Why Did My Car Insurance Go Up?

Why Did My Car Insurance Go Up?

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Insurance companies use many different factors to determine your car insurance rates. You can control some things that cause your rates to increase, like traffic tickets and accidents. Others may affect all of the drivers in your area, like an increase in car theft within your ZIP code, or extreme weather events along the coast.

Reasons why car insurance goes up

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You had a traffic violation

Drivers can expect to see their auto insurance rates go up after receiving a ticket. That's because insurance companies view these drivers as greater risks — they're more likely to cause an accident in the future.

The amount of the increase depends on the seriousness of your violation. For example, car insurance rates go up by 18% for drivers caught speeding, while drivers with a DUI can expect to see a 50% increase in insurance costs, on average.

Talking or texting on cellphones can raise your rates, too. In California, insurance costs 55% more for drivers who receive a cellphone violation than for those with a clean record.


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You were in an accident

Auto insurance rates increase by 31% after an at-fault accident, on average. Drivers who cause an accident are considered high-risk by insurers because they're more likely to be involved in another crash than those with a clean record.

Your rates may go up more or less depending on the amount that the accident cost your insurance company.

Do comprehensive claims increase insurance rates?

Comprehensive claims generally don't raise your insurance rates. That's because comprehensive coverage protects you against things outside of your control, like a tree branch that falls on your car, or vandalism. However, your insurer may raise your rates if you make multiple claims over a short time period.

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Your credit score got worse

Drivers with poor credit pay 34% more for car insurance than those with average credit. If your credit score has gone down since your last policy renewal, it may be one of the reasons why your car insurance is more expensive. Drivers with bad credit pay more for insurance because insurers believe they're more likely to file a claim, making them more expensive to insure.


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You bought a new car

Buying a new car will usually cause your car insurance to go up. That's because new cars cost more to replace than old ones. Not only do new cars cost more, but many have expensive technology on board, like rear backup cameras and navigation systems.

A new car is 5% more expensive to insure than a 4-year-old model, on average.

The type of vehicle you drive also affects your car insurance rate. For instance, a Honda HR-V, which is a small station wagon, costs $2,333 per year for full-coverage insurance, while the Honda Accord, a sedan, costs $2,918 per year. That's a difference of $585 per year.


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You added a driver to your policy

Adding another driver to your policy will probably affect your rates, but how much depends on that person's age, driving history and credit score.

Parents looking to add a 16-year-old driver to their policy can expect their rates to increase by around 137%. That cost of adding a driver decreases with age though — a 21-year-old driver increases rates by 92%. On the other hand, a 30-year-old driver adding another 30-year-old to their policy may not see much of a change in their rates.


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You moved to a new state, city or ZIP code

Your location plays a big role in your rates because insurers consider things like the crash data, crime rate, weather events and claims filed in your area when determining your rate. That's why moving to another state, city or even ZIP code could cause your car insurance costs to go up.

Drivers living in densely populated metropolitan cities tend to pay more for car insurance — their rates are 40% higher than their state average.

That's because more cars on the road usually mean more accidents. Crime rates are generally higher in cities, too.

Car insurance rates can vary significantly from state to state, as well. The most expensive state, Michigan, has higher minimum insurance requirements than other states, making it more costly for insurers to provide coverage. Drivers in Michigan pay $6,110 more for car insurance per year than those living in Maine, the cheapest state.

States ranked by car insurance cost
Rank
State
Average annual cost
Percentage difference from national average
1Maine$1,051-46%
2Wisconsin$1,175-40%
3North Carolina$1,291-34%
4Idaho$1,293-34%
5Indiana$1,345-31%
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You changed jobs and have a longer commute

A change in your daily commute can cause your car insurance rates to go up. Whether you have a new job or are heading back into an office, if the number of miles you drive each day increases, your insurance costs likely will, too. Insurance companies take your annual mileage into account when calculating your rates because the more time you spend in the car, the more likely you are to be in an accident.


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You got divorced

Married drivers pay 4% less for car insurance, on average. If you're recently divorced and shopping for an individual policy, you may notice an increase in your rates. However, as a married couple, your rates were influenced by two drivers, so if your ex-spouse has tickets or accidents on record, or a bad credit score, your rate may actually decrease.


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Car repair and medical costs are increasing

An increase in car repair costs has resulted in more expensive claims, causing many insurers to raise rates across the board.

Repair costs have gone up for a number of reasons. Cars are being built with more technology than before, and that technology is expensive to replace. Parts are also more interconnected — damage to your bumper might also require you to replace motion sensors. In addition, supply chain shortages have driven up the cost of auto parts.

Medical costs are also rising. The amount spent on hospital care increased by an average of 5.1% per year over a 10-year period. An increase in medical costs means insurers have to pay out more money for accidents that result in injuries, ultimately causing them to raise rates.


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More people are driving to work

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many people were forced to work from home temporarily. Now that employers are beginning to reopen offices, employees are resuming their daily commutes. That means more accidents and more insurance claims, which result in more expensive car insurance for most drivers.


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Extreme weather events occur in your area

Extreme weather like hail, flooding and wildfires can make your area more risky to insure. So, if you had a hurricane or an increase in hailstorms in your area, you can expect to see your car insurance rates go up as well.

For example, there were 898,500 car insurance claims caused by hail from 2016 to 2018, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Texas, Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas have the most auto, home and farm insurance claims related to hail, so drivers in those states may pay more for comprehensive coverage.


