Dinged Or Discounted? How Non-Driving Factors Affect Your Premium

Apr 19, 2021, 10:10 PM | Updated: Jun 19, 2022, 10:02 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – When it comes to car insurance discounts, you might think of them as rewards for your skill behind the wheel: you are a good driver, you drive fewer miles, you don’t get into accidents. But the KSL Investigators found a slew of factors are completely out of your control and could wind up costing you a much higher premium.

Non-Driving Factors

Owning a home. What you do for work. Being married. Each of those can qualify drivers for big auto insurance discounts, according to a new study from Insurance.com.

None of those factors have anything to do with driving.

“Why in the world would being married give me a discount?” KSL Investigators asked Insurance.com editor Michelle Megna.

“Well, the short answer is that insurance companies will say that based on their actuarial data, or their research, that married people file fewer claims,” Megna answered.

According to insurance rate data, that marriage discount averages 8%. Your choice of profession can earn you a 12% discount, while owning a home can save you 7%. If you’re a student, good grades can lower your insurance by 16%. And signing insurance documents electronically averages a 9% drop in premiums for policyholders.

“It does touch on a much broader debate that goes on in the insurance industry, about non-driving factors and setting rates,” Megna said.

She explained that some states have banned insurance companies from considering such non-driving factors in setting rates for drivers. Utah is not one of them.

In the case of some of these discounts, Megna said the approach seems upside down. Having a safer car with functioning airbags and antilock brakes earns drivers less of a discount than their chosen occupations.

“I was surprised, actually,” Megna said of this part of the study’s outcome. “Because you would think, the safety of the vehicle would have more to do than somebody’s profession.”

Income & Racial Disparity

Having less money can also leave you paying more.

“Poorer families are pretty disproportionately affected by this pricing differences,” said Andrew Hurst of the personal finance website, LendingTree.

Hurst recently analyzed insurance rate data by zip code and found people living in poorer communities tend to pay more for their car insurance. That also holds true for Salt Lake City’s zip code divide, according to Hurst’s data.

“It’s about $525 (in Utah) per year that the poor families will pay more than the richer families,” Hurst said.

That’s a lot of money for folks who can afford it the least, but the issue compounds from there.

“Fewer people [in those zip codes] are able to afford insurance,” Hurst explained. “So, more people drive uninsured in that immediate vicinity and raise the rates for everyone else.”

Insurance rates in those zip codes might also have much less to do with accidents than whether a car is more likely to be broken into. Zip code data also exposes some racial inequality. According to data gathered by MoneyGeek.com, “drivers living in predominantly white ZIP codes often pay less for car insurance than people living in the same cities in ZIP codes with a lower proportion of white residents.”

In that data, Salt Lake City zip codes that have higher populations of Black and Latino citizens pay 12% more for their car insurance.

Talk To Your Agent

The largest auto discounts do tend to be in the driver’s control. Safe drivers pay, on average, 27% less. Those who have no accidents will save an average of 26% on their premium, and bundling your car with your home insurance earns you a 14% discount.

Still, the discounts on factors that have little or nothing to do with the open road are significant.

“Which is why the more that you know about discounts, the better off you are,” said Megna. “Because you may not even be aware that’s being offered.”

Insurance companies do not automatically apply these types of discounts, so it is worth a conversation with your agent to make sure you are getting all the discounts to which you may be entitled, fair or not.

Also, different insurance companies offer different discounts, but therein lies a bit of a rub, because if you switch to another carrier to snag one discount, you might miss out on a loyalty discount offered by your original carrier.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

KSL Investigates

(KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt

Get Gephardt helps restore West Valley man’s Social Security disability payments

Jeff Davis gets disability payments from the Social Security Administration. At least, he did up until his mom passed away in December.
3 days ago
The Pearsons tell KSL’s Matt Gephardt they should be reimbursed by either the airline or the onli...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Sandy couple Gets Gephardt after booking error left them paying out for pricey return flights

A Sandy couple bought roundtrip tickets to Hawaii, but when they discovered their return tickets were no good, they had to buy pricey replacements. When they were refused reimbursement, they decided to Get Gephardt.
4 days ago
Amy Olsen...
Matt Gephardt

Utahns cleared of DUI accusations are forced to pay to get their licenses back

Amy Olsen has her driving privilege back now, but it cost her $255. For her, it is a frustrating ordeal that began months earlier when a trooper pulled her over.
8 days ago
Gas bill...
Matt Gephardt

Gas company increasing bills for customers on fixed payments plan

If you're told you're going to pay the same price for 12 months, you wouldn't expect the price to go up. But when the natural gas company raised the rates on a Payson woman, she decided to Get Gephardt to investigate.
8 days ago
Follow @KSL5TVLike us on Facebook...
Matt Gephardt

$21 billion in gift cards go unused. Here’s how to avoid letting them go to waste

Gift cards: they are one of the most popular gifts to give and to receive, but that does not necessarily mean they are going to get used.
10 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

How to beat the dynamic pricing used by Amazon and many other retailers to pay less

The KSL Investigates team gives you information on how to beat dynamic pricing to get your money's worth and pay less.
11 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Close up of an offset printing machine during production...
Les Olson IT

Top 7 Reasons to Add a Production Printer to Your Business

Learn about the different digital production printers and how they can help your company save time and money.
vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Dinged Or Discounted? How Non-Driving Factors Affect Your Premium