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Factors that increase auto insurance rates

April 6, 2015

Most states require minimum car insurance coverage, and depending on certain factors, the cost can be substantial. While comparing car insurance quotes and regularly speaking to an insurance agent are certainly excellent ways to make sure you're getting the best rates, there might still be unsuspected elements influencing your insurance costs. Here are a few factors that can affect how much you pay for insurance:

Find out how your life is affecting your insurance rates.

Driving history

Insurance companies use your driving history to assess how likely you are to file a claim. The amount and severity of traffic tickets can be one factor in this equation. For example, while a fairly innocent parking ticket probably won't raise your insurance premiums, the harsher offense of a DUI can raise insurance premiums by an average of 93 percent, according to a Quadrant Information Services study cited by The Motley Fool. According to DMV.org, drivers with raised premiums due to driving history will see higher insurance rates for about three years.

Age

Both the age of the car and the age of the driver can cause insurance premiums to go up. Collision coverage rates for new cars are typically higher than older ones. The reason for this difference is that older cars are more likely to be discarded after a major collision than newer cars as the cost of repair would usually exceed the cost of an older vehicle. New automobiles, on the other hand, are worth more, so drivers are more likely to file a claim to repair them.

The age of the driver also has an effect on auto insurance rates. New drivers with less experience are more likely to get in an accident, making them a bigger liability for insurance providers. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the risk for 16- to 19-year-olds is higher than that of any other age group, resulting in raised insurance premiums. Higher rates are also applied to senior citizens. Fatal crash rates go up for drivers starting at age 75, and even more so after age 80.

Career

Drivers' jobs give insurance companies clues to how often they are on the road and how safe of drivers they are. For example, nuns, police officers and paramedics often pay lower rates for their insurance because companies see them as more careful than typical drivers. Those who only drive to and from work will also pay less. However, those who drive on the job, like food deliverers and journalists who are constantly on the road will probably pay more for their premiums.

Gender

In the earlier stages of driving, females tend to pay less on average than males for insurance coverage. The difference in payments is because females statistically are involved in less accidents than males at this time. However, older women tend to pay more than older men, as females tend to get in more minor accidents at later stages in life.

While some elements are out of your control as a driver, such as age and gender, other things can be influenced with safe decision making. Check with your insurance company to see how you can lower your rates.