How Occupation Affects Car Insurance (Education, Discounts, & Rates)

Your Occupation can affect your auto insurance rates. Car insurance companies consider some jobs to be high-risk and some to be low-risk. If you have a low-risk job, you may be eligible for an insurance discount.

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UPDATED: Jun 1, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: Jun 1, 2022Fact Checked

How Occupation Affects Car Insurance: Reviewed by a licensed insurance agent

Here's what you need to know

  • You can lower rates with a car insurance occupation discount
  • Your work commute distance may entitle you to low mileage discounts
  • Some companies offer reductions if you get insurance through an employer group plan, a professional network, or a business association

Many people may be unaware, but your occupation affects car insurance. Insurers who view your occupation as high risk could charge you a higher rate on auto coverage.

You could also qualify for lower coverage rates with a car insurance occupation discount. Drivers who work in specific fields or professions may be eligible for these discounts.

Occupational discounts are just one of many car insurance discounts you may qualify for to reduce your rates, and you can explore this discount in detail to determine if it applies to you.

Keep reading to see how occupation and education levels affect car insurance rates.

How does occupation affect car insurance?

When shopping for insurance, you may need to provide employment information. Insurers often use this information to set your rates because it determines your risk level to insure.

For example, a Uber or Lyft driver is constantly on the road. As a result, the chances of getting into an accident are higher than the average driver. Therefore, car insurance companies may hike car insurance rates due to the increased risk.

Those with lower-risk jobs, such as child care workers and medical assistants, may be eligible for a car insurance occupation discount.

It’s also essential to inform your insurance company if you change jobs — you may be eligible for a better discount or require a change in coverage. In fact, many insurers offer car insurance discounts for low-risk jobs.

The best car insurance by occupation depends on many other factors, such as age, driving record, and ZIP code.

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How High-Risk Occupations vs. Low-Risk Occupations Affect Car Insurance

With insurance, risk and rates always correlate, so you may see lower rates if your profession is low-risk. If your job is high-risk, insurance rates may be higher.

So which professions are high-risk and which are low-risk? Auto insurance companies use a large amount of data, statistics, and surveys to compile a list of the riskiest professions. However, this list varies by company.

This table shows the auto insurance industry’s top 15 high-risk and low-risk occupations.

Average Six-Month Car Insurance Rates for High-Risk vs. Low-Risk Occupations
High-Risk OccupationsSix-Month RatesLow-Risk OccupationSix-Month Rates
Chef (No High School)$1,038.90Homemaker$407.50
Chef (High School)$1,038.90Professor
With College Degree
$430.10
Currently Unemployed$992Military Officer
(Air Force O-1)
$836.80
Actor$992Retired Miltary
(Air Force O-6)
$836.80
Waiter/Bartender/Host$992Psychiatrist$871.50
Athlete$992Military E-5
$875.10
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Insurers determine risk by the likelihood individuals in a particular occupation will file a claim. For example, bartenders, waitresses, and DJs usually work into the night, in environments with alcohol, and where parties occur — so insurers may consider them high risk and charge higher rates.

Depending on your occupation, you may qualify for savings on your rates. Fields eligible for this discount vary by the insurance company.

How does occupation impact car insurance rates?

Now that you know how car insurance companies look at your occupation, we’ll talk about a few of the most common careers that affect your rates.

Some of the top occupations that you may find discounts for include:

  • Teachers
  • Law enforcement officials
  • Firefighters
  • Federal or government workers
  • Military professionals

Some people consider going to school a full-time job. Typically, full-time students don’t qualify for a car insurance occupation discount. Still, you may be eligible for a good student discount or other similar discounts through select companies.

In addition, when you retire from the workforce, you may qualify for a retiree or senior discount through some car insurance companies.

Self-Employed Car Insurance Rates

Our research shows that there is no distinction between self-employed car insurance rates and rates for employment through a private employer.

If you’re self-employed and use your vehicle for business purposes, don’t assume your personal auto insurance will cover an accident while conducting business. Contact your insurance company representative to ensure you have the right coverage.

