How Credit Scores Affect Insurance Rates

More insurers now consider your credit score when setting your insurance rates, and others look at your score a lot more closely than they had in the past.

How is the credit score that insurance companies use when setting premiums different from the one that lenders use when determining your rates on a loan?

The version insurers use is slightly different from the one that lenders use. Both types of scores are based on information from your credit report, but insurers weigh the items differently. For example, insurers look a lot more closely at how you've managed credit over time rather than how much credit you've applied for recently, says Steven Katz, director of consumer communications for credit bureau TransUnion.

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Kimberly Lankford
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance

As the "Ask Kim" columnist for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, Lankford receives hundreds of personal finance questions from readers every month. She is the author of Rescue Your Financial Life (McGraw-Hill, 2003), The Insurance Maze: How You Can Save Money on Insurance -- and Still Get the Coverage You Need (Kaplan, 2006), Kiplinger's Ask Kim for Money Smart Solutions (Kaplan, 2007) and The Kiplinger/BBB Personal Finance Guide for Military Families. She is frequently featured as a financial expert on television and radio, including NBC's Today Show, CNN, CNBC and National Public Radio.