The Complexities of Determining Car Insurance Rates

Posted on August 28, 2012

Calculating automobile insurance premiums is rarely a cut and dried affair.  Although certain things like a driving record and the number of citations accrued by a driver over time certainly factor into an insurance carrier’s calculations, they’re often not as important as some might think.  Instead, the Insurance Information Institute stresses that there are a number of other contributors that might affect how much a consumer can expect to pay for auto insurance.  Here are a few of those factors.

Many people probably fail to realize that a negative credit score can adversely impact their ability to get a reasonable premium on their auto insurance.  In fact, the National Association of Insurance Carriers says that a bad credit score might actually prevent a consumer from being able to even obtain certain insurance plans.  However, it’s important to note that, in some states, it’s against the law to hold a bad credit score against an insurance candidate.  Consult your state’s laws to see where your particular area stands on the matter.

Credit score applicability is not the only factor that will vary depending on your locale though.  If you live in the middle of a city often beset by gridlock, you can expect to pay higher rates because of the heightened chances of an accident in such areas.  Plus, more claims tend to be filed in highly populated areas because of the increased prevalence of theft.  In Miami, for instance, rates are high because criminals can use the port to whisk stolen goods away quicker than in other places.  And in New Jersey, lawsuits are far more commonplace than in most other parts of the country, meaning that motorists in the area can expect to pay higher rates to offset the costs.

Most people know that they can expect to pay higher rates if they’re younger than 25, but perhaps not everyone is aware that their rates are likely to decrease even further once they hit 50.  If you get married?  Lower rates again, as carriers tend to perceive spouses as being more responsible drivers.  But if you’re a man, you can expect to pay higher rates than your female counterparts, as the male demographic has statistically been known to be involved in more crashes.

Finally, the vehicle you drive plays a large role in what you can expect to pay.  Convertibles are more expensive to ensure than other cars, as it’s relatively simple to pry the roof away and steal the car or anything inside.  If you’ve improved your engine or installed such eye-drawing parts as a spoiler, your rates might also increase.  However, newer cars that fare well in safety ratings can mean a reduced insurance rate.  Older models tend to be easier to steal and might not have safety equipment that’s now standard, so insurance for those vehicles tends to be pricier.

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