Why Is My Car Insurance Rate So High?

Your car insurance rates might be high due to your coverage levels, driving record, age, location, vehicle value, and more.
Written by Jessica Barrett
Edited by R.E. Fulton
Factors that can raise
car insurance rates
include high coverage limits, accidents and moving violations on your driving record, being a young driver, driving an expensive vehicle, and living in a high-risk zip code.
  • The cost of car insurance is up in 2023 due to inflation and post-pandemic stresses on the automotive and insurance industries. 
  • Average car insurance rates
    have gone up 26% since 2021. 
  • You might see higher rates even with a clean driving record if you are under 25, live in a high-risk ZIP code, or have poor credit. 

8 reasons why your car insurance is so expensive 

Car insurance rates depend on many factors—from your age and driving record to the type of car you drive to your zip code.
Here’s how auto insurance quotes vary based on a few common factors:
Description
Average annual rate
Minimum liability
$644
Full coverage
$2,010
18 year old with full coverage
$5,435
1 DUI with full coverage
$3, 389
Methodology: To find average rates for different profiles, we looked at data from resources like Motor 1, MarketWatch, US News, and Insurify, as well as our unique data.

You have high coverage levels

This is a good reason for your car insurance to be expensive. A minimum liability insurance policy will always be the cheapest insurance you can buy—but it’s not usually the best. 
As you raise your policy limits or purchase additional coverage, your premium will increase.
  • If you purchase
    full-coverage insurance
    , you’ll pay more than you would for liability-only insurance
  • Additional coverage options like gap insurance, personal injury protection (PIP), and roadside assistance will also increase your rate
  • A higher deductible on your collision coverage and/or comprehensive coverage can decrease your rate significantly

You have a poor driving record

Traffic violations tell car insurance providers that you’re
a risky driver
, and that tag comes with higher rates. 
  • While a small speeding ticket won’t increase your rate as much as a reckless driving charge, you’ll still see a rate hike
  • Once you have an at-fault accident or claim on your record, the likelihood that you’ll incur a second accident and/or claim increases significantly
  • Serious violations like DUIs will stay on your driving record for many years and can impact insurance rates for up to a decade
  • If you require
    an SR-22 certificate
    , you will pay high rates for car insurance

You don’t have much driving experience

Young drivers and new drivers are high-risk drivers and pay more for insurance. Car insurance rates tend to go down once you reach the age of 25.
  • Young drivers are statistically more likely to be involved in accidents than drivers with more experience
  • Rates tend to decrease once you reach the age of 25 and then increase again once you reach your mid-70s

You drive an expensive vehicle

Pricier cars cost more to insure because they will cost your insurer more to repair or replace after a claim. If you own a luxury vehicle or sports car, you’ll pay higher insurance rates.
  • New cars are also more expensive to insure than older vehicles due to their high replacement cost
  • Classic cars may be an exception—they’re valuable but require specialized
    classic car coverage
    insurance that usually costs less

You drive frequently (and far)

The more you drive, the higher your risk. If you put a lot of miles on your car each year, expect to pay more for your insurance coverage.
  • Some companies offer pay-as-you-go insurance or pay-per-mile insurance, where you pay a base premium plus a specific rate per mile you drive
  • If you rarely drive, you might qualify for a low-mileage discount

Your location is higher risk

Location is a big factor in your insurance rates, and rates can vary widely even within the same city. Living in an area deemed higher risk by insurers will usually mean pricier insurance.
  • Insurance costs more in urban areas than it does in rural ones
  • Zip codes with higher vehicle theft rates have higher premiums
  • Areas that are prone to severe weather (like flooding) tend to have higher auto insurance rates

You have a low credit score

There is a statistical correlation between low credit scores and insurance claims, so most insurance companies use something called a “credit-based insurance score” to set premiums. On average, drivers with good credit pay lower premiums than drivers with poor credit scores.
  • Some states, like California, Massachusetts, and Michigan, ban the use of credit scores when setting auto insurance premiums
  • For the best insurance rates, at least a “good” FICO score and solid credit history is recommended

Your insurance company is pricey

Sometimes, it’s just about the company you’re with. Insurance companies use
different methods to calculate their premiums
, so switching companies may be all you need to find the best rate.
  • Compare insurance quotes
    between at least 3-5 insurers to make sure you’re getting the best car insurance rate
  • Using an insurance broker or comparison app like
    Jerry
    can save you time and hassle

Ask about discounts to lower your insurance costs

Car insurance discounts
are a great way to reduce your insurance premium. Different insurers offer different discounts, and some may not be available with every company or in every state.
While many insurance companies automatically apply discounts that you’re eligible for, it never hurts to ask if you can find further savings.
Here are some of the most popular discounts:
  • Good driver: Keeping your record free of car accidents and claims for at least 3 years
  • Bundling: Buying two or more insurance products with the same company (like homeowners and auto)
  • Good student: Maintaining at least a B/3.0 average in full-time studies
  • Pay-in-full: Paying your premium annually instead of monthly
  • Multi-vehicle: Insuring two or more vehicles with the same insurance company
  • Accident forgiveness: Sometimes available as an add-on for purchase and sometimes applied as an automatic discount, accident forgiveness prevents a rate increase after your first accident. 
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FAQs

If you don’t have any recent changes to your insurance profile, such as an at-fault accident, a driving violation, or a new vehicle or address, your rate increase was probably caused by market forces, which have increased the average cost of car insurance by about 26% since 2021.
The cost of car insurance depends on your car’s value and your risk as a driver. Inflation and an uptick in unsafe driving habits have caused both of these factors to rise in recent years, making car insurance more expensive than ever. 
Building credit, enrolling in a telematics or usage-based insurance program, and comparing auto rates with Jerry are the best ways to lower your car insurance costs. 
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