There are so many factors that can affect your car insurance premium — including some you might not even expect — but there’s one you can guess has a big impact.

One of the major factors that can alter your car insurance premium are your driving habits, including accidents and traffic violations.

Read on to learn more about how driving habits, along with other factors, affect your car insurance premium.

WHAT DO “DRIVING HABITS” INCLUDE?

Driving habits don’t necessarily mean bad driving habits; they also include those good driving habits you have too. In general, insurance companies will use patterns in your driving history to establish how at-risk you are for having an auto accident or incident.

Here are some examples of negative driving habits, or those patterns that can cause an increase in your car insurance premium:

  • Driving at night
  • Driving excessively or long commute to work
  • History of accidents
  • History of traffic tickets or citations
  • Inexperienced driving
  • Major convictions
  • Using vehicle for business

These factors have been shown to increase accidents and incidents, thereby giving auto insurance carriers good reason to increase premiums.

WILL A SPEEDING TICKET INCREASE MY INSURANCE?

If you get your first speeding ticket, you might be worried that your insurance will go up as a result. Depending on how long you have been with your insurance company and the severity of the ticket, each insurance carrier will view this violation differently. While the rules vary between insurance carriers, here are the factors they look at when it comes to speed citations: ● Your driving record ● What offense was the ticket? (First, fifth, etc.) ● How much time has passed since a violation? ● How far over the speed limit were you driving?

HOW WILL MY CARRIER KNOW ABOUT MY DRIVING HABITS?

What if you try to hide poor driving habits from your insurance carrier? We don’t recommend it and here’s why.

If you don’t disclose honest information when acquiring your policy, and your insurance carrier discovers it later, coverage may be jeopardized.

If you’ve received a citation or conviction, your insurance agency may not know about it immediately, but they will be alerted when they review your driving record upon renewing your policy.

If you file an insurance claim, the assigned insurance adjuster will perform a full investigation and review of the vehicle, including how many miles are on the car (which could indicate excessive driving), as well as learn how the accident took place (at night or during business hours, etc.).

If you apply for usage-based auto insurance using a mobile app or plug-in device, your insurance carrier will see how long and far you drive, at what times, and certain actions taken by the vehicle (such as hard braking and fast acceleration).

HOW TO IMPROVE SAFE DRIVING HABITS

If any of the driving habits from above describe you, take measures below so they don’t become a problem for your car insurance premium.

  • Driving at night: With less visibility, night driving statistically has more potential to cause accidents. Try to avoid driving at night whenever possible.
  • Driving often or long commute: If you tend to drive a lot or have a long commute to work, consider carpooling or using public transportation more often.
  • History of accidents: Work hard to practice safe driving habits to ensure you aren’t getting into accidents.
  • History of traffic tickets or citations: Multiple citations or claims over time tells your insurance company that you might be a reckless driver. Depending on your state, citations could stay on your record for three years or more, so do your best to obey the speed limit and other driving laws to avoid tickets.
  • Inexperienced driving: Unfortunately, only time will improve this driving factor. The longer you drive (and without incident), the lower your premium will become.
  • Major convictions: If you have a history of major infractions, like a DUI or DWI, driving without insurance, or have an SR-22 insurance form, you’ll likely carry a higher premium. Avoid future major convictions so that your insurance rates can decrease as time goes on.
  • Using a vehicle for business: In some situations, there is no choice but to use your personal car for your business. However, if you’re able to invest in a business-only vehicle, that could help lighten the insurance premium on your personal vehicle.

WHAT OTHER FACTORS INCREASE CAR INSURANCE?

As you can guess, driving habits aren’t the only factor that affects your car insurance premium. Here are the other big factors you should know about.

Costly cars: The cost to repair or replace a vehicle is factored into your policy’s premium, so if you have a new, higher performance, or costly vehicle, you’ll be paying more for coverage.

Credit score: Statistically, drivers with lower credit file both more and higher insurance claims. As a result, in most states, insurance companies charge higher premiums when you have a low credit score.

Lack of safety features: While better vehicle safety features (such as automatic braking, lane assist, and video while in reverse) will decrease insurance premiums, lack thereof will increase them.

Location: Location can have a big impact on your auto insurance premium. Whether your area has frequent bad weather or high traffic levels, your neighborhood could affect your insurance rates.


By practicing safe driving habits and following the tips outlined here, you’ll be on your way to enjoying a lower car insurance premium.

If you need help finding the best car insurance coverage for the best price, start by speaking to a SimplyIOA agent at 833.872.4467 or get an auto insurance quote online now.