The way that insurance companies calculate your car and home insurance premiums is already something of a dark art, with premium quotes changing, usually in an upward direction, for no apparent reason.
New Which? Money research has highlighted some surprising factors that can push your rate up or down. Working in a bar, living on your own, or parking in a garage could all affect your premiums.
It’s always been our assumption that home insurers will reduce your premiums if you’re at home most of time (as it reduces risk of burglary), for example if you’re retired. However, in our investigation both Aviva and Barclays quoted people more if they were at home during the day.
Paying more if you’re home alone
Aviva also charged significantly higher premiums for single-parent households than it did when there were two parents and children living in the property. The company said that evidence from many years of claims experience showed that single-adult households can carry a higher risk.
Adding extra security to your home gave minimal discounts in the searches we carried out. We found discounts of 3% or less if you had a professionally installed and maintained burglar alarm.
Driving you crazy
Being unemployed can seemingly add up to 22% to your car insurance premium rate compared to if you’re a researcher. Occupations such as a bar manager or private investigator can also see you paying more for your car insurance.
More Than surprised us by quoting more if you kept your car in a garage than if you parked the vehicle on a driveway or on the street. Other companies priced this part of the risk calculation as you’d expect, i.e. a discount for locking the car away in a garage.
Estimating your annual mileage accurately can have an impact on your car insurance premium rate. Our investigation reveals that drivers indicating 4,000-6,000 miles per year will usually get the lowest premium quotation. Obviously driving too few miles can also work against you.
Have you found that the way insurers calculate how much you pay is surprising? Perhaps a change in your circumstances has increased the price when you’d assume that it might see a fall in premiums?