<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=1700626273582757&ev=PageView&noscript=1" />

Car insurance estimator alberta


  • 1 What is a Car Insurance Calculator
  • 2 How is Car Insurance Calculated in Ontario
  • 3 Details on What Affects Your Car Insurance Premiums?
    • 3.1 Driving History and Record
    • 3.2 Demographics
    • 3.3 Location
    • 3.4 Type of vehicle
    • 3.5 Vehicle Value
    • 3.6 Purpose
    • 3.7 Claims & Insurance History
    • 3.8 Provincial Regulations
  • 4 Some Common Myths About Car Insurance Calculation
      • 4.0.1 When you get a speeding ticket that may increase your insurance rates
      • 4.0.2 Parking tickets can increase your insurance rates
      • 4.0.3 A silver or red car may cost more to insure than a black car
      • 4.0.4 You may pay more for a 2 door car than 4- door cars
      • 4.0.5 Luxury cars cost more to insure than economy cars
      • 4.0.6 Telematics devices may increase your insurance rates
      • 4.0.7 All companies may calculate the same rates for you and your car
  • 5 What Difference Does It Make If I Use The Car Insurance Calculator In Ontario
  • 6 What Are The Benefits Of Using A Car Insurance Calculator
    • 6.1 Benefits of Calculators
  • 7 What Information Do I Need To Provide To Use The Auto Insurance Calculator
  • 8 How Do I Use The Car Insurance Calculator
    • 8.1 Tips to maximize your search by car insurance calculator
  • 9 How Much Car Insurance Do I Need Ontario
  • 10 How To Choose Your Deductible
  • 11 How Can You Lower Your Car Insurance Premium
    • 11.1 1. Start shopping for insurance before your renewal
    • 11.2 2. Check for available discounts
    • 11.3 3. Complete a reputed driving course
    • 11.4 4. Bundle insurance policies
    • 11.5 5. Multi-product discounts
    • 11.6 6. Switch to winter tires as per season
    • 11.7 7. Pay Annually rather than monthly or quarterly
    • 11.8 8. Drive responsibly and maintain your driving record
    • 11.9 9. Raise your deductible amounts
    • 11.10 10. Drop Collision coverage from your old car
    • 11.11 11. Drive a car that has good CLEAR rating
  • 12 Average Car insurance Rates Across Ontario
  • 13 Resources:

What is a Car Insurance Calculator

Car insurance calculator is a very convenient tool that assesses your car insurance needs and calculates your rates as per your input. You may get many quotes by using the same variables and compare easily.

Ratelab’s car insurance calculator is the ideal solution. Our Ontario car insurance calculator can help you determine the best rates for your car insurance, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars annually.

Enter your postal code above and compare car insurance quotes from over thirty companies for free–it only takes three minutes! You’re under no obligation.

How is Car Insurance Calculated in Ontario

As per the province that you live in, there are various factors that affect the Ontario car insurance premiums. Some of these factors are as below:

  • The theft statistics and safety rating for your area
  • Vehicle profile, safety features and theft rating for your vehicle as per CLEAR. The make, model and year of the vehicle.
  • Whether you use your car for business, personal or work commute purposes
  • Average annual mileage
  • Your driving record, offenses, tickets, violations, at-fault claims
  • Driving experience and training from driving school
  • Eligibility for any discounts
  • Coverage level and deductibles

Apart from the above, government rules, taxes, healthcare cost, towing expenses, repair costs and insurance fraud also influence insurance rates.

Details on What Affects Your Car Insurance Premiums?

The level of coverage that you choose, your policy limits and deductibles are some of the primary variables that sway your rates. There are other important factors as below too:

Young drivers car insurance tapesh sharma

Driving History and Record

Your insurance company may assume the risk for your vehicle in the event of an accident. Hence they have a good look at the likelihood of a big claim. It will let them gauge the odds if you have past accidents on your driving record. A higher occurrence of accidents would put you in a high-risk zone. Apart from collisions, any traffic violations and criminal convictions could drive your rates up. If you have a spotless record you get good rates.


