Key factors that impact car insurance rates


Craig Montgomery

If you’re puzzled about how insurance companies determine your auto premium, you are not alone. Insurers use multiple factors to determine your driving risk and how likely you are to file a claim. Dive into this article to find out what those are!

Let’s take a look at some of key elements that affect your car insurance rates — and the steps you can take to lower them.

Location, location, location.

Your state and zip code are the primary culprits. Based on 2020 data, New Jersey and Delaware are among states with the most expensive annual car insurance rates. Pennsylvania, on the flip side, is among those states with car insurance costing less than the national average.

Premium costs can vary widely from state to state, primarily because of local laws, population density, no-fault vs. at-fault liability and extreme weather exposure. So the more coverage required by your state, the more expensive your policy will be.

Your age.

Insurance companies practice a legal form of age discrimination against the young and the old. Young drivers pay much more for both liability and collision insurance (until age 25) since they are considered to be less experienced and more likely to be involved in an accident. Senior drivers (65 and older) are not only more likely to be involved in an accident, but their injuries in a collision are often more severe. So they pay more, as well.

How old are you?  Your answer helps determine your auto insurance quote.

Your driving record.

Good drivers pay less. It’s that simple. Your history of at-fault accidents, traffic violations and moving violation tickets will follow you for up to five years (or more, depending on your state) and so will increased premiums.

Plus, an extensive history of driving transgressions can make it very difficult to even find insurance. On the other side of the road, safe-driver discounts can reduce your premium by up to 30%.

Your odometer.

A spinning odometer will cost you more. Your annual mileage influences car insurance rates, as the more you drive, the more likely you will be involved in an accident. It’s why many insurance companies issued rebates during the pandemic, when commuting traffic nearly disappeared.

If you have a short commute or only drive for leisure, you’ll pay less. Need a benchmark? Delaware Valley drivers typically average about 12,000 miles per year, and that’s less than the national average.

Your vehicle.

Insurance companies love safe, popular and inexpensive vehicles. The make, model, age and options in the vehicle you drive are all influential in determining your auto insurance rates. Vehicles with high safety ratings — and with features such as stability control, anti-lock brakes anti-theft systems, for example — represent a lower risk for insurers. Popular vehicles typically mean greater parts availability and lower repair costs.

On the other hand, unique or option-laden vehicles are often expensive to repair and replace. Own a Maserati Quattroporte or BMW i8? Beautiful machines — but they will cost you more than $5,000 annually to insure.

There are several other factors — in some cases, nuances — that determine your insurance premiums. Before you piece together your jigsaw puzzle of coverages, deductibles and terms, consider forming a relationship with an independent insurance agent.

An independent agent is unbiased, will put your interest first and find only the coverage you need at the best available price. Plus, your independent agent is your insurance advocate, always available to answer your questions, guide you through next steps or adjust your policy when your circumstances change.

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Why Montgomery?

From the start of your relationship with a Montgomery agent, your insurance strategy is always monitored, always evaluated for efficiency and always subject to a cost-effective adjustment when needed.  It’s why our clients — our friends and neighbors in the Delaware Valley — have invested their trust and faith in us for more than 75 years.

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