An auto insurance score, also called a credit-based insurance score, is a three-digit number that can be used to determine your insurance rate. It factors in certain aspects of your credit history to determine your likelihood of filing an auto insurance claim. 

In addition, your insurance claims and car accident history can affect your auto insurance score.

Many insurance carriers consider a person's credit history as an important indication of whether a driver will make a claim while insured. Just like your credit score can impact your interest rates on credit cards and personal loans, a good insurance score could mean lower car insurance for you. 

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Insurance score ranges

The typical range for an insurance score is 200 to 997. There are the three primary companies that set insurance scores, and each company’s insurance score range is different.

  • FICO: 250-900 score range
  • LexisNexis: 500-997 score range
  • TransUnion: 300-850 score range

TransUnion and FICO create their insurance score based on your TransUnion credit report. LexisNexis uses Equifax to create its score.

A higher score increases your likelihood of receiving the best insurance rate.

Credit-based insurance score factors

Credit-based insurance scores don’t use any information related to race, color, national origin, religion or gender, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Insurance scores are also not based on factors like age, marital status, income, or employment history. Instead, car insurance scores are based on information that is already available in your credit report. 

Credit reporting agencies present their information in different formats, but the data is similar across all scoring agencies. Most credit reporting agencies list the following in credit reports: 

  • Trade lines
  • Credit inquiries
  • Collections records
  • Court data from civil lawsuits and bankruptcies

A trade line is a history of a credit account that includes a record of payment history, the current amount due, the current balance, and the credit limit. Credit reporting agencies may display payment histories stretching back seven years.

TransUnion auto insurance score example
source: creditkarma.com

Can I improve my insurance score?

If you find your insurance score is on the low end, it’s possible for you to increase it. The direct relationship between a credit score and an insurance score means that improving your credit score will likely lead to a higher auto score. Keeping up-to-date on the health and accuracy of your credit score and report is the easiest way to make sure your auto score is as strong as possible. 

To ensure a good credit score:

  • Pay all of your bills on time

  • Minimize the number of inquiries on your credit

  • Keep an eye on your credit utilization. If you carry any month-to-month balances, make sure they are less than 30% of overall available credit.

  • Clear your credit report for any outstanding tax liens, civil judgments, or bankruptcies

Auto insurance scores aren't used in every state

Some car insurance carriers don't use auto insurance scores to set rates. In fact, some states prohibit the use of auto scores by insurance companies. Drivers in Hawaii, Massachusetts, and California don't have to worry about their insurance scores when searching for the best price on a car insurance policy.

According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, legislation exists in a handful of states that prohibits insurers from using either credit scores or insurance scores to set rates. Some states also prohibit price optimization, which is the practice of using consumer data to set prices for insurance policies.

In the past few decades, legislators from around the country have worked to adopt insurance rate-setting provisions created by the National Conference of Insurance Legislators. These provisions include helpful regulation that allows consumers to request that credit information isn't used by insurers when setting rates if an extraordinary life event has impacted the consumer.

If you're looking for the best car insurance rate, you may find it helpful to familiarize yourself with the rules of your state's insurance commission. For example, Illinois residents would contact the Illinois Department of Insurance. Florida residents would contact the Office of Insurance Regulation.

3 ways to get your auto insurance score

There are a few sites where you can access your auto insurance score. 

FICO - If you get your credit report through FICO, it includes your insurance score. 

Credit Karma - Get your TransUnion auto insurance score from Credit Karma.

LexisNexis - Order your LexisNexis Attract Auto Insurance Score.

Insurance carriers use several pieces of data to set their rates, and it's a good idea to keep an eye on your score.

Once you have your insurance score, use a quote comparison tool like Squeeze to get the best auto insurance.