If you are a responsible mature driver who steers clear of accidents then it will impress your insurer. They look at your gender, age, and marital status; as per certain claims data, female drivers are safer than male. A driver who is less than 24 years may expect higher rates than someone who is older with a good driving habit.


Whether you live in a remote are or in a busy city, your insurer may look at it from a risk perspective. A high theft rate, burglary or break-ins in your locality are going to put you in a high-risk category. So, even in the same province, different cities may have a variable rate as per risk rating of the postal code.

Type of vehicle

The make, type of model and age of your car matters a lot when it comes to insurance rates. The CLEAR rating of your car will also show the theft risk to your insurer. They rank your car as per the likelihood of someone stealing it in the near future.

Vehicle Value

Your insurer has to consider the cost to replace or repair as the higher the vehicle value the more the risk. At the same time, a relatively cheap car may have a high insurance rate due to a bad CLEAR rating. This means that it is more prone to theft or accidents.


If you commute to work, for business purpose or just for your pleasure it will all matter to your insurer. The average yearly mileage on your car and your driving times can affect rates too. So, the more time you or other listed drivers spend behind the wheel, the more opportunities exist for a collision or violation as per your insurer. They consider that when a car is on the road often then there is more risk for accidents.

Claims & Insurance History

In case you have never ever made an auto claim then you get plus points for that. Insurers also consider that drivers with continuous coverage without gaps are less likely to cause an accident.

Provincial Regulations

Provinces and Canadian territories do vary in regulations for calculating car insurance rates. Especially, for Ontario since private insurers set the rates a lot depends on their discretion. The FSCO strictly regulates and approves fair rates so that insurers do not inflate prices beyond reason. Each insurer has their own formula and rates differ as per various criteria.

Some Common Myths About Car Insurance Calculation

There are many myths that you may believe could affect your car insurance rates and the following list may surprise you.

Average cost of full coverage car insurance in michigan

When you get a speeding ticket that may increase your insurance rates

This is not true for the first time but if you get into a habit of convictions in a short time then it may raise your rates.

Parking tickets can increase your insurance rates

Your parking tickets may not increase your rates but if you have always ignored then it may. When you have many unpaid parking tickets, it may all add up and could trouble you when you renew your license or permit.

A silver or red car may cost more to insure than a black car

Insurance companies do not care about the color of your car but definitely look at your vehicle profile.

You may pay more for a 2 door car than 4- door cars

This is not true as insurers consider other factors about your vehicle but the number of car doors is not primary.

Luxury cars cost more to insure than economy cars

It is not necessary that economy cars may cost less to insure but it depends on other factors too. If your luxury car has better theft deterrent systems, safety devices, crash avoidance technology etc. then that car may get a good insurance rate too.

Telematics devices may increase your insurance rates

Some insurers in certain provinces such as Ontario and Quebec may give you a discount when you fix a telematics device in your car. However, if you have bad driving habits your insurer may not increase your rates as per regulations.

All companies may calculate the same rates for you and your car

No two insurance companies follow the same formula to calculate your premiums. Everyone has their own secret recipe and your unique information affects the way your premiums shape up.

What Difference Does It Make If I Use The Car Insurance Calculator In Ontario

It is no secret that Ontario has one of the highest car insurance rates in Canada. This is due to the actual evidence that insurers use as per claims statistics and insurance fraud on the rise. So, if you did not explore your options and just simply renewed your insurance then you may lose out on a chance to save. A car insurance calculator is an effective tool that helps you to easily shop virtually and compare rates from multiple providers.

Your rates may change year after year as per various factors. When you plug in your unique data into the calculator it gives you the quotes from many providers. Then you know how to assess your requirements and save on your premiums with the best coverage level. Using a car insurance calculator in Ontario every year before renewal could help you to save up to hundreds of dollars.

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Car Insurance Calculator

Some car owners shop for insurance by conventional methods such as contacting agents by visiting them or over the phone. There are others who are savvy with not just their money but also time and technology and use a car insurance calculator. If you could get multiple quotes from the comfort of your home in just a few clicks then why not use a car insurance calculator? You may use the online tool and get the best estimate for your unique car insurance need.

