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Joanna Johnson

Car Insurance Expert
Updated: 01/2022

Joanna is an expert on understanding how the different laws and regulations in the car insurance industry shape the way that policies work.

What Factors Affect Car Insurance Rates?

Car insurance is required for anyone that plans on driving a car. That’s because of the cost of cars and the damage they can do to people and property. As a result, every state mandates that every driver and car be insured.

There are different levels of car insurance. Some insurance only covers liability. That means it will cover the cost of damages to others if you’re at fault in an accident. Other insurance is comprehensive. That means it covers all costs in an accident regardless of who is at fault.

Moreover, different car insurance companies offer different perks and benefits with their service. As a result, it’s no surprise that so many people have questions about car insurance and the way it works.

This guide will help you understand how car insurance works. We’ll go over the different factors that affect car insurance rates. We’ll also help you compare car insurance rates and understand how to get the best rates. Use this information to pick the best car insurance company for you.

How Does Car Insurance Work?

All insurance products work around the same core ideas. The insurance company compiles lots of data and statistics. They use this information to figure out how much risk different things pose. Then they use that to figure out how much to charge people.

The insurance company also uses known costs and potential damages and payouts when determining rates. That means you’ll pay different amounts to insure different types of cars.

Insurance works because you pay every month. Then, when you have an accident or event that requires your insurance, the company pays out to cover damages.

It’s important to realize that insurance companies use statistical models. That means the model they use might not represent who you are as a driver. For example, statistically, men under 24 are the most likely to be in an accident. That means they’ll have higher rates. If you’re a male under 24, you’ll pay higher rates regardless of your own driving history.

The next section will cover what kind of factors go into your car insurance rate.

Car Insurance Rates

What Factors Go into Car Insurance Rates?

There are lots of different factors that go into how much your car insurance costs. We’ll cover some of the most common factors here.

Age

One of the biggest factors for car insurance prices is the age of the driver. Younger drivers don’t have as much experience handling a car. They also tend to be more confident and aggressive with their driving. As a result, younger drivers are more likely to get into accidents. That means that the younger you are, the more you’re likely to pay for car insurance.

Additionally, insurance is a risk-management based business. Younger drivers don’t have a lot of driving history for insurance companies to look at. That means the company will stay on the side of caution and charge them higher rates.

The good news is that there are certain cutoff points where you’ll see your rates drop dramatically. The first such point is at age 24. After someone turns 24 they are statistically less likely to be involved in an accident, so their insurance rates will go down. Also, as you get older the insurance companies will have more information about your driving record. This lets them more accurately price your insurance, instead of charging more to be safe.

Type of Car

The type of car you drive also plays a large role in the cost of your insurance. There are three reasons for this. First, more expensive cars require more expensive repairs. That means a higher cost to the insurance company if you’re in an accident.

Second, cars with higher performance can cause more serious accidents. That means fast sports cars will cost more to insure. They can go faster and accelerate more quickly. Statistically, this means the accidents they’re in will be more serious.

Finally, some cars are less safe than others. For example, SUVs are more likely to roll over in an accident. That results in higher damages and medical costs for injuries. Other cars are loaded with safety features and ride low to the ground. That means the people in the car are less likely to be injured in an accident. As a result, the insurance cost for those cars is lower.

State

The next important factor is the state you live in. Each state has its own different insurance rules and regulations. These different regulations impose requirements on insurance companies. As a result, it’s more expensive to provide insurance in some states than others.

Additionally, the risk of an accident isn’t just controlled by the person driving the car. If a state has a high instance of accidents and driving crimes, then insurance companies recognize that it’s statistically more likely they’ll have to pay out money. Therefore, they charge more for insurance.

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Driving History

Your driving history also plays an important part in how your insurance rates are set. If you get a lot of tickets, that shows the insurance company you’re not a safe driver. As a result, they charge you more.

However, if you have a clean driving record for a long time, then the company will recognize that you’re a low risk. That results in lower insurance costs.

Gender

Your gender also influences your insurance rates. This is because insurance companies use statistics to set their rates. Men will generally pay higher rates than women. That’s because they’re statistically more likely to be in a crash. As you get older and you have a longer driving history, this factor will play into your insurance rates less and less.

