Most drivers probably know that if they get into an accident, their insurance rates are also likely to take a hit. But a new analysis by Consumer Reports finds that your car insurance premiums are increasingly based on factors such as your credit score that are unrelated to your driving record.
How well you drive may actually have little connection to how much you pay for insurance, the consumer group found.
In a two-year investigation, Consumer Reports analyzed more than 2 billion insurance price quotes obtained from more than 700 insurers across the country. It found that in many states a bad credit history will drive up your insurance premiums more than a drunk driving conviction.
“What we found is that behind the rate quotes is a pricing process that judges you less on driving habits and increasingly on socioeconomic factors,” the consumer organization reports. “These include your credit history, whether you use department-store or bank credit cards, and even your TV provider. Those measures are then used in confidential and often confounding scoring algorithms.”
Consumer Reports says it found that most car insurance companies use about 30 elements of the nearly 130 available in a credit report to construct their own secret score for policyholders, and that credit scores could have more of an impact on premiums than any other factor. Drivers with the best credit scores were charged up to $526 less than similar drivers with only “good” scores, depending on where they lived. Only three states — California, Hawaii and Massachusetts — prohibit insurers from factoring in credit scores when setting prices.
Drivers are legally required to carry car insurance, but the lack of pricing transparency makes it harder for them to make informed decisions about which policy to buy. “Because insurance companies are under no obligation to tell you what score they have cooked up for you, you have no idea whether you have a halo over your head or a bull’s-eye on your back for a price increase,” Consumer Reports says.
Industry advertising that promotes special discounts, such as for bundling home and car insurance, only muddles the purchasing process because those special deals don’t actually save people much money, Consumer Reports found.
The organization says it’s high time for truth in car insurance, and it’s asking consumers to sign a petition demanding that insurers -- and the state regulators who oversee them -- use price-setting practices that are tied to more meaningful factors, like driving records. It is also asking consumers to tweet the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, @NAIC_News, and tell them to “Price me by how I drive, not by who you think I am! #FixCarInsurance.”
For more information on state-by-state insurance premiums, or to sign the Consumer Reports petition, go to ConsumerReports.org/FixCarinsurance.
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That’s how much the private debt collection program at the IRS collected in the 2019 fiscal year. In the black for the second year in a row, the program cleared nearly $148 million after commissions and administrative costs.
The controversial program, which empowers private firms to go after delinquent taxpayers, began in 2004 and ran for five years before the IRS ended it following a review. It was restarted in 2015 and ran at a loss for the next two years.
Senate Finance Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), who played a central role in establishing the program, said Monday that the net proceeds are currently being used to hire 200 special compliance personnel at the IRS.
The federal budget deficit for October and November was $342 billion, up $36 billion or 12% from the same period last year, the Congressional Budget Office estimated on Monday. Revenues were up 3% while outlays rose by 6%, CBO said.
As expected, groups representing hospitals sued the Trump administration Wednesday to stop a new regulation would require them to make public the prices for services they negotiate with insurers. Claiming the rule “is unlawful, several times over,” the industry groups, which include the American Hospital Association, say the rule violates their First Amendment rights, among other issues.
"The burden of compliance with the rule is enormous, and way out of line with any projected benefits associated with the rule," the suit says. In response, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services said that hospitals “should be ashamed that they aren’t willing to provide American patients the cost of a service before they purchase it.”