What Can Raise or Lower the Cost of Your Car Insurance?

Find out what could be causing your car insurance premium to increase.

If your auto premiums are busting your wallet, you may be wondering, "Why is my car insurance so high?" Various factors impact your rate. Some are beyond your control, but you can alter others to help bring your rate back down to earth.

Here are some of the factors that go into determining auto rates:

Your Driving Record

Not surprisingly, your driving record impacts your rate. If you’ve had speeding tickets, serious traffic violations, or accidents, your premium may be higher.

Your Age

Mature drivers tend to have fewer accidents than younger ones. So if you’re under 25—or if a younger driver uses your car—expect to pay more for coverage. Seniors, who are also more likely to have accidents, may pay more for auto coverage too.

Your Claim History

Past is often a predictor of future behavior, so if you’ve submitted claims in the past—especially for major accidents—your premium may be higher.

Your Mileage

The more time you spend on the road, the greater the risk of an accident. According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average male driver clocks about 16,550 miles per year, while the average female driver covers 10,142 miles. If you have a long commute every day or otherwise put in major miles, you’ll likely pay more for coverage.

Your ZIP Code

You’ll pay a higher premium if you live in an area with high rates of theft, vandalism, or accidents. City mice, for example, usually pay more for insurance than their country cousins.

Your Wheels

Have an expensive luxury vehicle or a speedy sports car? If your model tends to get into trouble or is costly to repair, you may pay more for coverage. If your car is popular with car thieves, your rate may also creep up.

Your Gender

Women tend to get into fewer accidents—and less serious ones—than men, so your gender may affect your rate, at least when you’re younger. After age 30, men’s and women’s accident rates are about the same.

Is car insurance cheaper if you park in a garage?

No, not usually.

Does the cost of car insurance go down when you have a baby?

No, having a baby doesn’t affect your insurance rates.

Are convertible cars more expensive to insure?

Not necessarily. Convertibles do tend to have extra parts—such as the mechanisms that control the top—which might cause your rate to creep up a bit. But overall, your rate depends on a range of factors, including the model you have. Insurance for some convertibles is actually quite affordable.

Hardtops, for example, are less expensive to insure. For one thing, thieves have more trouble getting into a hardtop than a soft-top. And soft-tops can tear and let rain in, causing damage, while hardtops tend to offer better weather protection.

If you have a high horsepower sports car, you’ll have a blast on the road—but you’ll also pay more for auto coverage. In fact, any pricey car usually comes with higher insurance rates.

Does the cost of car insurance go down when you own your car?

Owning your car is cause for celebration, but it won’t automatically cause your insurance rates to drop. However, when you finance your car, your lender might require you to carry a policy with lower deductibles—and thus higher premiums. So if you’re willing to raise your deductibles, you may be able to lower your monthly payments.

Talk to your insurance agent, who can help you make any changes while ensuring that you’re adequately protected. Your agent will also remove your lender from your policy. That way, if you have an accident and need to file a claim, the money will go to you—and not your lender.

The availability, qualifications, and amounts of coverages, costs and discounts may vary from state to state and there may be coverages and discounts not listed here. In addition, other terms, conditions, and exclusions not described above may apply, and total savings may vary depending on the coverages purchased. For more information regarding your eligibility for certain coverages and savings opportunities, please contact your AAA agent.

Insurance products in California offered by AAA Northern California Insurance Agency, License #0175868, in Nevada by AAA Nevada and in Utah by AAA Utah. Insurance provided by CSAA Insurance Group, a AAA insurer.