Benefits of Calculators

  • Fill out your vehicle, personal and claims information only once and you can calculate the rates from dozens of insurance companies.
  • The online website will take up the information that you fill out and shop on your behalf. Compare and benefit from the variety of options so that you are under no pressure.
  • They have many insurance companies on their board and negotiate for your rates.
  • You may save time, money and a lot of effort while choosing your best insurance option. The seamless and convenient online process helps you to take a good decision.
  • When you use the car insurance calculator you are aware of the factors that affect your rates and how to drive them down in future.
  • Most importantly it is a FREE car insurance calculator tool, you have nothing to lose.

What Information Do I Need To Provide To Use The Auto Insurance Calculator

Each quote is very specific to the details input by you in the calculator. In order to calculate your car insurance premiums using the auto insurance calculator, you may need the following information.

  • Location: Your postal code holds a lot of weight when calculating insurance rates.
  • Driver License: The driving license will show your experience and personal information.
  • Vehicle Profile: The value, make, type, age, and model of your car will change rates.
  • Claims history: If you had any past claims that may increase your rates.
  • Violations or tickets: These would also negatively affect your rates.
  • The level of coverage and deductible amount: The type of coverage and deductibles would change premiums. Higher deductibles would lower your premiums.
  • Any optional coverage or endorsements: This is an additional cost for getting more protection and customized coverage.
  • Discounts or professional associations: If you are a member of a professional association or armed forces, you may get a discount.

How Do I Use The Car Insurance Calculator

It is very easy to use the Ratelab car insurance calculator and just follow the below steps.

To begin the calculation, you may enter your postal code above and click on compare for free quotes button.

Step 1: The next screen will ask you to enter your vehicle details very specifically. It may ask you if you lease your car, the main purpose, and annual mileage, if you use winter tires and your car’s parking spot. On the bottom part of the same screen, you may choose your coverage level and deductibles. At this point, you may choose to add another vehicle and click on continue.

Car insurance group 3 list

Step 2: The second screen will ask the personal information of the driver such as age, gender, marital status, and occupation. Thereafter, you need to enter the license information, driving history and current insurance. It may also ask for any gaps in coverage, the length of insurance, suspensions, accidents or tickets. At the end of this screen, you may choose to add more drivers to the policy and click continue.

Surety insurance uk car

Step 3: The third screen will determine your applicable discounts. It will let you enter any professional associations, bundling offer, roadside assistance membership and if you want to use telematics. Then you may choose to get the best rate options free as an email once in every 30/60/90 days. If you agree then you may enter your name and email address. You may also choose to get subscriptions and click continue.

Aling maria geico car insurance

Wait for a couple of seconds and you see your best annual rate on the fourth screen with at least 15 quotes to compare. You may choose to give your phone number and unlock the rates and insurer details. An insurance advisor may contact you as per your choice or you may follow up to finish your car insurance shopping. It’s that simple!

Tips to maximize your search by car insurance calculator

In order to optimize your car insurance search options may use the below tips:

  • Collect all your information and be ready: You may need to gather all the relevant information for your car insurance ahead of time. It may not be time savvy if you are scrambling around for paperwork while using the car insurance calculator. So, keep your driving license, claims record, insurance details, other driver and vehicle information handy.
  • Know how much insurance you need: When you are pretty confident about how much coverage is adequate for you then choosing limits is a breeze. This helps you to tweak other factors to check how it affects your rates. This also applies to how much deductible amount you may afford.
  • Don’t focus on just the price: Apart from the lowest quote, you may also want to see if other factors are comparable. Price is not the only factor to consider a quote and you must ensure that you have sufficient coverage and policy limits.

