If you’ve ever compared car insurance rates, you know how many options are available. Depending on a variety of individual rating factors, certain companies will price your insurance differently. You could end up paying more by choosing the wrong company or failing to compare enough companies. We've outlined the factors that go into your car insurance premiums, as well as some tips for how to find the best possible rates. Let’s get started.
Insurers don't determine your actual cash value (ACV) settlement based on what you owe, but rather on what the car is worth just prior to the accident. Let's say you owe $20,000 on your new car, but it's only worth about $16,000. If your car is totaled, you might get a settlement check of $16,000 but still owe an additional $4,000 on your loan or lease.
Vehicles loaded with safety features that tend to be driven by parents or other fairly responsible drivers make up the majority of our least expensive list. “Safety features such as airbags, lane departure, back-up cameras and automatic restraint systems all factor into insurance rates. If these technologies are found to reduce the risk of an accident, it may result in lower premiums for policyholders whose vehicles are equipped with these safety features.” says Michael Barry, spokesperson for the media and public affairs division of the Insurance Information Institute.
Your auto insurance rate depends on who you are as a driver, as well as your age, your credit, your vehicle, and your location. How insurance companies weigh these attributes is reflected in your premium. For example, having a limited driving history or a poor credit score can raise your rates dramatically. Our analysis of major rating factors shows how premiums shift from company to company.
Gender and age: Young (newly licensed drivers) will be the most expensive to insure and statistics show that young males are the worst of the young drivers. Once they have a few years of experience under their belts, rates should start to drop. Statistics show that women overall tend to be involved in fewer accidents so premiums are usually lower for female drivers until they hit middle age, then males and females are basically on par for the cost of car insurance
Auto insurance premiums depend on the insured party's driving record. A record free of accidents or serious traffic violations typically results in a lower premium. Drivers with histories of accidents or serious traffic violations may pay higher premiums. Likewise, because mature drivers tend to have fewer accidents than less-experienced drivers, insurers typically charge more for drivers below age 25.