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How reward card applications could increase your car insurance rates

by on Thu May 21, 2015 • No Comment


For one MyFico member, a spree of reward card applications contributed to Progressive increasing auto insurance premiums from $691 to $983, a 46% increase, despite an improving standard credit score.


Insurers use special insurance credit scores, which take information from your credit file to establish your risk of a car accident and insurance claim.

Since insurers are tying credit data to insurance claim data, the outcomes can be very different than those you get applying to banks, where they are tying your credit data to debt repayment data.

So your insurance score can be bad even if you have a great credit score.

For example, someone who applies for a lot of cards in a year and keeps a high credit score might not have a significantly higher chance of defaulting on a credit card.

But an insurance company mining its data might find someone who does that has a higher chance of getting in an auto accident. It could be a signal of risk taking.

Regardless, the use of credit information to set auto insurance rates is real.

And while your normal credit score might be great or improving, components of your credit file might be giving signals that you are more risky when it comes to getting into car accidents.

And that means your rates can go up.

You can get a representative (though not entirely accurate) insurance score on sites like Credit Karma.

Where are you safe?

If you live in these states, you don’t have to worry about this issue:

  • California
  • Massachusetts
  • Hawaii

Their state legislatures have banned the use of credit information in the underwriting of auto insurance policies.

What if your rate goes up?

If you are used to signing up for multiple credit card deals, you’re savvy, and you know how to shop around.

So the good news is the auto insurance market is incredibly competitive, and it’s easy to find fresh quotes from other companies who may offer you a rate as good or better than your old one.

But if you have an agent you like dealing with, and are really happy with the service your insurance carrier provides, then getting a rate hike is a bigger deal.

And you’re going to want to be more cautious about opening up new cards.


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