How Much Car Insurance Do I Need Ontario

In Ontario, as per FSCO, it is mandatory to have active car insurance if you own a vehicle to drive on the roads. You must carry third party liability up to minimum $200000 and this covers property damage as well as bodily injury.  Other mandatory coverage includes Direct Compensation Property Damage, Statutory Accident Benefits coverage and Uninsured Automobile Coverage. Apart from these you may purchase additional coverage for more protection and increase your policy limits. Ontario has a no-fault insurance basis so if someone damages your car you may file a claim with your insurer. The other driver could claim from their insurer.

How To Choose Your Deductible

Though it is the easiest and quickest method to lower your premiums, a high car insurance deductible may not be for everyone. If you live on month to month paycheck with no substantial savings then choosing a $2000 deductible may not work. Sure it could save your premiums but at claim time you may not be able to afford it. A benefit of choosing a high deductible is that you drive more responsibly and do not claim often. You may pocket the repair expenses of $500 rather than pay a $1000 deductible and thus have fewer claims.  The best way to choose your deductible would be to select one that you can afford and also reduces your premiums.

How Can You Lower Your Car Insurance Premium

Though Ontario has a higher cost of car insurance, it is possible to get better rates as per your specific needs and profile. Read on for some tips that could help you save money.

Car insurance presentation

1. Start shopping for insurance before your renewal

If any vital factors that may affect your insurance changes then do not wait until your policy renewal. This gives you enough time to take a wise decision and not rush.

2. Check for available discounts

Once you ask if you may qualify for any discounts then you may be amazed at the options. Every insurer has a list of discounts and if any applies to your situation then why not benefit from it and get some savings. You never know if your occupation, professional association or some membership could get you discounts.

3. Complete a reputed driving course

New young drivers may get a reduction in rates when they complete a Ministry approved driver training program and notify their insurer. This training helps drivers to drive responsibly to be safe on the road and avoid collisions.

4. Bundle insurance policies

When you bundle your car insurance with the same insurer that you have your home insurance then you may get a discount. You could save anywhere from 5% to 15% on your car insurance or on both policies.

5. Multi-product discounts

You may also get a discount by buying insurance policies for your motorcycles, RVs or even tenant insurance from the same provider. It is more convenient and easy to manage when you have all your insurance at one place.

6. Switch to winter tires as per season

There are many insurance companies that offer from 2% to 5% discounts when you install winter tires. In Ontario, it is mandatory for insurers to give you a discount when you fit approved winter tires. It is safe for winter driving conditions and also helps you to stay away from dangerous collisions. Be safe and also save.

7. Pay Annually rather than monthly or quarterly

Most insurance companies do charge you the extra administrative charges if you do not pay annually. So, if you choose to pay annually then you may save that cost that easily translates into a discount. When you are in a position to afford an annual payment then you may do that once a year and save.

8. Drive responsibly and maintain your driving record

Your driving record may be a big factor for your insurance rates. When you have violations and traffic tickets then this could keep your rates high for up to 3 years. Accidents stay on your driving record for up to 10 years and increase your insurance rates. So, stay safe and drive responsibly to keep your driving record spotless as that could save your premiums.

9. Raise your deductible amounts

You may get lower premium rates when you increase your deductibles. At the same time choose deductibles that you could afford in the event of a claim. This could help you to save anywhere from 5% to 10% of your premiums.

10. Drop Collision coverage from your old car

If you drive an old clunker then it makes no sense to have Collision to add to your premiums cost. It is simply not worth when you may replace your old car for $1200 with a collision deductible of $1000.

11. Drive a car that has good CLEAR rating

The CLEAR rating will also affect your insurance rates if you drive a car that is popular among thieves. Your insurer may charge you more for driving a high theft prone car.

Average Car insurance Rates Across Ontario

CityAverage Car Insurance Rates in Ontario*
North Bay$1,016
Sault Ste. Marie$1,016
Thunder Bay$1,016
St. Catharine$1,094
Niagara Falls$1,229
Brock Township$1,238
Richmond Hill$1,551

*Methodology: We used a sample profile for a male driver aged 30 years with his own vehicle having mandatory coverage. He drives a Honda Civic 2012 car. With an average mileage of 5000 – 8000 km per year to commute to work. He has a clean driving record history of 5 years with no accidents or collisions.

