Insurista, the comprehensive insurance blog

Full width home advertisement

Post Page Advertisement [Top]

rental car damage and liability insurance

Many key factors determine your comprehensive car insurance rates, including your driving recordcredit scorelocationagegendervehicle typemileage, and claims history. A clean record and good credit score generally result in lower premiums. High-risk drivers pay more for coverage. Understanding the major rating factors allows you to compare rates and make informed choices when purchasing auto insurance.

There are several factors that may vary the cost of your comprehensive coverage, but you can also save a lot of money

Driving Record

Your driving record is one of the most critical factors that auto insurance companies examine when determining your rates. It provides insurers with insights into your driving habits and risk profile as a policyholder.

Traffic Violations

Insurers closely evaluate your history of traffic violations like:

  • Speeding

  • Reckless driving

  • Failure to stop

  • Running red lights

  • DUIs

Drivers with multiple violations are seen as higher risk and have to pay more for car insurance coverage. For example:

  • A single speeding ticket can increase rates by 15-30%

  • Just one DUI can nearly double annual premiums


Rate Increase

Clean Record


1 Speeding Ticket




2+ DUIs


Keeping a clean driving record for 3-5 years can help lower those surcharges.

At-Fault Accidents

Having an at-fault accident on your record also raises insurance rates substantially. Premiums normally increase after a single at-fault crash by 25-45%. The more accidents you have, the higher your rates climb.

  • 1 At-Fault Crash: +25-45%

  • 2 At-Fault Crashes: +50-90%

  • 3+ At-Fault Crashes: 100%+

Rates typically remain elevated for 3-5 years after an at-fault accident. The best way to lower your premiums is to maintain a safe, accident-free record over time.

Credit History

Your credit-based insurance score is another major factor that insurance companies use to set premiums. In most states, insurers look at your credit report to gauge financial responsibility.

How Credit Impacts Premiums

  • Drivers with good credit tend to file fewer claims

  • Poor credit correlates to irresponsibility in insurers' eyes

  • Bad credit = higher perceived risk = higher rates

Here's how credit scores impact average annual premiums:

Credit Rating

Average Premium

Excellent (800+)


Good (680-799)


Fair (620-679)


Poor (500-619)


*Data source: The Zebra 2022 analysis

As you can see, going from good to poor credit can almost double annual insurance costs.

Improving Your Score

If your credit is less than stellar, take steps to improve it before your next policy renewal. Things that help include:

  • Paying bills on time

  • Paying down balances

  • Disputing errors on your report

  • Limiting new credit applications

Insurance scoring models focus on real markers of financial responsibility. Improving your credit history can pay dividends in lower premiums.

State Exceptions

Be aware that California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Michigan have laws prohibiting the use of credit when pricing insurance policies. Your location determines if this factor applies.


Where you live, park, and drive your vehicle has a significant influence on auto insurance rates. Insurance companies consider location-based risk factors when pricing policies.

Geographic Differences

Rates can vary dramatically between states, cities, and even ZIP codes. For example:

  • Michigan's average annual premium is $2,693

  • Maine's average is just $984

Population density is a key factor. Metro areas with more cars and drivers on the road tend to have higher premiums. Rural low-traffic areas often enjoy lower rates.

Costs are also higher in regions with:

  • More vandalism

  • Higher rate of accident claims

  • More expensive auto repairs

  • Higher medical costs

Urban regions typically see more crashes and claims, driving up everyone's rates.

Parking Location

Insurers consider your garaging address and where you park the vehicle regularly. Storing your car in:

  • An enclosed garage = lower risk

  • On-street parking = higher risk of weather damage, vandalism, and theft

Parking on high-risk city streets rather than a secure garage could cost 5-15% more in premiums.

Commute Distance

Mileage and distance driven regularly also impact premiums. A 10-mile commute is less risky than a 50-mile commute every day. High mileage drivers have more exposure on the road.

Let your insurance company know if your driving habits change, so they can reevaluate your rates accordingly. Location matters when pricing car insurance coverage.

Vehicle Type

The specific vehicle you drive is a key rating factor for auto insurers. Certain cars, trucks and SUVs are more expensive to insure than others.

Vehicle Attributes

Insurers evaluate:

  • Make and model

  • Age

  • Repair costs

  • Safety ratings

  • Anti-theft features

Newer cars generally cost more to insure due to higher replacement part costs. But new safety tech can lower premiums. Older cars are cheaper to insure, but lack modern safety systems.

Here are sample annual premiums by vehicle:


Average Premium

2021 Honda Civic


2021 Ford F-150


2021 Toyota Camry


2015 Honda Civic


2015 Ford F-150


*Rates assume 45-year old driver with good credit and clean record

Luxury cars, sports cars, and specialty trucks often have the highest insurance rates due to repair costs. Family sedans and minivans tend to be cheaper.

Anti-Theft Features

Investing in anti-theft upgrades like:

  • Alarm system

  • Tracking device

  • Immobilizer

  • VIN etching

Can earn you up to a 15% discount from insurers. Preventing theft lowers risk. Discuss options with your provider.

The right vehicle helps minimize insurance costs.


Your age is a significant factor for auto insurance companies when evaluating risk and setting premiums. Rates fluctuate as you progress through different life stages.

Teen Drivers

Due to lack of experience, teen drivers pay the highest rates. Premiums typically peak around ages 16-19. Here are average full coverage costs for teen drivers:


Average Annual Premium









*Rates assume teen driver with clean record

Adding a teen to your policy can easily double your family's auto insurance costs. Many parents simply can't afford premiums and delay licensing.

