It’ll come as a surprise to no one, but your car insurance rate doesn’t just depend on how good of a driver you are. If that feels unfair, you’re really not wrong. In a new story from Consumer Reports, the outlet found that drivers in New York with a clean driving record but a low credit score were quoted, on average, $1,367 more than identical drivers with excellent credit.
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ZIP codes also play a really big factor in pricing discrepancies. According to CR, drivers in ZIP codes with predominantly Black residents will pay $3,411 on average if they also have bad credit.
The outlet found this information by looking at a study done by the Consumer Federation of America, a nonprofit advocacy group. It covered nearly 100,000 insurance quotes from 10 major New York vehicle insurance companies, and the findings show just how unfair the practice can be.
From Consumer Reports:
The findings show just how much car insurance premiums can be inflated by factors that aren’t directly related to how safely a driver behaves on the road. They also reveal how a driver’s credit score can combine with their ZIP code to raise the cost of car insurance, which is mandatory for drivers in nearly every state.
“We’re talking about experienced drivers with no history of accidents or tickets facing premiums that are hundreds or sometimes thousands of dollars more, simply because of what shows up in their credit reports,” says Douglas Heller, the CFA insurance expert who led the new study. “This is unmistakably harmful to the people of New York.”
CR says that New York isn’t alone in this brutal trend. Only California, Hawaii and Massachusetts do not allow insurers to use drivers’ credit scores to set premiums. Anywhere else, and you’re going to probably have to pay more if you’ve got a lower credit score. On top of that, your ZIP code will just compound the issue.
“Over the years, studies have demonstrated that drivers with lower credit-based insurance scores have higher losses and those with higher credit-based insurance scores have lower losses,” Jeffery Brewer, vice president for public affairs at the American Property Casualty Insurance Association, which lobbies on behalf of the industry, told Consumer Reports.
Anyway, I don’t want to give too much away. There’s a lot of really interesting stuff packed into this article, and you should really check it out over on Consumer Reports.