also have more health-related issues that can negatively affect their driving skills.

2. Driving History

After the age of a driver is considered, another important factor is driving history.

Motorists who consistently obey traffic laws avoid costly traffic citations and are rewarded with the lowest insurance rates.

Those with poor driving records and a variety of chargeable accidents will pay the highest premiums.

For drivers with DUI, DWI, or reckless driving convictions, car insurance may only be obtainable through the state assigned risk pool.

High-risk motorists will pay three or four times or more the normal rates for basic liability insurance coverage.

These penalty rates are likely to continue from three to five years. The good news is that insurance rates will eventually drop for those who stay out of trouble and avoid accidents.

3. Location

Where you live is another major risk factor for auto insurance companies.

Drivers who live in large congested areas are more likely to have accidents than those who live in rural, less populated sections of the country.

Urban areas also suffer higher crime rates, so there is a greater chance that an insured vehicle may be vandalized, damaged, or stolen.

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4. Vehicle Type

The type of vehicle you drive will also determine the amount you pay for car insurance.

Cars that are more often sought after by thieves will cost more to insure than regular family sedans and wagons.

As a rule of thumb, older vehicles will cost far less to insure than new ones. As the value of a car diminishes, so will the insurance premiums.

Owners of newer vehicles that are leased or that are financed will generally be required to carry higher coverage amounts and collision insurance to protect the bank’s investment.

Collision coverage is expensive but necessary to ensure that proper repairs will be made to a vehicle if it is damaged.

5. Auto Insurance Discounts

In order to remain competitive, most insurance providers will offer a variety of discounts to their policyholders that will reduce premiums.

The most common is a multi-policy discount. Having life, homeowners, renters, health, and accident or disability coverage with the same company that provides your auto insurance will usually produce significant discounts.

Other discounts include those offered for motorists who take safe driving courses, which usually results in a 10 to 15 percent savings on auto premiums.

Students who receive good grades in school are often eligible for car insurance discounts as are members of professional associations and national organizations such as the AARP.

Installing anti-theft devices on your vehicle can also qualify you for insurance discounts.

Being a safe driver and staying with the same insurance company for a number of years will qualify drivers for low premium rates offered by their insurance provider.

What other factors affect my auto insurance rates?

Average auto insurance rates are around $79.58/month. State laws, driving history, and age are the factors which will affect your rates the most.

  • Many factors go into determining your monthly auto insurance premiums
  • Your age, marital status, and driving history can affect your insurance rate
  • Many car insurance carriers will also check your credit score before offering you an insurance plan

Have you ever wondered how your auto insurance rates are actually determined? Surprisingly, they look at a lot more than just your driving history and age.

Before you start talking to agents or requesting quotes for auto insurance, it’s a good idea to know where you stand. Insurance companies take several factors into account when calculating rates.

Knowing what those factors are and being ready with the information before you request a quote will help you to get the best rate possible.

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What are the most important auto insurance factors?

Different companies have different criteria. Some only cover drivers with good records while others specialize in the needs of high-risk drivers.

We’ve compiled a list of the factors that auto insurance companies take into account when calculating your rate:

  • Age
  • Anti-theft devices
  • Business use of vehicle
  • Claims made in past
  • Credit score
  • Discounts
  • Driving Record
  • Gender
  • How often you drive
  • How much you drive
  • Length of time with provider
  • Marital status
  • Number of policies with provider
  • Occupation
  • Other drivers in household
  • Safety features of car

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How important a factor am I?

You will discover that you are the most important factor in the rates you are offered. The type of insurance you buy, the make and model of your car, as well as many other items are important, but not as important as you.

Your credit score can affect the rates different companies offer.

If your credit is good you will probably be offered a lower rate. Unfortunately, if you have little to no credit, or if your credit needs improvement, you may have to pay a higher premium.

If your credit score is low, don’t worry. You can improve your credit score, by taking a defensive driving class and avoiding any more tickets.

Is it time to look for a new auto insurance company?

There are some times when those “oops” hurt you with your current provider. Here are some situations in which you will want to compare rates and policy options with other companies.

