Report: 3 Small Things That Can Send Your Auto Insurance Skyrocketing

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Your auto insurance is one of those things that money expert Clark Howard wants you to review periodically to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

In this article, I’ll discuss three things that will cause your car insurance rate to increase. I’ll also look at how much of an increase each one of those things will cost you.

The data comes from, which recently released its annual report on The True Cost of Insurance.

The report looks at annual car insurance premiums nationally and by state and finds that the current national average for an annual car insurance premium is $2,014. That’s a 2.57% increase compared to the year before.

The report also lists “life events” that can cause your premium to skyrocket.

These 3 Things Can Cause Your Auto Insurance To Go Up by Hundreds of Dollars

Clark says a lot of motorists cause their insurance rates to rise by filing claims for small incidents and fender benders that may be best sorted out without involving your insurer.

“You only want to make insurance claims when something big has happened,” Clark says.

If you make a claim on a small incident, you may end up in an insurance company “penalty box,” according to Clark. “They may even put you in an industry database if you’ve made a claim,” he adds.

Here are three examples of small incidents that says can cause your auto insurance rates to climb by hundreds of dollars.

1. A Speeding Ticket

Your lead foot could cost you.

In Hawaii, a speeding ticket will raise your rates an average of $126 per year, the lowest in the nation.


According to, the nationwide average for how much a speeding ticket will add to your annual insurance premium is $413 for a total of $2,427.

2. A Car Accident

A car crash can not only put you on the hook for a new vehicle, but it can also cause your auto insurance rates to rise.

According to the report, an at-fault car accident can add an average of $840 in extra costs to your annual premium.

California drivers can expect to pay $1,498 – the highest in the nation – more for their premiums if they cause a crash. Nationally, the figure is $2,854, according to the report.

Because auto accidents play such a big role in auto premiums, Clark recommends that you get a dashcam. It could help you prove you’re not at fault if the question ever comes up.

“I look at them as ultra-cheap insurance,” Clark says of dashcams. “I particularly recommend these for people who have a tendency to drive more cautiously.”’s sister site routinely lists sales on dashcams.

3. Your Credit Score

Drivers with great credit scores pay about 49% less than drivers with poor credit scores, according to the report. Those with decreased credit scores pay an average of $1,465 more on their annual premiums.

Although there are a handful of states that prohibit auto insurers from using credit scores to help determine premiums, in most states that’s the case.

“Washington drivers only pay an average of $58 more per year when their credit drops from good to poor,” the report says. “However, this low number is likely due to Washington previously having a temporary ban on credit as a rating factor that was overturned in 2022.”


Clark says there are a number of ways you can raise your credit score, but the first rule is this: “Pay every bill every month on time.”

Using the national averages from the report for all the figures, these three small “errors” could almost double how much you pay for car insurance each year.

Speeding Ticket$413
At-Fault Auto Accident$840
Decreased Credit Score$1,465

Read Bankrate’s complete report on the True Cost of Auto Insurance 

Final Thought

One way Clark saves money on his car insurance is by opting for a higher deductible.

While it’s true that a higher deductible means you pay more money upfront if you make a claim, Clark says there are two very good reasons to choose a higher deductible: 

  • It reduces the overall cost of your premium.
  • It discourages you from making smaller claims that raise your rates.

“Take your deductible as high as you can,” Clark says. “As high as either your insurer will permit, or if you have a loan against the vehicle, that the lender will allow. It will usually be $1,000,” he says.

Want to keep more money in your wallet? Read our guide on how to save on car insurance.