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StarBulletin.com

FICO scores do not affect car insurance premiums


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POSTED: Wednesday, October 28, 2009

QUESTION: Are car insurance companies in Hawaii allowed to use our FICO (registered trademark of Fair Isaac Corp.) credit score to determine what we pay in premiums? I know someone who has a clean traffic abstract but pays more than double what others would pay in their age category. He drives a minivan and is a safe driver. However, I think his FICO credit score is poor. If car insurers are allowed to use our FICO scores, could you please list the companies that use drivers' credit scores in determining their premiums and the ones that do not use this practice?

ANSWER: Car insurers are not allowed to use someone's credit rating to determine a premium.

If anyone suspects a car insurer is charging a premium based on a credit rating—solely or in part—they can file a complaint with the state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs' Insurance Division, said Gordon Ito, chief deputy insurance commissioner.

He pointed to Section 431:10C-207 of the Hawaii Revised Statutes, which says, “;No insurer shall base any standard or rating plan, in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, upon a person's race, creed, ethnic extraction, age, sex, length of driving experience, credit bureau rating, marital status, or physical handicap.”;

Ito said his office hasn't had any recent complaints about insurers using credit ratings to set a premium.

“;If people suspect this is being done, they are welcome to file a complaint,”; Ito said. “;We would do an investigation.”;

Go to the Insurance Division's “;Consumer Information”; Web site at hsblinks.com/u0, where you can download a complaint form.

Or call 586-2790 for information.

We asked Ito whether the Insurance Division had any tips for consumers when shopping for a new motor vehicle policy.

He pointed to several documents posted on the division's Web site.

The Motor Vehicle Premium Comparison Sheet is one of the more useful documents, in which consumers can compare the cost of a basic motor vehicle policy among Hawaii insurers, as well as a typical motor vehicle “;coverage scenario,”; Ito said.

The site also provides a listing of complaints each insurer has received and compares their complaint ratios.

Another document is “;Insure U Automotive Information,”; which provides tips on shopping for a policy, as well as a basic “;Motor Vehicle Insurance Information”; document, Ito said.

QUESTION: Is there a list of future recycling projects in communities in coming months? I have a computer monitor, printer, TV and other items for recycling.

ANSWER: Aloha Aina Earth Day is held monthly in different neighborhoods on Oahu, giving residents a convenient venue to recycle unwanted possessions, while generating funds for the host nonprofit group (see hsblinks.com/158).

The next scheduled event is 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 7 at Leeward Community College, 96-045 AlaIke St. Computers and printer cartridges will be accepted, but you can't recycle TVs, microwave ovens, gas tanks, paints or hazardous fluids.

See hsblinks.com/159 to find out what's acceptable or contact Rene Mansho by calling 306-1876 or e-mailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), or go to the Web site www.hawaiimetal.com.