Insurance companies keep the exact formula for calculating car insurance rates a highly guarded secret. However, there are known things that affect car insurance premiums. Some of them will surprise you.
Car insurance costs less for women because numerous statistics show they are much safer drivers. The following statistics from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety were found on the website for the Department of Motor Vehicles:
- Men accounted for 71 percent of driving fatalities during 2012;
- Men are more likely to drive while under the influence (38 percent of males killed in a car accidents during 2012 had blood alcohol levels higher than 0.08 — compared to 20 percent of women; and
- Men are more likely to drive over the speed limit (23 percent of male drivers involved in fatal accidents were speeding at the time, in contrast to 14 percent of female drivers in those circumstances).
Young people between the ages of 16 and 24 have higher premiums because they have a higher accident rate.
Drivers aged 16-17 are 3.5 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash, according to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Some insurance companies factor occupation into their car insurance rate calculation, and it can make a $500 difference in your premiums.
Occupations that lead insurers to charge the most tend to have the following attributes:
- High stress levels
- The person spends a lot of time in the vehicle
- Heavy cell phone usage
By contrast, ocupations on the low end of the rate spectrum have the following characteristics:
- Low stress levels
- They’re responsible for the well-being of others
- They use public transportation
- They need to pay attention to details, which insurers believe carries over to their driving
These factors together account for scientists enjoying the lowest premiums — at an average annual cost of $870; at the other end of the spectrum, business executives have the highest rates, with an average annual cost of $1,375.
Apparently better educated drivers represent less risk to insurers — and vice versa.
People who have not finished high school are 4.3 times more likely to be killed in a car accident than college graduates, according to data published in The Washington Post.
The more education you have attained, the lower your monthly premiums, and vice versa.
Your Marital Status
Marriage tends to make people drive more responsibly than single drivers.
Unmarried drivers were twice as likely to be injured in an accident as married drivers, according to a study published in a journal called Injury Prevention.
Because of the reduced risk of injury, being married can reduce your insurance rates.
Your Credit Score
Insurance companies use your credit score as an indication of whether you will pay your premium on time — and the impact on annual rates can be significant.
Single drivers with good credit ratings each paid $68 to $526 more per year on average than those with the highest credit rating, according to Consumer Reports
Your Car’s Characteristics
Several things about your car impacts how much it costs to insure:
- Age – generally new cars are more expensive to repair and therefore have higher premiums.
- Safety features – Enhanced safety features can discount your insurance 5 to 30 percent.
- Theft history – The recovery rate stolen cars can be as low as 19 percent in some states, so the cars that get stolen most frequently have higher premiums.
Your Claim History
Many people believe submitting an accident claim will increase your insurance rates, but that’s not always true.
Circumstances surrounding the accident in the claim dictate whether rates will be increased, and by how much:
- Fault – If you are not at fault, your rate may not increase since your insurance company did not have to pay.
- Severity – A claim for a minor scratch may not affect your rates, but a major at fault claim exceeding $2,000 could result in a premium increase of 41 percent.
- Accident Forgiveness – Some policies include accident forgiveness, which can lock in your rate even if you get into an accident.
Your Traffic Tickets
Non-moving violations, such as a parking ticket, is unlikely to affect your insurance rates. However, moving violations such as speeding may depending upon your insurance company. For example, a single speeding ticket in California results in an average annual insurance premium increase of $688. The more tickets issued, the more your rate may be affected.
Your Coverage and Deductible
The more coverage opt for, the higher your premiums are; similarly, having a high deductible can lower your premiums.
Increasing your coverage isn’t a matter of dollar amounts but types of policies. Most states require liability insurance as a bare minimum. If you choose to adding optional collision and comprehensive coverage that can increase. your premiums.
On the other hand, increasing your deductible lowers your premiums because you assume more risk, but how this calculates can be surprising. For example, increasing your liability insurance deductible from $50 to $1,000 could reduce your premiums by 56 percent.
Your State’s Laws
From here, insurance rate formulas can vary based on different state laws. Some states prohibit insurance companies from basing premiums on certain factors. For example, California, insurance companies cannot use occupation and education levels.
Individual insurers can also have their own variations in the way they calculate premiums — reach out to your insurance company to find out exactly how it computes premiums.
You can also get more information on this topic from the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Readers, which of the factors affecting car insurance premiums surprise you surprise you the most?
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