How Driving Habits Affect How Much Auto Insurance to Buy

The type of driver you are has a big impact on the car insurance you need and the discounts that are available to you. In this guide, we’ll look at the habits and preferences that can impact car insurance rates, giving you some tips that could help you to save money the first time you buy or the next time you renew.

Find your best rate on Car Insurance!

Attention: Still Open During the Financial Crisis...

Tip: Act now to see if you qualify for lower rates!

Compare free personalized quotes from the nation's top providers.

Currently insured?
Do you own multiple vehicles?
Own your home?

Reckless Driving Record

You’re considered a high-risk driver if you have a record of reckless driving, which can include everything from speeding tickets to DUIs and DWIs. All these violations are red flags and will increase the cost of car insurance significantly.

If you want the best rates, keep your driving record clean. It’s not the only thing that impacts your rates, but it’s one of the biggest. Stay within the speed limits, never drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and be very cautious when you’re behind the wheel.

If you think you’re lacking in key skills, consider completing a defensive driving course or another type of safe driving course. Not only will this teach you some essential moves for staying safe, thus reducing your risk, but simply having those courses on your record will also reduce insurance prices.

Rather than getting extra cover to protect you from your own reckless driving, consider changing your habits and reducing the risk, as this is the only suitable long-term solution.

At-Fault Accidents

Bad driving habits that lead to at-fault accidents will increase your claims quite substantially. If you have these accidents on file, you may be quoted rates that you can’t afford for additional cover like personal injury protection. Instead, get a cheaper car, stick with the basic cover, and try to avoid any further accidents. Those accidents won’t affect car insurance rates forever.

Your Daily Commute

The more you drive, the more you will pay and the more cover you will need. Car insurance companies will enquire about your daily commute, as well as your evening and weekend activities. If you drive many miles to and from work and then spend your free time driving, you will be quoted much more than if you were to walk to work and take public transport where possible.

To save money here, consider letting your current insurer install a telematics device in the vehicle. This will record how many miles you drive and will also give the insurer an idea of how safe of a driver you are. 

Your Experience

Your experience won’t impact how much car insurance coverage you need, but it will impact the rates that you’re offered. If you have many years of driving experience behind you and don’t have a long list of moving violations, you can secure the insurer’s best rates for drivers in your demographic.

Other Things that Auto Insurance Companies Consider

Your driving habits aren’t the only thing that auto insurance companies will consider when underwriting your policy. Like your driving habits, some of these factors can be changed, but many cannot. In any case, it’s important to shop around, compare multiple car insurance quotes and make sure you get the best one for you.

Age and Gender

Young drivers are more likely to speed, drive recklessly, and be involved in costly accidents. As a result, they can expect to pay higher premiums than their older counterparts. These premiums are significantly higher for 16-year-olds and there is even a big difference between 16 and 17-year-olds.

Males are also more likely to claim than females, which means 16-year-old boys are the most at-risk and will be quoted the highest prices.

Marital Status

As strange as it sounds, single drivers are nearly twice as likely to make a claim than married drivers. It’s one of the quirks of insurance, and likely stems from the fact that married drivers feel they have more responsibility and are therefore less likely to drive recklessly.

Being married, therefore, means you can save a lot on your insurance policy if you tie the knot.

​Your Location

Drivers in rural areas should pay less than those in busy cities. On the one hand, they are more likely to be involved in animal collisions, which could increase the cost of collision coverage and comprehensive coverage. On the other hand, they will encounter far fewer drivers and spend less time on busy roads.

The difference between average car insurance rates across multiple states can be huge. For instance, the average driver will pay less than $1,000 in North Carolina and Virginia, but in Michigan, the average is closer to $3,000. This is a massive difference.

Your Credit Score

A clean credit history will help you when applying for car insurance. You won’t necessarily get the best auto insurance rates just because you have an Excellent credit rating. This is not a credit card or loan application. But you’ll pay much higher rates with bad credit than you will with good credit; it’s all part of this complex puzzle.

Homeowner or Renter

On average, renters are a higher risk than homeowners, so they will be quoted higher premiums. The logic behind this isn’t obvious. It may have something to do with the fact that homeowners are more experienced, sensible, and have more to lose, so they are less prone to recklessness. But none of that really matters, as insurers just focus on the stats and use them to set rates.

Your Car

Next to your age and location, the type of car you drive has one of the biggest effects on your car insurance premiums. If the car is new and fitted with all basic safety and anti-theft features, including front and side airbags, anti-lock braking, and alarms, you’ll likely be quoted much lower rates than if you had an older car with none of those features.

The reason is obvious: older cars with fewer safety and anti-theft features are more likely to be involved in an accident and be stolen. This leads to more claims, which in turn makes the motorist a greater liability.

Choosing the right car is a delicate balance. You want a vehicle that is affordable yet new; something that offers those safety features, but at the same time, isn’t overly expensive. Otherwise, you may need more cover and it will make less sense to pay a higher deductible.