As an independent insurance agent with many carriers to quote from, I often see a range of premiums when I am quoting someone's auto insurance. With all of the inputs the same like same drivers, same vehicles and same driving and claims history, some carriers can offer a lower rate than others. That's because each carriers cares about different things. Some carriers weight a good credit history more than others. Some carriers weight driving history more than others. There's alot of variables to deriving an auto insurance premium like : credit, tickets and accidents and claims, garaging address, value of vehicles, age of drivers, multi policy discounts, driver safety class, use of vehicle, etc.
I found this interesting article on Travelers.com on Why Credit History Matters from the Insurance Information Institute and wanted to pass this along.
Why credit history matters
As you may know, many insurance companies use credit-based scores to help determine a customer's insurance premium.
What is an insurance score?
Your score is compiled through a review of your credit history and any patterns that result. It may take into account your payment history, any outstanding debts, the length of your credit history, whether you've filed for bankruptcy, and any new applications for credit. The score is used to help insurance companies accurately assign an appropriate price available for your policy.
How does insurance scoring work?
Extensive research shows a correlation between credit history and insurance claim history – that those with certain patterns in their credit history are more likely to file insurance claims. Insurance scoring works by giving a higher score to those who are less likely to file claims and a lower score to those most likely to file claims.
An insurance score does not take into account income, race, gender, religion, marital status, national origin or geographic location. It only reviews your credit history.
Why do companies use insurance scores?
When insurance companies know the likelihood that a customer will file a claim, they can set rates that are accurate and appropriate for each customer. This enables carriers to offer insurance coverage to a broader range of customers and helps them determine your price.
Although credit history helps predict the potential for future losses, it's only one factor used in determining the cost of your policy. A driver's age and prior claim history are two other important factors.
How does Travelers use my insurance score?
Travelers uses your insurance score together with a number of other factors to determine the appropriate pricing level available to you. Generally speaking, customers who have higher insurance scores and no prior claims or accidents qualify for our better price.
For those customers with prior claims or accidents, a higher insurance score will help them qualify for a better rate than a similar customer who has a significantly lower insurance score. In turn, customers with no prior accidents or claims, but who have low insurance scores, may also qualify for a competitive rate.
What if there is an isolated problem on my credit report?
In most cases, an isolated instance of a late payment will not have a significant impact on your insurance score if you have an established pattern of responsible credit use. Travelers, however, recognizes that sometimes people face difficult circumstances, such as medical issues, divorce, or job loss. We've created an Insurance Score Resource Center (ISRC) to assist our customers and independent agents with issues like this.
The information in my credit history is personal and sensitive. What protection do I have against misuse?
Will my agent have access to my credit report?
No. Your agent will not have access your credit-based insurance score or your credit report.
How can I improve my insurance score?
One of best things you can do is to make sure you pay your bills on time. You can also review the amount of credit you have and whether you're up to your limit your credit card(s). Consider how to reduce your debt without creating additional credit activity. Also, review your credit report regularly. Additional recommendations on improving your credit score are available from the American Insurance Association (www.aiadc.org).
More information on insurance scores is available from the Insurance Information Institute (www.iii.org) under the "Credit Scoring" link.
If you have questions about this, please contact our office at 713-899-4651. We do not see your credit score or any private transactions as an agent so we are not able to discuss your credit. If you want to look at other options for auto insurance let us shop your auto insurance.