When you apply for homeowners insurance, the insurance company will run their own version of a credit check to determine how much of a risk you’ll be to insure. If you have a good credit score, your insurer may view you as a “low-risk insured” and offer you cheaper rates. Conversely, if your credit score is bad, you’re viewed as riskier to insure and therefore you’ll generally pay higher homeowners insurance premiums.
Does your credit score affect homeowners insurance rates?
Yes, certain parts of your credit score do affect homeowners insurance rates. The credit check that your insurance company runs is less extensive and pries less into your financial background than a normal credit check.
What the insurance company looks at is your insurance score, or your credit-based insurance score. Your credit-based insurance score is a calculation of some (but not all) of the factors in your credit history. Insurers factor this in when calculating your rates because research has shown that there’s a correlation between certain credit characteristics and insurance losses.
Why good credit leads to lower home insurance rates
If you have good financials and a good credit score, that means you’re staying on top of your mortgage payments and maintaining the property — making necessary house repairs and providing upkeep when need be.
A bad storm will probably pose less of a risk to a home that’s well taken care of and structurally sound than one that isn’t. And you’re also less likely to fall behind on premium payments. In the insurer’s eyes, all of these factors are interconnected.
On the flip side, homeowners with a poor credit-based insurance score are more likely to have outstanding debt and are viewed as more likely to depend on an insurance payout in the event that something bad happens.
Can you get homeowners insurance with bad credit?
It’s possible to get homeowners insurance with bad credit, but be prepared to pay higher rates than average. Depending on what state you live in, insurance companies may be permitted to use credit-based insurance scores as a factor in denying or canceling your policy, but it can’t be the sole reason.
But if you have poor credit on top of other factors insurers consider to be “high risk” — like say you own an older home or you have a history of filing frequent claims — having a bad insurance score in addition to all of that could make it hard to get homeowners insurance on the private market. That’s where your state’s Fair Access to Insurance Requirements (FAIR) Plan comes in.
How much more does homeowners insurance cost if you have bad credit?
A standard homeowners insurance policy with $300,000 in dwelling coverage costs an average $1,754 per year for a person with good credit, according to our analysis of 2022 home insurance rates across the country.
Below is a look at how much some major insurers charge for homeowners insurance for the same amount of dwelling coverage if you have good credit vs. poor credit. As you can see, having poor credit can lead to an increase in annual home insurance costs.
Keep in mind that your credit-based insurance score isn’t the sole factor that insurers consider when calculating your rates. They also look at things like the age of your home, its build, location, and more.
What is the difference between a FICO credit score and a credit-based insurance score?
While a FICO credit score helps lenders gauge how likely you are to pay back a loan or a line of credit, a credit-based insurance score measures the likelihood of you filing an insurance claim. Most insurance companies will check your credit-based insurance score when you apply for coverage or renew your policy. There are several different companies that provide insurers with insurance scores, and each company calculates that number a little differently.
5 factors that make up your credit-based insurance score
Your FICO credit-based insurance score is based on five key areas with varying weights, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
Here’s how it breaks down:
Payment history (40%): How well you’ve been able to pay off outstanding debt in the past
Outstanding debt (30%): How much debt you currently have
Credit history length (15%): How far back your open lines of credit go
Pursuit of new credit (10%): If you’ve applied for new lines of credit recently
Credit mix (5%): The kinds of credit you have open (mortgage, student loans, auto loans, etc.)
How to improve your credit-based insurance score
Your credit score and insurance score are different, but the ways to improve them are similar. To improve your credit-based insurance score, here are a few tips:
Pay all of your bills on time
Pay more than just the minimum payment on your credit card bills
Only apply for lines of credit when necessary
Keep your credit utilization low on existing lines of credit
Policygenius analyzed home insurance rates provided by Quadrant Information Services in March 2022 for ZIP codes in all 50 states plus Washington, D.C., for a 40-year-old female homeowner with no claim history, good credit, a $1,000 deductible, and the following coverage limits:
Other structures: $30,000
Personal property: $150,000
Loss of use: $60,000
All rates based on the above coverage limits except where otherwise noted.
Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of costs. Your actual quotes may differ.