Why Are My Car Insurance Quotes Different?

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woman wondering why her quotes are different from her friend's

You’ve scoured the web high and low to get car insurance for your new car, only to find that the quote you receive changes everywhere you go. If you’re wondering why your car insurance quotes are different, you’re not alone. 

Auto insurance companies look at the factors that impact your car insurance differently. Their goal is to charge you based on the risk you carry as a driver. So some companies will charge much more to insure a driver under 25 years old than others. While other companies won’t care quite so much that you have a speeding ticket on your record and some will. 

Since they weigh these factors differently, you’ll receive varying quotes, and that’s why shopping around for auto insurance is crucial. 

But first, it’s important to ensure you understand the factors that go into determining your auto insurance quote in the first place. 

Key Takeaways:

  • Know the main factors that impact the cost of car insurance the most
  • Understand how you can reduce your insurance costs through discounts, varying coverage limits and making lifestyle changes
  • Strategize when shopping for auto insurance to make sure you receive the lowest rate for the coverage you need

9 Factors That Impact Car Insurance Quotes the Most 

When you get an auto insurance quote, the company has a specific method for calculating premiums. Every insurance company uses a unique combination of factors to determine the price you’re given. 

According to the Office of the Insurance Commissioner, here are some of the factors that directly impact car insurance quotes and what you can do to lower your monthly premium: 

1. Driver Age

While there’s nothing you can do to change this factor, age is one of the most important factors insurance companies account for when giving quotes. This is because young people are generally classified as high-risk drivers due to their lack of experience. As a result, drivers under the age of 25 will pay more for car insurance. 

To save money, teenagers can get cheaper quotes from being on the same policy as their parents. Also, see if the insurance company offers a good student discount for those enrolled in high school or college. Another option is a distant student discount for those away at school without a vehicle, or a driver training discount for those that invest in a course.

However, young drivers aren’t the only ones subject to higher rates. Drivers 65 and older may also start to see their rates creep up as they age. To combat this increase, be sure to shop around to avoid overpaying for auto insurance. 

2. Coverage and Insurance Limits 

It’s no secret that the more coverage you get, the more costly your auto insurance will be. This is why many drivers only carry the state minimum liability coverage limits instead of choosing full coverage for their vehicles. 

Depending on the car you drive, your lender may require you carry full coverage insurance. Since this includes comprehensive and collision coverage, you can expect to pay more. However, the extra protection just may be worth the additional cost. 

3. Vehicle, Make, and Model 

The cost of your car plays a huge part in how much you pay for auto insurance. Generally, the more value your car holds, the more expensive it will be to secure car insurance. Even if your vehicle doesn’t hold as much value, you might still end up paying more if it’s a frequently stolen car. 

Your car’s safety features, or lack thereof, can also impact your monthly premium. Insurance companies might give you a discount for having safety features that lower the chances of you being in an accident. On the other hand, they might charge you more if your vehicle is loaded with all the latest tech features because the value will likely shoot up. 

4. Driving History 

When providing you with a car insurance quote, insurance companies closely examine your driving history as well. To start, they’ll look into your auto insurance claims history and see if you have any points on your driving record. 

If you’re a driver with multiple accidents or tickets on your record, expect to pay more for auto insurance than a driver with a squeaky clean record. You’ll pay even more if you need to secure an SR-22 before being allowed to drive. 

Drivers with less than favorable driving histories should search for auto insurance whenever an accident or ticket drops off their driving record. 

5. Marital Status 

Insurers also consider your marital status when providing you with insurance quotes. Studies show that married drivers are less risky to insure than single drivers. So if you’re married be sure to let your insurance company know when you compare quotes. 

6. Geographic Location

Your state, city, and zip code directly impact your car insurance costs. Drivers in urban areas will pay more for auto insurance than drivers in rural areas. Since cities have higher population densities, they tend to have higher theft rates and collisions. 

If you live in a busy, high-traffic area, be prepared to pay more for auto insurance. In addition, drivers planning to move should search for car insurance with their new zip code to see how it will affect their current auto insurance costs. 

7. Time Spent on the Road 

How much time do you spend on the road each year? When you search for car insurance quotes, insurers will ask you for an estimate of how many miles you drive in a year. People who spend more time on the road for work or play are more likely to be involved in expensive accidents than those who don’t drive quite as much.

So if you work from home, you should pay less for auto insurance than your neighbor who travels to the office five days a week. In addition, drivers who spend a limited amount of time on the road should consider usage-based insurance to enjoy additional savings. 

8. Gender

Your gender also impacts how much you pay for car insurance. On average, women will receive lower car insurance quotes than men because they get into fewer accidents. Men are also more likely to be arrested for driving under the influence and other reckless driving situations. 

However, not all states allow insurance companies to look at gender. For example, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania don’t let insurers consider gender when providing quotes. 

