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What Are the Factors That Can Affect Your Auto Insurance Rates?

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Auto insurance rates can vary greatly, with many variables used in determining how much you will pay. Most of the factors will be dependent upon you as an individual, but there are also some issues that affect your rates that are unrelated to you as an individual.

The factors that have the most effect on your auto insurance rates are those that concern risk and the probability that an insurance company will need to pay benefits after an accident occurs.

What are the factors that determine your auto insurance rates?

Driving history

This is probably the main determining factor because it gives the most clear and verifiable indication of the risk that you will be involved in an accident. This information is obtained by insurance companies both through direct contact from local MVA offices, insurance company databases, and through public record files.

If you are found guilty in traffic court of engaging in unsafe driving practices such as speeding and reckless or impaired driving, you accrue numeric points for each offense. These penalties are relayed to your insurance company, which can choose to raise your rates depending upon the seriousness of the offence, prior offences, and company policy.

If you are not insured and seek to become insured, insurance companies can access insurance company shared databases or even public records to search for blemishes on your driving record.

If your driving record indicates that you pose too great a risk to be accepted by a standard insurance company, your only choice is state plans for uninsurable motorists, which are substantially more expensive than policies with standard insurers.


Although your age is beyond your control and you may be an excellent and conscientious driver, you cannot have accrued the skills that comes with years of driving experience. It's also unfortunately true that some younger drivers tend to be more impulsive and engage in riskier behavior.


Although this seems to be a variable that is not based on a personal decision to engage in risky behavior, it is actually a premium that drivers must pay to live in an urban or other densely populated area. Although your own driving history may be exemplary, there is greater risk simply because there more insurance claims in areas with large demographically diverse populations.

Obtaining auto insurance after being uninsured

You may be buying your first car, or simply starting to drive again after a period of being uninsured. If you have been uninsured for any reason for a period of 90 days or more, you will likely need to buy substandard insurance for at least a year before you can get a policy with a standard insurance company.

Many standard auto insurance companies offer a bridge type of insurance to qualified drivers so they can obtain insurance during this probationary year without resorting to state insurance programs, which have the highest rates of all.

If you can get onto a parent's or family member's policy for this period, you can save some money on premiums, because this probationary period is only mandatory for drivers who are obtaining insurance on their own policy.