Did your auto insurance rates just go up? If so, your increase could be due to any number of reasons. This article will help you understand why your insurance premium suddenly costs more and what you can do to lower it.
Many things could have caused your rates to jump. Your rates could even go up if you’re a safe driver who avoids tickets and accidents. Things like new risk factors in your area and inflation could raise car insurance prices. For example, you’re likely to pay more for insurance if you live in a big city, says the Insurance Information Institute (III). This is because more people equal more cars, meaning more collisions and more insurance claims. So, your premium could rise even if you have a squeaky clean record just based on where you live.
Though there’s a chance you’ll face a rate increase if you’re a safe driver because of things out of your control, your rates are more likely to go up if you appear to be a high-risk driver. Most of the time, you’re a high-risk driver if you file lots of claims, get in at-fault accidents, or have points on your driving record. However, insurers see teens, seniors, and high-volume drivers as high risk, too.
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What Affects Your Car Insurance Rates?
Ultimately, car insurance companies look at several factors when deciding your rates. If any of these factors happen to change, your premium could, too. The following is a list of common car insurance rate factors:
- How much insurance you buy
- State requirements
- Driving record and claim history
- Where you live
- Car make and model
- Yearly mileage
- Overall risk as a driver
Insurance companies change your rates largely based on these factors. But it pretty much all comes down to how likely you are to file a claim or cost your insurer money. Below are some primary reasons you’ll find an increase in your car insurance premium:
You Got Into an Accident
Getting into an accident will increase your car insurance rates. Drivers who file claims for at-fault accidents will look like a risk to cause one again. In some states, you might also face higher rates even if you’re not at fault. So, if you often file collision claims, that could be why your insurance went up.
You Got a Ticket
It’s no secret that police pulling you over isn’t good for your auto rates. You’ll appear at risk to get in an accident if you get too many traffic violations. Also, your rates could go up even more depending on the severity of your violation. For instance, DUIs and reckless driving will raise your rates much more than speeding tickets for going five over the limit.
It’s important to note that insurers will only raise your prices for moving violations. According to Progressive, non-moving violations, such as parking tickets, are unlikely to affect your rates.
Your Credit Score Went Down
You’re likely to see an increase in your car insurance premium if your credit or FICO score decreased within the last year. Many of the major auto insurers look at your credit score when they choose your rates. Providers see those with lower credit scores as a risk to get into an accident and cost more money. You don’t have to worry about this in every state, though. These states don’t allow insurance companies to use credit scores to decide rates:
Your Marital Status Changed
For the most part, car insurance rates are lower for married couples. This is because insurers view married couples as safer drivers. As a result, they give them cheaper insurance prices. So, you might see some higher insurance rates if you’ve recently gone through a divorce or ended your marriage.
Moving can affect your auto insurance rates, even if it’s not out of state. Insurers look at claims in your area and factor them in when they decide rates. That means that your zip code could increase your insurance without you even filing a claim. Your insurance will be more expensive if you move to a city with lots of claims and collisions.
You could even pay more for auto coverage in one state than you would in another. Population sizes, laws, and the total number of accidents can affect insurance prices across different states.
You Drove More Than You Did Last Year
You can expect your rates to climb if you drove more than you did the year before. In the eyes of insurers, you’ll have a bigger chance of being in an incident if you’re behind the wheel more often. Maybe you’re driving more because you moved farther away from work or because gas is cheaper. Whatever the case, your rates will likely go up when you drive more.
You Had a Lapse in Insurance
Your rates could increase if you have a lapse in your auto insurance. This happens when you go a period without car insurance. To avoid a lapse in insurance, you can check out options such as non-owner insurance to make sure you always have coverage.
You Lost Some Discounts
Another cause for an increase in your insurance could be that you lost discounts you used to qualify for. For example, students could lose their good student discount once they graduate or if their grades go down.
Below are some common car insurance discounts and how you can lose them:
- Good student discount. You left school or had lower grades on your last transcript.
