Insurers rate you based on the level of risk they feel you represent to them, and they charge you accordingly. So, having tickets and accidents can raise your rates significantly. Texas insurance companies' statistics show that if you've been in one accident, you're more likely to be in another. Also, if you've had a speeding ticket that added points to your driving record, you probably aren't being the safest driver you can be. Therefore, you are more likely to cause a wreck, and will have to pay a higher premium. A DWI/DUI can not only cause your rates to skyrocket, it can also cause your Texas insurance company to cancel or non-renew your policy.
Not content with looking only at your driving record, Texas insurance companies also use your age, marital status (if you're under 25), the type of car you drive, and even your credit score to try to determine how much of a risk you are to them. Yes, you read that last bit correctly: a poor credit score can cause your rates to go up. Supposedly, there's a statistical correlation between poor credit and the likelihood of filing a claim. Also, Texas insurance companies believe that if you have a good credit score, it indicates that you are more responsible and therefore less likely to cause an accident that they will have to pay for. Sound unfair? Maybe, but it's legal in the state of Texas. Protect your credit rating as much as possible, and you'll protect your insurance rates.
A quick primer on insuring teens and other new drivers: Teen drivers are expensive to insure because they are still learning to drive and therefore more likely to mess up and cause an accident. Here are some tips to bring their rates down to something a little bit closer to affordable. First, call your Texas insurance company and ask about discounts. Many companies give discounts for completing a state-approved driver's education class and for being a good student. Make maintaining good grades a prerequisite for getting a driver's license. Also, put your child through a state-approved drug and alcohol awareness class-they'll get a discount for that, too. They may also get a discount for taking a state-approved defensive driving class. If so, they can sign up online with Driving University and take our fun, informative course in their spare time. Finally, find out how your insurance company matches vehicles to drivers. Some companies automatically rate the child based on him or her driving the most expensive vehicle you own. Others will let you assign a specific driver to a specific vehicle. If your insurance company lets you assign vehicles, get your child an older but still safe vehicle and insure it for liability only.