13 (Lesser Known) Factors That Increase Your Auto Insurance Premium
What Causes Higher Auto Insurance Rates?
You might be surprised to learn how insurance companies use your information to calculate you auto insurance premium.
In other words, no two people will have the same premium for the same vehicle.
After you provide your details, the insurance company will process that information in a complicated economic model, which ultimately spits out a final insurance premium.
Most of us know the significant factors companies use in their calculations — the value of your car, your driving history, the type of insurance you’re taking out and so on — but few of us know about the smaller factors. Moreover, these smaller factors can make a significant contribution to your premium.
In this article, I’ve collected seven 13 well-known factors that can increase your auto insurance premium. If you would like to suggest any other factors you think people should know about; please leave a comment at the end of the article.
Insurers prefer that their customers have been insured for as long as they’ve owned a car. Gaps in your insurance don’t look good as driving uninsured is a huge risk.
When you take out a new policy, your provider will probably check your current insurance information to see if there are any suspicious uninsured periods.
You may also receive a discount if you have been with an insurer for several years.
NHTSA Safety Rating
Your insurer will almost certainly look at the safety of your car when calculating your insurance premium. Unsafe vehicles are more likely to result in injured occupants, which in turn means a higher payout for the insurer.
In the US, car safety ratings are set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration through the 5-Star Safety Ratings program. This program puts new cars through a battery of tests to discover exactly how safe they are in a variety of crash conditions, including frontal crashes, side barrier crashes, side pole crashes and rollover resistance.
One star is the lowest rating, and five stars are the highest. Generally speaking, more stars means a safer car and, therefore, lower insurance premiums.
The safest cars of 2018 were the Toyota Camry, Honda Accord and Honda Civic, which all scored ten out of ten. Other high-scoring vehicles include the Kia Cadenza, Buick LaCrosse, Nissan Maxima, and Chevrolet Bolt.
Likelihood of Theft
Unfortunately, some cars are more likely to be stolen than others. Last year, the most stolen autos (and trucks) were: Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and Toyota Camry, although that may be because they were the most common cars on the roads.
Generally, cars higher on the theft list will tend to attract higher premiums as there is a higher risk of theft.
Some of this cost can be offset by installing anti-theft security features like immobilizers, alarms, and trackers.
Many insurance providers will use your credit score in their insurance calculations. However, this varies hugely between providers, so it’s difficult to discuss.
In general, though, a stronger credit score will mean a lower insurance premium and a weaker credit score will indicate a higher premium.
One experiment we found online showed a 64% difference in price when obtaining quotes with a good credit score compared to a bad.
With a bad credit rating (any rating sitting between 300 and 579), the testers were quoted $3,522, but with an excellent credit rating (any score sitting between 580 and 800), the testers were quoted just $1,260.
(This example was the most extreme example we could find, so your credit score is unlikely to affect your quote to this extent.)
One of the most common factors in insurance calculations is the profession of the motorist. That’s because there is a strong link between occupations and the likelihood of car insurance claims.
If you work in a high-risk profession, your insurance premium is likely to be higher. Conversely, if you work in a low-risk occupation, your premium is likely to be lower.
The most expensive professions include motor racing drivers, others sportspeople, funfair employees, canvassers, scrap dealers, and exotic dancers. The least costly jobs include nurses, distillery workers, coastguards, judges and teachers.
While it might seem easy to tweak your job title for a cheaper premium, you should avoid this at all costs. If you have an accident and your insurer discovers you lied about your profession, they may invalidate your claim.
One of the least investigated factors and varies immensely between insurance providers.
According to a report from the UK’s Money Saving Expert, some insurers may your email address as part of their calculations. In Money Saving Expert’s tests, half of all providers gave different quotes depending on the email address used. However, no one email provider delivered consistently lower quotes.
Since this varies between insurance providers, there’s no set rule for what email providers cost more or less, but I thought it was interesting to point out.
It turns out your relationship status isn’t just for Facebook, your insurance provider will use it when calculating your insurance premium too.
One of the more interesting points is that married people are statistically less likely to get into accidents and, therefore, attract cheaper insurance premiums.
However, several experiments have concluded that the actual difference between single, married, widowed and so on is very small.
Age is one of the most well-known factors in the list. Generally speaking, younger drivers will have less driving experience and are, therefore, more likely to be involved in an accident. Also, because younger drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents, they also have to pay more upfront.
There’s a fairly widespread belief that your insurance suddenly becomes a lot cheaper once you hit 25-years-old.
Well, that’s not always true, and you shouldn’t rely on getting a discount on the day of your 25th birthday!
However, as you get older, you should expect your premiums to decrease as long as long as no additional violations or accidents occur.
Car modifications like aero kits, exhaust kits, vents, spoilers, and other car modifications will probably increase your insurance premiums. Also, if you modify your car in the middle of a policy, remember to inform your insurance provider as undisclosed modifications could result in your policy being invalidated.
On a more positive note, safety modifications — alarms, immobilizers, trackers and so on — will usually decrease your insurance premium, because they help deter thieves and make recovery of the vehicle substantially easier.
Since car insurance is regulated at the state level, where you live can have a significant impact on how much (or how little) you pay.
Michigan, for example, is what’s known as a ‘no-fault’ state and requires all drivers to carry unlimited Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. So not only do drivers have to pay for PIP coverage, but they also have to pay a premium for unlimited coverage.
Ohio, meanwhile, does not have a ‘no-fault’ stipulation, which means car insurance premiums are typically $1,500 cheaper in, say, Cleveland than in Detroit.
Insurers will also use more granular location data to improve their pricing. If you live, work or store your car in a high crime zip code, insurers will charge you more than if you live, work or park your vehicle in a low crime zip code.
Other location-based considerations include how populated an area is and ecological factors like flooding and wildfire risk.
Due to the wealth of finance options available in the States, there’s a whole raft of ownership statuses possible with your car. You could own it outright, lease it from a broker or be paying it off on finance.
Each of these options will affect your premium but how it does so (whether positively or negatively) will depend on the provider you choose.
Owning Your Home
For a long time, insurers have used home ownership in their insurance calculations. The consensus was that people who owned their home were more financially stable and, therefore, less likely to break an insurance contract.
Unfortunately, this means renters will usually pay more than homeowners even if their economic status is the same.
The Automotive Economy
Like most services, insurance is prone to influence from the economy of the broader sector. For example, if there is a long-term problem with the supply of a particular component or part, the price of insurance for that car will probably increase with it.
To find affordable local auto insurance premium in your area call and speak with a licensed insurance professional 314-569-1010.
About the Author
Tom Butcher is a freelance writer, covering a wide range of topics, including finance, business, and motoring. At the moment, he is helping LeaseFetcher educate the world about car leasing.