What do car insurance companies look for?

Car insurance companies look for insurance risks in your driving history to determine insurance rates. Insurance companies want to know if you are a high risk driver.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jan 29, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Auto insurance companies look for the best insurance risks they can find that will result in a higher amount of premiums paid compared to a number of settlements paid out
  • Auto insurance companies look at factors that include your age, your gender, and your marital status
  • These factors are more permanent factors that do not often change
  • Other factors, like where you live, the type of car you own, and your credit score are also considered

Auto insurance companies are a business, just like any other company. Due to this, auto insurance companies are often looking for low-risk drivers to provide coverage to.

Auto insurance companies look at things like the following:

  • your age
  • your gender
  • your credit score
  • your driving record
  • many other factors

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Low-Risk Investments


Each insurance company is looking for the best way to provide coverage while accepting more premium payments than the number of claim settlements they have to pay out.

Auto insurance companies are looking for low-risk drivers to insure.

For example, insurance companies often do not want to provide coverage to drivers that have a bad driving record, multiple charges of reckless driving, or with long gaps of time without insurance coverage.

When it comes to determining risk, each insurance provider uses different claim data and driver data to determine their rates and their risk exposure.

If you are looking for auto insurance coverage, it’s important to shop around and receive multiple quotes from different providers.

Depending on your overall risk and the different factors that are assessed when determining your risk, you may need to look at specialty providers or high-risk insurance companies.

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Free Car Insurance Comparison

Enter your ZIP code below to view companies that have cheap car insurance rates.

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Auto Insurance Companies Look at Unchangeable Factors

There are a few factors that any potential auto insurance provider will look at that you cannot easily change. These factors are:

  • your age
  • your gender
  • your marital status

Insurance companies often look at your age because younger drivers are more likely to be involved in an accident. As you get older, you traditionally have more experience behind the wheel reducing your risk as a driver.

Additionally, your gender is a factor that may be considered. Female drivers are statistically safer drivers than men.

While this statistic may change over time and more research may be needed, insurance companies take gender into account when determining an individual’s risk.

Finally, insurance providers may look at your marital status. It is often believed that married drivers are more responsible than single drivers.

The National Institutes of Health completed a study that showed single, never-married drivers had a much higher risk of being involved in an accident than married drivers.

Auto Insurance Companies Look at Changing Factors


An auto insurance company may look at factors that you have a bit more control over when trying to determine your risk. These factors can include:

For instance, having a history of moving violations or more serious offenses on your driving record may indicate that you are a higher risk driver. This may lead a potential insurance provider to deem you too high of a risk for their needs.

This may lead a potential insurance provider to deem you too high of a risk for their needs.

Also, if you’ve filed several claims in the past, especially claims where you were at-fault, any potential insurance provider may be hesitant to provide you with coverage.

Individuals that live in highly populated areas may often find themselves deemed a higher risk and may receive a higher premium to compensate, which is often the case because crowded urban centers often have higher incidents of accidents than rural areas.

There could also be factors that raise your premium, such as the amount of criminal activity that occurs near your home location.

Your credit score can be a determining factor when your auto insurance company is looking for ways to assess your risk.

Insurance companies are looking for drivers with a good credit history when they are providing insurance quotes.

What You Can Do To Be Perceived More Favorably

While you cannot change factors like your age, your gender, or your marital status, you can take some steps to make yourself more appealing to auto insurance companies.

For starters, work on maintaining a good credit score consistent credit history, pay your bills on time, and manage your available credit appropriately.

Also, if you find an error on your credit report, it’s important to get that corrected as quickly as possible.

Insurance companies often look at your driving record. If you can show a history of safe driving with few or no violations or accidents, this may help you appear as a more favorable, lower-risk option.

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Lower Risks


Any auto insurance company will look at factors like your age, gender, and marital status, as well as your driving record and the type of car you own. A combination of these factors and others provides companies with a picture of your risk as a driver.

If you have questions about how your insurance provider determines your premium, it’s important that you speak to them about their process.

Also, each auto insurance company has regulations that must be followed when quoting policies.

If you have questions about these regulations or have concerns about how your auto insurance company works, you can speak to your state’s Department of Insurance.

This state agency can explain insurance regulation in further detail as well as help you understand how your insurance company may determine your rates.

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