Amount of Coverage

You actually have a lot of options when it comes to insurance coverage. The way insurance works, you pay for a certain amount of protection. You’re responsible for any costs that go over that amount. Each state has different limits for the minimum amount of insurance a driver must have. If you want additional coverage, that will increase your premium.

Car Insurance Rates

Type of Coverage

You also have a choice in the type of coverage you get. Insurance companies offer two basic types of coverage. Liability only and comprehensive coverage. Liability only covers damages to people and property when you’re at fault. It doesn’t cover the cost of damages to your car or person.

Comprehensive coverage also covers the cost of damages to your car. If you’re paying for a car loan, then there’s a good chance your lender requires you to have comprehensive coverage. That’s because the insurance will pay off the loan if your car gets totaled. Otherwise, people will be stuck with a loan balance but no car to show for it.

Credit Score

An insurance company’s risk management doesn’t only consider the chance that they’ll have to pay out money. It also must consider the chance that a driver won’t pay their bill. That means your credit score can also play a role in your insurance rates. People with a high credit score have proven they pay their bills on time. That means companies will offer them lower rates on car insurance. It may be possible to get no credit check car insurance quotes with some companies if this is a concern.

Your Profession

Companies also look at your profession to determine how much your rates should be. There are two reasons for this. First, some professions are noted to have a lower instance of accidents.

This may not make a lot of sense, but you need to remember that insurance companies base many of their decisions on statistics. If teachers are statistically less likely to be in an accident, then they’ll get lower insurance rates.

Second, some jobs require you to drive a lot more than others. The more you drive, the greater the risk you’re in an accident. Therefore, this can influence your insurance rate.

Other Factors

There are lots of other factors that can go into your car insurance costs. Different companies have programs that can lower the cost of your insurance. For example, many companies offer discounts to students who get good grades. That’s because students with good grades are less likely to be in an accident.

Other companies allow you to plug a device into your car. The device monitors how you drive. The company takes this information to determine what kind of driver and thus, what kind of risk you are. That can cause your insurance to go up or down.

Many companies also offer discounts for certain groups. Veterans are one common example. People that served in the armed forces can frequently get better rates on insurance.

Car Insurance Rates

Getting the Best Car Insurance Rates

Getting the best car insurance rate is all a matter of reducing the risk you present to the car insurance company. This section includes some of the different ways you can lower your risk and get cheaper rates for auto insurance.

Pay Upfront

The easiest way to lower your risk to the insurance company is to pay up front. Most insurance companies offer insurance on a 6-month cycle. If you pay for all six months up front then the company doesn’t need to worry about you paying your bill. Many companies will offer as much as 10-15% off if you pay for your insurance up front.

Look for Special Programs

Next, you should look for special programs from the insurance company. We gave a few examples of those earlier.

One of the most common programs is for good students. If you’re a student, you probably have pretty high rates on your car insurance. That’s because most students are young. Therefore, they’re statistically at a higher risk of an accident. The insurance company also doesn’t have as much of a record of your driving history.

If that’s the case, you should see if your insurance company offers student discount car insurance. Most companies have some kind of program that discounts your insurance rates if you’re making solid grades. The discounts can be between 5% and 10% the cost of your insurance.

Another option is for people who volunteer. Lots of insurance companies offer discount programs for people who give back to their community. The discount offers changes based on the insurance company, but it’s an easy way to save on your insurance while making the world a little bit better.

Drive Safely and Legally

Another easy way to save money on your car insurance is to drive safely and legally. Tickets for moving violations will increase the cost of your insurance. Depending on the type of violation, your premium rate can almost double. For example, running a stop sign, speeding in a school zone, and similar charges show the insurance company that you’re an extremely high risk. You then may be required to obtain high risk car insurance.

On the other hand, most insurance companies offer a discount or even cash back if you make it through your insurance term without any tickets. The longer you go without a ticket or at-fault accident, the lower your insurance rate will be.

Take Classes

You can also get a discount on your insurance by taking defensive driving classes. These classes vary in structure and cost. Oftentimes people take these classes as part of a court-ordered punishment. However, you can take a defensive driving class to lower your insurance cost at any time. You can also do so at any age.

The class will cost some money, but you’ll save a lot more in the long run on your lowered insurance premium. That makes taking these classes a sound investment in the future. They can also help you avoid an accident and remind you of some driving laws that may have changed since you got your license.

