Your Credit Scores and Car Insurance Rates: The Difference between 760 and 600

“Do you know what your credit score is?” Perhaps you have heard or read phrases like this from a company telling you how important it is to check your credit score. But why is your credit score important? Your credit score affects your ability to rent an apartment, get a loan, buy a car; it even impacts your car insurance rates. Car insurance companies have found a direct correlation between a person’s credit score and the likelihood of filing a claim. Insurance companies use what’s called an “insurance score,” which is a numerical ranking based on a person’s credit history.
Good or Bad—Your Credit Affects Your Auto Insurance
Many people might be unaware about how their insurance score affects their car insurance rates.

Some consumers are disturbed by the fact that, when applying for insurance, one insurer will reject an application based on an applicant’s insurance score, yet another company will find it acceptable. This underscores the importance of shopping around for car insurance.

What is a Good Credit Score?
A good score is typically above 760 and a bad score is below 600. Many people have no idea they are beneficiaries of insurance scoring. Insurers say more than 50% of policyholders have a lower premium because of good credit.

How to Maintain a Good Credit Record
Pay Your Bills on Time: Pay all of your bills on time. Late payments and delinquent accounts can have a major negative impact on credit scores, as well as give creditors the right to increase your interest rates. Your goal should be to build a long history of reliable bill paying behavior.

Only Carry a Few Credit Cards: Limit yourself to a maximum of three or four cards and keep your balances low. Use no more than 30% of your available credit at any given time and try to pay off your balance in full whenever possible. If you decide to crack down on your credit card usage by cutting up a credit card, go ahead and do it. However, don’t close the account as this will raise your balance-to-credit-limit ratio, and can have a negative impact on your credit score.

Check Your Credit Report Annually: Look for errors and correct them as soon as possible. By law, you are entitled to one free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies once a year. You can request your free annual credit report from the only online authorized website, AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling the toll free number 1-877-322-8228. Also, if you apply for credit and are turned down, you have a right to request a free credit report from the agency used by the creditor. If you would like additional information regarding credit scores, or would like to purchase your own FICO® credit score used by most lenders, visit MyFico.com.

Make sure you keep your credit under control. Since car insurance providers use your credit score differently, make sure you compare multiple car insurance quotes when buying your policy.

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