17 Factors That Affect Car Insurance Rates

Many factors determine your car insurance rates, and more may be in your control than you expect.

John Egan
Written byJohn Egan
John Egan
John Egan
  • 20+ years in insurance and personal finance content creation

  • Contributor to top brands like USA Today

John specializes in insurance, personal finance, real estate, and health and wellness. In 2022, he authored a guide on content marketing for beginners.

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Chris Schafer
Edited byChris Schafer
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

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Mark Friedlander
Reviewed byMark Friedlander
Mark Friedlander
Mark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
  • Corporate communications director for Insurance Information Institute

  • 20+ years in insurance and communications

As Director, Corporate Communications for Triple-I, Mark serves as the non-profit’s national spokesperson, sharing information and education on a wide array of insurance issues.

Updated May 23, 2024

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Securing the best car insurance rate for yourself or your loved ones depends on many factors. The better you understand what insurers use to calculate your premiums, the easier it will be to manage those factors in your favor.

To calculate your premium, auto insurers generally consider your age, gender, driving history, type of car, credit history, amount of coverage, and more. Read on to see how you can improve the rates you receive.

Quick Facts
  • New drivers 16 to 20 years old account for 8.5% of all drivers involved in deadly crashes. As such, they pay some of the highest premiums in the nation.

  • Car insurance premiums decrease at age 25, but increase again for senior drivers due to an increased risk of accidents.

  • People with high-stress jobs with long hours, like doctors and attorneys, generally pay more for car insurance than other drivers. Occupations that include lots of driving, like being a real estate agent, can also lead to higher insurance premiums.

Cheapest recent rates

Drivers using Insurify have found quotes as cheap as $35/mo for liability only and $45/mo for full coverage.

*Quotes generated for Insurify users within the last 10 days. Last updated on May 23, 2024

Rates shown are real-time Insurify user quotes from 100+ insurance companies and Quadrant Information Services data. Insurify’s algorithm excludes anomalous quotes and anonymizes personal details, then displays refined quotes by price, date, and insurer popularity up to 10 days ago from May 23, 2024. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer’s unique driver profile.

*Quotes generated for Insurify users within the last 10 days. Last updated on May 23, 2024

Rates shown are real-time Insurify user quotes from 100+ insurance companies and Quadrant Information Services data. Insurify’s algorithm excludes anomalous quotes and anonymizes personal details, then displays refined quotes by price, date, and insurer popularity up to 10 days ago from May 23, 2024. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer’s unique driver profile.

Personal factors

Several personal factors contribute to the calculation of your car insurance rates in most states. Here’s a look at each.

Age

Generally, younger drivers — those younger than 25 — with little to no experience behind the wheel pay more for car insurance than older drivers do because they tend to get into more accidents.[1]

In 2020, drivers 16 to 20 years old accounted for 8.5% of all drivers involved in deadly crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). These same drivers represented only 5.1% of all licensed drivers that year.[2]

Meanwhile, senior drivers may also pay more for their car insurance policies, with rates rising as they age. This is because older drivers run a higher risk of being involved in a car accident and of being seriously injured. The number of traffic deaths involving drivers 65 and older rose an estimated 14% from 2020 to 2021, according to the NHTSA.[3]

The national average cost of car insurance for teen drivers is $374 for full coverage and $181 for liability-only policies. By comparison, senior drivers pay an average of $158 and $76 for full and liability-only coverage, respectively.

The following table illustrates how age affects monthly average liability-only rates from top national insurance companies.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Thursday, May 16 at 12:00 PM PDT
Insurance CompanyYoung driversMiddle AgedSeniors
USAA813026
GEICO864130
State Farm1043724
Allstate1234635
Progressive1624829
Farmers2117155
Liberty Mutual2157854
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Gender

Statistics show women drive more safely, and are less likely than men to get into:

  • An accident

  • A serious accident

  • A DUI accident[1]

As such, women often pay less for car insurance than men. The average national car insurance cost for women is $210 for full coverage and $102 for liability-only insurance. By contrast, the averages for male drivers are $220 and $107, respectively. The following table illustrates how gender affects average monthly liability rates from top insurers.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Thursday, May 16 at 12:00 PM PDT
Insurance CompanyWomenMen
USAA4446
State Farm5155
GEICO5256
Allstate6064
Progressive7585
Liberty Mutual95103
Farmers107113
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Keep in mind, several states prohibit insurers from using gender as a rating factor in car insurance.

Marital status

Insurers generally view married drivers as less risky than their single counterparts. As such, being married may allow you to reduce your car insurance rates.