Pick the Right Policy

Make sure you’re picking the right policy for you. If you’re not paying a car loan, then you might want to get liability only coverage. Also, many car insurance companies check off certain extras by default. These include things like covering car rentals while your car is getting repaired, roadside assistance, and more.

Make sure you carefully review your policy options. Consider what level of coverage you really need. For most people, the state minimum coverage will be more than enough. Also, most people can do without some of the optional extras that insurance companies include.

Choose the Best Cars for Insurance Rates

The car that you drive also impacts your rate. If you’re thinking about getting a new car, then you should call your insurance company to see how different cars will affect the cost of your insurance.

Generally, faster cars and larger cars will cost more to insure. However, some cars will also cost more if they’re targets for theft. The cheapest cars to insure are those with average performance, lots of safety features, and a low cost to repair.

Car Insurance Rates

If you’re getting a new car, you should also note that you may have to upgrade your coverage from liability only to comprehensive coverage. Your car loan lender will probably require this, and it can increase the cost of your insurance.

Compare Car Insurance Rates

The best way to save money on car insurance is to shop around. Different companies will offer you different rates. That’s because each company has its own way of determining what your risk is and what they’d need to charge to insure you.

When you’re comparing car insurance companies, there are a couple things you can do to ensure you’re getting an accurate comparison.

Compare Apples to Apples

First, make sure you’re comparing the same kind of policy and coverage. Any comprehensive policy is going to cost more than a liability only policy. Also, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got the same optional extra features checked off for each company.

Additionally, many of the car insurance rates you get don’t take other discounts or programs into account. Research what kind of discounts you can get for being a good student, driver monitoring programs, and so on. Be sure to consider those discounts and whether or not the price you’re looking at reflects them when you’re comparing different policies.

Start Actual Applications

Many car insurance companies will show you their average rates when you’re comparison shopping. However, your rates might be different than the average. The only way to find out is to actually apply with each company you’re considering. That will give you a detailed breakdown of your coverage options and what each kind of coverage will cost.

This will also let you find out if there are any discount programs that you can qualify for. Remember, just because you’ve applied with a company doesn’t mean that you need to accept a policy from them.

Average Car Insurance Rates by State

We put together this helpful chart to let you see what the average cost of insurance is in each state. We’ve picked four of the biggest national companies to show you, as these companies operate in most or all states. Keep in mind that there will be other companies as well. That includes other national companies as well as local and regional insurance companies.

We got the data for this chart from insurance.com, so be sure to check out their site for more information. The figures listed are for 40-year-old male drivers that are married, have a clean driving record, and drive a 2016 Honda Accord.

You can get more information on average costs per state from The Simple Dollar. We checked their figures against the info we got from insurance.com and they seem to support each other overall.

State Farm Geico Allstate Progressive
Alabama $1,572 $759 $1,257 $1,840
Alaska $979 $1,075 $1,304 $1,080
Arizona $1,392 $977 $1,807 $1,047
Arkansas $1,165 $980 $1,821 $1,594
California $1,967 $944 n/a n/a
Colorado $1,241 $813 $1,889 $1,559
Connecticut $1,463 $946 $2,462 $2,026
DC $1,518 $713 $2,913 $1,496
Delaware $1,872 $1,134 $2,398 $1,333
Florida $1,611 $1,192 $2,584 $1,754
Georgia $1,372 $762 $1,701 $1,563
Hawaii $1,023 $857 $1,389 $1,646
Idaho $845 $713 $1,577 $848
Illinois $1,011 $590 $1,375 $1,193
Indiana $1,095 $651 $1,569 $854
Iowa $945 $693 $1,589 $1,286
Kansas $1,166 $823 $1,718 $1,682
Kentucky $1,734 $881 $2,822 $1,693
Louisiana $2,023 $1,540 $2,316 $2,881
Maine $948 $517 $1,212 $1,025
Maryland $1,357 $1,199 $2,177 $1,102
Massachusetts $884 $865 $1,742 $1,272
Michigan $3,135 $1,027 $2,849 $1,714
Minnesota $1,190 $935 $1,483 $1,295
Mississippi $1,353 $894 $1,917 $1,268
Missouri $1,279 $800 $1,769 $1,303
Montana $1,149 $848 $1,753 $1,112
Nebraska $1,003 $978 $1,393 $1,403
Nevada $1,726 $1,342 $2,256 $1,663
New Hampshire $1,036 $550 $1,588 $1,465
New Jersey $1,847 $1,104 $1,761 $1,255
New Mexico $1,177 $894 $1,948 $998
New York $1,855 $993 $1,587 $1,160
North Carolina $845 $704 $1,230 $622
North Dakota $1,132 $897 $1,502 $1,047
Ohio $881 $619 $1,310 $999
Oklahoma $1,416 $1,050 $1,918 $2,506
Oregon $1,043 $933 $1,656 $1,238
Pennsylvania $1,284 $703 $1,729 $3,183
Rhode Island $1,132 $1,292 $2,246 $2,092
South Carolina $1,511 $1,050 $1,178 $1,359
South Dakota $1,052 $708 $1,562 $1,110
Tennessee $1,131 $764 $1,794 $1,223
Texas $1,348 $1,027 $1,949 $1,328
Utah $1,518 $684 $1,353 $1,503
Vermont $1,255 $485 $1,183 $1,103
Virginia $969 $894 $1,102 $1,150
Washington $1,160 $1,075 $1,455 $1,092
West Virginia $1,309 $1,149 $1,853 $1,238
Wisconsin $914 $663 $1,484 n/a
Wyoming $1,128 $1,287 $1,874 n/a

