What affects my car insurance rates?

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Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®https://res.cloudinary.com/quotellc/image/upload/insurance-site-images/ciccom-live/41b5e36b-joel-ohman.jpg

UPDATED: Oct 28, 2016

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Here's what you need to know...

  • If you own and drive a vehicle, you absolutely must purchase some sort of insurance before taking it out on the road
  • Some states allow self-insurance through a variety of means, but you must provide proof of financial protection in every state
  • Current policyholders can find out how much their car insurance premiums are going to be at the next renewal cycle simply by contacting their provider and asking

That means for those of us shopping for car insurance through traditional companies, knowing how much our premiums will be plays an important part in our decision.

You may not get an exact amount down to the penny, but the agent will be able to give you a figure that should be within a few dollars. The only things likely to change that number are accident claims or violations that occur before your policy is renewed.

If you’re unhappy with your current provider, you can search car insurance rates among other companies by entering your ZIP code above.

How can I find out premium information if I don’t have a policy right now?


If you’re purchasing your first insurance policy, you can rest assured that plenty of other people have gone through the process in the past.

Finding out what premiums will be in your case is simply a matter of doing some diligent research and asking questions.

You can start your research by using an online search site just like the one you’re on right now. These search sites allow you to enter some  information about yourself and your vehicle in order to see ballpark figures from companies licensed to do business in your state.

The sites generally have affiliations with most of the major companies who in turn provide the premium data and other information the site’s search engine needs to return its quotes.

Of course, you’re always free to contact individual insurance providers over the phone or Internet. They’ll be happy to take that information and give you a quote directly.

Just be sure that you’re ready to listen to a sales pitch if you decide to contact companies via telephone.

Their representatives are trained, in most cases, to try and sell you a policy while they have your attention. You might be better off simply asking that printed or electronic information be sent to you.

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Do I need to worry about premiums if I’m happy with my current insurance company?

If you’re happy with your current car insurance company, you are among 61% of all American drivers, according to statistics from the Insurance Research Council.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean you should simply sit back and not worry about what your car insurance company does.

Sometimes premium increases will go into effect that you aren’t aware of, taking you by surprise when the bill comes. You may also find that your coverage changes significantly from one policy period to the next.

Insurance industry experts suggested that even if you’re happy with your current car insurance company, you should review your policy and premiums at least on an annual or bi-annual basis.

In the age of the Internet, it’s very easy to quickly compare policies and premiums so you know where you stand. With just a few minutes of your time, you might actually find another insurance provider willing to give you a better deal.

But you’ll never know if you don’t regularly review your current coverage.

How do I make sure my premiums stay as low as they can be?

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There are several things that drivers can do to ensure the lowest insurance premiums possible, not the least of which is to avoid accidents and violations.

Accidents and violations represent both risk and cost to insurance companies, so they answer such things with higher premiums.

The drivers with the cheapest car insurance are often those with no accidents, no violations, and several years of consistently safe driving.

The longer you can go with a clean driving history, the better off you’ll be in terms of your premiums.

Furthermore, you should investigate all of the possible discounts your car insurance company offers. There are discounts for safe driving, good grades in school, certain types of hybrid vehicles, specific job categories, etc.

While not every company offers the same discounts, and not all of them will apply to you, those that do could save you significant amounts of money.

You can get a look at car insurance rates from multiple companies simply by entering your ZIP code in the box below.

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Compare quotes from the top car insurance companies and save!

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