You might think that auto insurance companies would be most interested in how safe a driver you are, or in how flashy your car looks. That would make intuitive sense after all. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

What the major auto insurance companies actually are fascinated with may surprise and even anger you, especially if you are a member of the financially lower middle class or lower class. Consumer advocates claim that low income drivers are deliberately priced out of affording auto insurance coverage simply because they are evaluated not based on their driving record and choice of vehicle, but instead on their education level, occupation, marital status, and even dreaded credit scores. Look at for great information on affordable car insurance.

If this is true in Texas, as it is in other states throughout the U.S., then it is a shameful and discriminatory practice that the auto insurance companies employ to disproportionately boost insurance premium costs for lower income drivers, according to J. Robert Hunter, who is a former Texas insurance commissioner and current Consumer Federation of America Director of Insurance. What is worse is that many lower income drivers are less likely than other drivers to shop around for more competitive insurance rates because they possess less financial savvy and know-how. The auto insurance companies know this all too well, and so they prowl around their policyholders personal and financial data in an effort to pick out their customers who will not comparison shop rates from time to time. They then deliver the coup de gras by raising the premiums deliberately on these drivers, who ironically are the most likely to stay loyal to them, simply because they can.

This all boils down to one sad truth for you as a driver in Texas. If you are down on your luck financially, then your compassionate auto insurance company will sense the weakness and pounce on you like a powerful lion moving in for the kill on its hapless prey. This is because when your financial status is less than optimal, you are more likely to be single, less educated, less impressively employed, and with a lessor credit score. Each of these facts of life will count as an unfortunate, and expensive, black mark against your auto insurance policy premiums.

Auto insurance companies try to muddy the waters still more with their sneaky argument that insurance premiums are declining for drivers of every kind, including lower and moderate income motorists. That may be true in absolute terms, but yet again, the rates are declining much faster for the middle to upper-middle class drivers than they are for you the average poor Joe standing on the street corner. This serves to yet again widen the inequality gap between the haves and have-not drivers in Texas and around the United State.

Meanwhile, since all states but New Hampshire require a driver to have a minimum level of property damage coverage at least, this means that you as a lower income driver will face such egregious insurance premiums and rates that you may have to choose between driving illegally or simply not driving.

Auto insurance companies try to claim that they judge a driver by a multitude of widely varying factors. They admit that these include marital status, education, occupation, credit score, and where you live. That’s right, if you live in a poorer neighborhood, then your car will be judged to be more likely to be vandalized or stolen by your so-called criminal neighbors.

Not too surprisingly, auto insurance companies actively oppose state judicial activism on the subject. They claim that the evaluation techniques that judge lower middle class personal information as negative have amply proven time and time again to be telling measures of the financial risks that certain drivers entail. For example, insurance companies claim that a lower level of education correlates directly to higher insurance underwriting losses.

The problem is that insurance is much like a utility that everyone has to have in order to survive. The difference is that unlike with a utility where everyone is judged evenly based on usage for his or her billing, with predatory auto insurance companies and practices, the pricing is wildly different from one customer to the next. For now at least, auto insurance companies are able to get away with this nefarious practice in most states.