9 Factors That May Increase Your Car Insurance Rate

As we wrote about in a previous article, there can be serious drawbacks – and hefty financial penalties – to driving without insurance in Oklahoma.  However, while it’s crucial to make sure that you’re adequately covered, it’s not always simple to find an affordable policy.  While most people are already aware that selecting a low amount of coverage or high deductible will help keep prices down, there are also many additional factors which can impact the price of your policy, too.  While some of these factors are beyond your control, you’ll be empowered to make the best, most efficient decisions when you understand what sorts of variables impact your auto insurance costs.

Personal Variables: Your Age, Gender, Location, and Marital Status

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Not only do insurance companies examine your vehicle and driving history – they also examine you.  Your age, your gender, and even whether you’re married or single can all have an impact.

For instance, drivers under the age of 25 generally have higher accident rates – particularly male drivers – and in turn, higher insurance rates to match.  (According to the CDC, people aged 15 to 24 account for only 14% of the U.S. population, yet about 29% of the costs associated with annual car accident injuries.)  On the other hand, some insurance companies offer discounts for students with high grades, generally called a Good Student discount.

Your marital status also has bearing on how much you ultimately pay.  Since single individuals are statistically more accident-prone than people who are married – likely due to a correlation with age and years of driving experience – they also tend to be charged higher rates.

Even the location of your home or apartment can play a role.  If you happen to live in or near a big city or densely populated area, such as Oklahoma City or Norman, you are more likely to be charged a higher premium than someone who lives in a quiet rural or suburban neighborhood, because your car is more likely to be stolen, broken into, or vandalized.

Financial Variables: Your Occupation and Credit Score

While people can be injured in any line of work, it goes without saying that certain occupations carry greater safety risks than others.  For instance, construction workers are at increased risk for falls from heights, because they happen to work around rooftops, scaffolding, and elevated walkways.  Likewise, certain types of professionals are more susceptible to automotive accidents than others.  Employees who spend most of their shifts on the road, such as truck drivers and delivery drivers, have greater statistical odds of eventually getting into a crash.  As a result, employees in transportation-oriented professions may see increased rates.

Your credit score is another key variable.  Speaking broadly, higher scores mean lower rates while lower scores mean higher rates.  The good news is, you can start to improve your credit score within about six months to a year by maintaining low balances on your credit cards and paying off your bills and debts on time.  You should know that, under federal law, you are entitled to receive one free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies: Equifax, TransUnion, and Experian.

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Driver Variables: Your Car, Commute, and Driving Safety Record

When it comes to your vehicle itself, insurance companies look at a few different factors:

  • As cars age, replacement parts become more expensive and difficult to find, which can make older cars more costly to insure.
  • Large cars, like SUVs, tend to have lower injury and fatality rates than compact vehicles, which place less distance and material between the occupants and the outside environment.  At the same time, large cars sometimes have more powerful engines, which can increase the risk of an accident.  That is why insurance companies will also consider…
  • Some cars score considerably better safety marks than others.  For instance, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that the 2010-2011 Subaru Legacy 4WD has a death rate of zero, while the 2009-2011 Mazda 6 has a death rate of 54.  Additionally, some cars are more likely to be stolen than others, which, as noted earlier, can also increase rates.  According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), types of cars most frequently stolen include Honda Accords, Honda Civics, Chevrolet Silverados, Ford F-150s, and Toyota Camrys.

But it’s not just what you drive that interests insurers; it’s also how often (and how safely) you drive it.  The more time you spend commuting or traveling by road, the greater your chance of getting into a crash or collision – and unfortunately, the higher your rates may be.

With regard to driving history, it’s actually a misconception that one accident will automatically cause your premium to skyrocket.  Many insurance policies contain an “Accident Forgiveness” clause which will prevent your premium from rising after your first crash.  That being said, forgiveness doesn’t last forever.  If you have a history of multiple accidents – particularly accidents for which you were at fault – you will probably have a higher rate than a person with a clean driving history.

Let Our Oklahoma City Car Accident Lawyers Fight For You

With any luck, you will never be involved in a serious crash or collision.  However, if the worst does happen, and you are injured or sustain property damage because of another driver’s carelessness, know that the Oklahoma car accident attorneys of Hasbrook & Hasbrook are here to help you understand your options for seeking compensation, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  To set up a free, completely confidential legal consultation with Hasbrook & Hasbrook, call our law offices at (405) 698-3040 today.