We surveyed the Ontario car insurance prices for the purpose of illustrating. The ranges in quotes based on driving record, location, and other criteria. To get a customized quote, enter your postal code above.




Related Best Areas for Car Insurance in Toronto & GTA What is a Car Insurance Endorsement? What Is a Non-Owner Auto Insurance Policy? How Will Google’s Self Driving Cars Affect C... Can Car Insurance Be Paid by Credit Card? How Does Car Insurance Work Two Cars in a Family: What is Multi-Car Insurance?... Does My Car Insurance Policy Cover Road Rage?


Car Insurance in Alberta, Canada

Car insurance, once a luxury or option to drivers and car owners, is now mandatory in both the United States and Canada. Canadian residents living in a few provinces, such as Saskatchewan, British Columbia, Quebec and Manitoba, can utilize public auto insurance systems for their car insurance needs. Residents in Alberta and various other provinces have the choice to purchase private car insurance. To learn some important facts about car insurance in Alberta, Canada, continue reading.

What Types of Alberta Car Insurance is Available?

In recent years, there have been changes made regarding Alberta car insurance. These changes are not only regarding the prices that can be charged but also the type of coverage required in this province. Therefore, there are various types of car insurance available in Alberta. In addition to the mandatory insurance coverage, which covers property damage, death, injuries and liability, drivers can also purchase collision and comprehensive coverage.

Collision coverage provides coverage for damages to your vehicle if it's involved in a collision. Comprehensive coverage will pay for damages to your car from vandalism, theft or other acts of God. To make this simpler, the main types of car insurance coverages are:

1 Liability

2 Accident Benefits/Bodily Injury aka AB/BI

3 Comprehensive

4 Collision

Alberta car insurance is available for cars, trucks, motorcycles and other motorized vehicles. It's also available as private or commercial auto insurance. With so many auto insurance companies in Alberta, drivers and residents are assured there is a policy out there to meet all their needs.

A186 car insurance Admiral car insurance quote
Main Features of a Good Auto Insurance Policy

When purchasing auto insurance, it's more than just getting the cheapest policy on the market. To be a good auto insurance policy, it should offer the type of coverage we need at an affordable price. It should also cover, at the very least, the minimum requirements set by Alberta laws. The following is a list of mandatory Alberta car insurance coverages.

Compulsory minimum third-party liability - Up to $200,000 per accident. There is a maximum of $10,000 for property damage if a claim involves both property damage and bodily injury.

Medical payments - Up to $50,000 per person per accident with a limit of two years. For chiropractic care, massage therapy and acupuncture, the limits are $750, $250 and $250 respectively.

Funeral expense - Up to $5,000

Death benefits - $10,000 for head of household plus $2,000 to each surviving dependent after the first survivor, plus up to $15,000 for first survivor and $4,000 for each other survivor; $10,000 for the death of the spouse of the head of the household and up to $400 for family grief counseling

Disability income benefits - Disabled individual shall receive 80% of his or her gross weekly earnings (maximum of $400 per week) for up to 104 weeks if totally disabled. The non-earner, which must be at least 18 years old, shall receive up to $135 per week for up to 26 weeks.

Benefits for pain and suffering lawsuits - Maximum award is $4,504.

Impairment benefits - none

Right to sue for no-fault or loss of income benefits - No

Drivers living in Alberta who are involved in accidents in Quebec, Saskatchewan and Manitoba can receive benefits from their own insurance carriers that would be equivalent in they were living in these provinces.

When searching for a company that offers a good auto insurance policy, there are other things to look or In addition to adequate coverage and good premiums. You want a company that meets your specific insurance needs, whether they're private, public or commercial. They should also provide good customer service, convenient hours of operation and a suitable location. You may also want to check on what type of payment plan options they can offer.

What Factors Affect Your Car Insurance Premiums?

Cost of car insurance for teenage drivers

I mentioned above that there have been recent changes to the way Alberta auto insurance companies can do business. One of these changes is that no one can be denied auto insurance, regardless of how bad their driving record may be. However, drivers in this group may also be charged the maximum amount in premiums, although it depends on the discretion of the insurer.

