When determining premiums, various factors are taken into consideration, including driving record, age, location, and the details of the vehicle. However, it may come as a surprise that your credit score can significantly impact your car insurance rates. Nearly all auto insurance companies assess your credit history and factor it into their premium calculation algorithms, and in a large majority of states, the use of credit scores in insurance premium calculations is permitted.
Link Between Credit and Insurance Scores
Credit score is a numerical assessment that predicts an individual’s creditworthiness and their likelihood of repaying borrowed funds on time. It is derived from the information provided in their credit reports. Various businesses rely on credit scores to determine whether to extend credit offers such as mortgages, credit cards, and auto loans, as well as for tenant screening and insurance purposes. Additionally, credit scores influence the interest rates and credit limits that individuals are eligible for.
To understand why credit scores are important for car insurance rates, it’s crucial to know what information is included in a credit report. A credit report provides a detailed record of an individual’s credit history and financial behavior. It contains information about credit accounts, payment history, credit inquiries, public records (such as bankruptcies or tax liens), and other financial data. Credit reporting agencies collect and compile this information from lenders, banks, and public records.
Insurance score, also known as a credit-based insurance score (CBIS), is a numerical value derived from various factors such as credit information, driving history, and insurance claims record. It serves as a tool for underwriters to evaluate the potential risk associated with individuals seeking insurance coverage. By analyzing an individual’s insurance score, insurers can estimate the likelihood of policyholders filing insurance claims and adjust the price of their vehicle insurance accordingly.
Why Credit Score Matters for Auto Insurance
Underwriters have observed a correlation between credit scores and the likelihood of policyholders filing claims. Multiple studies and statistical analyses have shown that lower credit scores are associated with a higher probability of filing claims. As a result, insurers use credit scores as one of the factors to assess risk and determine premiums for car insurance policies.
Insurers argue that individuals with lower credit scores tend to file more claims and have higher claim costs compared to those with higher credit scores. This correlation allows insurers to predict the likelihood of future claims based on an individual’s credit history. Consequently, policyholders with lower credit scores may be charged higher premiums to offset the perceived increased risk.
Credit Checks and State Regulations
The use of credit scores in determining insurance rates varies by state. Some states have regulations that restrict or prohibit the use of credit information in insurance underwriting. Currently, California, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Michigan do not allow credit checks to be used as a factor in premium calculations. However, the majority of states permit insurance companies to consider credit information as part of the rating process.
How Much Does Credit History Affect Auto Insurance?
The impact of credit history on vehicle insurance rates can vary depending on the company and the state of residence. Nonetheless, numerous studies have demonstrated that credit history can significantly affect insurance premiums. The exact formulas and weightings used by each company may not be known, as they employ their own methods of calculating premiums. However, almost all companies factor credit history into their algorithms.
According to a study conducted by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), drivers with low credit scores can face higher premiums compared to those with higher credit scores. The study revealed that policyholders with poor credit paid up to twice as much for auto insurance compared to those with excellent credit.
While certain car insurers may place more weight on credit information, others may prioritize factors like driving records or claims history. It’s crucial to shop around and compare quotes from multiple automobile insurance providers to find the best rates based on your individual circumstances.
Having a good credit score provides an opportunity to secure better car insurance rates. It is advisable to shop around and find companies that offer the lowest rates for individuals with good credit. On the other hand, if you have a poor credit score, you should seek out companies that place less emphasis on credit scores.
By improving their credit scores, motorists with poor credit can potentially save a substantial amount of money on auto insurance premiums. To improve your credit score and secure better insurance rates, make timely payments for all your bills and debts, including credit cards and loans. Develop a plan to reduce your debt and avoid unnecessary credit. Regularly review your credit report for errors and report any inaccuracies. Aim to maintain a low credit utilization ratio by keeping your credit card balances relatively low compared to your available credit limit. Lastly, minimize unnecessary credit applications to avoid excessive credit inquiries, as they can temporarily lower your credit score.