9. Credit Score

Companies also take your credit score into account when calculating quotes. This is because drivers with lower credit scores are more likely to file more insurance claims. Drivers with good credit will enjoy cheaper rates for car insurance, so it’s worth it to try and improve your credit score. Keep in mind that just like gender, not all states allow your credit score to be a factor when calculating your auto insurance. 

5 Tips for Lowering Your Car Insurance Rates

woman putting money in piggy bank that she saved on car insurance

Even with the different factors affecting your insurance costs, there are five things you can do to lower your car insurance rates. 

  1. Shop around for car insurance regularly: While some car insurance companies give you discounts for being loyal, don’t let this stop you from shopping around. Shopping for auto insurance after a big life change, like marriage or graduating from university, is especially important. Try shopping for car insurance every six months to ensure you have the most affordable rates. 
  2. Opt for higher deductibles: Your insurance deductible is what you need to pay out of pocket when you file a claim before your insurance company covers the rest. Therefore, you can enjoy lower rates by choosing a higher deductible. However, it’s essential to seriously consider your financial situation and ensure you can afford to pay the higher deductible. 
  3. Bundle insurance: Need to insure your home or rental property? Bundling your auto and homeowners insurance can help you save up to 10% on your premiums. 
  4. Improve your credit score: Some states let insurance companies include your credit score when determining your auto insurance rate. If your credit score is less than stellar, take steps to improve it. Once it increases, shop for auto insurance with your new score to see if you get lower rates. 
  5. Ask about discounts: Always ask your car insurance agent about additional ways to save through car insurance discounts. For example, you may qualify for certain discounts like:
    • Good student discount: Enjoy savings of 10-15% on your auto insurance as a high school, college, or university student by maintaining a GPA of 3.0 or a B average.  
    • Vehicle safety discount: If your vehicle has safety features installed, you can earn a small discount on your insurance premium. Some qualifying features include airbags, anti-lock brakes, and electronic stability control. 
    • Multi-vehicle discount: Do you have multiple vehicles? Insure more than one car on the same policy and save up to 25% on your policy. 
    • Multi-policy discount: Bundle your home and auto insurance and save. You can also bundle rental or life insurance with your car insurance. 
    • New customer discount: If you find an insurance company with cheaper rates, you might save even more if they offer a new customer discount. This will usually save you 5-10% for the first year of your policy.
    • Policy payment discounts: You can get a discount for paying your premium in full upfront, enrolling in auto-pay, or getting a paperless discount when you opt to get all your documents online.  

Best Strategies for Getting a Car Insurance Quote 

couple getting car insurance quotes on the phone

Now that you know what factors insurance companies look at and how to lower your car insurance rates, you need to know what to do while searching. Here are some of the best practices we recommend for getting a car insurance quote:

  1. Compare quotes: Car insurance can vary wildly. To ensure you’re getting the best quote, don’t stop after calling one or two insurers. Use an online auto insurance comparison tool to get quotes from several providers. You can use Compare.com to get personalized, free, accurate quotes in minutes. 
  2. Experiment with coverage limits: There are many types of insurance coverage available. Don’t be afraid to experiment with coverage limits. Start with the state minimum insurance and add on from there. A closer look at your insurance needs may reveal that you can drop certain coverages and add on others while saving money. 
  3. Look into local and regional car insurance companies: Most people start their car insurance quote search by looking at big names like GEICO or Progressive. However, looking into your local and regional car insurance companies is beneficial. These smaller companies offer the same types of coverage at lower prices. Local companies may also be more willing to provide insurance to high-risk drivers, such as those with a DUI. 
  4. Consider the insurance cost of a car before you buy it: Look into the cost of insurance for your dream car before you buy it. Remember, the more flashy or expensive a car is, the more expensive the insurance will be. 
  5. Look into usage-based insurance: For some drivers, the best way to get a cheaper auto insurance quote is to change the type of insurance they’re looking for. If you drive less than 12,000 miles a year, consider usage-based insurance as an option to save money. This policy will allow you to pay based on how much you drive. 

Car Insurance Quote FAQs

What makes car insurance more expensive?

A common reason your car insurance is more expensive is your insurance company has used your information to determine that you’re more likely to file a claim. So, to offset the risk you pose as a driver, you’ll pay more in insurance premiums. 

What factors affect car insurance? 

Insurance companies use a variety of factors to calculate your car insurance premium. These may include your age, gender, driving history, claims history, location, marital status, driving frequency, and vehicle make and model. 

How can I lower my car insurance rates?

You can lower your car insurance rates by regularly shopping for auto insurance, taking advantage of insurance discounts, bundling insurance policies, improving your credit score, or choosing higher deductibles. 

Does the cost of my car impact my car insurance quotes?

Yes, it does. The more expensive your car is, the more expensive it will be for your insurance company to repair or replace it. As a result, you’ll see higher car insurance quotes while searching for auto insurance. 

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