Your provider raised your rates because:

  • You filed a claim
  • You were involved in an accident
  • Your teen started driving
  • You have multiple tickets
  • You have a DUI

Frankly, your insurer has every right to raise your rates in these instances because they see your level of risk has increased.

However, another insurance company might not hold that filed claim against you or they might offer a good student discount that helps offset the cost to younger drivers.

How can I save money on car insurance rates?

You should definitely learn more about how insurance companies calculate your auto insurance rate, but you should also be sure that you’re getting the very cheapest auto insurance rates you can.

Take your time and compare at least three quotes from different insurance carriers. Weigh the pros and cons before making your final decision.

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How is Your Auto Insurance Risk Calculated

The main factors involved in calculating insurance risk are age, location, driving history, and vehicle type. Drivers between age 25 and 55 are considered lower risk.

  • If you drive a car you must have sufficient auto insurance
  • Drivers can be classified as high-risk or low-risk drivers
  • Having too many moving violations can increase your insurance premiums

Having a vehicle means that you must carry auto insurance on it. The rate that an auto insurance agent assigns to you is calculated based on whether you are a high or low-risk driver.

Every driver is considered a risk taker. As soon as you buckle yourself into the driver’s seat of the vehicle, the rat race begins. But not everyone takes the same type of driving risks, which is why everyone’s auto insurance rates are calculated differently.

Find the best auto insurance rates right here when you type your zip code into our FREE search tool and start saving today!

High and Low Risks for Auto Insurance

If you are a licensed driver, then you are considered a risk. Your rating as a high-risk or a low-risk driver depends on a few different factors. One of the most important personal factors that are used to calculate your auto insurance risk is age.

Drivers between the ages of 25 and 55 are considered to be in the prime age bracket and are considered a lower risk.

Women drivers are usually considered as a lower risk in general but that is slowly changing because more and more registered drivers are women.

Single parents are also considered as less of a risk.

Insurance companies take into consideration that a single parent is already responsible enough to parent a child alone so they are more likely to be financially responsible as well, and that affects single parent auto insurance rates.

Married drivers pay less for their auto insurance policies than a single driver does. They are thought to be more stable than single drivers due to the fact that they often have more responsibilities.

A single driver of the same age with the same driving record as a married person will be assessed as a higher risk simply because of their marital status.

A Good Driving History is Important

If you have any type of driving violation attached to your driving history, be prepared to pay a higher insurance rate than someone whose driving record has no infractions.

Any prior accidents that you have been involved in will be reflected on your driving record, which increases your risk.

In some instances, insurance companies have been known to slap a severe penalty on your driving record for up to five years after the accident has occurred.

Speeding tickets will raise auto insurance rates and your risk factor. Speeding reflects carelessness and a disregard for the driving laws set in place by the government. Insurance companies will consider any type of speeding ticket as a bad reflection of the driver.

This is calculated into your insurance risk rating and will ultimately increase your premiums.

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not only earn you a moving violation ticket, but it can also cause your driver’s license to become suspended or, worse case scenario, revoked.

The bottom line is that the better your driving record is free of accidents, tickets, moving violations, the lower your risk rating will be which will result in lower insurance rates.

Your Address Makes a Difference in Your Rate

The area where you reside plays a huge role in how your auto insurance risk is calculated by your insurance agent.

Drivers who claim a residence in a larger metropolitan area run a higher risk of not only being involved in an accident but also of being the victim of vandalism or theft.

Cities are congested with much more traffic than urban areas. The logic of insurance risk is that the more cars that are used in an area, the more likely they are to hit or be hit by another car.

Those drivers who live in an area that has less traffic will be considered less of a risk and that helps lower their premiums.

Some neighborhoods are under the insurance radar as being a high crime area.

If you live in one of these areas, expect your insurance risk to be calculated at a higher rate because your vehicle will be more likely to be involved in a theft.

Any type of anti-theft protection that is installed in your vehicle will usually guarantee a decrease to your insurance policy

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The Type of Vehicle You Drive is Considered

Brand new vehicles fresh off the dealer’s lot are going to require more coverage than a second-hand vehicle. Sports cars are expensive to manufacture which is why they are expensive to repair in case of an accident.

