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As a driver, you may be aware that car insurance is required by law in most states, and your auto lender may even have its own unique coverage requirements with which you must comply.
However, you may not be aware that some insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who work in specific fields or professions.
This is just one of many car insurance discounts that you may qualify for to reduce your premium, and you can explore this discount in detail to determine if it applies to you.
- Why Do Insurers Ask About Your Occupation
- High-Risk vs Low-Risk Occupations
- How College Education Can Affect Rates
- Fair or Discriminatory
- Education Professionals
- Law Enforcement & Emergency Personnel
- Blue Collar & White Collar
- Medical Professionals
- Legal Professionals
- Entertainers & Professional Athletes
- Additional Savings
- Finding Providers Who Offer the Best Rates For Your Profession
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Why do insurers ask about your occupation?
When shopping for car insurance and you are asked about your employment, the agent posing the question isn’t necessarily making small talk nor is the textbox merely an aesthetic tool for the website.
Those questions are designed to collect data about you that the insurance companies use to determine your rates. Your job is one of many risk factors that insurers take into account when evaluating the pricing of the coverage offered.
The purpose of such questions about your employment, according to Rachel Jensen of the American Insurance Association, is “to help insurers seek as accurate an assessment of future, potential losses so they have higher confidence that their rates most accurately reflect risk while avoiding potential cross-subsidization.”
High-Risk Occupations Versus Low-Risk Occupations
Now you know: Your job is a factor used in determining risk. And in the world of insurance, risk and premium prices always have a direct correlation. The lower the risk of your profession, the lower your premium. And vice versa.
So, which professions are high-risk and which are low-risk? And who determines the pricing for each list? Auto insurance companies use a large amount of data, statistics, and surveys to compile a list of the riskiest professions.
Here is a list of the top fifteen high-risk and low-risk occupations as determined by the auto insurance industry:
|High-Risk Occupations||6-Month||Low-Risk Occupation||6-Month|
|Chef (No High School)||$1,038.90||Homemaker||$407.50|
|Chef (High School)||$1,038.90||Professor|
w/ College Degree
|Currently Unemployeed||$992.00||Military Officer|
(Air Force O1)
(Air Force O6)
It is important to note that risky, as defined by the insurers, is determined by the likelihood of individuals in that line of work to file a claim, and does not necessarily imply danger.
Our research showed that insurance companies make no distinction between being self-employed or being employed through a private employer when factoring rates.
– Tips for Self-Employed
If you are self-employed and use your vehicle for business purposes, don’t assume that your personal auto insurance will cover an accident while conducting business.
Contact your insurance agent; it may be in your best interest to look into a separate Businessowners Policy (BOP) or In-Home Business Policy to get the correct coverage to protect yourself from all potential liabilities.
If you plan on employing other people who will also be driving your vehicle(s), make sure to check their driving records early and often.
– Bartender and Servers
Bartenders, waitresses, hosts and hostesses, and DJs usually work into the night and in environments where alcohol is served and lots of parties take place.
Depending on your occupation or profession, you may qualify for immediate savings on your premium. Occupations that qualify for this type of discount vary based on which insurance company you contact.
Therefore, explore all of the options thoroughly so that you can take full advantage of this benefit if it applies to you.
Some of the top occupations that you may find discounts for include:
- Law enforcement officials
- Federal or government workers
- Military professionals
Some people consider going to school to be a full-time job. Typically, full-time students will not qualify for an occupation discount, but you may qualify for a good student discount or other similar types of discounts available through select providers.
In addition, when you retire from the workforce, you may qualify for a retiree or senior discount through some providers for additional savings.
How College Education Can Affect Rates
Did you realize that having obtained higher education can secure you lower rates for car insurance?
While State Farm is one of the few larger insurance providers who doesn’t use education as one of its determining risk factors, many auto insurance companies give lower rates to customers just for having attended college and for earning a degree than to their counterparts with no collegiate experience.
