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Beyond driving record, what affects your auto insurance premium?

April 28, 2016
There are a few surprising elements, like whether or not you are married, that could affect your auto insurance premium.

Your driving record is only one of many factors insurance companies use to calculate your auto insurance premium. It may seem like the number of accidents you've had in the past should be all insurance companies need to determine your risk level. Nevertheless, insurance companies have found that there are several elements that affect the likelihood a driver will have an accident and need to make an insurance claim. Here are four:

1. Where you live

Expect to pay a higher premium if your car is is kept in a neighborhood that experiences higher crime rates, a greater number of accidents or other events that may heighten the risk your vehicle is damaged. According to the Insurance Information Institute, those who live in cities generally pay more for auto insurance than people living in the suburbs or rural areas.

2. How often and when you drive

The more you use your car, the more likely you are to have an accident and the higher your premium will be. PropertyCasualty360 explained that those with a long commute or who often drive after midnight will pay higher auto insurance rates.

3. Your credit score

This is perhaps one of the most surprising factors influencing your auto insurance premium, yet in some states your credit score can make a huge difference in what you'll pay.

"Your credit score can make a huge difference in what you'll pay.”

According to WalletHub, on average there is a 49 percent difference in auto insurance premium prices between a person with excellent credit and a person with no credit history. The state you're in makes a huge difference, too. In Connecticut, for example, credit data only results in about a 15 percent fluctuation in premiums, whereas in Michigan it leads to a 115 percent fluctuation.

The reason your credit score is so influential in determining your premium is because insurance companies have found that those with poor credit are more likely to file claims.

4. Marital status

Marital status is another unexpected factor. PropertyCasualty360 explained that those who are married tend to receive fewer tickets and experience fewer accidents than those who are single. As a result, you may experience lower premiums after you tie the knot.

There are many other things that might affect your premium rate, such as the type of car you drive, your age and gender and the amount of coverage you decide to purchase. Make sure you do extensive research to find out what your premium might be, and take the time to comparison shop online to find the best possible rate.