Most insurers — and we're not just talking about auto insurance companies here — use some type of credit-based insurance score to help determine how risky a potential customer is. The practice is a bit controversial, which is why some states have laws against using it (see above). But the general thinking behind insurer credit checks is: If someone is bad with their finances, they might be irresponsible in other areas of life, too. You can learn more about how car insurance rates are determined here.
Remember, price is just one piece of the car insurance policy puzzle. You also want to make sure you feel good about the insurer you’re doing business with. Do they have a good track record when it comes to paying out claims? Are they known for their customer service? Are they financially solvent? Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to get answers to these questions. In fact, sometimes, some important signifiers will be included with your auto insurance quote. The big stats to check when vetting an insurance company include:
It's hard to say. You might see rates change as you age, but they don't always go down, so much as they level out or increase at a lower rate. (Remember, the rules of inflation are in effect.) And that assumes you don't incur any red marks on your driving record. As for a change in marital status, you generally have to contact your insurer to get a rate decrease — and if your spouse has a less-than-stellar driving record, well, again, you mind wind up paying more.
Newer, cheaper cars tend to be cheaper to insure. Luxury cars have a higher sticker price and tend to cost more for as long as you use it. It’s worth buying a cheaper car, especially if you’re a young driver. If you haven’t purchased a car yet or are getting ready to shop for a different car, compare insurance prices for car models you’re interested in. The insurance price differences might surprise you.
Because most forms of insurance are regulated at the state level, state legislation influences car insurance premiums. For instance, in Michigan, a no-fault state, state law requires an unlimited amount of Personal Injury Protection coverage, a requirement that increases the cost of car insurance. Although each state legislates insurance differently, auto insurance prices may vary on a zip code-by-zip code basis. Below is an analysis of the cheapest and most expensive states for car insurance (from The Zebra's State of Insurance study).
Car insurance is required in every state (and Washington DC) with three exceptions: New Hampshire, Missouri (uninsured drivers must submit “proof of financial responsibility” to the Department of Revenue), and Virginia (where drivers must pay a $500 fee to drive uninsured). These states still require at-fault drivers to pay for any bodily injury and property damage.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) 5-Star Safety Ratings Program provides consumers with information about the crash protection and rollover safety of new vehicles, with more stars equaling safer cars. We examined 2016 model year vehicles for which ratings are available to compile the list of most affordable to insure for teen drivers.

Unless you’re a teen driver, your gender isn’t a significant auto insurance rating factor. In fact, the national difference between car insurance premiums paid by women and men is less than 1%. For teenagers, this premium difference is much more dramatic: male teen drivers pay nearly $600 more per year than do female teens. Again, this comes back to the main goal of an insurance company – anticipating and limiting exposure to risk. Car insurance companies' historical data says young male drivers are more likely to take risks while driving than are female drivers in the same age group.
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