Occupation

Some car insurance companies take your occupation into account when setting your rates. In the eyes of a car insurer, high-risk occupations might include:

  • Real estate agents

  • Sales representatives

  • Doctors

  • Attorneys

Insurers may consider these and other occupations risky because of their generally long work hours, on-the-job stress, lack of sleep, and the amount of time they spend driving. This higher risk can lead to paying more for car insurance.

Meanwhile, people working in “low-risk” occupations might pay less for car insurance. These occupations include:

  • Scientists

  • Accountants

  • Teachers

  • Artists

Why might their rates be lower? On average, people in these professions stick to a normal sleep schedule, drive less, and may have more manageable levels of stress.

Driving history

Your driving history plays a key role in how your car insurance rates are set.[1] Among the things that can ding your car insurance rates are:

  • Racking up traffic violations, such as speeding or DUI citations

  • Being involved in at-fault car accidents

  • Filing claims

Any one of these factors might end up labeling you a high-risk driver, meaning you could end up paying more for car insurance than someone with a clean driving record. For example, the national average cost of car insurance for drivers with clean motor vehicle records is $160 per month. But drivers with DUIs on their records can see their overall average costs climb to $269 per month.

The following data illustrates how different driving infractions can affect monthly liability-only costs from top insurance companies.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Thursday, May 16 at 12:00 PM PDT
Insurance CompanyClean RecordSpeeding TicketAccidentDUI
USAA45525576
State Farm53616589
GEICO54636791
Allstate627276104
Progressive8093103134
Liberty Mutual99142147166
Farmers110126134185
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.
How Long Does a DUI Stay On Your Record?

How Long Does a DUI Stay On Your Record?

Vehicle-related factors

A number of vehicle-related factors affect your car insurance rates as well. Here’s a look at each.

Make and model

A car of one make and model may cost more to insure than another. Why? Here are a few possibilities:

  • Your car is more likely to be stolen.

  • Your car generally costs more to repair.

  • Your car has a relatively poor safety record.[1]

  • Your car is more expensive to replace, like a sports car.

  • Your car has or doesn’t have key safety features.

If any of these factors (or others) apply to your car, you might end up with higher car insurance rates.

Vehicle age

Generally, the older your car is, the less you’ll pay for car insurance. This is because a car’s value typically goes down as it ages, meaning it’ll probably cost less to repair or replace. In addition, you might be able to get rid of comprehensive and collision coverages for an older car if it’s paid off. This will likely lower your car insurance premium.

Vehicle usage

How you use your car — namely how much mileage you put on the odometer — can affect your car insurance rates.

If you use your car mostly for purposes like running errands and commuting to work, you might spend more time on the road. That, in turn, makes you more likely to be involved in an accident. However, if you use your car only for leisurely weekend drives, you typically spend less time on the road and might enjoy lower car insurance rates because you present a reduced risk.

Anti-theft devices

The installation of anti-theft devices, such as an alarm system or remote locks, can result in lower car insurance rates. In most cases, car insurers offer discounts if your car features anti-theft devices because you’re taking steps to reduce your risk of filing a claim.

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Coverage and deductible factors

Your level of coverage, deductible amount, and insurance bundles affect your car insurance rates, as you’ll see here.

Level of coverage

Nearly every state requires its drivers to carry a minimum of liability coverage. In addition, your lender may also require you to buy comprehensive and collision coverages, which otherwise are optional. Other types of insurance, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, may be required under state law or may be optional.

Nationally, full-coverage car insurance averages $215 per month, and liability-only insurance averages $104. The following table compares the national average monthly cost of full-coverage car insurance with liability-only coverage from top insurers.

The below rates are estimated rates current as of: Thursday, May 16 at 12:00 PM PDT
Insurance CompanyFull CoverageLiability Only
USAA9945
State Farm11553
GEICO11854
Allstate13662
Progressive13780
Liberty Mutual21299
Farmers247110
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Deductible amounts

Your policy’s comprehensive and collision deductibles can affect your car insurance premium. If, for instance, you raise your deductible for comprehensive coverage from $200 to $500, you should see a decrease in your premium. This is because you’re agreeing to take on more of the up-front costs yourself.

However, make sure you consider whether you have enough money set aside to cover your out-of-pocket costs before increasing your car insurance deductible. A deductible you can’t afford is a claim you can’t file.

Insurance bundles

An insurance bundle typically involves insuring your car and home with the same company. If you do this, you could receive a policy discount from your insurer. Inquire about bundling options with your insurer. You may also be able to bundle your auto insurance with renters insurance, home insurance, or another type of coverage.