Another change is that since 'bad drivers' are being insured along with good drivers, they may not be paying as high as they should and good drivers may be paying slightly higher premiums than they should. On a bright note, the government has been duly working with insurance companies in an attempt to see to it that good drivers are not feeling like they're being penalized with high premiums.

There are other factors that affect your car premiums other than your driving and accident records.

1. At-Fault Accidents - If you've been in an accident in the past six years in which you were at fault, your premiums may increase.

2. Age - Young drivers are typically charged higher premiums because they're at greater risk of being in an accident and making a claim.

3. Discounts - Most insurance companies offer discounts for multiple vehicles, anti-theft devices in vehicle, hybrid vehicles or if they use this company for both their car and home insurance.

4. Driver training - Newly licenced drivers who have completed a driver training program may see lower premiums.

5. Driving convictions - The better your driving record is, the lower your premiums are going to be. When you have driving convictions, your premiums may be based on if the conviction was for a minor, major or criminal infraction.

6. Gender - Females generally pay lower premiums because they're involved in few collisions.

7. Insurance coverage lapse - Your premium may be affected if you were without auto insurance for two or more years.

8. Licence suspension - Depending on how long your licence was suspended; your premium may be affected.

9. Coverage limits & deductibles - The amount of coverage you choose, as well as the deductible, will play a part in how much you pay for premiums.

10. Location - Where you live can affect your premiums. Drivers living in the city typically pay higher premiums than those living in rural areas.

11. Marital status - Marital status can play a part in determining premiums, especially for those under the age of 25.

12. Type of vehicle - Yes, it's true that you'll probably pay higher premiums if you drive a sports car than a family sedan. Particular makes and models may also be charged higher premiums if they have a history of requiring repairs or needing expensive parts.

13. Vehicle use - A driver who only uses his vehicle occasionally will pay lower premiums than one who puts on a lot of miles each day.

14. Years driving - The more years you've been driving, the lower your premiums if you continue to have a good driving record.

Things to be Aware of when Comparing Car Insurance Companies in Alberta

In the same way that we comparison shop when purchasing appliances, clothing and food, we should also comparison shop when purchasing car insurance. It's often been said that your insurance is only as good as its coverage. One of the most important things to be aware of when comparing car insurance companies in Alberta is that what they are offering or quoting actually meets the legal requirements set by this province.

In addition to meeting the legal requirements, it should also meet the needs of your pocketbook. Do not just look at what's the cheapest. Look at what's the most economical for the coverage it's providing. Although we all like to think we'll never get in an accident, the sad and harsh truth is that it happens every day and, if it happens to you or your family, you want to be adequately covered.

An advantage to there being so many insurance companies in Alberta is that it's fairly easy to find a competitive rate. The Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) has also made many recent changes to how insurance companies can do business in an attempt to keep premiums down and make auto insurance more affordable to Alberta residents.

Consumers contemplating purchasing car insurance can utilize an Alberta car insurance calculator to help determine what their premiums may be based on different coverages. These calculators, which are also used by Alberta auto insurance agents, can be found on many of the insurance companies' websites. This makes it easier, more convenient and less time-consuming than making numerous phone calls or visits to the many Alberta car insurance companies.

Who Are the Major Players in the Car Insurance Market in Alberta, Canada?

Like in most areas, some companies seem to almost 'control' the market in specific areas. When it comes to car insurance in Alberta, Canada, or almost any place in Canada, one will always here certain names. One of the most commonly referred to companies is Intact Financial. Formerly known as the ING Group, Intact Financial is the leading provider of home, business and auto insurance in Canada. In fact, it carries approximately 17 percent of the Canadian market, while covering the public, private and commercial vehicle market.

Although Intact Financial is a major player in the car insurance market in Canada, there are currently about 70 insurance companies available to Alberta residents in need of car insurance, according to the IBC. The IBC is also available to keep consumers aware of changes in the laws regarding Alberta auto insurance and the various Alberta car insurance companies.

