What Affects Your Auto Insurance Premiums

Auto insurance premiums are based on many different items. You don't have control over some of these, but others you can change. The following are some of the items that impact your auto insurance premiums.

Age, Gender and Marital Status

The big three that impact your auto insurance and that you have no (or little) control over are your age, gender and marital status. While you might be able to change one or two of these, such momentous decisions generally aren't made just to save a little bit on your auto insurance.

In general, auto insurance rates decrease as you get older until you're well into your senior years. Rates also tend to be lower for women and for married drivers when all other factors are kept equal.

Driving Record

The biggest item that impacts your auto insurance that you can influence is your driving record. This is the rap sheet that shows your driving history for the past three years, and it's maintained by your state's Department of Motor Vehicles. Any moving violations for which you're ticketed and any accidents you're in are listed on this document.

Negative items on your driving record will usually cause your auto insurance premiums to go up -- and the increase is significant sometimes. Thus, you should keep your driving record as clean as possible. Drive safely so that you reduce the chances of an accident and don't get a ticket. You may also want to challenge any ticket that you do get in court so it's not on your record.

One positive item that you can get listed on your driving record is a driver-safety course. If you enroll in an approved driver-safety course and complete it with a passing grade, the course will go on your driving record. As long as it's listed, insurers will often discount certain premiums because of the program you went through.

Value of Your Car

The value of your car has a major impact on your auto insurance policy's comprehensive and collision coverages. These are two protections that insure your car against damage, and their individual premiums often account for a large portion of your auto policy's total premium.

This is a particularly important consideration to keep in mind when you need another car. A new car will cost more than a comparable used car to insure, and a high-end luxury model will cost more than a non-luxury one. Make sure that, whatever car you purchase, you budget for the corresponding auto insurance premiums.