You pay one rate for your car insurance, but your friend pays a different rate. Why? Even with the same policy and provider, premiums typically vary from on insurance policy to the next. That’s because the cost of your policy is dependent on your risk level.
While every insurer has its own factors, these five are typically considered by most carriers.
1. The Vehicle You Drive
The vehicle you drive will have a significant impact on the cost of your insurance policy. Providers have their own lists of vehicle safety ratings based on accident data and industry safety reports.
The safer the vehicle, the greater the discount on the premium.
Dangerous vehicles will have the opposite effect on the cost of your insurance policy. Cars that are more susceptible to passenger injury, damage and theft will increase premiums because there’s a much higher risk of you making a claim (or multiple claims).
2. Your Driving Record
Your driving record – and the records of all drivers on your policy – will also affect the cost of your insurance policy.
If you’ve never had an accident or it’s been several years since your last accident, your premium will be much lower than someone who has had multiple accidents in the last year.
There’s little you can do to change your driving history, but practicing defensive driving can help reduce your chances of future incidents. Over time, the effect of your most recent crash on your premiums will diminish.
3. Your Insurance Policy and Deductibles
The details of your policy and your deductibles will also raise or lower your premiums. If you have more coverage and a low deductible, you will pay more for your insurance policy than someone with less coverage and a higher deductible.
Your coverage limits will at least be partly dictated by the state you live in. California, for example, has the following minimums: $30,000 for injury or death to multiple people; $15,000 for one person; $5,000 for property damage.
Lowering your deductible will save you money on your monthly premium, but it’s important to make sure that you can afford to pay the deductible if you do need to file a claim. Choose a deductible that you can reasonably afford.
As for coverage limits, it’s generally advised that you choose higher than the state-mandated minimum. If you exceed your policy limits – which is often easy to do – you may be responsible for paying costs out of pocket.
4. Your Age and Gender
Unfortunately, your age and gender will affect the cost of your premiums – and there’s nothing you can do to change these factors.
Drivers under the age of 25 are far more likely to get into accidents, particularly single males.
5. How Many Miles You Put on Your Vehicle
How often do you drive and how far? If you have a long commute to work each day or you regularly travel long distances in your vehicle, you’re at greater risk of getting into an accident simply because you’re on the road more often.
You may not want to go as far as changing jobs just to lower your car insurance rate, but you can do other things to minimize the impact of this factor. Consider taking public transportation or carpooling to reduce your time on the road.