Could you be paying too much to your car insurance company because of your zip code?
There’s something inherently wrong with America’s car insurance system. And no, it isn’t because your insurance company will charge you more for picking out a pretty shade of red on your dream car, deeming that a color is the marker of an aggressive driver. It’s because a study by Consumer Reports, which partnered with nonprofit public-interest investigative journalism website ProPublica, found that car insurance companies charge different rates depending on which neighborhood the buyer lives in.
So what did the dynamic duo find? Surprise surprise, neighborhoods in the sample states of California, Texas, Illinois, and Missouri that have a higher number of minorities tend to pay higher rates on car insurance. The discrepancies aren’t small either, with some areas of cities with higher numbers of minority residents paying up to 30% more than white neighborhoods.
A logical person would chalk this up to the unfortunate fact that minority dominant neighborhoods tend to be low income neighborhoods (more on discriminatory housing practices when we start HousingBuzz) and therefore more prone to risk, however the study found that the variation in price remained even when risk factors were equal. This video released by Consumer Reports tracks Ryan Hedges and Otis Nash, both car owners in Chicago who live in different neighborhoods and are covered by the same insurance company. Nash drives a 2012 Honda Accord and pays $190 a month while Hedges owns a 2015 Audi Q5 and pays only $54 per month. The difference? Location location location.