Your credit score determines a lot more than whether you qualify for a loan. What many consumers don’t know is that it plays a major role in determining how much you pay for car insurance.
Consumer Reports published a study of insurance rates in its September 2015 issue, and its research shows that in many cases, a driver’s credit score is an even more important factor than his or her driving record. Unbelievably, in Illinois, a person with a clean driving record but poor credit pays, on average, 51 percent more for car insurance than a person with a DUI conviction but excellent credit.
Credit-based pricing perpetuates racial inequalities and the cycle of debt
SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago 16th) has introduced legislation to ban auto insurance companies in Illinois from basing their prices on a customer’s credit score. The Senate Insurance Committee heard from advocates yesterday about the role this practice plays in exacerbating existing racial and socioeconomic inequalities and helping fuel the self-perpetuating cycle of poor credit.
“It’s absurd and unacceptable that in Illinois today, a person with poor credit but a perfect driving record pays, on average, substantially more for car insurance than a person with great credit and a drunken driving conviction,” Collins said. “That certainly doesn’t make our roads safer or create incentives for responsible driving, and it makes it even harder for people who are in debt to drive to work so they can get out of debt.”
Consumer Reports magazine and the Consumer Federation of America extensively researched the relationship between credit scores and auto insurance rates and found the following:
“For many Illinoisans, auto insurance is not an optional purchase; it is what allows them to get to work so they can earn income and get out of debt,” Collins said. “A credit score is a predictor – and an imperfect one at that – of a person’s ability to repay a debt; it was never designed to predict driving behavior. The same communities of color hit hard by redlining, subprime mortgages, the recession and the housing crisis are still needlessly paying more for a basic product their residents need in order to rebound.”
California, Massachusetts and Hawaii already prohibit credit-based auto insurance pricing.