6 Things That Can Drive Your Car Insurance Rates Up

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Most everyone knows that the quickest route to sending your car insurance premiums skyrocketing is to get in an accident. Keeping a clean driving record is central to keeping your car insurance affordable.

Unfortunately, that’s far from the only thing that can drive your car insurance rates up. To understand this, it’s important to know why insurance rates go up at all. Insurance companies determine premium rates by assessing the risk that there will be a claim. To do this, they gather data on demographics, location, and a number of other factors, as well as information on you personally. Based on these factors, they determine how likely it is that you’ll be in an accident or moving violation — or otherwise have to make a claim, even if it isn’t your fault (like a natural disaster) — and set their premiums accordingly. The riskier you seem to be, the more you will pay for car insurance.

Some of these factors will have nothing to do with you, and there won’t be too much you can do about it. But some of those factors are under your control, and you can take some steps to either lower your premiums or, at the very least, keep them from going up.

Location

When getting an insurance quote, insurers will often ask you for your ZIP code. That’s because where you live makes a big difference in what your insurance premiums will look like. Big cities are, by nature, more dangerous than small towns, and carry a much bigger risk of traffic accidents. Areas with natural disasters like wildfires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic activity make it more likely there will be an insurance claim due to damage. Not every state will come with a built-in risk factor, but if you live in an area with a high population density or tendency toward disasters, you should be prepared to pay higher premiums.

Age

It may not be fair, but it’s just a fact: teenagers pay more in car insurance premiums than any other demographic. Younger drivers have a strong tendency to be riskier and more reckless in their driving behavior, and this means a larger chance of a mishap — and insurers will pass the cost of that risk on to you.

Marital Status

Why does marital status matter when it comes to your insurance premiums? It comes down to a few things: married people tend to drive safer when they have families and spouses to think of. Statistics have shown that single drivers are actually twice as likely to get into accidents than married drivers. This means married couples can save anywhere from 5 to 15 percent on their car insurance premiums.

Gender

Statistically, men tend to be more prone to crashes in their early years of driving, as they have a tendency to be more aggressive. According to figures, men also drive more than women do, and engage in risky driving behavior more often. This often leads to crashes involving male drivers to be more severe than those with female drivers — all of which can add up to higher premiums for male drivers. These differences tend to shrink as policyholders get older, as proneness to accidents tends to even out as people age.

Previous Insurance Coverage

One of the other risk factors insurance companies look at is whether or not there’s been a lapse in your insurance. Uninsured drivers are an ongoing problem, and statistics have shown drivers without a lapse in coverage are less likely to get into an accident. Having an insurance record with no lapses can keep your rates from going up — which is why it might be preferable to get some free car insurance quotes and consider switching instead of allowing a lapse to happen.

Vehicle Type

There are a number of reasons why the vehicle you choose to drive can make a difference in your premiums. You may have heard the saying about red cars costing more to insure, and while it may not be true, it’s in the neighborhood of truth. Newer, sportier cars tend to be more expensive to insure because the cost of parts and repairs is higher in case of an accident, and drivers who own high-performance vehicles are statistically more likely to get in accidents, as not every driver knows how to handle those kinds of vehicles. A vehicle can also drive premiums up if it’s particularly prone to being stolen, or if it has a lot of expensive onboard technology. The exception to this is auto safety technology, which may actually bring your premiums down.

While these are some of the major factors that can drive your insurance rates up, there are some others as well. Having lower mileage on your car can mean lower premiums, as the less you drive, the lower the risk of an accident. Your credit rating can also be a factor in determining your insurance risk.

While not all these factors can be controlled, some can be mitigated or managed, and that can keep your insurance premiums from becoming prohibitively expensive.