12/19/2009

How credit rating affects insurance premiums

Having a good credit rating will pay off in the end. Why is that? Well, insurance companies tend to offer lower rates to customers with a good credit rating, because they are considered to be less risky. And taking into account that your credit score is one of the most essential factors determining your risk grade, it's really wise to keep it as good as possible. Insurance companies are approaching credit ratings from statistical point of view, which states that people with better credit scores tend to file fewer claims than people with worse credit records. Such tendency was observed only during the past decade, while historically homeowners insurance had a strong emphasis on the insured structure itself and its condition, leaving the owners and dwellers out of the frame.

Today insurance companies base their insurance rating on credit records, predicting the likelihood of an individual to file a claim and what will be the amount of such a claim. It is the result of long-time analysis undertaken by insurance companies, official regulators and universities, which in the end has proven that a person's credit score is a firm and very reliable indicator of how much the person is likely to risk or file a claim.

Here are some main assumptions about credit rating and insurance scores provided by the Insurance Information Institute, New York:

  • Such scores give the possibility to set the rates more accurately.
  • Such scores tend to be more objective and impersonal, leaving behind other factors like age, sex, nationality orientation and avoiding discrimination.
  • Such scores promote competition among customers, giving them real chances of improving their insurance rates.

Of course, thinking that you will get better rates with a good credit rating while having many problems with your home is quite optimistic. Credit rating is only one element of the entire picture as there are more factors determining what home insurance will cost you in the end. And the importance of these factors varies from one company to another. For example, one company may have a strong emphasis on the materials of the structure and how safe the house is in general, while another will look deep into your credit report and base its rates according to your rating.

Other factors that will influence your home insurance rates include the location of your house, safety features, overall condition, your age, marital status, children, pets and many other elements that may influence the overall risk on your property.

Still, if you are looking to get lower rates on your home insurance, it will definitely pay off to improve your credit score. One way to do so is to avoid having bad debts or due payments, minimizing the number of open accounts and credit lines. In case you had some credit problems in the past, try to improve and eliminate all the entries, which are no longer relevant. The first step here is to get your credit report and analyze it thoroughly to see what can be improved and how.

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