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The average cost of car insurance is $1,592 per year, according to NerdWallet.  But there are several things that can affect the rate you pay.  Every insurance company has their own formula for calculating a driver’s risk.  The riskier you appear to insurers, the more you’ll pay for coverage.  Here are some factors that affect your car insurance rates.

The type of coverage

Most states require you to at least have liability coverage which will help you pay for damages to someone else’s car.  The minimum insurance requirements vary from state to state, but typically include bodily injury coverage per person, bodily injury coverage per accident and property damage coverage per accident.  While it’s enough coverage to get you driving legally, it may not be enough to protect you if you’re in a bad accident and at fault.  Getting more coverage will cost more money.  Liability insurance only covers bodily injury and property costs you may incur if you’re at fault. Collision and comprehensive coverage for your own vehicle, property and bodily injury usually costs twice as much the minimum required insurance.

Your age

Teens tend to drive more recklessly and get into more accidents than any other age group.  Therefore, they pay the most expensive premiums.  The good news is your insurance rates usually go down once you turn 25.  In case you’re wondering which drivers pay the least, it’s drivers in their mid-50s.

Car make and model

Certain cars are more expensive to insure than others.  High end cars cost more to insure because the parts are expensive to repair.  It also costs more to replace if you total your vehicle.  Sports cars have increased premiums because their owners tend to drive faster and are at higher risk of causing an accident. You may also want to stay away from vehicles commonly targeted by thieves.  For example, the Honda Civic, Honda Accord, and Ford pickup are some of the most stolen vehicles in America.

Driving record

Having a speeding ticket, DUI or other traffic violations on your driving record can impact your insurance.  Plus, your behavior can result in an accident or someone getting hurt.  According to insurance.com, here’s how much certain traffic violations can cost you:

ViolationPercent increaseDollar increase
DUI/DWI first offense79%$1,131
Reckless driving73%$1,046
Speeding 30+ over limit30%$427
Texting while driving23%$344
Distracted driving22%$320
Speeding ticket 16-29 MPH over limit22%$317
Improper/illegal pass20%$293
Speeding ticket 1-15 MPH over limit20%$288
Failure to stop19%$272
Talking on cellphone while driving16%$224
Driving without a license or permit12%$178
Seatbelt infraction3%$47

Marital status

Your marital status is more important than you think.  Research shows that married drivers file less claims than all other drivers.  As a result, they pay less for coverage.

Your zip code

People in urban areas tend to pay higher premiums than those that live somewhere rural.  If you live in a zip code that has a high rate of accidents, vandalism, and theft claims, typically you’ll pay more for coverage.  Car insurance is also more costly if your area is prone to tornadoes, flooding, and wildfires.

Credit score

Most states except California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan consider your credit score when coming up with your insurance rate.  People with poor credit are a bigger risk because they tend to file more claims than those with good credit.  As a result, they usually pay over $1,500 more annually for insurance.