Why did my car insurance rate go up?

Car accidents and traffic violations are common explanations for an insurance rate increase, but other reasons why your car insurance rate can go up include changing your address, adding a new vehicle or driver, increases to claims in your ZIP code, and increases to car repair/replacement cost. Know that insurance premiums aren't raised on a whim, and the reason for a car insurance rate increase is almost always tied to insurance risk.

5 min to read

Reasons for a car insurance rate increase

If you're wondering, "Why is my car insurance so high?" you may have experienced a car insurance rate increase. While you can influence some car insurance rate factors, some reasons that are beyond your control can also lead to a rate increase. (The same goes for factors that can lower your car insurance rate.)

Here are some of the most common reasons for your car insurance rate to go up:

  • Speeding tickets and other moving violations

    Violations on your motor vehicle report, especially a DUI or multiple speeding tickets, tell your insurance company that you're more likely to have an accident than a driver with no violations. The more violations you have, the higher your risk to file a claim — resulting in a rate increase. Even a minor moving violation ticket could increase your car insurance rate. The good news is, insurance companies often don't increase your rate due to a non-moving violation like a parking ticket.

  • Accidents: Both at-fault and not-at-fault

    Just like with violations, at-fault accidents on your driving record often indicate you're at risk for more, and insurance companies will price you accordingly. You may ask, will my insurance go up if I file a claim for an accident that isn't my fault? In some cases, yes — even accidents you didn't cause can increase your rate in states that allow it, as insurers have data showing that some drivers have a propensity for not-at-fault accidents.

  • Comprehensive claims

    Depending on your insurance company and your state, your rate may increase for damage-related incidents that were out of your control. Your rate may go up if you have comprehensive auto coverage and file a claim for incidents like car theft and vandalism, hitting a deer, fire, glass breakage (including a cracked windshield), hail/weather-related damage, and other acts of nature.

  • Adding vehicles and drivers

    If you purchase a more expensive car, your rate is likely to go up as your new ride may be more likely to be stolen and cost more to repair or replace than your previous vehicle. Adding a new driver to your existing policy could also drive up your price, especially adding teen drivers or someone with a poor driving record.

  • Claims in your area

    As unfair as it may seem, you may experience an auto rate increase due to insurance claims data in your ZIP code. If your area has a high rate of theft, accident, or weather-related claims, it becomes riskier for an insurance company to cover drivers there. That risk can lead to an auto insurance price increase, even if you have a perfect driving record.

  • Moving

    Changing the address where your car is "garaged" (kept overnight) is a rare instance where your rate could increase mid-policy without making changes to your coverages, vehicles, or covered drivers. If you're moving out of state, you'll need a new auto policy. However, if you're remaining in the same state, your rate could go up based on claims in your new ZIP code.

  • Age

    While senior car insurance discounts may be available depending on your insurer and state, your rate could increase around the time you reach your mid-70s. From a risk perspective, insurance companies often view drivers in their 70s, 80s, and 90s as riskier than they were as middle-aged adults, but likely still not as risky as teens (unless you start filing more claims or have an increase in other risk factors).

    Learn more about how your age can impact your insurance rate.

  • Lapse in insurance

    If you're looking to reinstate a policy or start a new one and are coming off a lapse in car insurance coverage, you might be charged more for insurance.

  • Loss of discounts

    If you no longer qualify for discounts that are based upon having no tickets or accidents on your driving record, your auto rate will likely increase. Not only could your rate go up due to the incident, but you could also lose associated discounts. For example, if you had a discount for not being involved in an accident for the past three years, you'll no longer qualify for that discount after getting in an accident. Other common discounts you could lose if your situation changes include ones for being a homeowner, going paperless, and bundling home and auto policies.

    If you've lost a discount, there may be other ways to lower your policy's rate. Check out other tips on how to get cheap auto insurance.

Is it normal for car insurance to go up for no reason?

If your car insurance goes up for seemingly no reason when you renew your policy, it's likely due to an increase in risk that's outside of your control. This could include reasons like increased claims in your area (due to more extreme weather damage, more accidents, etc.) and higher car repair and replacement costs.

Why does my car insurance keep going up?

If you notice your car insurance keeps going up each time you renew, it could be from rising car insurance rate trends over time. These are often caused by factors outside your control, like increases in the costs to repair and replace vehicles or increases in claims and claim severity in your area.

Car insurance can also keep going up because of factors specific to you that have changed from period to period (like your location, age, claims history, driving record, car make and model, etc.). Keep in mind that car insurance typically increases not right when you make a change but when you renew your policy. You may need to think back to trace all the factors that may have changed in recent years.

Why did my car insurance go up after renewal?

Car insurance rates typically increase when you renew your policy, not immediately after there's a change to your rating factors (other than moving and adding a car or driver). Keep in mind that auto rates can go up based on factors out of your control, such as if claims increased in your ZIP code.

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