Young Adults

Rates start to decrease around age 20 and can drop 20% by 25. Becoming an adult driver pays dividends.


Average Annual Premium







*Rates assume one speeding ticket

Good student discounts help offset high costs for young drivers maintaining a B average.

Mature Drivers

Generally by the mid-30s, drivers tend to pay the lowest rates based on experience. But costs creep up again after age 70 due to higher claims risk. Defensive driving courses help counteract age-related increases.

No matter your age, comparison shopping is key to finding the best auto insurance rate.


In most states, gender plays a role in auto insurance rates. According to insurance data:

  • Male drivers under 25 tend to have more accidents

  • Men receive more traffic violations than women

  • Thus, young men generally pay higher premiums

However, some states like California prohibit the use of gender as an insurance rating factor. Rates in those areas are gender-neutral.

But for most of the country, being a young male driver equates to higher car insurance costs.

Claims History

Your prior claims with your current insurer and previous auto insurance providers heavily influences premiums. Too many claims signal higher risk.

At-Fault Claims

At-fault accidents where you caused the damage are major red flags for insurers. Just one at-fault claim can increase your rates by 25-45% per year. Multiple at-fault accidents within a few years can nearly double your costs.

It's critical to avoid excessive at-fault claims if you want to keep rates affordable. Here's how at-fault claims impact premiums:

At-Fault Claims

Average Annual Premium Increase








+100% or more

Rates typically stay elevated for 3-5 years after an at-fault claim before decreasing.

Comprehensive Claims

Filing comprehensive claims for damage from vandalism, weather, or animals generally has a lesser impact on premiums than at-fault accidents. But multiple comprehensive claims can still increase your costs up to 10-20%.

Insurers may opt not to renew your policy if you file too many claims of any type within a short period. Avoid excessive claims to keep rates affordable.

No-Fault Accidents

The good news is that accidents where you are not at fault generally don't impact your rates. No-fault and uninsured motorist claims don't penalize good drivers. However, stay vigilant about avoiding any preventable incidents.

Your overall claims history sets expectations on future costs for insurance providers.


How much you drive your vehicle annually directly correlates to your risk exposure on the road. The more miles driven, the more likely you are to be involved in an accident. For that reason, mileage is another key rating factor for auto insurers.

Commute Distance

Insurers look at your daily commute distance, as longer distances equal more time on the road. For example:

  • 10 mile daily commute = lower premium

  • 50 mile daily commute = higher premium

Cutting your commute distance, whenever possible, can help lower insurance rates.

Annual Mileage

Companies also consider total miles driven each year. Low annual mileage (5,000-10,000 miles) suggests less risk, while high annual mileage (15,000+ miles) indicates higher exposure.

Annual Mileage

Average Premium

5,000 miles


10,000 miles


15,000 miles


20,000+ miles


*Rates assume 35-year old driver with full coverage

The variance in premiums based on mileage is clear. Reduce driving distances to save.

Occasional Usage

For cars driven infrequently, specialty insurers offer affordable leisure-use or pleasure-use insurance. These policies reflect lower risk for vehicles not used for daily transportation.

Keeping mileage within reason helps control insurance costs. But don't sacrifice safety just to save money.

Coverage Level

The amount of insurance coverage you choose directly impacts premium costs. Higher limits equal a higher premium. But skimping on coverage is risky.

Minimum vs. Full

At a minimum, you need liability insurance meeting your state's requirements. This covers damage and injuries you cause others in an accident.

However, experts recommend also getting:

  • Collision (pays to repair your car after an accident)

  • Comprehensive (pays for damage from weather, theft etc.)

This combination is called full coverage. It protects your vehicle as well as others.

Coverage Type

Average Premium

Minimum Liability


Full Coverage


*Rates assume 35-year old driver with clean record

Going above minimums increases costs, but provides critical protections.

Policy Limits

Liability insurance coverage levels are shown as three numbers:


  • $100k per person injured

  • $300k per accident

  • $100k property damage

Higher numbers mean more protection. Increasing limits raises premiums, but could save you from massive liability payouts after a serious accident. Discus options with your insurance agent.

Extra Coverages

Additional options like rental reimbursement, roadside assistance, and rideshare coverage also increase premiums. But they provide benefits that may be worth the cost.

Evaluate your risks, assets, and budget to choose optimal coverage for your needs.

Marital Status

Marriage offers many financial benefits, including potentially lower car insurance rates. Insurers consider marital status when evaluating risk.

  • Married drivers tend to be more cautious and file fewer claims

  • Data shows married couples have fewer accidents

  • Thus, they present less risk to insurance companies

As a result, most auto insurers offer a discount for married applicants. Average savings are:

  • 5-15% discount for married couples

  • 10-20% discount when bundling two policies

The key is consistency. Recently divorced drivers may lose their married discount until they legally re-establish single status.

For unmarried couples living together, consider getting a domestic partnership affidavit from your DMV to qualify for the same discounts as married policyholders.

Overall, marriage provides some advantages when shopping for auto insurance coverage. But safe driving habits are most critical for securing low rates.

Other readers were also interested in the following posts:

Is Full Coverage Car Insurance Worth It?   

Comprehensive Car Insurance: What It Is and What It covers    

Why Comprehensive Car Insurance is Best?

How does comprehensive coverage differ from liability coverage or collision coverage?

Real-life scenarios where comprehensive coverage would be necessary or beneficial  

Discover the Benefits of Comprehensive Coverage

No comments:

Post a Comment

Bottom Ad [Post Page]

Enter URL:
Powered by: