Tim Boyle—Getty Images
By Ethan Wolff-Mann
February 8, 2016

Are you paying too much for your car insurance? If you rent, you may be.

Today, the Consumer Federation of America released a study that found people who rent their homes pay much more in auto insurance premiums than those who own—as much as 47% more.

Analyzing scores of premiums from the 10 leading insurance companies, the CFA found that automobile liability insurance was consistently higher for those who rent their home: 7% on average.

The worst offender was Liberty Mutual, which hiked up premiums 19%, or $307 per year for basic liability insurance — coverage that is required in every state.

Using the profile of a 30-year old female driver with a ’05 Honda Civic and a clean driving record, the CFA obtained quotes and compared them to each other. The experiment was repeated for 10 cities: Baltimore, Chicago, Denver, Houston, Louisville, Newark, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Syracuse, and Tampa.

In certain cities, the differences were significant. In Baltimore, Liberty Mutual charged $636 more annually to the “renting” profile. Newark was even worse at $671, or 26% more expensive for renters. Renters in Louisville were pinched even worse by Farmers, incurring a $768 increase than the owners. For every quote except for Allstate in Chicago, the renters saw higher insurance premiums.

One state that was conspicuously left off the list was California, due to a mandate there that insurance companies not consider homeownership when determining auto insurance premiums.

The CFA also noted that homeownership wasn’t the only non-driving related factor that affects premiums. Not having the right credit score, college degree (if any), marital status, or job can result in a harder hit when that bill comes around. Furthermore, the CFA found that people living in certain areas—areas with people of color—pay more.

According to CFA, good drivers shouldn’t be penalized for other non-driving aspects of their lives.

“Virtually every state requires drivers to buy insurance, but we shouldn’t force them to buy a home in order to get the best price,” the CFA’s Insurance Director and former Texas Insurance Commissioner J. Robert Hunter said in a press release. “State Insurance Commissioners and elected representatives should step in and stop this practice.”

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