Another company that would definitely be considered a major player in the car insurance market is the Automobile Insurance Rate Board (AIRB), an organization that regulates how much an insurance company can charge for basic and additional auto insurance premiums in Alberta. Additional information on the Alberta car insurance system can also be found on the AIRB website (http://www.airb.alberta.ca/).


For ballpark estimates on your car insurance rates, or to find out how, why or how much your car insurance will go up or down after a ticket or a change of address, we have several helpful articles and car insurance calculators.

CarInsurance.com’s average car insurance rates tool provides average auto insurance rates for nearly every ZIP code in the U.S. It allows motorists to explore comparative rates within their own city or across the nation.

The "How much car insurance do I need?" tool can suggest what level of coverage is best for you, based on your age, the state you live in, your car's model year, whether you own or finance your car, and whether you own or rent your home.

By their nature, averages and estimates don't apply specifically to you. For that, you can use our online quote comparison tool and get matched with multiple car insurance providers, who will give you a quote, or you can call one of our licensed insurance agents at 855-430-7753.

But you may simply be looking ahead to a new car, a marriage or a move across town and wonder about the consequences. We advise that you check car insurance rate quotes before making life changes, so you'll be aware of how your premium may change and can budget for it appropriately, or switch to a provider that offers a better price given your new situation.

Below are answers to some of the most common questions about the factors affecting your car insurance rate.

How much does my age affect my car insurance rates?

Auto insurers penalize inexperience rather than age. Of course, the vast majority of inexperienced drivers are teenagers. Rates for 16-year-olds can double or even triple their parents’ car insurance annual premiums.

The less experienced the driver, the higher the rates. Among drivers with clean records and no accidents, no other factor changes rates more.

Statistically, inexperienced drivers crash – a lot – and so they are the riskiest category of drivers to insure. Car insurance rates reflect this high risk.

The inexperience penalty drops slowly until about year 10. As an example, this is what the inexperience surcharge for basic bodily injury liability coverage looks like at one California car insurer during the first decade of driving:

ExperienceBodily injury base rateInexperience surchargePremium
0-1 year $189.56 2.172 $411.72
2 years $189.56 1.945 $368.69
3 years $189.56 1.789 $339.12
4 years $189.56 1.669 $316.38
5 years $189.56 1.324 $250.98
6 years $189.56 1.299 $246.24
7 years $189.56 1.1 $208.52
8 years $189.56 1.059 $200.74
9 years $189.56 1.059 $200.74
10 years $189.56 0.946 $179.32

If you keep a clean record after age 25, rates typically stay relatively stable until you become a senior driver, when crash rates go up and premiums begin to rise again.

Does my address affect what I pay for insurance?

If you live in a highly populated urban area, congestion, accidents and insurance claims are more prevalent. Living and driving in a metro area will make your rates higher than if you live in a rural area, where having an auto accident is less likely.

Car insurance companies look at factors such as the rate of stolen cars in your area, and the number of cases of vandalism, claims and fraudulent claims. All of this helps insurers discern the risk associated with insuring you and your car in that ZIP code, whether you ever have made a claim or not.

All other factors equal, your ZIP code can change your rate by hundreds of dollars.

Are some cars cheaper to insure than others? Why?

Auto insurers track which cars have the most wrecks and the worst injury records. Those factors impact the cost you pay for liability insurance -- which covers the damage you cause to others.

Insurers also know which cars are expensive to buy, expensive to repair or more easily stolen. Those factors drive up the cost of collision and comprehensive coverage, which repairs or replaces your own car.

The calculations about the risk of a certain car are made independently. For example, if you are an inexperienced driver in a car with a poor claims record, you are penalized twice. A more mature driver in the same car would pay a surcharge for the car, but not one for inexperience.

Insurers can also choose not to cover certain types or brands of cars. For example, some won’t insure a lifted pickup truck, a kit car or certain exotic cars.

How does my marital status affect my car insurance rate?

Married couples have been found to have fewer accidents and claims than single drivers do.

