A pristine driving record no longer guarantees low rates. Karyn Roeling owner of Seibert Insurance in Tampa explains there's many more data points today than 10 years ago simply because insurers can store the data and can analyze it much faster than before.
New research shows economic characteristics such as income, home ownership and education play an even larger role in your premiums than say an accident or ticket.
Roeling says all this non-driving related information adds up to your financial responsibility score. If you have the same person with a solid financial responsibility score their rate could be half of someone who makes less money, is less educated and has a lower credit score.
And some insurers link all of the traits affiliated with people making less money to a higher rate of accidents. Throw in an accident or serious ticket and the wealthy still fair better.
A study conducted by the consumer advocacy group The Consumer Federation of America found in 20 out of 38 cases the higher income driver with a troubled driving record paid less than a moderate income driver with a clean history.
So what can you do other than find a better paying job or improve your credit score? Shop around. That means contact independent agents who write thru multiple companies. Insurers use different formulas to determine rates so there might be a drastic difference from one company to the next.