What Can Raise or Lower the Cost of Your Car Insurance?

If your auto premiums are busting your wallet, you may be wondering, why is my car insurance so high? Various factors impact your rate. Some are beyond your control, but you can alter others to help bring your rate back down to earth.

Here are some of the factors that go into determining auto rates:

Your Driving Record

Not surprisingly, your driving record impacts your rate. If you’ve had speeding tickets, serious traffic violations, or accidents, your premium may be higher.

Your Age

Mature drivers tend to have fewer accidents than younger ones. So if you’re under 25—or if a younger driver uses your car—expect to pay more for coverage. Seniors, who are also more likely to have accidents, may pay more for auto coverage too.

Your Claim History

Past is often a predictor of future behavior, so if you’ve submitted claims in the past—especially for major accidents—your premium may be higher.

Your Mileage

The more time you spend on the road, the greater the risk of an accident. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average male driver clocks about 16,550 miles per year, while the average female driver covers 10,142 miles. If you have a long commute every day or otherwise put in major miles, you’ll likely pay more for coverage.

Your ZIP Code

You’ll pay a higher premium if you live in an area with high rates of theft, vandalism, or accidents. City mice, for example, usually pay more for insurance than their country cousins.

Your Wheels

Have an expensive luxury vehicle or a speedy sports car? If your model tends to get into trouble or is costly to repair, you may pay more for coverage. If your car is popular with car thieves, your rate may also eke up.

Your Gender

Women tend to get into fewer accidents—and less serious ones—than men, so your gender may affect your rate, at least when you’re younger. After age 30, men’s and women’s accident rates are about the same.