Take a look at these rates from Geico:
|Education Level||Geico Monthly||Education Level||Geico Monthly|
|Associates (chef)||$165.33||No high School (Military E-5)||$145.85|
|Bachelors (chef)||$165.33||High School (Military E-5)||$145.85|
|Masters (chef)||$165.33||Associates (Military E-5)||$145.85|
|PhD (chef)||$165.33||Bachelors (Military E-5)||$145.85|
|No High School (chef)||$173.15||Masters (Military E-5)||$145.85|
|High School (chef)||$173.15||PhD (Military E-5)||$145.85|
Note: The occupation was kept as “chef” for consistency. We wanted to see how education would affect the rate as the variable. In our research, the policy rates given were for six months. We arrived at the monthly rates by dividing six-month rates and the annual by multiplying for reference.
It is also interesting to see that military service held even more weight than education level when it comes to factoring rates and discounts.
Even if you haven’t completed a degree, there are still ways for you to lower your rates through education. Here is a snapshot of additional education discounts offered by some major carriers:
|Company||Distant Student||Driver's Ed||Further Education||Good Student||New Graduate||Students & Alumni|
Fair or Discriminatory?
Some have said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
In reference to the auto insurance industry using your occupation and education as a factor in determining premium prices, fairness is in the eye of the consumer (or regulator).
Robert P. Hartwig, President and Chief Economist of the Insurance Information Institute, sites research conducted and legislation passed in the states of Maryland and New Jersey defending “the actuarial validity of occupation and education as rating factors” because,
“education and occupation are just two of many risk factors [used by insurance companies to determine pricing]… and both factors are actuarially predictive of loss and are not unfairly discriminatory.”
The President of the New York Insurance Association (NYIA) Ellen Melchionni defends the auto insurance industry, stating, “Companies are only allowed to use factors that are predictive of loss… Companies use a variety of underwriting factors to determine the price of a policy, all of which have been approved for use by regulators.”
However, the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), has done ample research on the effects of using education and occupation to determine auto insurance rates and has found that such practices penalize lower-income, lower educated drivers compared to their peers with greater education and higher net worth.
CFA has found that good drivers of lower economic status consistently pay significantly more for auto insurance than higher economic status drivers.
Four of five of the nation’s largest auto insurers regularly charge 40 percent to 92 percent more, or about $600 to $900 more per year, to drivers based on factors related to their economic status even when they have perfect driving records.
A substantial majority of Americans believe it is unfair for insurance companies to use economic characteristics—specifically, education level, occupation, not having insurance because of not having a car, homeownership status, marital status, and credit score—in setting auto insurance premiums.
Attorney Norma Garcia, on behalf of the Consumers’ Union and on the basis of the findings of a 2015 special investigation by Consumer Reports, made the following recommendation to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC):
“We believe the following rating factors should be prohibited by law where they are still allowed: Credit-based data and scores; education level, occupation, marital status, and the practice of price optimization.”
In fact, some state lawmakers are taking legislative measures to prevent or curtail what they deem to be discriminatory pricing practices by auto insurers.
Regardless of your position on the ethics of such practices, the more you understand how insurance companies price different occupations, the better you will be to find the best value when shopping for auto insurance.
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If achieving higher education can earn you a more affordable premium, how will working in the field of education impact your auto insurance rates?
Car insurance for teachers, deans, and those with an education degree is at the higher end of auto insurance rates for the low-risk professions.
This is because teachers tend to have after-school events and evening events to attend putting them on the road in the evening several times a year.
Also, the insurance industry factors summer vacation and school holidays into consideration during which many teachers are not working. This means that they are spending more time on the road.
Even though each teacher’s schedule is different and some teachers work through the summer, insurance rates are based on the average activity of a teacher.
The average activity is gathered from statistics and surveys conducted by the insurance industry and other third parties. This information is then applied to setting car insurance rates.
Law Enforcement and Emergency Personnel
What if you’re a first responder? Are you entitled to first-rate premiums from the car insurance companies?
As first responders, you put your lives on the line each time you respond to a call or attend to an emergency. At times, you may have to use your personal vehicles to arrive at the emergency site.
Therefore, it is important to get coverage for your private and the work vehicles properly to protect you after an accident.
