How an Insurance Score Affects Your Premium
For many people, the formula used to determine insurance rates may look like a mythical magic 8-ball type of voodoo. But in fact, there are highly-evolved formulas that help insurance companies identify the risks they are taking on when issuing your insurance.
You may have an identical driving score, the same number of tickets, driving experience, etc. as someone else, but a wholly different insurance score. That score determines how low or high your insurance premiums will be.
What is an Insurance Score?
Before you can understand how it affects your premium, you first need to know what is an insurance score is and how it’s determined. The truth is that it varies from one insurance company to the next. Each company has its own formula for determining your insurance score and how much weight individual components will carry in the formula.
Some of the factors that could impact your score include things like:
- Credit Score
- Length of Credit History
- History of Late Payments
- Outstanding Debt
- Driving Record
- Type of Employment
- Miles Driven on Average Week
- Value of Vehicle
- History of Insurance Claims
What insurance companies are really interested in when it comes to determining your insurance score is how likely you are to file a claim. The less likely their formula determines you will be to have an accident or file a claim, the lower your premiums will be.
There are also factors, according to the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance, that cannot be used in determining your insurance score. These include:
- Unpaid Medical Bills
It should be noted that this is the case for insurance companies operating in the state of New Jersey. Other states may have different policies and laws regarding what can and cannot be used in determining your insurance score.
What is a Good Credit Score for Insurance?
The bottom line is that your credit score plays a larger role in your insurance score than you might expect. In many instances, a bad credit score can be the single most influential factor in providing you with a less than favorable rating – even if you have a clean driving record and no history of filing claims in the past.
How Can I Improve My Auto Insurance Score?
The single most important thing you can do to improve your auto insurance score is to improve your credit score. That may take time, leaving you with higher than average premiums while you work to make your credit score better by doing the following things:
- Keep your balances low.
- Pay your bills on time. This includes credit cards, loans, and even your home utility bills as they can all have adverse effects on your credit history when late payments are reported.
- Avoid allowing bills to go into collections.
- Keep your credit accounts to a minimum.
- Monitor your credit report annually to make sure there are no mistakes and that your information is accurate.
- Maintain accounts for longer periods of time.
In other words, you must take control of your credit and change it for the better – one account at a time, if necessary. Another thing you should consider is avoiding maxing out your credit cards. You want the limit available on your cards to be high (meaning you have plenty of credit available that you aren’t using) and it is better to have a few accounts open in good standing – especially if they are long-term credit accounts.
Other things you can do to improve your auto insurance score that may be beneficial include things like taking defensive driving classes, driving safely and avoiding tickets.
You should also avoid making numerous credit inquiries in a short amount of time when you’re attempting to apply for auto insurance as this might be a red flag for some insurance providers.
The key is to take the time, now, to begin improving your credit score (and, consequently, your insurance score) so that you can get a better premium when the time comes to apply for auto insurance of your own.