It may be best to look into a separate business owners policy or in-home business policy to adequately protect yourself from all potential liabilities.

If you plan to employ other people who will also drive your vehicle(s), check their driving records early and often.

Education Professional Car Insurance Rates

How does work in the education field impact your auto insurance rates? This table shows average rates for different professions in the education field.

Average Car Insurance Rates for Education Professionals
OccupationMonthly RatesSix-Month RatesAnnual Rates
Teacher/Dean/Individual With Education Degree$151$906$1,812
Instructor/Coach/Teacher's Assistant$151$906$1,812
Librarian$151$906$1,812
Computer/Math/Research$151$906$1,812
Administrator$151$906$1,812
Admin. Asst./Secretary$151$906$1,812
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Car insurance discounts for teachers can help lower these rates.

Teachers, deans, and individuals with an education degree are at the higher end of auto insurance rates among the low-risk professions.

Teachers tend to have after-school events and evening events to attend, putting them on the road in the evening several times a year. In addition, teachers may spend more time on the road for summer vacation and school holidays.

More time on the road means more risk for accidents, damage, or vehicle theft.

Though all teachers have different schedules and some work through the summer, insurers consider each teacher’s average activity when setting rates.

Law Enforcement and Emergency Personnel Auto Insurance Rates

What if you’re a first responder? Are you entitled to lower rates from car insurance companies?

This table shows average car insurance rates for first responders.

Average Car Insurance Rates for First Responders
OccupationMonthly RatesSix-Month RatesAnnual Rates
EMT$157.98$947.90$1,895.80
Firefighter$157.98$947.90$1,895.80
Highway Patrol$157.98$947.90$1,895.80
Police Officer$157.98$947.90$1,895.80
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First responders put their lives on the line each time they respond to an emergency call. They may have to use a personal vehicle to arrive at the emergency site at times.

Therefore, first responders need to get proper coverage for private and work vehicles to protect them after an accident.

Police officers, firefighters, and emergency service workers drive a lot and undergo advanced driving training upon hiring. Therefore, the law classifies them as professional drivers.

Firefighters also have a state-specific license permitting them to drive fire trucks.

However, being a professional driver doesn’t always translate to cheap car insurance rates.

First responders face many risks and challenges unique to their professions that auto insurance companies also consider when pricing quotes.

Their jobs may require them to attend to any situation urgently regardless of their location. Therefore, the workers have exposure to more risks than any other occupation, eventually leading to higher rates.

Most first responders also work long hours and night shifts — an exhausted driver is more prone to causing an accident than drivers operating on normal rest. Additionally, nighttime drivers are renowned for causing more accidents than daytime ones.

Military Auto Insurance Rates

If you’ve served in the U.S. military, you may be eligible to save on your car insurance.

This table shows average car insurance rates for different military professions.

Average Annual GEICO/USAA Car Insurance Rates for Military Personnel and Veterans
OccupationAnnual Rates% Savings
(GEICO/USAA)
Possible Savings
Military Officer
(Air Force O-1)
$1,673.6015%$251.04
Military E-5
(Air Force)
$1,750.2015%$262.53
Military E-5
(Army)
$1,750.2015%$262.53
Military E-5
(Coast Guard)
$1,750.2015%$262.53
Military E-5
(Marines)
$1,750.2015%$262.53
Military E-5
(Navy)
$1,750.2015%$262.53
Military E-1
(Air Force)
$1,830.8015%$274.62
Military E-2
(Air Force)
$1,830.8015%$274.62
Military E-3
(Air Force)
$1,830.8015%$274.62
Military E-4
(Air Force)
$1,830.8015%$274.62
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Many auto insurers offer car insurance discounts for military members and their families.

For example, GEICO offers a discount of up to 15% to military members and specific military organizations, such as The Association of the United States Army, The Navy Federal Credit Union, and The National Military Family Association.

On the other hand, USAA only offers coverage to military members and their families. You must be an active, honorable discharged, or retired member of the U.S. armed forces to get a USAA policy.