FAQ

Everyone wants to find the best cheap auto insurance possible. However, car insurance is actually a very complex product. Therefore, it’s no surprise that so many people have questions about it. That’s why we put together this handy guide to help you get the answers you’ve been looking for. Use this information to help yourself save money on car insurance and understand the different factors that go into car insurance pricing.

General Car Insurance

Before you can save money on auto insurance, you need to understand what it is. This section has all the answers you need to get a solid foundation to understand car insurance and car insurance rates.

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What is a Good Auto Insurance Rate?
There’s no one answer to what is a good auto insurance rate. You should look for the insurance that provides you the best combination of coverage and price. Make sure you’re meeting your state’s minimum requirements.
How do Auto Insurance Companies Determine Rates?
Several factors go into how car insurance companies determine rates. These include age of the driver, driving record, state regulations, type of coverage, amount of coverage, and details about the car.
What is a Reasonable Auto Insurance Rate?

A reasonable auto insurance rate is one that does the best job providing the coverage you need at the lowest possible rate. Rates are different in every state and for every driver based on many different factors. Related: What car insurance should I get?

Where can I Compare Auto Insurance Rates?

There are lots of websites online where you can compare different auto insurance rates. Simply look for comparison shopping websites. These sites will also frequently have reviews and other information you can use to make your choice. If you want something local then type auto insurance places near me in a search engine.

How to Negotiate Auto Insurance Rates?

Most insurance companies aren’t willing to negotiate rates anymore. However, you can argue that your type of car, age, and experience are good reasons to lower the rates. You can also point to a clean driving record and how much you drive. Ask for an auto insurance now pay later option too if they have it.

Why are Auto Insurance Rates Going Up in 2018?
Auto insurance rates are going up because the price of everything is going up. That includes cars and medical care. Auto insurance is designed to cover these items, so when their costs rise, so does the price of insurance.
What Factors Influence Auto Insurance Rates?
Age, gender, driving record, type of car, type of coverage, amount of coverage, and other statistical elements all influence the auto insurance rate that you’re offered. Each company uses its own models, so check with individual companies to get more information.
What Does Rate Class Insurance Auto Mean?
Rate class is the category that your car is in for the purposes of insurance. Cars with more safety features will be in a cheaper rate class. Cars that have higher performance or are more likely to be involved in accidents or injuries will have a more expensive rate class.
How Flexible are Home and Auto Insurance Rates?
The rates for insurance aren’t very flexible. Insurance companies use complex statistical and analytical models to predict the odds they’ll have to pay, and what they’ll need to charge based on those odds.
How Come Auto Insurance Rate Differ by State?
Insurance rates differ by state because each state has different minimum requirements for what insurance has to cover. Additionally, different states have different driving statistics, which insurance companies use to figure out the odds they’ll have to pay out on a claim.
What is the Current Trend in Auto Insurance Rates?
Auto insurance prices are generally going up. That’s because the cost of health care and the cost of cars is also going up. As these two prices rise, insurance prices will also rise.

