Investing during a recession

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

When things get lean, it’s natural to want to tighten your belt and save money wherever possible. But should you stop investing completely? It’s an entirely personal decision. Get some facts and insights about investing during a recession below to help you determine what will work for you.

Is It a Good Idea to Invest During a Recession?

It depends on a few factors, including what you’re referring to when you say “investing.” If you’re talking about funding a 401(k), you probably want to continue doing so unless you would be unable to pay your necessary bills and living expenses.

But if investing means the stock market or other similar options, you should seriously consider your financial situation. If you already have emergency savings and have disposable income to risk, investing can be an option. This is especially true if you won’t be touching your portfolio for a while, so you have time to weather the ups and downs associated with a recession economy.

But you do want to be aware of the bear market trap so you don’t fall into it. Bear traps occur when a lot of investors have bought into certain stock. This increases the selling pressure, which just means that there are buyers for the stock but not a lot of stock to be had.

Institutions that want the stock to move higher may push prices lower via short sales or other strategies, making it appear as if the prices are falling. That can scare people into selling the stock. In the long run, however, the stock maintains its price or increases in value, so selling early can mean losing out on future gains. This is just one reason you might want to work with a professional advisor when investing.

7 Tips for Investing During a Recession

1. Be Patient and Think Long-Term

Buying and selling stocks rapidly to turn huge profits is mostly an event seen in movies and television. And while it’s not impossible for pros to luck into a big win, this is not typically how individuals should look at investing. It may take time for your investments to pay off, especially if the economy as a whole is struggling, so it’s important to avoid being guided by emotions and rely on logic and sound financial advice.

2. Commit to a Personal Investment Plan

A personal investment plan is a written document that includes your financial goals and what types of limitations you might have, such as what you can afford to spend on investing. Creating such a document ensures you have a logical, well-thought-out guide to turn to when things do get tricky. If you feel tempted by a seemingly perfect investment, for example, your plan can remind you what you can realistically put into this new investment.

3. Use the Dollar-Cost Averaging Strategy

Dollar-cost averaging is a strategy used by many investors, including some professionals. Its goal is to potentially reduce the volatile nature of a single purchase. The DCA strategy works like this:

  • You decide how much you’re going to invest in certain assets within a set period
  • You divide that budget over that time and make periodic purchases of the asset
  • You do this despite the price of the asset at any given time

The goal is to build up the investment for a long-term gain strategy. This is actually how most 401(k) investments are managed.

4. Focus on Quality Over Quantity

But don’t think that you have to buy tons of assets to be investing for the future. If you have limited funds to invest with, it can be tempting to buy up stock that is cheap just to get some quantity. But cheap stock isn’t always a great investment, and it might be better to buy a smaller number of shares in a well-trusted company with a history of strong stock performance.

5. Consider Funds Instead of Individual Stocks

Another option is to consider funds, which spread your investment over numerous stocks. You’ve probably heard that you have to diversify your portfolio. That just means investing in numerous types of assets so that if one doesn’t perform well, you have other gains to make up for the loss.

A mutual fund is an investment option that’s already diversified, for example. Plus, it’s a convenient way to add numerous assets to your equity portfolio without buying and managing numerous stocks yourself.

6. Rebalance When Necessary

While investing is a long-term strategy, active investing can’t be a set-and-forget strategy. You have to make efforts to rebalance your portfolio—or ensure someone is doing that for you—from time to time.

Rebalancing just means aligning your assets with your target goals. For example, you might have a goal of 60% in stocks and 40% in other assets. But if your stocks gain rapidly during a few years, outpacing the gains of your other assets, you could have a 70/30 split. If your goal is still 60/40, you would rebalance by selling stock, purchasing other assets or both.

7. Invest in Recession-Resistant Industries

Recession-resistant industries are those that don’t tend to succumb to downturns in the economy, often because they’re necessary. Examples of industries that have historically weathered recessions well include healthcare, technology, beauty, retail, construction and pet products.

Note that because a company is in a recession-resistant industry doesn’t mean that company itself is necessarily resistant. It’s always important to be discerning about which stocks you invest in. For example, if the company doesn’t have strong financial leadership or has known money problems, it may not matter what industry it’s in.

