Non-Driving-Related Factors That Affect Your Auto Insurance

Numerous factors that have nothing to do with drivers' driving abilities affect auto insurance rates. Some of the most common non-driving-related factors are age, sex, and ZIP code. While some states like California have banned factors like a driver's sex from being used, many insurers still use discriminatory factors to determine rates.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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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 ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Jan 6, 2022

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Things to Remember

  • Several states have outlawed the use of sex to determine auto insurance rates, but many insurers still use it for their rates
  • ZIP code is a huge part of how insurers calculate rates, usually based on traffic accidents and crime in the area
  • Shopping around at different insurers can help drivers find one with the most economical rates

It’s no secret that insurers use factors outside of driving records to determine driver’s rates. The catch, however, is that many non-driving-related factors are out of drivers’ control, such as the area they live in or their age. The result is that many of these outside factors are discriminatory towards drivers. 

While the poor practices of insurers basing rates on socioeconomic and demographic factors have come under scrutiny, many insurers still use factors outside of a driver’s driving practices to determine rates. Read on to learn more about the non-driving-related factors that affect auto insurance rates

Non-Driving Related-Factors That Insurance Companies Consider

Each of the following factors is mainly outside a driver’s control, yet they still play a role in insurers’ prices.

Drivers’ Age 

Age is a common factor that insurers use to determine rates. While it may not initially seem related to driving, insurers base rates on age by arguing that the more experienced drivers are, the less likely they will crash. 

The result is that older and younger drivers are often charged more, especially teenage drivers. However, part of this age discrimination is based on crash data, as insurers look at crash patterns amongst ages. 

Drivers’ Credit Score 

Some insurers also use credit scores as a factor in their rate calculations. Drivers with a lower credit score will have slightly higher rates than drivers with a high credit score. The reasoning behind this is that drivers will be more likely to make payments on time if they have a high credit score. 

Drivers’ Education and Employment Status

A few insurers use education as a factor. Exactly how does your job affect your auto insurance rates? An insurer may offer discounts for high school or college students with a high-grade average, which can help lower insurance costs. 

However, the downside is that some insurers look at drivers’ education level employment when calculating rates. Drivers who often travel longer distances for work, such as contractors, or drive at odd hours, such as ER doctors, might be charged slightly higher rates. 

Drivers’ Homeownership Status 

Drivers who own a home rather than rent may be offered slightly lower rates, primarily if they use an insurer’s home and auto insurance bundling options. Even if a driver doesn’t take advantage of a bundling discount, they may end up with lower rates simply for owning rather than renting. 

This discriminatory practice by insurers isn’t readily apparent to most drivers as it usually only changes rates slightly, if at all, but it may be playing a role in your prices. 

Drivers’ Sex 

While a few states have banned insurers from using sex to determine auto insurance rates, many insurers still practice this. Men often have higher rates than women, as crash data from sources like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) often show men are more likely to be in a fatal crash than women.

However, many argue that basing rates on sex is outdated, and drivers should be charged based on their driving merit, not their sex. 

Drivers’ Marital Status 

Marital status is a lesser-known factor that some insurers use. Married couples are more likely to receive a slightly lower rate than single drivers unless one of the couple has a poor driving record. 

This is because insurers reason that two people can make payments on auto insurance, making them less likely to miss a payment. Some insurers may even offer a newlyweds discount for recently married drivers.

Drivers’ ZIP Code 

A driver’s ZIP code is one of the last and most crucial non-related driving factors that insurers use to calculate rates. There is a multitude of reasons behind this factor. A driver may live in an area prone to crime, making their car more likely to be stolen or vandalized. Or they may live in a busy area with a higher than average crash rate or an area with poor weather.  

Whatever the reason, insurers are guaranteed to use your ZIP code as a determining factor. It’s just one of the many reasons why it’s so important to shop around at different insurers for your location. 

Unfortunately, until more laws are passed banning discriminatory practices by insurers, there’s not much you can do about non-driving-related factors affecting your rates. However, while many non-driving-related factors are outside your control, driving safely and keeping a clean driving record can help you save on auto insurance. 

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