Saving Money on Car Insurance

Everyone wants to save money on car insurance. This section covers the answers to your questions about ways to reduce your car insurance rates.

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Who has the Best Auto Insurance Rates?
There’s no single answer to who has the best auto insurance rates. Instead, you should see what company has the best rates on the type of coverage you need. You can use online comparison tools to get a better idea of the rates different companies offer.
How to Compare Auto Insurance Rates?
You should compare auto insurance rates by ensuring that you’re matching similar policies. For example, a liability only policy will always be cheaper than a comprehensive policy. However, it will also provide less coverage.
How to Get the Best Auto Insurance Rates?
Comparison shopping is the best way to ensure you get the best auto insurance rates. This will allow you to compare similar policies from different companies and see what each policy costs.
How to Get Best Rates on Home and Auto Insurance?

Bundling your home and auto insurance with the same company can be a great way to save money. You can also take steps to reduce your risk. Things like a home security system and a car with lots of safety features can lower your rates. Sometimes you can do this with other things you insure such as a boat. Related Article: Used Boat Loans

Who has the Cheapest Auto Insurance Rates?
Each company calculates their rates differently. That means different companies will offer better rates to some people but not others. You should comparison shop to find the best rates for you.
How to Save Money on Auto Insurance Rates?

You can save money on auto insurance rates several different ways. First, pick a car in a cheaper rate class. Second, ensure you drive safely and follow all traffic laws. If your rates are still too high, then you might consider a defensive driving class. Some people also opt for 1 month car insurance if its just a temporary coverage need.

How to Keep Auto Insurance Rates Low?
The best way to keep auto insurance rates low is by following traffic laws and ensuring you’re not at fault for any accidents. Additionally, remain continuously covered. Continuous coverage will help keep your rates low.
How to Lower Auto Insurance Rates?
There are a few different ways to lower your insurance rates. Every company offers discounts if you’ve taken a defensive driving class recently. You can also look for things like good grades discounts, accident-free discounts, and more.
Why Shop for Better Auto Insurance Rate When New Policy Comes with a Fee?
Shopping for a better deal on auto insurance is a good idea because you’ll save money in the long run. There usually isn’t a fee, but if there is, then you’ll just need to make sure your new policy saves you more money than the price of the fee.
What will Lower Auto Insurance Rate for Teenagers?

Most insurance companies offer discounts for good grades. They also discount auto insurance if you’ve recently taken driving classes. These things all lower your risk of an accident, which gets you better rates. While car insurance for new drivers is usually higher you can still find ways to save.

How to Reduce Auto Insurance Rates?
Different insurance companies have different options to reduce rates. Check with your insurance company to see if they offer lower rates for taking a driving class. You can also change to a car that’s in a cheaper rate class to lower your rates.
Who has the Lowest Auto Insurance Rates?
There isn’t one company that always has the lowest auto insurance rates. Instead, you should use a comparison shopping tool to see how different companies price their policies for you. That will enable you to find the best deal.

Different Car Insurance Rates for Different People

People are always wondering why car insurance costs more for some people than others. This section will answer your questions about why different people get different prices.

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What State has the Highest Auto Insurance Rates?
On average, states in the south and on the west coast have higher car insurance rates. However, every driver is different, so looking for the cheapest states won’t necessarily mean you get the cheapest policy.
At What Age Do Auto Insurance Rates Drop?
Every company has their own statistical models they use to plan rate decreases. Most companies drop rates at age 24, 30, and 40. They base that decision on the models they use.
Who has the Best Auto Insurance Rates for Drivers in their Twenties?
There’s no single auto insurance company that has the best rate for drivers in their twenties. You should comparison shop so you can see how much each company will charge you for car insurance.
Why are Auto Insurance Rates Higher for Male Drivers than Female Drivers?
Auto insurance rates are higher for male drivers because they are statistically more likely to be in an accident. Insurance is all about risk management, and so they use statistical models to determine insurance prices.
Why are My Auto Insurance Rates High for a Mazda 3?
A Mazda 3 can accelerate quickly and go fast. It also doesn’t have a lot of extra safety features. That means insurance companies see that car as a bigger risk than a slower, safer car.
Why is My Auto Insurance have a High Rate When I haven’t Had Any Accidents or Violations?
There are several reasons why you rate could be high. You may live in a high-crime or dangerous driving area. You also might have a car in an expensive rate class. Finally, you might be paying for more coverage than you need.
What a Good Rate for Auto Insurance for 19-Year-Old Males?
That depends on lots of other factors. The location you live, your driving record, and the type of car you drive will all cause large changes to your rate. We recommend using a comparison-shopping tool to find the best rate for you.
What Group of People have the Highest Auto Insurance Rate?
Generally, males under 24 will have the highest auto insurance rates, all else being equal. However, people with lots of driving violations and/or DUIs will have rates that are even higher, as they are seen as very high risk for the insurance company.
How do I get lower SR-22 car insurance rates?

