Inslee’s Plan to Drop Car Insurance Credit Scoring Could Cost You
Monday, Gov. Inslee and WA State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kriedler announced they are going to push for legislators to pass a bill that would ban the use of credit scoring when it comes to auto insurance sold to residents.
Credit scoring is the use of your credit worthiness, when it comes to obtaining potentially lower rates. The higher your score, the better chance of getting a lower rate. Inslee and Kriedler claim the practice is evidence of "systemic racism," and want it banned.
However, their arguments actually fall flat. According to Forbes Magazine, a study done by the Federal Trade Commission in 2007 shows that credit scores are "an effective predictor of risk" when it comes to drivers. It's an indicator of how safely that person is doing to drive.
As far back as the 1990's many insurance company studies showed the higher a driver's credit score, the less likely they were to make a claim (get in an accident or even accumulate tickets). So, the practice became more widespread and is used in most states. However, years ago Hawaii and California both banned this procedure.
In Washington state, insurance companies already cannot 'ban' a driver from obtaining insurance soley due to a low credit score. Two separate studies conducted in 2016 and 2017 by the states of Vermont and Arkansas found that 66 and 57 percent (respectively) of drivers got lower rates when credit scoring was used.
Inslee and Kriedler's plan would likely actually end up raising rates for good credit and good driving record people. Without credit scoring, rate costs would be spread more evenly across the entire spectrum of drivers. So having a high credit score and, hence, a 'predicted' good record will not matter as much, because the 'costs' will be equally distributed to all. CBS News reports a study in 2019 confirmed this.
CBS says the study showed while rates-premiums went down for the lower 50% of drivers, the other 'safer' 50% went 'up' because they didn't get the best rates due to their higher credit scores.
Some veteran Tri-City are insurance agents said that's what's happened in CA and Hawaii since credit scoring was done away with.
The push to end this practice is part of Inslee's 2021-2023 "equity legislation," which he unveiled Monday of this week.