Among the people who fall into the category of emergency service workers, include:
- Ambulance service providers
- Highway Patrol personnel
Police officers, firefighters, and emergency service workers do a lot of driving. They undergo advanced training in driving upon their hiring. Therefore, they are very competent on the roads.
In fact, they are actually classified by law as professional drivers. Additionally, firefighters have a specialized license from the state as well, permitting them to drive fire trucks.
However, being a professional driver doesn’t always mean you will receive cheap car insurance rates.
First responders face many risks and challenges unique to their professions that auto insurance companies also consider when pricing quotes.
Their jobs may require them to attend to any situation urgently regardless of its location. Therefore, the workers have exposure to more numerous risks than any other occupation, which could eventually lead to higher premium rates.
Below are conditions that may lead to an increase in the premiums:
- Confidence – Confidence is a good thing but overconfidence can lead to riskier driving behaviors like exceeding the speed limit.
- Long working hours and night shifts – An exhausted driver is more prone to causing an accident than drivers operating on normal rest. Additionally, nighttime drivers are renowned for causing more accidents compared to the daytime ones.
Depending on your responsibilities as first responders, some of these risks may not apply to your specific situation. That’s why it is important to shop around and compare quotes from multiple companies to ensure that you’re getting the best possible coverage at the most affordable rate for your unique needs.
As a reference, take a look at the information we’ve gathered:
Great news for those of you who have answered the call to serve and protect: Your time in service of our nation may entitle you to save on your protection!
Many auto insurers offer discounted rates and savings programs for members of the armed forces and their families.
Geico offers a special discount not only to members of the military but also to members of specific military organizations as well. These organizations include the following groups:
- The Association of the United States Army
- The Enlisted Association of the National Guard of the United States
- The National Infantry Association
- The Marine Corps League
- The Navy Federal Credit Union
- The National Military Family Association
- The United States Coast Guard Chief Petty Officers Association
- The Pentagon Federal Credit Union
Members of these organizations are eligible for a car insurance discount of as much as 15 percent.
Geico offers additional discounts to servicemen and servicewomen who are sent on emergency deployment. A military member is considered to be on emergency deployment when they are sent to an area that the Department of Defense has classified as an imminent danger area.
USAA, founded in 1922 in Texas by 25 Army officers, is a special insurance company and bank that exclusively serves members of the military and their families. Almost 90 years later, USAA serves more than eight million military members and their families.
To be eligible for a USAA policy, the member has to be either an active, honorably discharged, or retired member of the United States Armed Forces.
USAA offers the following services at lower rates than civilian options:
- Real estate
- Shopping services
They offer car, property, and life insurance products. USAA car insurance offers savings of up to $450 off the national average.
Along with this lower rate, USAA also offers other car insurance discounts like the following:
- Multi-policy discounts
- Good student discounts
- Safe driver discounts
- Multi-car discounts
– Useful Tips for Your Search for Military Car Insurance
Before doing any research about military car insurance, prepare by deciding what kind of insurance policy you need and what you will be doing with your vehicle.
When you’ve decided on the type of policy you need, starting the search for military car insurance companies is easy. All you have to do is log onto various insurance companies’ websites, such as Allstate, Progressive, or State Farm, to get free quotes.
It only takes about five minutes to fill out their forms. On the forms, you can mark that you are in the military and they will tell you for which benefits you’re eligible.
Shop around to get a variety of quotes, do your research, and always let the companies know you’re in the military and would like discounts for military car insurance. Have your paperwork ready to show proof of your military involvement.
When speaking to an agent, make sure to mention your military rank because a higher rank oftentimes equates to greater savings on your auto insurance premiums.
Here is a list of rates for enlisted personnel based on classification:
Many insurance companies don’t list all of their benefits and discounts for people in the military online. You need to call to find out everything they offer.
Another advantage to calling is that by talking with a live person, you will be better able to negotiate a policy that best suits your needs.
After you have quotes from a variety of companies and are ready to decide which will provide you with military car insurance, there might be two or more that are very similar. How do you decide which is best?
Note: We were unable to obtain monthly from USAA without a valid Social Security Number.