Depending on a number of factors including the state you're in you may be able to lower your SR22 rates. Start by getting multiple quotes from several SR22 insurance companies and see who offers to cheapest rates.

How Things Will Affect Car Insurance Rates

Lots of factors go into determining your car insurance rates. This section answers the questions people have about how different events will affect their insurance costs.

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How Does Age Affect Auto Insurance Rates?
Age affects auto rates in two ways. First, younger drivers don’t have an established driving record, which makes it harder for the insurance company to know how they’ll drive. Also, younger drivers tend to be more reckless and are more likely to be in accidents, so they pay more for insurance.
When Does a Females Auto Insurance Rate Go Down?
Every company uses different benchmarks to determine when female auto insurance rates go down. Generally, they’ll drop in your mid 20’s, mid 30’s, and mid 40’s.
When do Auto Insurance Rates Drop for Males?
It depends on lots of other factors, but generally speaking, males will see a drop in their insurance at age 24, in their mid 30’s, and mid 40’s.
Adding an 18-Year-Old Female to My Auto Insurance Will Increase My Rate by How Much?
There are lots of other factors that go into that calculation. For example, the distance and frequency she’ll be driving, her driving record, the type of car she’s driving, and so on. Generally, you should expect to see some kind of rate increase.
How Much Does Annual Mileage Affect Auto Insurance Rates?
Annual mileage plays a large role for insurance rates. That’s because the more you’re on the road, the greater the odds you’re in an accident. As a result, your insurance rates will go up.
How Much Does Your Auto Insurance Rates Go Up After an Accident?
There are many factors that go into determining how much your rates go up after an accident. For example, the company will see if you’re at fault, how bad the crash was, if someone was hurt, if you were breaking the law, and so on.
If I Add My Spouse Who is an Inexperienced Driver, will My Auto Insurance Rates Increase?
Most likely they’ll go up. However, your rate per person might be lower. Most insurance companies offer a discount for spouses that sign up together.
How Long Does a Car Accident Affect Your Auto Insurance Rates?
Each company has different calculations to determine how long an accident will affect your insurance rates. There are also other factors, like why the accident happened and if anyone was hurt. You’ll need to check with your company for more details.
How Much will My Auto Insurance Rate Go Up After a Speeding Ticket?
Each company handles this situation differently. It depends how fast you were going, if the state reported the ticket to the insurance company, and your overall driving record.
What happens to Auto Insurance Rates After a DWAI?
Your rates will go up substantially. Drunk driving greatly increases your odds of being in an accident or injuring someone. That makes you a much higher risk for the insurance company.

Car Insurance Rates and Specific Policies

This section includes the most common questions about specific auto insurance policies.

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Who has the Best Rates for Home and Auto Insurance?
There’s no single answer to this question. Each company calculates rates differently. Comparison shopping for rate bundles will allow you to find the best deal.
What is the Running Rate for Commercial Auto Insurance?
Lots of different factors can affect the running rate for commercial auto insurance. The type of auto your company is using, the state where you live, and the industry you’re in will all change the rate.
Who has Cheaper Auto Insurance Rates a 28 y/o Woman or a 40 y/o Man?
There are lots of other factors that influence this. The type of car each one drives, their driving record, and more will influence the rate. Generally, these two individuals will have about the same rate for auto insurance, all else being equal.
What is the Rate Change for Married Versus Separated for Auto Insurance?
This will depend on the individual drivers. They will check your driving records and other factors, then will add in the appropriate discounts to your policy for signing up as a married couple.

Check Rates in Your City

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