Many insurance companies also offer special rates and discounts for veterans and those garaging their vehicles while deployed.

Those who served in the military are less of a risk to insure than civilians, so they often qualify for discounts. Since military personnel receive intensive training to operate different types of machinery, they’re low-risk drivers, qualifying them for a lifelong discount.

Blue-Collar and White-Collar Car Insurance Rates

Do you love working outdoors or performing manual labor? Or do you prefer dressing up and going to the office?

Whether we work a blue-collar or white-collar job, we all want to save as much money as possible on car insurance rates.

This table shows average rates for blue-collar and white-collar occupations.

Average Monthly Car Insurance Rates for Blue-Collar and White-Collar Workers
Blue-Collar WorkersMonthly
Rates
White-Collar WorkersMonthly
Rates
Construction/Skilled Worker$151Architect$151
Farm Manager, Owner$157.98Bank/Clerical/Office Staff$151
Mechanic$157.98Admin. Asst./Secretary$151
Tradesman$157.98Engineer$151
Manufacturer$157.98Administrator$151
Technician$157.98Manager/Director$151
Machinist/Toolmaker$157.98CPA/Comptroller$151
Barber/Beautician$161.72Attorney/Lawyer/Judge$151
Mortician/Undertaker$165.33Executive$151
Breeder$165.33Statistician$151
Groomer$165.33Professional Designer$157.98
Trainer$165.33Marketing/Advertising$157.98
Clerk/Cashier$165.33Customer Service$157.98
Machine Operator$165.33Clergy$157.98
Cleaning/Janitorial$165.33Sales/Real Estate$157.98
Repair/Maintenance$165.33Supervisor/Asst. Manager$157.98
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Hands-on individuals who aren’t afraid to break out the tools and repair their vehicle — like blue-collar workers — may be less likely to file a claim for car repairs.

Certified public accountants, comptrollers, and accountants are considered professionals. There are many differences between the specific roles in their occupations, but insurers often group these three careers when considering car insurance rates.

These white-collar professionals present a similar risk to insurance companies as the blue-color construction worker above, so their quotes are the same. However, keeping the number of claims down as a group helps lower their statistical insurance risk.

Medical Professional Auto Insurance Rates

Car insurance rates for a medical doctor or dentist can vary due to a lot of factors. Medical professionals may be eligible for car insurance discounts because the education required to become a medical professional can indicate your level of responsibility.

This table shows average GEICO car insurance rates for medical professionals.

Average GEICO Car Insurance Rates for Medical Professionals
OccupationGEICO Six-Month
Rates
Surgeon$916.80
Orthodontist$916.80
Nurse$947.90
Occupational Therapist$947.90
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While doctors statistically get into more accidents than teachers, the difference in their car insurance rates is relatively low compared to the difference in salary between the two professions.

Doctors are less likely than teachers to file a claim with their insurance companies for a minor fender bender, choosing to pay out-of-pocket expenses rather than incur a potential hike in rates.

When the insurance company saves money on claims, they pass those savings on to the medical professionals.

Legal Professional Car Insurance Rates

Jobs in the legal profession tend to be high-stress and require great attention to detail, long hours, and unpredictable results, meaning the stress can be ongoing. Attorneys often take the stress of their work home and on the road.

Here is a look at potential discounted rates for legal professionals, based on an average 4% discount for the entire group:

GEICO Car Insurance Discounts for Legal Professionals
OccupationGEICO Six-Month
Rates
Potential Discounted
Rates
Judge$906$869.76
Attorney$906$869.76
Paralegal$906$869.76
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Car insurance rates for attorneys, lawyers, and judges are usually higher than average when it comes to occupation.

Trials and client meetings can occur at any time, day or night. When working on a case, an attorney may also work overtime, meaning they’ll drive at different hours.

Entertainer and Professional Athlete Car Insurance Rates

Entertainers and professional athletes have a common need to travel great distances during their duties.

This travel requirement puts them on the road a lot. So they may be more vulnerable to an accident than the average person, resulting in higher rates.

This table shows average rates from GEICO for entertainers.

