For Consumers

Why does auto insurance cost so much?

Auto insurance companies look at a variety of factors when setting auto rates to determine your premium.

An auto premium is the amount an insurance company charges you in return for auto coverage. To determine how much your company will charge you (and others who have the same risk), it looks at rating factors.

Factors companies look at when setting auto rates

Insurers can base rates on certain factors that affect risk, including:

  • Your age
  • Your gender
  • Marital status: Insurers must consider domestic partnerships the same as married couples for rate purposes.
  • Your vehicle: Generally, the more expensive your vehicle, the more you pay for insurance. Also, because sports cars and high-performance cars are involved in more accidents, cost more to repair, and are stolen more often, they cost more to insure.
  • Where you live: Population density, crime and driving conditions, for example, affect risks.
  • How much you drive
  • Your driving record and your claims history
  • Credit history: Your insurer may use information in your credit history to determine your premium. Each company weighs these factors differently, so your score will vary from company to company. Some insurers might use the credit history of the first person named as the insured on a policy, so ask your agent about how that can affect your rates. If your credit insurance score causes you to pay a higher premium, the company must tell you what factors caused that increase. You should also be aware of information insurers cannot use to determine your premium.

How insurance rates get approved

Insurance companies must send us their rate requests (leg.wa.gov) when they want to change their rates.

Before we'll decide to approve or disapprove the request, we'll review the rate request to make sure the company's financial and statistical data are accurate, and sufficient to justify the rate change.