Call each company and ask what special benefits they can provide. For instance, will they give you a loaner if your car is off the road? Use these extra perks as the deciding factors to choose which company is best for your military car insurance needs.
– Garaging While Deployed
Getting ready for deployment? Will you be putting the car in storage or keeping it garaged when you are deployed? If so, ask if the insurance company will suspend your service or give you a discount while you’re gone.
The following major carriers offer special discounts for garaging/storing:
- The Hartford
Here is an example from USAA of what the potential savings would look like when applied:
|Monthly Rates||Savings |
(% of Standard Rate)
– Special Considerations for Veterans
Many assume that veterans receive special military discounts as a “thank you” from the insurer to veterans for sacrificing their freedom to protect the freedom of citizens in the United States.
While this is definitely one of the reasons why a majority of American insurers will offer veterans’ discounts, it is not the only reason why veterans are entitled to a discount.
The second reason is that those who have served in the military are considered to be less of a risk than civilians.
When insurance companies are determining how much a class of drivers should pay, they consider risk before anything else.
While there are many different factors that can affect risk class, studies show that there is a direct correlation between profession and how likely a driver is to have an at-fault collision.
Individuals who have received a great deal of training and who work in specific fields tend to be more careful than the average driver.
Since military personnel receive intensive training and are taught to operate many different types of machinery responsibly and safely, they have experience in a profession that qualifies them for a lifelong discount.
The disciplined past that was ingrained in the veteran often translates into good driving habits. As long as the veteran does not have a serious traffic conviction that puts them into a high-risk class, they are welcome to apply for discounted cover.
Here is a look at the potential savings:
|Occupation||Annual Premium||% Savings (Geico/USAA)||Possible Premium Savings|
(Air Force O1)
– After You’ve Chosen Your Military Car Insurance Policy
Once you choose the company you want and get a military car insurance policy, your work is not done. Some policies change when you are deployed.
Your best course of action is to call your insurance company as soon as you find out when you will be deployed and ask how your policy will be affected. Work with your insurance agent to get the best policy conditions for you and your family.
Choosing your military car insurance can be a tricky business and involves a lot of research, but your work will benefit you in the long run by saving you money.
It is important to focus on the coverage being purchased not just the cost.
Even if the rates are low, if not enough coverage is included, it could cost the policyholder more in the long run.
It is also very important to make sure to find a respectable company. To check the financial stability of an insurance company, the policyholder can go to the website for A.M. Best Company.
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Blue Collar and White Collar
Do you love working outdoors or performing manual labor? Or do you prefer dressing up and going to the office in a more professional setting?
Whether we work a blue collar or white collar job, we all want to keep as much green in our wallets. Here is how one insurer prices for skilled, manual, and professional laborers:
|Blue Collar||Monthly||White Collar||Monthly|
|Farm Manager, Owner||$157.98||Bank/Clerical/Office Staff||$151.00|
– Construction Worker or Skilled Laborer
The likelihood of filing a car insurance claim may be one of the things working in favor of a construction worker or skilled laborer.
Being hands-on individuals who aren’t afraid to break out the tools and fix things, it’s quite possible that many of them are more apt to do their own repairs rather than file a claim with their insurance company.
Keeping the number of claims down as a group helps make them statistically less likely to be an insurance risk.
– CPA, Comptroller, and Accountant
Certified public accountants (CPAs), comptrollers, and accountants are all considered professionals. There are many differences between the specific roles they play in their specific occupations, but when it comes to car insurance rates, these three careers are grouped together.
Whether you are a CPA, a comptroller, or an accountant, the car insurance industry will consider your occupation when setting your car insurance rates. These white-collar professionals present a similar risk to insurance companies as the blue-color construction worker above, so their premium quotes are the same.
Medical professionals may be eligible for car insurance discounts because the education required to become a medical professional can be an indicator of your level of responsibility.
Doctors are less likely than teachers to file a claim with their insurance companies for a minor fender bender, choosing to pay for the expense out-of-pocket rather than incur a potential hike in rates.
When the insurance company is saving money on claims, they pass those savings on to the medical professionals.
