Although there is no one answer to how much car insurance is, “it depends” is an often-cited response. That’s because insurance providers factor many pieces of information into a calculation that determines how much risk they’ll take to insure you. Each person is different with different needs and circumstances and so will pay different rates.
The premiums you pay are directly related to your risk. Simply put, the more risk factors you check off, the more you will pay in premiums, and if you are deemed too risky, insurance companies may not want to insure you at all.
Below, we’ll look at how some of the most common factors impact your car insurance premiums. Some of those factors will be out of your control, like your age or the area you live in. However, some are entirely within your control, like getting arrested while driving under the influence (DUI).
Here are some of the most common factors used by insurance companies to calculate your insurance premiums:
- State and zip code
- Driver’s age
- Driving record
- Type of car insured
- Credit score (prohibited in some states)
Average Car Insurance Rates by State
At the state level, state laws play a significant factor in how insurance is regulated. Ultimately, the required state minimum car insurance coverage creates a base from which insurance providers can begin to calculate risk.
To illustrate, the minimum coverages in California and Texas are wildly different. The minimums in California are 15/30/5, and Texas is 30/60/25. For the state minimums, both have similar average annual premiums, $655 and $670, respectively, which means you’re paying more per point of coverage in California than in Texas. This could be for many reasons. Maybe in California, cars are more expensive on average, or people file more claims.
But insurance companies don’t stop there. They also use a set of factors about your zip code, such as population density, crime rate, housing values, traffic statistics, and others, to calculate your premium. We won’t dive into those differences here, but rest assured that you should shop for new car insurance quotes if you move to a new zip code.
|State||Full Coverage*||Required State Minimum Coverage*||Difference|
Average Cost of Car Insurance by Age
Age is another factor that plays a significant role in calculating your car insurance premiums. Overall, there is a fairly predictable pattern in how age influences rates.
In your teens, premiums are significantly high because they are based on how young drivers cope with their learning on the road. Around age 25, car insurance premiums will drop for drivers, often by more than half. This is an age that insurers deem driver’s more mature and become more responsible. However, this is not a guaranteed discount. Instead, it is a statistical fact that insurance companies have observed. If your insurance hasn’t dropped after your 25th birthday, shop around.
After the age of 25, premiums will slowly and steadily reduce so long as you maintain a clean driving record. At the age of 65, premiums tend to increase, accounting for the new risks posed by aging drivers. Every ten years following, drivers will see sizable increases in their premiums.
|Age||Average Full Coverage Premium||Average Minimum Coverage Premium|
|16 years old
(including the parent’s policy)
|18 years old||$5,385||$1,965|
|25 years old||$1,989||$666|
|30 years old||$1,737||$582|
|40 years old||$1,674||$565|
|60 years old||$1,405||$494|
|65 years old||$1,547||$550|
|75 years old||$1,808||$661|
|85 years old||$2,165||$770|
Average Cost of Car Insurance for Men and Women
Gender plays a factor in premiums calculations. Younger male drivers tend to take more risks and subsequently pay slightly more than their female counterparts. This trend tends to stay true most of the time throughout life.
Some places disagree that gender should be a factor. Gender-based pricing is banned by law in seven states: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
Two factors that insurance companies sometimes connect with gender are marriage and homeownership. A young married homeowner may pay less than a young unmarried renter because they are considered more stable and risk-averse.
|18 years old||$5,727||$4,983|
|25 years old||$2,046||$1,932|
|30 years old||$1,902||$1,942|
|40 years old||$1,648||$1,701|
|60 years old||$1,421||$1,389|
Average Cost of Car Insurance by Driving Record
After Your First At-fault Accident
On average, you will wind up paying 50% more in premiums after your first at-fault accident. Most states will increase your premiums within the range of 30%-60%, with some notable exceptions, like California, which has insurance providers that increase rates as much as 70%.
|Full Coverage||Minimum Coverage|
|After First At-fault Accident||$2,439||$884|
After a DUI
Drinking and driving is illegal in all states. Aside from the average increase of 87% to your insurance after a DUI, further consequences are strict; you will pay penalties and fees and possibly serve jail time or have your license suspended.
|Full Coverage||Minimum Coverage|
Average Cost of Car Insurance by Car Type
Insurance companies also worry about the type of car you drive. Luxury cars are more expensive to repair, while common vehicles are often stolen for their parts. Other types of performance cars, like sports cars, tend to attract more speeding tickets and have an increased likelihood of accidents. Other vehicles with airbags may have received high safety ratings, which can factor into lower premiums.
The table below lists average premiums for some popular automobiles. Although premiums increase incrementally, the Subaru Outback compared to the Nissan Altima shows a difference of almost $390 in annual premiums for the two different but very similar vehicles.
|Car Type||Average annual insurance premium|
|Dodge Ram 1500||$1,615|
|GMC Sierra 1500||$1,622|
|Chevrolet Silverado 1500||$1,724|
|Tesla Model 3||$2,215|
Average Cost of Car Insurance by Credit Score
In some states, insurance providers also use your credit score as a factor for your premiums. These states prohibit using your credit score in determining your insurance rates: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New Jersey. Insurance providers can use your credit score in some other states, but either it cannot be the only factor, or they cannot refuse or cancel your policy based on your credit: Maryland, Oregon, and Utah. On average, car insurance rates for drivers with poor credit are more than 75% higher than those with good credit.
|Full Coverage||Minimum Coverage|
Additional Factors that Determine Your Rate
Above are some prominently established factors that influence your premiums, yet insurance companies always try to understand more about risk. Below are other factors that providers use in raising or lower your premiums.
- Your occupation
- Your education
- Were you previously a high-risk driver insured by a specialty insurance provider
- Lapses in coverage over the years, continuous coverage is better
- Marital status
- Homeownership status
- Annual mileage driven
- Additional insurance riders
- Discounts offered by the provider
How to Save Money on Car Insurance
After learning about these common factors that influence your premiums, the best course of action is to shop around for a better rate. Paying close attention to how your information is used to calculate a quote is a sure way to finding and getting a cheaper premium. Perhaps it’s time to change to a safer vehicle or a less congested neighborhood. Make sure you work with a reputable insurance provider like Freeway Insurance.
Find Affordable Coverage With Freeway Insurance
Freeway Insurance has been in business for nearly 30 years. Many of our clients have had no prior insurance, minimal driving experience, or a checkered driving past. Whatever your reason, you deserve an affordable rate from a company that understands. Visit us online, at an office near you, or call us at (800) 777-5620 for a quote.