A vehicle that has a lesser value will cost less to insure.

If you plan on driving a brand new four-by-four with all of the fixings, be prepared to be immediately calculated as a higher risk simply because it could cost a small fortune in repairs if you are involved in an accident.

If you would like to see what your vehicle is valued at, visit the website Kelley Blue Book. Of course, the value that you are given will only be as accurate as the information that you provide.

A vehicle that is used as a personal vehicle or strictly for business can affect the calculation of your risk rating.

When you have a car that is a company car, make sure to tell your insurance agent that the vehicle you wish to insure is used specifically for business purposes.

Other Items That are Added to Your Risk Factor

The distance that you drive to and from work every day is another factor that is calculated into your risk rating. The less mileage you accrue per year, the less of a risk you pose.

If you only drive a few miles a day to reach your job site, your risk of having an accident is lower so your insurance premiums will be lower.

Teenage drivers are considered an extremely high risk when it comes to driving. The Insurance Information Institute (III) states that teenage drivers have an extremely high crash rate due to their inexperience and lack of maturity.

Vehicle accidents, according to the iii, are the leading cause of death for teenagers. This is another factor that is used to calculate your insurance risk.

Parents often add their teenage drivers to their policies because it is usually much less expensive than having an individual policy as a teenage driver.

Be aware, however, that if your teen is involved in any type of accident, it is reflected on your policy and your overall premiums will increase.

Number of Years You Have Been Driving Matters

This is tied to the age factor of drivers, but some people do not always start driving as soon as they hit the legal age.

 If you are 30 years old and have only been driving for the past two years, your risk will be calculated at a higher rate due to lack of experience.

A driver of the same age who has been driving for the last 10 years will pay significantly lower premiums because they are considered to be less of a risk.

Your Credit Score is Calculated into Your Risk Factor

Your credit score can help or hurt you. Insurance agencies run a credit check on everyone to whom they issue a policy. Ensuring that their customers can and will pay for their policies on a timely basis is very important.

The better your credit score is, the lower your risk and the lower your premiums will be. Having a lower credit score can scream that you are irresponsible because you do not always pay your bills or that you are often late in making your payments.

Your credit score is compiled by the three main credit-reporting agencies, which are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Credit scores range from 300 to 850.

The simple logic is that the higher your credit score is, the better for you because it means you are less of a credit risk and you are more likely to pay your creditors and pay them on time.

For more information on how credit scores are calculated and how to improve yours, visit MyFICO.com.

If you would like to know what your current credit score is, you can visit FreeCreditReport.com.

You are entitled to one free credit report per year. If you would like to have more than one per year, there is a fee associated with it.

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Other Factors and Statistics Influencing Auto Insurance Rates

A number of other factors contribute to high insurance rates and can be adjusted to effectively reduce rates for many consumers.

Increasing deductibles for your comprehensive and collision coverage can make a big difference in how much you pay for insurance.

Drivers should carefully review their auto insurance policies each year to avoid paying for unnecessary or duplicate coverage.

Of course, the best way to avoid high auto insurance costs is to minimize your own risk for a traffic ticket or accident by driving safely.

Obey the rules of the road. Never get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle if you have been drinking or under the influence of drugs.

Find low auto insurance rates in your area by putting your ZIP in the FREE tool on this page!

References:

  1. https://www.math.purdue.edu/academic/actuary/what.php?p=what
  2. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/top-5-most-expensive-states-for-auto-insurance-300540650.html
  3. https://www.iii.org/article/background-on-no-fault-auto-insurance
  4. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/car-insurance-are-you-in-a-high-cost-zip-code/
  5. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/17AL3_bJ-HyqSRQg0K9NekB_agjeueYqkcD4YU1woFTU/edit#gid=1984941808
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1756540/
  7. https://www.statefarm.com/customer-care/life-events/getting-married
  8. https://www.consumerreports.org/car-insurance/car-insurance-rates-milestones-that-can-change/
  9. https://www.esurance.com/info/car/how-a-dui-affects-car-insurance-premiums
  10. https://cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/least-expensive-vehicles-to-insure
  11. https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/budget-and-spending/2018/05/25/25-most-