Jobs in the legal profession tend to be high-stress and require high attention to detail, long hours, and unpredictable results, which means that the stress can be ongoing. Attorneys often take the stress of their work home with them and also on the road with them.
Car insurance rates for attorneys, lawyers, and judges are usually at the higher end of occupational based car insurance rates.
Trials and client meetings can take place at all times of the day or evening. When working on a case, an attorney may work overtime, so they will be driving at all different hours.
Having an unpredictable schedule as well as driving in the evening, add to car accidents according to the latest statistics.
Even though attorneys and judges have different schedules, these car insurance rates are based on a typical day in the life of a lawyer or judge. However, it is important to note that anyone can find discounts on car insurance just by asking.
Here is a look at potential discounted rates for legal professionals. The rates are based on an average four percent discount for the group as a whole:
|Occupation||Geico 6-Month||Potential Discounted Rate|
Entertainers and Professional Athletes
There are tens of thousands of people who work in the entertainment industry in one capacity or another. One thing that many of these individuals have in common is a need to travel great distances during the course of their duties.
This travel requirement obviously puts these individuals on the road a lot, and also means that they may be more vulnerable to an accident that the average person.
Professional athletes are typically young and drive automobiles with high value and high performance, possibly leading to excessive claims and more premium. They also often select higher limits of liability since their fame and wealth often make them targets for litigation in the event of an accident.
|Occupation||Geico Monthly||Geico 6-Month||Geico Annual|
– Famous Athletes Auto Insurance Rates
Here is a real-life example of what some professional athletes are currently paying for their car insurance:
|Athletes:||Sport:||Car:||Estimated Vehicle Cost:||City:||Relationship Status:||Estimated|
|Kevin Durant||Basketball||Ferrari California||$206,000||San Fransico, CA||Single||$4,639.00|
|Carmelo Anthony||Basketball||Jeep Wrangler||$31,000||New York, NY||Separated||$1,032.00|
|Michael Phelps||Swimming||Range Rover||$90,000||Baltimore, MD||Single||$1,016.00|
|Ryan Lochte||Swimming||Rolls Royce Ghost||$298,000||Daytona Beach, FL||Single||$3,329.00|
|Nathan Adrian||Swimming||BMW X6||$62,000||Bremerton, WA||Single||$984.00|
|Serena Williams||Tennis||Bentley Continental Supersports Coupe||$201,000||Palm Beach Gardens, FL||Single||$1,887.00|
|Usain Bolt||Track and Field||Nissan GT-R||$111,000||Kingston, Jamaica||Single||$3,194.33|
|Justin Gatlin||Track and Field||Maserati||$134,000||Pensacola, FL||Married||$2,172.00|
|Lilly King||Swimming||Mazda RX-8||$7,000||Evansville, IN||Single||$816.00|
|Aly Raisman||Gymnastics||Land Rover LR2||$22,000||Needham, MA||Single||$1,140.00|
What if you are retired from the workforce? What can you expect to pay for car insurance?
Several companies offer discounts such Senior Driver and Recent Retirees for retired drivers. In addition, these same companies, such as The Hartford and AARP, offer additional discounts to seniors and retirees who take a defensive driving course, which is offered at no cost by some companies.
You may also qualify for low-mileage discounts. Since you’re no longer driving back and forth to a place of employment, you’re less likely to be involved in an accident and you’ll be putting fewer miles on your vehicle.
Maintain your clean driving record. If you are a senior and in retirement, the chances are you have a safer driving history than your younger counterparts. Over 75 percent of car accidents in the United States are committed by drivers age 50 and younger.
During our research, we obtained quotes from Geico for retirees in the states of Maine and Louisiana because those two states were the LEAST and MOST expense states respectively that provided quotes. Here are the results:
|State||65 year-old Male: Retired (6-Month)||65 year-old Female: Retired (6-Month)||65 year-old Male: Employed (6-Month)||65 year-old Female: Employed (6-Month)|
No discounts were selected when attaining the quotes; however, some were automatically applied.
Another consideration for retirees is owning multiple properties in multiple locations.
