Why your job title, education may affect your cost of auto insurance

Consumer Reports investigation finds evidence that less education can mean higher rates

How much you pay for car insurance often involves a lot more than just your driving record, a new Consumer Reports investigation found.

SAN ANTONIO – How much you pay for car insurance often involves a lot more than just your driving record, a new Consumer Reports investigation found.

The investigation found evidence that a person’s job title or education level may mean paying higher premium.

Cuqui Rivera was a loyal Liberty Mutual car insurance customer. When it was time to renew, she decided to shop around.

“They had already sent me the card and everything, so I said, ‘Wait a minute. Let me just wiggle around’,” she said.

Rivera didn’t expect to save a lot, but when a New Jersey regional company gave her a much lower quote for a little less coverage, she was shocked and upset.

Then, she said, it struck her. Rivera didn’t go to college. She said she thinks that’s part of the reason for the price difference.

It’s a discrepancy Consumer Reports says is too common.

“The amount that insurers charge should be based on your risk as a driver,” said Chuck Bell of Consumer Reports. “But, we are seeing that some insurance providers are charging higher rates based on the amount of education you have or your job title, and we think that’s systematically and blatantly unfair.”

To investigate, Consumer Reports requested 869 unique auto insurance quotes from nine different insurers across six states and Washington, D.C. Consumer Reports found that three major auto insurance companies, Geico, Progressive, and Liberty Mutual, quoted higher average premiums to consumers who had less education.

“Insurers should really focus on the number of miles you drive per year, your driving experience, and your safety record,” Bell said.

Geico responded to Consumer Reports by saying, “The standards we use to determine insurance rates are actuarially sound and help promote healthy competition within the marketplace.”

Liberty Mutual said it “looks at dozens of factors when determining a customer’s overall risk, any of which must be permitted by state insurance regulation.”

Progressive didn’t respond to Consumer Reports’ request for comment on the findings.

The average consumer shopping for insurance likely has no idea which factors companies are using to set their rates. Consumer Reports advises drivers to seek multiple quotes from different insurance companies to be sure they’re not overpaying.

Rivera did, and now she’s saving a bundle.

To see Consumer Reports’ full report, click here.

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About the Author:

As a consumer reporter, Marilyn is all about helping people stay safe and save a buck. Since coming to KSAT in 1985, she’s covered everything from crime to politics, winning awards for her coverage of the Mexican Mafia, Oklahoma tornadoes, children’s transplants, an investigation into voting irregularities and even a hit-and-run Santa Claus.