How Your Address Affects Your Car Insurance Premiums

February 06, 2019

car parked in front of home

Did you know that where you live affects your car insurance premiums? This fact emphasizes the need for accuracy when providing your personal information for a quote as well as the importance of updating your information if you happen to move. Here are some of the reasons why your address matters to car insurance providers.

Local Traffic

Where you live gives car insurance companies an idea of what your commute looks like. If you live in an area known for heavy traffic or frequent accidents (perhaps there’s a particularly dangerous intersection just a few blocks from your house), then your car insurance rates could be higher than someone who lives in an area where there is very little traffic. Insurance companies periodically look at the number of accidents reported by police in your area as well. If the number of reported accidents has gone up or down, your car insurance premiums may be raised or lowered to reflect this.

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If your commute to work each day takes longer than 15 minutes, that can raise your car insurance premium as well. The thought behind this is that the longer you are on the road, the more risk you are exposed to, which leads to higher rates.

Below, we see an upward trend on average annual premium until we hit the 25+ of commuting miles segment. There could be many variables that are affecting these rates in the 25+ segment but two major factors that may be strongly attributed could be owning a home and being outside of city limits. The fact that they own a home could also indicate a better credit score which could also drive down costs.

Car Insurance Premium Commute distance

Crime Rates

Crime in your neighborhood also plays a role in how much you pay in car insurance premiums. Again, your address is used to get crime reports from local police forces so that the insurance company can assess the risk. If there are higher-than-average car break-ins, thefts, or vandalism in your area, you could be paying more than someone who lives in a more secure neighborhood. You can see a full report on the top stolen cars in the United States on the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) website.

Does Changing Your Address Affect Car Insurance Rates?

If you are planning on moving to a new state, you’ll want to explore the impact the new address will have on your current car insurance policy. Registering and insuring a car in your new home state is not only required by the law, but it’s also an opportune time to make sure you’re getting the best rate possible for the coverage you need.

Family Moving Out of State

How to Find the Best Car Insurance When Moving Out of State

Follow this checklist when moving somewhere new to make sure your insurer is compliant and that you find the best deal possible:

  1. Know the Deadlines: On moving day, it’s critical to find out how much time you can legally drive in your new state before needing to register and insure your car. The timeline is usually about 30 days, but you’ll want to check with the local department of motor vehicles. Even if the move is temporary or it involves a student who still lives in his or her home state during the summer, you’re going to need to at least update the insurance policy.
  2. Learn the Policy Differences: There are several areas in which minimum insurance coverage can vary from state to state, from whether you’re in a no-fault vs. a fault state to the minimum liability coverage needed.
  3. Register Your Vehicle: Some states require that you already have your new insurance policy established before registering your car in a new state. That said, some insurance companies may require your car to be registered in the new state. You’ll need to register your vehicle and get new license plates – by stopping in a DMV or managing the process online – within the designated timeframe discussed above. One more thing! Make sure to check in with your old state to see how you’re required to dispose of old license plates Some states require you to mail them out while other states allow you to recycle them or take another course of action.
  4. Purchase a New Policy: You’ve done your homework, so rest assured that your comparison shopping and research has yielded you the strongest, most competitively priced car insurance policy. It’s important to establish a new policy before canceling your current auto insurance plan. Usually, you can make the transition seamlessly so that you’re only paying one premium.
  5. Cancel Your Old Car Insurance Policy: And feel good about moving on. Keep in mind that many companies will prorate any remaining balance during this process.

Car insurance companies are all about assessing risk. The best way for you to lower your car insurance premium is to shop around and see what each company has to offer. Different car insurance companies may not assign the same level of risk to your neighborhood as others and could offer you a better rate.

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