According to research reviewed by the Insurance Information Institute, drivers with low credit scores are statistically more likely to file large claims, which is why they are charged more for auto insurance coverage. Except for Hawaii, Massachusetts and California, all states allow insurance companies to use credit scores when determining the cost of a premium. This means that Pennsylvania drivers’ credit scores are affecting how much they pay each year for insurance.
Average cost of full coverage car insurance in Pennsylvania by credit
|Provider||Poor credit||Average credit||Good credit||Excellent credit|
Best car insurance in Pennsylvania with bad credit
Pennsylvania drivers with poor credit pay an average of $2,553 a year for car insurance, but the national average for drivers with good credit is $1,674— a difference of $879 per year.
It is a technicality, but it is not actually your credit score that drives up your premium. It is your credit-based insurance score. The two are almost identical, as both are derived from your credit reports, which are written by the Big Three— TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. While your credit score is calculated by either VantageScore or Fico, your insurance score is determined by either LexisNexis or Fico.
Regardless, information such as amount of debt, missed payments and types of credit are used to determine your credit-based insurance score.
Depending on your score, you can be labeled as either:
The one good thing about your credit affecting your premium is that it will not cause you to be denied coverage. It will drive up your premium, but it will not cause an insurance company to not insure you.
Why does my credit affect my car insurance rates in Pennsylvania?
Numerous studies have shown there to be a link between credit scores and amount of claims. The lower the credit score the higher the amount of claims. This statistic is questioned every decade or two and a new batch of studies are conducted. The most recent batch occurred in the mid 2000s.
In 2004, the Texas Department of Insurance released a major study confirming the findings of previous research. In 2007, the FTC did the same and also came to the same conclusion. No one could say why. All they could say is that there was a link. In some studies, low credit drivers posed a 50% greater financial risk to insurance companies.
The flip side to all of this is that if you increase your credit score your premium will go down. The only catch is that you may have to wait. Insurance companies usually write 6-month policies, which means your auto-policy does not renew until 6-months. Most companies do not review any information until it is time to write another policy. This is why many drivers decide to switch companies. When you switch, the new insurance company must look at your most up-to-date information (such as your credit score) when calculating a premium.
What other factors impact auto insurance rates in Pennsylvania?
There are many factors besides your credit-based insurance score that determine what you pay for coverage. However, the true cost often comes down to the following three variables:
- State or metro — Certain zip codes pose more of a risk to drivers than others. The manifestation of the risk doesn’t matter. Your car can be damaged by theft, vandalism, natural disasters or other drivers. Regardless of how it happens, drivers who live in risky zip codes pay more for car insurance. For example, Florida drivers who move from Tampa to Orlando will likely save around $450 a year.
- Driving history — If you are labeled a high risk driver because of your driving history, you are going to pay more than your peers. Numerous speeding tickets or at-fault accidents are a warning sign to insurance companies that you will more than likely file even more claims one day. The worst, of course, is a DUI. The average rate increase after a DUI in Pennsylvania is 109%.
- Car — Expensive cars drive up premiums, too. The best thing you can do for yourself is to drive a mid-range vehicle with a high safety rating. A prime example would be a BMW 330i compared to a Honda Odyssey. The BMW costs an average of $2,225, while the Honda costs $1,454 a year to insure.
How to get cheap car insurance in Pennsylvania with poor credit
There are a lot of things you can do to lower your insurance bill, many of which you can start doing right now. This includes:
- Increasing your deductible: Increasing your deductible will lower your monthly bill. The downside is that, should you get into an accident, you will be required to cover a larger amount out of pocket. Speak with an agent to determine the best deductible for your budget and coverage needs.
- Shopping around: To get the best car insurance for bad credit in Pennsylvania, you will need to shop around. Though every insurance company looks at the same information when calculating a premium, every company has its own pricing algorithm. This means it is very possible to get a lower premium by simply switching providers because every company values and penalizes different things.
- Comparing discounts: Another good way to get cheap car insurance for bad credit in Pennsylvania is to compare discounts. Many companies offer the same discounts, but the amount you will save may be dramatically different from one company to the next. While you are shopping for car insurance, also make sure to compare discounts you can immediately use and ones you can use further down the road.
Will I get a credit check when I obtain an insurance quote?
Yes, you will, but it will not hurt your credit score because you are not applying for a loan or line of credit. Credit checks where you are not applying for some type of financing are referred to as soft credit checks. If you are, it is called a hard credit check.
Is there bad credit car insurance in Pennsylvania?
Yes and no. There really is not a thing such as car insurance for poor credit in Pennsylvania. Yes, some companies are more forgiving of a low credit score than others, but there are not any insurance companies who solely work with bad credit drivers. Plus, it may not be your credit score that is driving up your premium. It may be a combination of factors, which is why you should shop around to get the best rate.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, varied credit tiers and the following full coverage limits:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident
- $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
- $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
- $500 collision deductible
- $500 comprehensive deductible
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.
Credit: Rates were calculated based on the following insurance credit tiers assigned to our drivers: “poor, average, good (base), and excellent.” Insurance credit tiers factor in your official credit scores but are not dependent on that variable alone. The following states do not allow credit to be a factor in determining auto insurance rates: CA, HI, MA