Changing these hidden factors could lower your car insurance bil - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Changing these hidden factors could lower your car insurance bill

A local State Farm expert in Kansas City, KS shared the five factors that are either helping you or hurting your bill. (Graphicstock) A local State Farm expert in Kansas City, KS shared the five factors that are either helping you or hurting your bill. (Graphicstock)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

KCTV5 News is digging deeper into how insurance companies calculate the amount you pay for insurance when you get behind the wheel.

A local State Farm expert in Kansas City, KS shared the five factors that are either helping you or hurting your bill.

We all know our driving record (whether it’s clean or littered with offenses) impacts how much we pay up. We know tickets and accidents will cost you more. We also know age and gender play a role.

However, there are factors you may not think of that come into play, outside of the car, that can help you keep your bill down.

Your credit score

Oh yes, that score tells a lot more than whether you pay your bills on time. Insurance companies said it gives them a picture, based on credibility if you’ll be good or bad behind the wheel. Some agencies use one of the credit bureaus, while others develop their own unique scoring system.

Your zip code

Turns out where you live is almost as important as your driving record.

“Where you live. That’s a huge one,” said State Farm agent Mario Geraldo.

He said it is important to keep it in mind when you buy a house – and when you move. Be sure to let your agent know.

Here’s why: Zip codes in our area impact your score in two ways. The first impact is due to weather. For example, more hail claims come in more desolate parts of town.

They also come into play when it comes to crime. If there’s more crime in your area expect higher rates.

However, crime has also been controversial when it comes to insurance rates due to race.

A 2017 investigation by ProPublica and Consumer Reports shows drivers in minority areas often pay more than those with similar driving records in primarily white areas of town even if the risk of crime remains the same. In some cases, the premiums vary by more than $100.

The report comes with a calculator to prove it.

You can type in a zip code and see how two zips compare to each other.

KCTV5 used 64111 - the West Plaza area - which the report labeled a “white zip.” Up pops comparisons for 64125 – Northeast Kansas City near Interstate 435 – a minority zip with equal crime risk.

The calculator generates a list of prices for dozens of insurance companies comparing the two zips.

State Farm premiums stay the same at $436. However, Progressive Northwestern’s premiums jumped from $516 to $602 based solely on the neighborhood.

In response to the report, the insurance information institute did release a statement saying it does not fix prices based on race.

Marital status

If you’re married, companies often find you to be more responsible and less at risk.

“If any big events in life happen, reach out to me and let me know,” Geraldo said.

Mileage

“It’s crazy the amount of people that forget to tell you that,” Geraldo explained so many people forget to tell their agent just how much they’re using their car. T

he less you use, the less you should pay.

“If you just changed jobs and the job is right around the corner, that’s something that you should call your agent, or, for example, you retire," he continued.

Driver education

While most people know kids can take drivers education courses, most don’t know that adults can too.

If you live in Kansas, defensive driving classes are available for adults and can save you up to 5-percent at State Farm. You can call your local agent to hear the impact it could have on your bill.

Geraldo says to make sure you regularly meet with your agent – or at least call them once a year – as they can help adjust your rate based on any changes in your life.

Copyright 2018 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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