Is your vehicle as important to an auto insurance company as your driving record is? Your driving record matters more. Someone who poses a lot of risk will pay much, much more for car insurance than someone who doesn't. In comparison, differences between models of car -- especially similar types of vehicles, such as pickups or midsize sedans - aren't that big. For example, a driver with a DUI conviction can expect to pay, on average, about 82 percent more than the same driver with a clean record, according to data gathered for Insurance.com by Quadrant Information Services. (See “ DUI and car insurance: What happens next?”) On the other hand, a 40-year-old driver with a spotless record who chooses a 2014 Ford Fusion SE over a 2014 Honda Accord LX would pay about 8 percent more. (See Insure.com's review of the most and least expensive models to insure.) Even if the driver chooses a massively powerful and more expensive Chevrolet Camaro SS over the Honda, the premium rises just 23 percent.
Your driving record is all yoursWhile your car is an important rating factor to an insurance company, especially if you're buying collision and comprehensive coverage to protect your vehicle, your history as a driver is most important because it gives the insurer insight into your past driving behavior. An insurance company looks at a variety of risk factors -- age, gender, marital status and location, to name a few -- but it is all to analyze the likelihood of you being in an accident or placing a claim. Your driving record is thus the best indicator because it details past traffic violations and accidents. If you have a clean driving record, it helps show you pose less risk as a driver. When classified as a low-risk driver, you'll be offered better car insurance rates and perhaps a good driver discount. On the flip side, if your driving history shows accidents and/or traffic violations, you'll be seen a higher risk, and for that will pay higher rates.
The basic rule of thumb is that the better your driving record, the lower your car insurance rates.