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What Affects Your Insurance Rate

2016 08 10 Driver Insurancerate

By Erin Thompson on October 19, 2021 in Insurance Basics

First, you should know that Say's rating system is based on three broad categories: you, your household and your coverage. There are some more personal characteristics (age, gender, marital status, etc.) and household factors that affect your rate, but we won’t dive into those right now. For the more complicated policy and driving record ones, we've got your breakdown here. Let's go!


A deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket for covered auto repairs or replacement before insurance covers the rest up to you coverage limits.

Example: If a covered fender bender causes $1400 in damages and your Collision deductible is $500, you would pay $500 and we would pay the remaining $900. If your deductible was $1000, you take on more of the bill and your insurance's portion is reduced to $400.

Bottom line: The higher your deductible, the less financial risk you are to your insurance, and less risk means a lower rate.

Coverage Limits:

The maximum amount a policy can cover on a claim. Once that max is reached, you're in charge of covering any additional costs. Every state has set up minimum limits for certain coverages, but you can opt for higher amounts when you purchase your policy. You may notice some coverages list two limits written something like "$25,000/$50,000." The first number represents the coverage limit per person and the second is the limit per incident.

Example: You're in a covered accident and the other driver and her passenger get hurt. The injuries add up to $30,000 in medical bills for the driver and $20,000 for the passenger. With Bodily Injury coverage limits at $25,000/$50,000, your insurance can only cover the limit of $25,000 for the driver, but pay the full $20,000 for the passenger, totaling $45,000. While the total incident costs fall under the policy limit, the per-person limit is exceeded by $5,000 (for the driver), leaving you to cover that cost. Now, if there were three people hurt, each with $20,000 worth of medical costs ($60,000 total), the per-person limit would be fine, but the per-incident cost would be exceeded by $10,000, leaving you to pay that excess cost.

Bottom line: The higher your coverage limits, the higher your rate, but the less you pay out of pocket in the case of a major accident.

Insurance Score:

An insurance score is a number most providers use to help predict how likely you are to have an accident or file a claim. It’s similar to your credit score because it also looks into your finances and how financially responsible you are.

The higher your insurance score, the better your rate will likely be. A high insurance score means you’re responsible with your finances, and will likely be a responsible driver as well, and we like to see that! If your insurance score is lower, your rate may take a hit because of it. You’ll likely be paying more each month with a low insurance score.

Bottom line: A high insurance score will give you a lower rate. A lower insurance score can mean your rate is higher.


Less risk equals lower rates, and in the insurance world, driving tickets indicate risky driving behaviors. Say Insurance looks to see if you've had any moving violations in the 36 months prior to your quote or renewal. If so, the severity of each violation is taken into consideration. We've got:

  • Minor violations, such as non-excessive speeding
  • Serious violations, like illegal passing or turning, stop sign or traffic light violations, excessive speeding and following too closely
  • Major violations, including driving under the influence, hit-and-run accidents and driving without a valid license

Bottom line: Each violation in the last 36 months is given a point value, and the total number of points is factored into your rate.


Based on the same 36-month period described in the ticket section, Say considers any accidents "chargeable" if they've resulted in $1,000 or more in claim payments. There are exceptions though! We will not include:

  • Accidents where your car was lawfully parked
  • Being rear-ended, but not charged with a moving violation in connection to the incident
  • Being a victim of a hit-and-run that was reported within 24 hours
  • Other certain circumstances (excuse the vagueness, there can be a lot of technicalities)

Bottom line: Each chargeable accident in the last 36 months is given a point value, and the total number of points is factored into your rate.

Erin Thompson is the Marketing Manager for Say Insurance. She's responsible for guiding the strategic direction of all Say marketing campaigns. Prior to joining Say, Erin worked for a media agency based in Columbia, MO. She spent several years developing successful advertising campaigns for a diverse set of clients across the United States. Erin began her career in television advertising after earning her Master’s from the University of Missouri Journalism School with an emphasis in Strategic Communication. Her love of communication and helping people directed her to the insurance world.