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There are more distracted drivers on the road

Distracted driving is becoming more common, and cellphones aren't the only devices to blame. Drivers are preoccupied with multiple electronics as large touch screens become more common in new cars.

As a result, driver distraction is responsible for more accidents each year. There was an increase of nearly 2% in the number of fatal accidents because of distracted driving from 2019 to 2020, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). From an insurance perspective, this results in more claims, compelling insurers to raise car insurance rates across the board.


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Crime rates in your area have gone up

Auto theft is expensive for your insurance company, especially if your car isn't recovered.

Although your car insurance rates won't usually go up if you file a claim after your car is stolen, you may end up paying more for car insurance if crime rates are on the rise in your area. This is especially true if you have comprehensive coverage, which protects against car theft.


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There's an increase in uninsured drivers

If you're involved in an accident with an uninsured driver, your insurance company will pay for your medical bills and damage to your car, if you have the correct coverage. While an uninsured motorist claim won't usually raise your insurance rates, more uninsured drivers mean accidents are more expensive for insurance companies, which raises rates.

The number of uninsured drivers only increased by 1.2% between 2015 and 2019, according to the Insurance Research Council. However, some states had a greater increase than others. The number of uninsured drivers grew by nearly 7% in Washington, and drivers in the state probably saw an increase in the cost of uninsured motorist coverage. On the other hand, Michigan had a 10% decrease in uninsured motorists, which could result in cheaper car insurance for drivers there.


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Car insurance fraud is on the rise

Fraud is very expensive for auto insurance companies. Unfortunately, those costs are passed on to drivers in the form of higher car insurance rates. According to the FBI, insurance fraud across all types of insurance costs the average family $400 to $700 per year in increased insurance rates.

There are a lot of insurance fraud schemes that affect the car insurance industry, including staged car accidents, fake injury claims and exaggerated repair costs. Fraud raises rates overall, and victims tend to pay more after a scam, too. About 72% of alleged fraud victims saw their car insurance rates go up after a fraud-related claim.

4 ways to bring your car insurance rates down

Although many of the factors that influence your auto insurance rates are outside of your control, there are a few things that you can do to lower your rates:

  1. Compare rates: Any time your car insurance rates go up, you should start by comparing quotes from other companies. Consider smaller regional companies along with large national insurers. Smaller companies often have better rates; just make sure you're not sacrificing financial stability.
  2. Search for discounts: While most insurers offer a discount for bundling home and auto policies or being a safe driver, some provide larger discounts than others. Some insurers also offer more niche discounts for military members, federal employees or even drivers who belong to an alumni association. You should also check with your current insurer to make sure that you're taking advantage of all of the discounts you're eligible for.

    In addition, people who don't drive often or have a short commute should consider a pay-per-mile program — you could save money by simply driving less.

  3. Improve your credit score: Working on your credit score takes more time and effort than the previous steps, but it can have a big impact on your car insurance rates. On average, drivers with an average credit score pay $1,130 per year less for car insurance than those with bad credit.
  4. Adjust your coverage: Switching from a full-coverage policy to one with minimum coverage can save around $96 per month. However, the savings come at a cost — minimum-coverage insurance won't pay for damage to your car, and the liability limits might not be high enough to protect you if you're in a bad accident. If you drive an older car, you could consider removing comprehensive and collision coverage without adjusting your liability coverage, which can still save you quite a bit of money.

Frequently asked questions

Why did my car insurance go up when I moved?

The area where you live is an important factor in your car insurance rate, which is why moving affects how much you pay. Insurance companies consider your area's crime rates, local laws, population density, collision statistics and even the frequency of extreme weather to determine how much to charge for car insurance.

Why does my car insurance increase every year?

Car insurance rates regularly increase to keep up with the cost of paying out claims. As car repair and medical costs increase, accident claims become more expensive for your insurer. An increase in crime, insurance fraud or extreme weather events in your area can also contribute to yearly rate increases.

Does getting a new car raise your insurance rates?

New cars are usually more expensive to insure than older models because they cost more to replace in the event that you total your vehicle. They also tend to have more expensive technology built in, which can make repairs costly.

Does your insurance go up if you add a driver?

Adding a driver to your policy could potentially raise your car insurance rates. However, it depends on that person's age and driving history. For example, adding a newly licensed 16-year-old will raise your rates significantly, but a 30-year-old driver with a clean record and good credit probably won't affect your rates much.

Does a car accident raise insurance rates?

If you cause a car accident, you can expect your rates to go up by 31%, on average. However, you shouldn't see an increase if the accident wasn't your fault.

How much is too much for car insurance?

The average national cost for full-coverage car insurance is $1,935 per year. That rate varies depending on the state you live in, though. If your car insurance costs more than your state's average, you should consider shopping for a new policy.


Methodology

We collected thousands of rates from insurers across the U.S. to determine average car insurance rates. These quotes were used to find rates for drivers with a speeding ticket, accident and DUI, the average cost of insurance by state, the difference in cost based on credit score, and the difference in cost based on marital status.

Cellphone violation data includes quotes from ZIP codes across California from eight of the largest insurers in the state.

Rates for metropolitan areas are based on the five most densely populated cities in California, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.

All quotes are for a 30-year-old male driving a 2015 Honda Civic EX using the following base policy or the state minimum requirement, whichever is higher:

Coverage type
Study limits
Bodily injury liability$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident
Property damage liability$25,000 per accident
Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident
Comprehensive and collision$500 deductible

ValuePenguin's analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only — your own quotes may be different.

Sources

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.