- Multi-car discount. You removed a vehicle from your policy.
- Bundled insurance. You bundled your insurance but removed renters, home, or life insurance from your policy.
- Safe driver discount. Some insurers will reward you with a discount for driving safely. Your discount could go away if you get into an accident or get a ticket.
Your car insurance rates could also go up because of your age. People aged 60 and above typically have higher rates than younger drivers. This is because insurers see senior citizens as higher-risk drivers. A 2018 report by the CDC showed that more than 7,000 drivers over the age of 65 died in car crashes, and about 250,000 sustained injuries. So, even if you’re a safe driver, insurers will still think you’re at an increased risk to get in an accident as you age.
Inflation is one of the most common reasons your auto rates will increase. There’s not a lot you can do about it, though. As time goes on and the markets shift and change, so will your insurance rates.
Your rates could go up because of something called price optimization. Price optimization is a method companies use to figure out the prices they’ll charge consumers for auto insurance. Insurers use consumer data, advanced tools, and various techniques to find out the highest price you’d tolerate before you decide to shop around for a new provider. Your auto rates could rise due to optimization if your insurer decides that you might tolerate paying more.
Price optimization isn’t legal in all 50 states, though. Four states have banned the practice, including:
How to Lower Your Car Insurance Rates
The bottom line is that many factors can affect your auto insurance rates. Anything from lowering your deductible, raising your insurance limits, getting more coverage, and many other factors can change your rates. There are also things out of your control such as losses or increased expenses for your insurance company and inflation. For the most part, however, the ball is in your court.
It’s important to keep in mind that you can take steps to lower your rates. This is the case even if you have a troubled driving record or if you’re getting older. The following are some ways you can lower your car insurance rates:
Switch Car Insurance Companies
Just because one company raises your rates, doesn’t mean you won’t find a better deal elsewhere. Another insurer might be able to look past the things raising your rates at your current company. Or another provider might offer lower prices because they have fewer company losses.
Many things go into your insurance premium, and you just might be able to find better prices by switching to another insurer. Try comparing rates between auto insurance companies and see which one offers you the best deal.
Look for Discounts
You could lower your rates by looking for discounts. The good student discount, safe driving discounts, age-related discounts, and more could help keep your rates down. One of the best ways to lower your rates is by bundling your insurance. Per AmFam, bundling home and auto could save you around 20% on your insurance.
Talk to Your Agent
Talking to your insurance agent is another good idea for lowering your auto rates. They might have suggestions on steps you can take that you haven’t thought about. Even if they don’t give you the answer you want, your agent is still a helpful resource and should know how your car insurance provider works.
Be Careful Who You Add to Your Policy
Adding a driver to your policy could raise your auto rates. For instance, adding a teen driver or someone with a bad driving record could badly affect your premium. To keep your rates as low as possible, make sure you’re careful with whom you add to your policy.
Also, remove someone on your policy as soon as possible if they got into an accident or had a serious ticket such as a DUI or reckless driving. It’s not a guarantee, but you could avoid a spike in your rates by removing a high-risk driver.
Keep an Eye on Your Rates
You can ensure your rates are at the lowest they can be by keeping an eye on them. Insurance companies aren’t always perfect. It’s possible they could make an error when deciding your prices. You could save money by paying close attention to your premium and reporting any issues or concerns to your insurer.
The most effective way to keep your rates down is to always drive safely. It may seem obvious, but it’s true. Staying out of accidents and avoiding costly tickets and violations will save you a lot of stress and money in the long run. Your insurance provider might even reward you with a safe driver discount if you keep it up for a long time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why did my car insurance go up for no reason?
A: Auto insurance rates increase for several reasons. Insurers hand out prices by looking at rate factors like age, car make/model, where you live, and more. Your rates could go up if any one of these factors changes.
Q: Why is my car insurance going up every year?
A: Your insurance could go up yearly for many reasons, but one of the most common is inflation. Your insurance prices could increase as markets change every year.