Why have my auto rates changed?

couple looking upset over a billQ: My rate has increased, what's the cause of this? Have I done something wrong?

A: Whether a customer’s rate has increased or decreased, it's natural to want to know why. The answer depends on your specific situation so it's not possible to give a broad answer that applies to everyone, but here are some common factors that often come into play.

  • Have you moved recently? Some folks are surprised to learn that their locale affects their rates. The general rule is that in busier, more populous areas, auto rates will be higher than in rural, lower-traffic areas. The frequency of losses is higher in areas with a high number of vehicles on the road, and because insurance is a shared pool that we all pay into, the rates will generally be higher for individuals living in those locations.

  • Has your vehicle usage changed? The annual mileage you put on your vehicle is one of the factors we consider, so if you changed your driving habits recently that could have changed your premium.

  • Has activity on your driving record changed? Tickets and accidents can impact your auto insurance rates, so a new ticket or accident on your driving record could have increased your bill.

  • Did you add or remove a car recently? Such a change can affect more than just the particular vehicle you added or removed. For example, if you have more cars on your policy than the number of drivers, the risk per vehicle is less since at any given time there may be one or more vehicles sitting at home unused. As a result, adding an extra car might not cost as much as you think! Likewise, if you remove an extra vehicle there can be additional risk placed on the other cars, raising those vehicles' costs even while your overall premium goes down. Generally you’ll pay a higher total premium to insure more vehicles, although the cost per vehicle may drop if there aren't enough drivers to use them all.

  • Did you change your policy's payment plan? We offer a Paid In Full Discount when you pay your auto policy annually or semi-annually. If you changed onto or away from one of these payment plans, you may have gained or lost the discount.

  • Have your credit habits changed? A credit-based insurance score is one factor that influences your rates, so a change in your credit habits may contribute to higher or lower premiums. Depending on your policy type and the state in which you live, we may check your credit-based insurance score periodically to get an updated snapshot. For more information about how credit relates to your insurance premiums, check out our Insurance Score FAQ.

  • Have you filed any claims? Any claims filed have the potential to impact your rate, even if your claim is for something you don't feel personally responsible for. A tree falling on your car, the cold weather causing a crack in your windshield that requires replacing the glass, or a bear chewing up the fresh leather seats in your new car all have potential to impact your rate if a claim is filed.

  • Is your policy renewing? Some factors that affect your rate, including some of the points listed above, might take effect only at the next renewal rather than in the middle of the term. A few examples of things that don't alter your rate until renewal include tickets or accidents on your driving record, new claims filed, company-wide rate changes, industry changes in how your vehicle’s risk is assessed (e.g., updated safety or collision statistics), and the age of drivers on your policy.

Each policy's rate reflects a combination of a wide variety of factors, so that no two policies are the same. While this complexity makes it difficult to paint rate increases or decreases with a broad brushed explanation, it also allows for us to tailor your rate to your unique combination of factors. If you've seen your rate go up or down and aren't sure what prompted it, don't hesitate to contact your agent or our Customer Service Department for more information.

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