Unexpected auto insurance spikes can confuse even the most savvy consumers. Although insurance premiums will vary depending on your state, no matter where you live insurance companies can raise or lower your monthly premiums based on certain sets of criteria that might not be so obvious at first glance.
Where You Live
Believe it or not, insurance companies have data that helps them adjust rates for any place a vehicle is designated to be parked. A car parked in a safe garage in suburbia is not going to have the same rate as a car that is often parked out in the open in a densely populated urban area. This is because insurance companies have to adjust for things like the rate of theft and vandalism in the areas your car will spend most of its time parked. If you live somewhere with a high crime rate, your car insurance will reflect that.
If you move, even if you just move to another location in the same town, make sure you inform your insurance provider as soon as possible. Your rates will need to be adjusted to reflect the safety, as well as risk factors, of your new area.
Accidents and Tickets
This probably goes into the obvious category, but it's worth mentioning that this is a two way street for most insurance companies. Display an extraordinarily high track record of being accident-free, and your premiums will reflect that. Insurance companies will reward you with lower rates if you go a certain amount of time without any accidents or tickets. As you become less of a liability for them, they spread the wealth.
Likewise, get caught with multiple points on your license and become repeatedly involved in accidents, and your rates will go up. One thing to remember is that insurance companies will investigate any and all traffic-related issues with the DMV, so you can't hide those extra speeding tickets. Depending on the state you live in, you may be provided with ways, such as traffic school, to prevent insurance rates from being raised prematurely.
A New Car Upgrade
So you just drove off the dealership with your brand new hot rod and are as happy as can be. Why did your insurance rates just double? It has a lot to do with the total value of your vehicle. A reliable used economy car may not be a head turner, but insurance companies are able to replace an older vehicle at a more effective rate than a brand new sports car. When you trade your Ford for a Ferrari, you also trade lower rates for higher premiums.
Insurance companies can judge how safe it will be to cover you based on a number of factors. Not only do they determine premiums by looking at the safety of your car, but they also take into account your health, and your car's overall performance.
Before you are insured, the insurance company will look at the safety rating of your vehicle. A vehicle that has a lower safety rating is more likely to crumble in an accident, and more likely to cause you injuries. They will also look to see whether you fit criteria for health-related accidents, such as a history of epilepsy or heart problems. They will also see if the overall horsepower of your vehicle puts you at risk. The insurance companies figure that you will more likely to speed if your car has more than enough horsepower, and that puts you at higher risk of an accident.
This is not a hard and fast rule, but some providers have been known to raise rates based on your education, job status, marital status, and other factors that might be hidden. It is important to note what information your insurance company actually has about you ahead of time. You never know what demographics they could be taking into account without your explicit knowledge. If you ask if your rates are partially determined by demographics, your insurance company will disclose exactly what demographic information they use to adjust your premium.