Guide to Car Insurance Discounts (2024)

Guide to Car Insurance Discounts (2024)

Geographic factors

The area where you live and the local weather also come into play when you’re buying car insurance.

Location

Your ZIP code affects how much you pay for car insurance in most states. For instance, if you live in an urban area with a high rate of car thefts, your coverage might cost more than if you lived in a rural area with a low rate of car thefts. However, California and Michigan prohibit insurers from using ZIP code as a rating factor in auto insurance.

Other location factors that can affect your auto insurance rates include how much car repairs cost in your area and how much car insurance fraud happens there. Here are the average monthly costs of car insurance in different states and in Washington, D.C.

StateFull CoverageLiability OnlyOverall Average
Alabama$163$62$112
Arizona$194$94$144
Arkansas$263$106$185
California$271$133$202
Colorado$214$85$150
Connecticut$354$200$277
Delaware$208$131$169
Florida$295$216$255
Georgia$241$146$193
Hawaii$116$65$90
Idaho$139$69$104
Illinois$185$79$132
Indiana$140$69$105
Iowa$158$61$109
Kansas$197$79$138
Kentucky$273$176$225
Louisiana$308$156$232
Maine$173$89$131
Maryland$316$177$246
Massachusetts$216$102$159
Michigan$338$182$260
Minnesota$204$102$153
Mississippi$201$76$138
Missouri$246$97$171
Montana$192$94$143
Nebraska$222$90$156
Nevada$333$196$265
New Hampshire$129$55$92
New Jersey$217$113$165
New Mexico$194$70$132
New York$163$141$152
North Carolina$106$57$81
North Dakota $155$88$122
Ohio$157$72$115
Oklahoma$201$91$146
Oregon$177$99$138
Pennsylvania$195$91$143
Rhode Island $185$145$165
South Carolina$276$164$220
South Dakota$175$64$119
Tennessee$181$78$129
Texas$251$119$185
Utah$187$101$144
Vermont $157$67$112
Virginia$168$93$131
Washington$187$85$136
Washington, D.C.$212$121$166
West Virginia$179$74$127
Wisconsin$140$61$101
Wyoming$165$66$115

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Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Local weather conditions

If your area is prone to weather conditions or natural disasters that could damage vehicles, your car insurance rates might be higher. That’s because such property damage typically prompts more claims. So, if an insurer pays out more claims, it might charge higher premiums to make up for its bigger losses.

Florida, for example, faces a greater risk of hurricanes, which is one of many reasons why Floridians pay some of the highest car insurance premiums in the nation.

State laws and regulations

Laws and regulations in your state also factor into how much you pay for car insurance.

Minimum insurance requirements

Most states require motorists to carry a minimum amount of bodily injury liability and property damage liability coverage. Furthermore, some states might mandate other types of car insurance, such as uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, medical payments, or personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.

You have no control over the minimum insurance requirements in your state, but it’s a good idea to understand them so you can better forecast your potential costs.

No-fault vs. tort states

In the car insurance world, some states are no-fault states and others are tort (or at-fault) states. If you live in a no-fault state, you typically must file a claim with your own insurance company if you or a passenger is injured in a car crash. That’s regardless of whose fault the accident was.[4] But if you live in a tort state, car insurers representing everyone in a car accident assign fault and base claim payouts on that determination.

Premiums tend to be higher in no-fault states than in tort states because no-fault claim payouts are usually higher. The following table shows total monthly averages for no-fault and at-fault states.

StateAverage Monthly QuoteType of Fault
StateAverage Monthly QuoteType of Fault
Alabama$112At-fault
Alaska$144At-fault
Arizona$185At-fault
Arkansas$202PIP required
California$150At-fault
Colorado$277At-fault
Connecticut$169At-fault
Delaware$255PIP required
Florida$193No-fault (PIP required)
Georgia$112At-fault
Hawaii$90No-fault (PIP required)
Idaho$104At-fault
Illinois$132At-fault
Indiana$105At-fault
Iowa$109At-fault
Kansas$138No-fault (PIP required)
Kentucky$225Choice no-fault
Louisiana$232At-fault
Maine$131At-fault
Maryland$177PIP required
Massachusetts$102No-fault (PIP required)
Michigan$182No-fault (PIP required)
Minnesota$102No-fault (PIP required)
Mississippi$76At-fault
Missouri$97At-fault
Montana$94At-fault
Nebraska$90At-fault
Nevada$196At-fault
New Hampshire$55PIP optional
New Jersey$113Choice no-fault
New Mexico$70At-fault
New York$141No-fault (PIP required)
North Carolina$57At-fault
North Dakota$88No-fault (PIP required)
Ohio$72At-fault
Oklahoma$91At-fault
Oregon$99PIP required
Pennsylvania$91Choice no-fault
Rhode Island$145At-fault
South Carolina$164At-fault
South Dakota$64PIP optional
Tennessee$78At-fault
Texas$119PIP required
Utah$101No-fault (PIP required)
Vermont$67At-fault
Virginia$93PIP optional
Washington$85PIP optional
Washington, D.C.$121PIP optional
West Virginia$74At-fault
Wisconsin$61PIP optional
Wyoming$66At-fault
Disclaimer: Table data sourced from real-time quotes from Insurify's 50-plus partner insurance providers and quote estimates from Quadrant Information Services. Actual quotes may vary based on the policy buyer's unique driver profile.