Rates can be from 5 percent to 15 percent lower for married couples just because of their marital status. But there are also other discounts married couples can look forward to when they combine their policies, such as a multicar discount, or a multipolicy discount if they have a renters or homeowners policy with the same insurer.

An insurer considers you single if you have never been married, or are widowed or divorced.

How much does my driving record impact my car insurance rate?

Your driving record is paramount to your car insurance company. Safe drivers get a discount from standard rates for keeping a clean driving record. On the flip side, individuals who have a moving violation (speeding or a DUI, for example) or an accident on their motor vehicle record are more of a risk and can face a surcharge on top of standard rates.

If you have enough violations or accidents, you can become uninsurable according to some car insurance companies’ underwriting rules. For example, some insurers reject anyone with four or more chargeable accidents in three years, or more than three DUIs in seven years, or more than 15 points on the driver’s motor vehicle record.

In general, a minor violation such as a speeding ticket can boost your rates 20 percent to 40 percent. You may not be surcharged for the actual ticket, but will lose your good-driver discount. If you have a major violation like a DUI, your rates can go up 100 percent or more. The more risk you appear to be to your auto insurer, the more you will pay.

How much does my commute matter?

You car’s annual mileage is a rating factor for many car insurance companies. The less you drive, the less risk you have of being in an accident. Also, how far you drive for your commute lets the insurer know what kind of risk you are during the congested, high-risk hours.

Your insurer can also use the length of your commute to determine if you head into a metro area from your rural or suburban home. If you live outside of Los Angeles, but your commute is 30 miles, your insurer can predict that although your local area is low-risk, your commute into the heart of a very populated metropolitan area pushes your risk factor much higher.

Why should my credit history count?

Insurance companies routinely check your credit rating as part of your application process, except in California, Massachusetts and Hawaii, where state law prohibits credit from being a pricing factor.

Credit scores help the insurance companies assess the risk level of a potential customer. Research has shown that those with lower credit scores (typically under 600) are more likely to file claims, file exaggerated claims, or even commit insurance fraud.

Those with low scores may face a surcharge. Rates for those with higher scores are typically unaffected.

Your credit score can also affect how an insurance company allows you to pay for your policy, since statistics show that people with lower credit scores are more likely to miss a payment. Customers with very poor credit scores may be required to pay the entire premium for a six-month policy up front. Customers with low credit scores sometimes won’t qualify for monthly billing, or they may need to pay a large percentage of the policy up front and the remainder monthly.

Are some types of coverage more expensive?

There are several types of car insurance. The more coverage you get, the more you will pay. If you get a bare-bones liability policy that covers only what the state requires, your car insurance costs are going to be less than if you bought coverage that would repair your own car, too.

Liability coverage tends to cost more because the amount the insurance company risks is higher. Coverage for collision and comprehensive insurance is limited by the replacement cost of the car itself. But medical bills and multiple-car accidents could push a liability claim into the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If you don’t have enough liability coverage, you could be sued for the difference by anyone you injure.

Comprehensive and collision damage is affected by the deductible you choose. The higher the deductible, the less the insurance company will have to pay -- and the lower your rates.

Medical coverage, such as uninsured motorist bodily injury, medical payments or personal injury protection (PIP), will cause your rates to go up. Without some kind of medical coverage, if you don’t have health insurance elsewhere, you might not be able to pay for treatment if you are injured in an accident you caused.

Is there any difference between insurance companies?

Insurance companies must follow state laws, but within those laws they price coverage based on their own underwriting rules and guidelines. One insurance company may look at your driving record for five years, another only for three. The surcharge for a speeding ticket may raise your insurance by 10 percent with one carrier but only 5 percent with another.

You should shop around and get quotes from several carriers. Make sure you are comparing apples to apples -- the same coverages with each insurer -- and check the reliability and financial stability of the insurance carrier.

Finally, make an informed decision about who you want to be insured with for the best price and protection. Don’t let a small savings drive you away from an insurance company you know and trust.


Add comment

This e-mail already registered. or enter another.