Consumers See Auto Insurance Costs Altered by Credit History

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  • Over the past several years, consumers of all stripes have likely seen their auto insurance premiums increase considerably, and this is unfortunately driven by a number of factors. However, one issue which affects their monthly costs that they might not think about overall is their credit score, and it can have a major impact on premiums. For this reason, it might be a good idea for insurance agents to do more to talk to consumers about what ends up affecting their policies’ prices, and therefore, what they might be able to do to bring their costs down in this regard.

    Auto insurance costs are dictated in some ways by something as simple as consumers’ credit ratings, and a recent study found that for those who have little to no borrowing history – or a damaged one – the insurance costs they face are typically much higher than those for people who are regular, reliable borrowers, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. A recent study from the consumer data site WalletHub found that, on average, the difference in premium prices was 65 percent nationwide, and only three states (Massachusetts, Hawaii, and California) prohibit insurers from examining this information when setting policies.

    Who does this impact?
    The unfortunate reality for many drivers is that this kind of issue will likely affect how much they pay for their auto coverage, the report said. As many as 77 million people nationwide – about 1 in 3 adults – had some sort of outstanding balances sent to collections, and it seems that this kind of practice isn’t going to go away any time soon.

    “[Credit history] has been determined to be highly predictive of loss in the auto-insurance line,” Robert Hartwig, an economist and president of the Insurance Information Institute, told the newspaper.

    Insurance agents who can walk consumers through the ins and outs of their policies will typically see huge upticks in their customer satisfaction overall. Clients who have good relationships with their agents tend to have better feelings about their insurers and plans than those who are simply able to find the lowest prices, particularly because the latter often comes at the expense of the former. As such, professionals who can strike the best balance between finding affordable policies and providing regular, high-quality customer service are will often be those with the highest retention rates.