28 August 2020
CAR INSURANCE 101: Factors that affect insurance premiums
Looking for ways to lower your car insurance quote? Understanding these controlling factors can help

Over the past few days, we’ve gone through a crash course (no pun intended) on car insurance. From the basics such as excess and named drivers, to the types of car insurance available on the market, we hope our little series will instill some confidence in you the next time you’re out shopping for quotes.

Whether you’re a first-time car owner, or someone who’s been driving for the past 20 years, one thing that baffles most of us is how car insurance policy premiums are calculated. Sure, it might seem simple – if you’ve got a doctorate in mathematical sciences – but the calculation is otherwise beyond the average Joe.

As the average Joe, what you need to know is that your car insurance policy premium is calculated with something called the Risk Factor Rating System (RFRS). Simply put, this system – using several metrics – determines your likelihood of getting into an accident. Dark, eh?

Buying a powerful sporty car also means paying ‘powerful’ insurance premiums

Your Car’s Make & Model

Insurance companies are usually rather superficial. Got a sporty car? Or a car with a high power output? You’re probably going to pay more for your car insurance. Really, though, the guy in the 400hp coupe is more likely to be caught speeding than another guy in a 100hp economy hatchback.

Unfortunately, this factor is also affected by claims history by other policyholders driving the same make and model of car. If your car model tends to be sought after by the reckless boy-racer type, you’ll be deemed as a higher risk thanks to these people who spoil market.

Your Car’s Age

Here’s where being thrifty and buying used cars is a benefit! Based on trends, it’s been found that insurance premiums of older cars which are around 5-8 years old can be up to 25 percent lower than that of a newer model.

This might be attributable to the fact that older cars are simply cheaper to fix – whether it’s due to mechanical simplicity, or the amortization of parts costs over the production run. Although newer cars are safer, with features such as cameras and automatic brake assist, they cost big money to fix. With fancy LED headlamps and cutting-edge sensor systems, a minor fender bender typically results in a large repair bill.

Young men under 30 usually pay the highest insurance premiums

Your Gender

Maybe it’s profiling, maybe it’s gender discrimination – we’ll never know. But men typically pay higher insurance premiums than women, despite protests.

The rationale behind this is that women are supposedly less reckless on the road compared to men. There might be some truth to this, as men are less likely to let a motoring transgression against them slide.

Your Age

When buying car insurance, you’ll find that being young and being advanced in age will work against you. Insurance premiums are most affordable when you’re between 30 to 64 years old. This bracket is when you’re considered to be mature enough, yet still young enough to have your wits about you.

Below 30 is when insurers deem you to be young and wild and free, possessing recklessness and lacking driving experience. Above 65, it’s a painful fact that most seniors’ physical conditions affect their driving. Conditions like arthritis don’t allow them to grasp the steering wheel hard enough, or react fast enough to avoid collisions.

Your Occupation & Car Usage

This one’s a little more straightforward. When comparing a desk-bound executive to a salesman that drives around during the workday, it’s obvious that the former is exposed to a lot lesser risk than the latter.

However, this doesn’t mean that having a desk job guarantees you cheaper insurance premiums. Should you also need to drive out occasionally as part of your work, you’ll find a corresponding rise in your insurance premium.

Drive safe, or you’ll regret it when the time comes to renew your car insurance

Your Driving Experience

As you drive more and get used to all sorts of traffic conditions, you’re deemed to be lower risk as you’re better equipped to deal with the road environment. The more years of (accident-free) experience you have, the cheaper your insurance premiums will be.

Your Claims History

Here’s where it gets rather self-explanatory. If you’ve never made a claim on your car insurance policy – hooray! This means that you’re a great driver and your insurer loves you, since they’ve not had to make any payouts.

However, if you have a claim history, be prepared for loading. This is a surcharge built into the policy, to cover losses which are above average when insuring a high-risk individual.

Planning to buy car insurance but not sure where to start? Let us help! Get in touch by dropping us a note in the form here and our insurance partner, g&m will put together the best quotes for your needs.