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UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Although you can easily change some of the factors that make up your car insurance premiums such as the type of car you drive, other factors are out of your hands. It’s important to understand the factors you can control so that you know how your lifestyle choices affect the amount you will pay for insurance.
For instance, not many people know that your occupation can result in either cost-saving discounts or drastic rate hikes. The type of work you do and your job title actually impact your car insurance, for better or worse.
Whether you’ve recently switched careers and you’re wondering why your rates are more expensive or you’re considering taking a new job offer, read on to learn more about how your job impacts insurance and compare the best rates with our free comparison tool above!
The Real Reason Why Agents Ask About Your Occupation
As mentioned above, there are a number of factors that determine how your policy is calculated. These include how often you drive, the type of vehicle you drive, your accident history, how long you have had your license, your gender, and your driving record.
When you are shopping around for a car insurance quote, the agent will ask you some questions to assign you a risk rating. Asking you about your occupation serves a higher purpose than simply making small talk; the answer you provide will help to determine your risk rating. Why does the agent ask about occupation and not your hobbies? Statistics show that someone’s job is directly related to the likelihood that they will be in a car crash.
The Relationship Between Risk and Occupation
As is the case with health insurance, the amount you’ll pay for a premium is directly related to your risk rating. With more stability and responsibility comes a lower risk and, consequently, a lower premium. According to research, the more dangerous the job, the more likely the driver will be to file a claim. Conversely, professionals in “safe” occupations are classified as more financially stable or more responsible.
The Riskiest and Least-Risky Occupations
Generally speaking, individuals who have careers as professional athletes can expect to pay higher premiums. Drivers such as disc jockeys who work in social scenes also pay more for their car insurance policies. While you might think that spinning tunes all night seems fairly harmless, this career exposes professionals to atmospheres with alcohol.
DJs also work into the early hours of the morning, when car accidents are more likely to occur. Other high-risk occupations include salespeople, architects, business owners and executives, real estate brokers, lawyers, and doctors.
Since these jobs often involve a lack of sleep, over time, and higher stress levels, the number of accidents involving professionals in these occupations can be higher than the average driver.
Also, many of these careers require the driver to travel to and from a client and/or patient appointments and meetings throughout the day.
On the other hand, there are certain professions which are generally considered to be low-risk in terms of car insurance premiums. According to statistics, nurses are the lowest risk professionals because, as a whole, they are more responsible behind the wheel. Other careers in which professions are required to pay attention to detail that then translates into safer driving habits include:
- School teachers
- Police officers
Of course, not every driver who works in a “low-risk” occupation has a blemish-free driving record and not every driver who is in a “high-risk” occupation is has a tarnished driving record. The relationship between high-risk and high premiums isn’t as black-and-white as one would like to believe.
For instance, although physicians may have a higher risk of getting into an accident, their ability to pay for damages without filing an insurance claim might mean they won’t be subject to higher rates. Again, this will depend on each individual insurance provider.
The key thing to keep in mind, as with all of the other factors that insurance companies take into consideration when calculating car insurance premiums, is the driver’s average risk. Every company will put different weight on various factors, which it’s worth your while to comparison-shop for the best policy to meet your needs.
The setting in which professionals work, the potential for distractions, the type of work they do, the level of stress and the hours when they work can all attribute to risk. If you’re considering entering a new profession, do some research to find out if your new career will be a higher risk so that there aren’t any surprises as you shop for car insurance quotes.
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Occupational Discounts May Be Available
Once you understand how your occupation affects your risk rating and, subsequently, your car insurance premiums, it’s time to talk discounts. In addition to safe-driving discounts, multiple vehicle discounts, good student discounts and low mileage discounts, your insurance company may offer you an occupational discount if you belong to a professional group, if you work for a certain employer or if you are in a certain industry.
To learn more about eligibility, ask the association with which you are affiliated or your employer if a certain car insurance company can offer you savings based on your job.
Other Occupational Factors That May Affect Your Rating
In addition to your occupation, your agent will also assess your driving habits and several other factors. Not all insurance companies analyze every one of these categories, and some providers might consider factors not listed below.
The Type of Your Car
Some occupations consider your vehicle as a tool. For example, maintenance crews, carpenters, landscapers and other professions in which your vehicle is required for the job may cause your insurance to increase. Also, if your company requires you to buy a certain type of car for whatever reason, the type of car may also affect your rates.
Variables include the overall safety record of the car, the cost of repairs, the cost of the car itself and the likelihood of theft. Engine sizes can also impact premiums, but keep in mind that vehicles with high-quality safety equipment may qualify for discounts.
Your Annual Mileage
It goes without saying that the more you drive, the more likely you are to have an accident. If you travel two hours for work each way five days per week, you can bet that your premiums will be higher than someone who lives right down the street from his or her place of employment.
By the same token, where you park your car at work can also affect your premium. Generally, due to higher rates of accidents, theft, and vandalism, those in rural areas or small towns pay a lower auto insurance price than urban drivers.
How You Use Your Car
Most professionals use their cars to drive back and forth to work. When you tell your agent that you are commuting, you are considered a “commute user” rather than a “pleasure user.” The latter enjoys lower rates because they don’t drive in stressful atmospheres.
They aren’t generally in as much of a hurry as commute users, which translates into safer driving habits.
In addition, business users are typically assigned a higher risk category since they may carpool with passengers, increasing the likelihood of an additional personal injury claim should the accident occur.
Very few people switch their careers based on expensive car insurance premiums, but if you’re shopping for a new policy, it can be helpful to know these factors ahead of time.
Keep in mind that every insurance company is different, and some may place more weight on annual mileage or driving record than your actual occupation. If you’re not happy with your current rates, contact other companies to see what they can offer you based on your occupation and your driving habits. Make sure to compare rates with our free comparison tool below!