If you are a snowbird or own rental property or spend a significant amount of time traveling in a mobile home or RV, be sure to check on rates for multi-car policies as well as state-specific laws about residency that will impact your rates.
For example, anyone who has a vehicle in Florida for more than 90 days a year (cumulative, not necessarily consecutive) is required to register the car and meet the Florida car insurance minimum requirements.
Whereas, Arizona only requires residents (those who reside in the state for seven months or more) to register their vehicles.
If Texas is your preferred winter destination, you’re required to have car insurance coverage with a minimum of 30/60/25. This means you will need the following minimum coverage to be in compliance with state regulations:
- $30,000 for bodily injury or death per person
- $60,000 for total bodily injury or death per accident
- $25,000 for property damage per accident
When in between jobs, the last thing you need to worry about is increasing car insurance rates.
Fortunately, your lack of employment cannot disqualify you from buying car insurance—it’s illegal for companies to deny you insurance just because you’re unemployed—nor does it necessarily have to mean an adverse effect on your premium rates.
In fact, there are several instances in which unemployed people can pay less for car insurance than their employed counterparts.
While unemployed, you’re not making your daily commute to and from work, which also means you’re not on the road during the morning and afternoon rush hours. This reduction in travel and risk can be looked upon favorably to some auto insurers.
Contact your insurance agent and let them know of the change in your employment status.
If you’re unemployed and not spending lots of time on the roads, then you may get a discount. Car insurance companies may call this a “pleasure usage rating.” A pleasure usage rating is applied when your annual mileage is significantly below the annual mileage of an average driver.
– Technology Discounts
Some auto insurance companies offer mobile apps or plug-in devices that will track your driving habits and apply additional discounts when warranted.
|Insurance Company||Program||Device||Unemployed Annual Rates||Earned Savings (Up to)||Potential Savings|
|Liberty Mutual/SafeCo||RightTrack||Mobile App or Plug-in||$1,984||30%||$595|
|Progressive||Snapshot||Mobile App or Plug-in||$1,984||20%||$397|
|Mile Auto||Mile Auto||Neither||$1,984||40%||$794|
|State Farm||Drive Safe & Save||Mobile App or Plug-in||$1,984||50%||$992|
– Clean Driving Record
No matter what job you have, maintaining a clean driving record is the best way to ensure you will consistently receive the lowest premium offers from the auto insurance companies. Reckless driving, regardless of your occupation, is the quickest way to see a hike in your rates
|Accident/Violation||Geico Monthly||Geico 6-Month||Geico Annual||Rate Increase|
|Cell Phone / Texting||$175.70||$1,054.20||$2,108.40||13.49%|
|Speeding (Less than 20 Over)||$175.70||$1,054.20||$2,108.40||13.49%|
|Speeding (More than 20 Over)||$175.70||$1,054.20||$2,108.40||13.49%|
|Hit and Run||$196.73||$1,180.40||$2,360.80||27.08%|
Second Offense (3-5 years)
First Offense (3-5 years)
– Group Discounts
If you have ever been to a BJ’s or Costco’s or Sam’s Club, then you understand that there can be tremendous value found by buying in bulk. The same can be true when shopping for car insurance.
Some insurance companies discounts to affinity groups, entities, and professional networks and associations. Such discounts can be obtained through your employer, college and university alumni associations, certain credit unions, and membership in groups like AAA and AARP.
Check with your HR department and review your employer’s benefits paperwork to see if your company participates in an affinity group program with a specific insurance company.
Many of these programs are commonly available to the following groups:
- labor unions
- military groups
- teacher associations
- government employees
Also, don’t hesitate to ask your current insurance agent if they offer any group discounts. If they do provide these services, both the policies and enrollment process are usually simplified and consumer-friendly.
However, there is a hidden cost to this convenience. Most insurance companies offering the bulk rate discounts are going to be inflexible when it comes to negotiating prices or offering individualized customization.
Finding Providers Who Offer the Best Rates for Your Profession
A smart idea is to ask your colleagues or co-workers for recommendations or conduct a thorough search online for providers that offer a relevant discount.
By taking this initial step, you may be able to more quickly obtain affordable quotes for a new policy that take into account an occupations discount.