Looking to Lower Your Car Insurance? Better Start Making More Money.

Cheryl Lock
Posted

car insuranceIf you think your car insurance rates are ridiculous, you might be right—assuming you’re a middle-class customer, of course.

In a new study of car insurance rates, the Consumer Federation of America discovered that two-thirds of the time, wealthy drivers were offered a better rate than middle-class customers, even in incidences where the middle-class drivers had clean driving records and the wealthy ones did not.

As it turns out, insurance companies say there are legitimate reasons for charging the less-wealthy higher car insurance rates—although the discrepancy couldn’t be explained by factors like the fact that people with lower incomes might do more driving than their wealthier counterparts, or could have lower credit scores.

“It confirmed what we were beginning to suspect,” Bob Hunter, CFA’s director of insurance, told Time. “Non-driving related factors can be much more important than accidents and driving-related factors.”

Some industry leaders dismiss the study due to its sample size, saying that 60 tests is too small to predict anything accurately, given that there are 190 million insured cars in the country.

Hunter speculated that insurance companies could be motivated to charge wealthier clients less for car insurance as a means of attracting those customers to purchase other products, like homeowners or life insurance policies.

While insurance company reps say that theory is untrue, there could be something to it. According to a J.D. Power and Associates’ National Homeowners Insurance Study, the retention rate among customers who bundled homeowners and auto policies was at 95%, compared to 85% of customers who purchased their auto and homeowners policies separately, and with different insurers.