Best Car Insurance Buying Guide

Every insurer uses a different pricing formula in creating the premium it quotes you. As a result, you’ll find competing carriers charging different amounts for the same or almost the same coverage. By shopping periodically, you have the potential to save with your current carrier, or with a new insurer that’s just as good or better.

Here are some key factors that could affect your premium:

Driver profiles, driving history, and car type. If you’ve seen your premium rise of late, it could be because you’ve added a newer or more expensive car, begun insuring a teen driver, or been involved in an at-fault crash.

Credit history. A number of insurers will price a policy higher for a driver with less-than-stellar credit, using a “credit-based insurance score.” Insurers maintain that credit history is a good predictor of insurance claims, and they price their policies accordingly. (Several states, including California, Georgia, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Utah, either prohibit or restrict the use of credit-based insurance scores.)

External conditions. These include local weather trends that increase the likelihood of claims and result in higher rates. For example, if damaging storms in your area have generated lots of car-insurance claims, your company may apply to your state’s insurance regulator for an across-the-board rate increase to reflect its increased exposure to that risk.

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