For Consumers

How do insurance companies set auto premiums?

Insurance companies determine your auto premiums by starting with the base rate and adjusting it based on rating factors specific to you and your policy.

Learn how auto and homeowner rates get approved in Washington,

Rate factors on your auto insurance policy could include:

Driving factors

The make, model, and year of your car determine how expensive it would be to repair or replace. Check with your insurance company or agent before you buy a new car.

Where you live and keep your car, your driving record, and how many miles you drive each year could also be factors.

Insurance companies use the number of drivers (and their driving experience) and vehicles on your policy, and your claims history — the number of claims you’ve filed with your insurance company — to determine your premiums. They could even non-renew your policy after you file a claim.

Non-driving factors

Companies can use your age, credit history, education, gender, marital status, employment status and occupation as rate factors.

Why does auto insurance cost so much?

Insurance premiums go up when costs to repair or replace vehicles go up. As more technology is integrated into vehicles, repairs become more expensive and time consuming, with claims taking longer to process. The higher costs to resolve claims ultimately get passed on to policyholders.

Inflation trends also affect premiums.

How to save money on your premiums

Shop around for lower premiums and ask your agent or company if they offer special discounts.

Consider a policy with higher collision and comprehensive deductibles if you keep enough money in savings to afford it. Your agent or company can provide an estimate on how higher deductibles lower your premiums. And if you have a low-value, paid-for car, collision coverage may not be worth it. Liability coverage, however, is required in Washington state.

Remember, if your insurance premiums change, your insurance company has to tell you why