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What Determines the Price of My Auto Insurance Policy?


The average yearly auto insurance premium is around $800, but there is wide variation around this average. Many factors can affect your premium, and they all help determine how likely you are to have an accident. Perhaps surprisingly, many of them do a better job than just your driving record. Not all companies use all of these factors, and some might use factors not listed here. Your premium may depend on, in no particular order:

  • Your driving record.

The better your record, the lower your premium. If you have had accidents or serious traffic violations, it is likely you will pay more than if you have a clean driving record. You may also pay more if you are a new driver and have not been insured for a number of years.

  • How much you use your car.

The more miles you drive, the more chance for accidents. If you drive your car for work, or drive it a long distance to work, you will pay more. If you drive only occasionally—what some companies call “pleasure use”, you will pay less.

  • Where your car is parked and where you live.

Where you live and where the car is parked can affect the cost of your insurance. Generally, due to higher rates of vandalism, theft and accidents, urban drivers pay a higher auto insurance price than those in small towns or rural areas.

Other factors that vary from one area or state to another are: cost and frequency of litigation; medical care and car repair costs; prevalence of auto insurance fraud; and weather trends.

  • Your age.

In general, mature drivers have fewer accidents than less experienced drivers, particularly teenagers. So insurers generally charge more if teenagers or young people below age 25 drive your car.

  • Your gender.

As a group, women tend to get into fewer accidents, have fewer driver-under-the-influence accidents (DUIs) and most importantly less serious accidents than men. So, all other things being equal, women generally pay less for auto insurance than men. Of course, over time individual driving history for both men and women will have a greater impact on what they pay for auto insurance.

  • The car you drive.

Some cars cost more to insure than others. Variables include the likelihood of theft, the cost of the car itself is major rate factor, the cost of repairs, and the overall safety record of the car. E