Average Monthly GEICO Car Insurance Rates for Entertainers and Professional Athletes
OccupationGEICO Monthly
Rates
GEICO Six-Month
Rates
GEICO Annual
Rates
Actor$165.33$992$1,984
Athlete$165.33$992$1,984
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Professional athletes are typically young and drive automobiles with high value and performance, possibly leading to excessive claims and higher rates.

They also tend to select higher liability limits since their fame and wealth often make them targets for litigation in the event of an accident.

Retired Car Insurance Rates

What if you’re retired from the workforce? What rates can you expect to pay for car insurance for retirees?

Several companies, such as Senior Driver and Recent Retirees, offer discounts. Additionally, companies like The Hartford and AARP offer discounts to seniors and retirees who take a defensive driving course, offered at no cost by some companies.

You may also qualify for low-mileage discounts. For example, since you’re no longer driving back and forth to a place of employment, you’re less likely to be involved in an accident and put fewer miles on your vehicle.

Retirees should also maintain a clean driving record to keep low rates. If you are a senior in retirement, you likely have a safer driving history than your younger counterparts. Drivers 50 and younger commit over 75% of car accidents in the United States.

During our research, we obtained quotes from GEICO for retirees in the states of Maine and Louisiana since those two states were the least and most expensive states, respectively, to provide quotes.

Six-Month Car Insurance Rates for 65-Year-Olds: Retired vs. Employed Males and Females
State65-Year-Old Retired Male65-Year-Old Retired Female65-Year-Old Employed Male65-Year-Old Employed Female
Maine$233.80$233.80
$269.60$269.60
Louisiana$1,066.77$1,255.65$1,128.45$1,328.10
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When obtaining the quotes, no discounts are applied, though some quotes already factor in certain discounts.

Another consideration for retirees is owning multiple properties in multiple locations.

If you are a snowbird, own a rental property, or spend a significant amount of time traveling in a mobile home or RV, check on rates for multi-car policies and state-specific laws about residency that will impact your rates.

Unemployed Auto Insurance Rates

Does being unemployed affect car insurance rates? When in between jobs, the last thing you need to worry about is higher car insurance rates.

Fortunately, your lack of employment cannot disqualify you from buying car insurance, nor does it necessarily harm your rates.

There are several instances where unemployed car insurance can have lower rates.

While unemployed, you’re not making your daily commute to and from work, meaning you’re not traveling during the morning and afternoon rush hours. Some auto insurers view this reduction in travel as a decrease in risk.

Contact your insurance company representative and inform them of the change in your employment status.

If you’re unemployed and don’t spend much time on the roads, you may get a discount. Car insurance companies may call this a “pleasure usage rating.” A pleasure usage rating applies when your annual mileage is significantly below an average driver’s.

Does education level affect car insurance?

Did you know that a college degree can lower your car insurance rates? Take a look at these rates from GEICO for comparison.

GEICO Averages Monthly Car Insurance Rates Based on Education Level
Education
Level
GEICO
Monthly Rates
Education
Level
GEICO
Monthly Rates
Associate's$165.33No High School (Military E-5)$145.85
Bachelor's$165.33High School (Military E-5)$145.85
Master's$165.33Associate's (Military E-5)$145.85
Ph.D$165.33Bachelor's (Military E-5)$145.85
No High School$173.15Master's (Military E-5)$145.85
High School$173.15PhD (Military E-5)$145.85
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State Farm is one of the few larger insurers that doesn’t consider education when determining risk. Many auto insurance companies offer a discount to customers who attend college and earn a degree.

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The Bottom Line: How Occupation Affects Car Insurance

Each car insurance company assesses occupational risk differently. High-risk jobs could mean higher rates, and low-risk jobs could entitle you to a discount.

Ask your colleagues or co-workers for recommendations or conduct thorough research online for providers offering an applicable discount.

By taking this initial step, you may be able to more quickly obtain affordable quotes for a new policy that considers an occupational discount.

Since each car insurance company weighs risk differently, compare multiple companies to find the best rates and discounts.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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