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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – You probably know your age, where you live, and how you drive impacts your car insurance rates… but did you know where you shop, what credit cards you use, and your level of education could also be a factor?
Consumer Reports released a study finding that Texas drivers with poor credit pay on average of $3426 in car insurance. Those with excellent credit and a DWI pay approximately $2435. This means a driver with poor credit pays almost $1000 more than a driver with a DWI.
Consumer Reports studied two-billion car insurance quotes nationwide. It found credit scores are not the only factors used by insurance companies to determine rates. It says they use “…confidential and often confounding scoring algorithms.”
The study finds some agencies determine what risk you will be by mining data on where you shop, what brands you prefer, your level of education, even your television provider.
The CBS 11 I-team reached out the Insurance Council of Texas about this. Spokesperson Joe Woods, of Property Casualty Insurers Association, confirmed most insurance agencies in Texas use credit scores to determine your rates.
But Wood also said there are about 80 factors now getting built into some companies’ algorithms. “There are new models are out that are not widely used and try to take what we call ‘mega’ data – all those different internet things you do and those things that can be tracked and build a profile of your likelihood of future loss.”
Woods says insurance companies are required to file details of theirs models to the state and Texas regulates how these are used. “I know the Texas Department of Insurance is aware of these models and is looking into those models to make sure there is not an unfair discrimination in the rates built into those models.”
The council advises shopping around for car insurance.
Once you have been with a company for a couple of years, you should question the rate and ask how it was determined.
And, finally, the council recommends visiting the Help Insure website. This is a free service offered by the Texas Department of Insurance and Office of Public Insurance Counsel. Log onto the “Rates & Policies” section, enter your information. You’ll get a list of providers and estimated rates based on the factors you’ve provided.
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