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why car insurance rates increase

At some point in your driving career, your car insurance rate might go up. It could be after your insurer finds more info on your driving history or after an at-fault car accident. Nobody likes paying more, so we'll explain some reasons rates can increase after you get a quote, after you buy your policy, or when your policy renews.

Car insurance quotes vs. car insurance rates

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A car insurance quote is an insurer's best estimate of your final premium, and it's based largely on the information you provide. The 2 main causes of a rate increase between quote and purchase are missing and newly discovered information (like unreported accidents or moving violations).

When it's time to determine your actual car insurance rate (after giving you a quote), insurance companies typically access your MVR (Motor Vehicle Report) and CLUE (Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange) reports, among other things. These reports contain info on your driving history and your claims history. If the info in these reports differs from what you provided when you got your quote, it could lead to a premium adjustment.

Why actual rates can be higher than quotes

Understandably, this is a frustrating experience. There are 2 main factors behind any sudden price jump: mismatching info and omitted data.

Mismatching info

  • Your insurer verifies the information you provided when you got your quote. If any discrepancies turn up, like an at-fault accident that wasn't reported or a recent speeding ticket, your rate could be affected.

Omitted data

  • If you leave your social security number off your quote (which you can absolutely do with Esurance), your final, verified premium could be different from the quoted price. This is more prevalent in states where insurers access credit-based insurance scores as part of the rating process. Omitting things like DUIs or speeding tickets can also drive a rate increase after the incidents are discovered.

Other costs

Certain state-specific fees and installment fees (if you choose to pay monthly) may increase your final premium. To avoid an installment fee, you can choose to pay for your policy in full. For Esurance customers, doing so might also score you the Paid in Full discount.

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Overall, by providing the correct info when you get your quote, your premium should reflect your quoted rate.

Why your premium could rise after you buy your policy

Don't worry, we'd give you plenty of warning before this happens.

Generally, your rate could increase in the first month or 2 after you buy your policy if you don't submit any required forms or we find an undisclosed accident or incident on your MVR.

In some cases, you might be asked to submit proof of prior insurance to certify that you've had continuous coverage for as long as you indicated. (We'll remind you to submit any necessary forms after you buy your policy.)

In other cases, your state may require you to submit proof of health insurance in order to maintain lower medical coverage limits. If we don't receive this form, we may need to adjust your coverages.

It's our policy to contact you at least 3 times before we take any action on your rate. And you can still submit forms after a rate increase to get your premium restored to its original level.

Why your premium could increase at renewal

Several factors can lead to a higher premium in your next policy term.

Accidents

  • You filed an accident claim that warrants a re-rate, meaning your rate is recalculated based on the recent claim.

Violations

  • You were convicted of a moving violation, which may cause your rate to be recalculated.

Lapsed discounts

  • One of the discounts you qualified for no longer applies. If you qualified for the Switch & Save® discount when you bought your policy, for instance, the discount will lapse on your third term because it's a 2-term discount. Or if you were recently found at-fault in an accident, you could lose your Claim-Free discount. If you have any questions about lapsed discounts, or want to discuss other discounts you might qualify for, give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). We'll be happy to help.

New ZIP Code

  • Where you live influences your rate, so if you move to an area with a higher theft or accident risk, your renewal premium could reflect this change.

State rate plans

  • Your insurer and your state's department of insurance have agreed on a new rate plan for all drivers in the state.

Find out more about rate increases

If you're an Esurance policyholder and you have any questions on a potential or actual rate increase, don't hesitate to give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). We're here to help and explain your rate, factor by factor.

Related links

Car insurance myths
To help you get the most out of your car insurance policy, we've separated fact from fiction by debunking the most common car insurance myths.

Credit-based insurance scores and car insurance rates
In certain states, your credit score could affect your car insurance rates. Find out how.

Lapse in coverage
Mismatching info on your car insurance policy can lead to a rate increase — and so can a lapse in coverage.

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