Credit score

In many states, insurers can take your credit history into account when setting your car insurance rates. However, they don’t rely on traditional credit scores as part of the rate-setting process. Rather, they use information in consumer credit profiles to generate credit-based insurance scores. These insurance scores help forecast how likely you are to file a car insurance claim.

Improving your credit score might bump up your credit-based insurance score and lower your premium. The national average cost of full-coverage car insurance for drivers with poor credit is $258, while rates average $178 per month for drivers with excellent credit.

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Car insurance factors FAQs

If you still have questions about what factors can affect your auto insurance premiums, the answers below can help.

  • What are the biggest factors that affect car insurance rates?

    Among the biggest factors affecting your car insurance rates are the amount and types of coverage you have, your geographic location, your history of traffic violations and car accidents, and the kind of car you drive.

  • Why is your car insurance so expensive?

    A number of factors could be contributing to your car insurance being so expensive. For instance, your rates might be higher if you’re a younger driver, you’ve compiled a poor driving record, you live in an area prone to natural disasters, or you’ve got a low deductible.

  • When do car insurance costs go down?

    For younger drivers, car insurance rates normally go down once you reach age 25. But that isn’t guaranteed to happen. For instance, your rates could stay the same or go up if you’ve accumulated traffic violations or been involved in crashes. However, your rates could go down if, say, you’ve gotten married or moved to a place with a lower rate of car thefts.

  • Does filing a claim increase car insurance rates?

    Filing a claim can increase your car insurance rates.[5] Depending on the cost and severity of a claim, your premiums will typically go up if you file a claim for an at-fault accident. Rules vary from one insurer to another. This type of increase generally lasts three years.

  • How can you lower your car insurance premiums?

    You might be able to lower your car insurance premiums by comparing quotes from different auto insurance companies, inquiring about discounts, raising your deductible, being a good driver, maintaining good grades, and enrolling in automatic payments for your premiums.

  • Does the name on the title affect car insurance rates?

    Most states don’t mandate that the name on an insurance policy be the same as the name on a car title. However, it might be tougher to obtain coverage if the names don’t match. In fact, you might wind up paying a higher insurance cost if the names aren’t the same.

  • What types of drivers generally pay more?

    The types of drivers who generally pay more for car insurance include men, single people, those younger than 25 years old, senior citizens, those who log a lot of mileage or who have occupations that involve a lot of driving, those who drive expensive cars, and those with bad driving records.

Sources

  1. Insurance Information Institute. "What determines the price of an auto insurance policy?."
  2. NHTSA. "Traffic Safety Facts."
  3. NHTSA. "Newly Released Estimates Show Traffic Fatalities Reached a 16-Year High in 2021."
  4. Ct.gov. "Does Connecticut follow a no-fault automobile insurance system?."
  5. Insurance Information Institute. "Do auto insurance premiums go up after a claim?."
John Egan
John Egan

John Egan is a freelance writer and content marketing strategist in Austin, Texas. His specialties include personal finance, real estate, and health and wellness. John’s work has been published by outlets such as CreditCard.com, Bankrate, Forbes Advisor, Experian, Capital One, The Balance and U.S. News & World Report. He is the author of The Stripped-Down Guide to Content Marketing.

Chris Schafer
Edited byChris SchaferSenior Editor
Chris Schafer
Chris SchaferSenior Editor
  • 15+ years in content creation

  • 7+ years in business and financial services content

Chris is a seasoned writer/editor with past experience across myriad industries, including insurance, SAS, finance, Medicare, logistics, marketing/advertising, and many more.

Featured in

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Mark Friedlander
Reviewed byMark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
Mark Friedlander
Mark FriedlanderDirector, Corporate Communications
  • Corporate communications director for Insurance Information Institute

  • 20+ years in insurance and communications

As Director, Corporate Communications for Triple-I, Mark serves as the non-profit’s national spokesperson, sharing information and education on a wide array of insurance issues.

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