Does Your Credit Score Affect Your Insurance Premiums?

If you have bad debt, will your car insurance go up? We have a look at how much your credit score can impact your premium.
Sherryn de Vos
2017-02-22
Having a credit history is important for you to be financially capable of making various financial decisions. Buying a car, renting an apartment, or buying a house depends on you having a credit score. Once you start getting into bad debt, however, your credit score starts decreasing and you start becoming a risk to creditors. Creditors and insurance companies are now, more than ever, examining the risk profiles of potential clients to establish their credit worthiness.

Credit-Based Insurance

Most insurance companies in South Africa currently use credit-based insurance scores to determine the risk of potential clients. They determine the likelihood of the client being able to repay the loan and insurance based upon their history of paying previous and current debts. It is important to know that credit-based scores are different from the personal risk profile. This is calculated by assessing the person’s age, income, and personal information that determines the likelihood of the person claiming. The score, as well as the personal assessment, are both used in determining the amount of the premium. Insurance companies receive credit information about potential clients from rating agencies. The agencies include Experian, Transunion, and XDS. They don’t, however, receive the full credit report, but rather the encrypted score of the individual.

What Should You Do For a Good Insurance Rate?

Consider the following when reviewing your insurance rate:
  • What is your claims history like? If you have ever claimed, your premium will be higher.
  • Do you have any blemishes on your driving history? Have you ever been arrested for drunk or dangerous driving? Your premium could be higher.
  • What does your credit history look like? A long-established credit history with well-managed clothing accounts and credit cards.
  • Are you behind on payments? No late payments or past-due accounts.
  • What is your record with opening accounts? Open accounts in good standing.
Research has shown that people with a good credit history tend to be less risky on the road than those with a bad credit history. Credit-based insurance has, therefore, been proven to be a solid predictor of risk. The better your credit history, as well as your driving behaviour, the lower your premium will be. The insurance industry is extremely competitive with each company trying to offer a lower premium than others. You can, however, dictate a low premium by maintaining a solid, stable credit history.
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