Car Rates 101- What Matters?

It’s common knowledge that the make, model and year of your vehicle will have an impact on how high or low your auto policy insurance rate may be, yet  there are a few other important factors that go into this calculation as well. Let’s check it out.

Annual Mileage

How long is your commute every day? Also, do you drive into a busy city center or just to work and day care and home? Calculate by month or week to make this estimate more accurate. If you don’t drive a lot, it might benefit you to look into a mileage-based insurance premium! Covid-19 has proved helpful in this area for some of our clients who now work remotely. How much or how little you drive matters.

Your Insurance History: “Insurance Score”

Not to be confused with your credit score, an individual’s insurance score is an indicator of a person’s financial responsibilities and money management skills. These scores are used to help predict the likeliness of needing a claim. These scores are often seen to help an individual’s quoted car insurance rate. (1.)

Financed or Leased?

Gap insurance is on our minds when we ask our clients if the car is owned, financed or leased. Reason being- if you still owe money on your car and have a total loss situation, you will need gap insurance to cover the remaining amount. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay out of pocket to cover the balance. Ensuring you have full collision/comprehensive coverage will help in this area of questioning as well. Financing matters. 

Make, Model, Year

Insurance companies are no stranger to the different types of cars out there and- more importantly- how likely these types of cars are to incur claims. Flashy sports car for example is more likely to be stolen than a minivan. Also bodywork costs or modified or classic cars may require different levels of coverage. If you’re driving a “safe” or new car with many safe-driving features, you’ll likely be looking at a fairly competitive and, yes, attractive rate. 

Location, Location, Location

Depending on where you live, your rate will vary. Will you car be parked in a covered garage on parallel parked on a busy street? Your car’s “home” matters.


Ah, the old adage that age is just a number. To insurance companies, seniority tends to work in your favor. Just turned 16? Your rate will likely be a premium to account for your experience (or lack-thereof). Age matters, in this case. 

Years of Driving Experience

Now let’s say you’re one of our friends who just left Boston or New York and is buying a new car for the first time in 20 years. You can expect your rate to be a little higher than say someone who has been driving in the burbs that whole time. While age is an important factor, years of driving experience is also a co-factor that matters. 

Driving History

Safety and your driving record counts. Nobody is perfect, but make sure you’re taking every precaution to follow community signs, coming to a full stop, and of course- no speeding! Everyone gets into accidents, but always use defensive driving skills to avoid collisions being your fault. Your driving history matters big time.

Credit Score

Credit score is something that will let your insurance company know you’re reliable to make a payment or not. While it’s not a perfect system, try to improve your score if you know you’ll be in the market to upgrade your car and insurance policy. A few points may save you big.


Finally, Discounts!

Don’t be shy when asking your insurance company or broker about available discounts like the following. (2.)

  • Antitheft devices
  • Multiple policies with the same company
  • College students living away from home
  • Defensive driving courses
  • Drivers ed courses
  • Low annual mileage
  • Long-time customer
  • More than one car
  • No accidents in three years
  • No moving violations in three years
  • Student drivers with good grades

Please let us know how we can best serve you in your personal or business insurance needs or have any questions related to your business’ activity.

We fully support clients with personalized insurance needs for their lifestyle and situation.

J. M. Whitney Insurance is an independent insurance agency located in Watertown, Massachusetts. Give us a call, stop by, or request a quote online to find out how much we can save you on your insurance.

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