Review Your Finances and Decide What’s Best for You

Ultimately, only you can decide whether investing during a recession is right for you. Start by reviewing your own finances. Some things you might want to look at include:

  • What kind of savings you have. Having emergency savings is important, especially in a recession. Before you start investing, you may want to build yours.
  • Your income and expenses. You need disposable income before you can invest. That means that your income should be more than your expenses.
  • Your credit history. Buying stocks and investing typically doesn’t rely on you having good credit. But before you start building wealth, get a good look at your credit reports to ensure there’s nothing lurking that you might need to attend to. If you find any surprises, consider reaching out to Lexington Law for help disputing inaccurate items and working to make a positive impact on your credit.

And if you do decide to invest—during a recession or otherwise—consider working with a financial advisor to help you navigate the complexities of managing your portfolio.


Reviewed by John Heath, Directing Attorney of Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, John Heath earned his BA from the University of Utah and his Juris Doctor from Ohio Northern University. John has been the Directing Attorney of Lexington Law Firm since 2004. The firm focuses primarily on consumer credit report repair, but also practices family law, criminal law, general consumer litigation and collection defense on behalf of consumer debtors. John is admitted to practice law in Utah, Colorado, Washington D. C., Georgia, Texas and New York.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

Understanding credit card security codes – Lexington Law

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

Credit card security codes are an important security measure to prevent fraud and identity theft. They add an additional layer of safety when making purchases and help ensure the buyer is, in fact, the cardholder.

These security codes—often called CVV codes, short for “card verification value”—are three- or four-digit codes located directly on your credit card. They’re typically, but not always, asked for when making card-not-present transactions, such as those made online and over the phone. Here, we detail where to find them, how they work and why they’re important for consumer protection.

Where to Find Your CVV Code

The location of your CVV code depends on the credit card issuer:

  • Visa, Mastercard and Discover: The code will be three numbers on the back of the card to the right of the “authorized signature.”
  • American Express: The code will be four numbers on the front of the card above and to the right of the card number.
Where to locate your card's security code.

How to Find Your CVV Code Without the Card

Credit card security codes were designed to ensure that the person making a purchase actually has the card in their possession. Because of this, it’s impossible to look up your CVV code without having the physical card. This is why it’s important to have the physical card on hand if you need to make a purchase that requires a CVV code.

If an identity thief obtains your credit card number—for example, via shoulder surfing—may try to call the bank and pretend to be you in order to get the CVV code. However, banks typically don’t give out this information. Each financial institution has their own policies, but if you can’t read or access your CVV code, they will usually issue you a new card.

While most retailers require a CVV code when making card-not-present transactions, many don’t. In these instances, crooks would still be able to use your card.

How Are CVV Codes Generated?

According to IBM, CVV codes are generated using an algorithm. The algorithm requires the following information:

  • Primary account number (PAN)
  • Four-digit expiration date
  • Three-digit service code
  • A pair of cryptographically processed keys

Other Names for CVV Codes

Depending on the credit card company and when your card was issued, your security code may go by a different name. Even though there are many different abbreviations, the basic concept remains the same. Below are all the abbreviations and meanings for credit card security codes:

  • CID (Discover and American Express): Card Identification Number
  • CSC (American Express): Card Security Code
  • CVC (Mastercard): Card Verification Code
  • CVC2 (Visa): Card Validation Code 2
  • CVD (Discover): Card Verification Data
  • CVV (All): Card Verification Value
  • CVV2 (Visa): Card Verification Value 2
  • SPC (Uncommon): Signature Panel Code

Credit Card Security Code Precautions

While CVVs offer another layer of security to help protect users, there are still some things to be aware of when making card-not-present transactions.

  • Sign the back of your credit card as soon as you receive it.
  • Keep your CVV number secure. Never give it out unless absolutely necessary—and if you fully trust the person.
  • Review each billing statement to ensure there are no transactions you don’t recognize or didn’t authorize. If there are, contact your financial institution immediately and consider freezing your credit.
Credit card security precautions.

Protecting your identity requires constant vigilance—but emerging technology may have the potential to mitigate some of the risk of credit card fraud.

Shifting CVVs: The Future of Credit Card Safety?

Since chip-enabled cards replaced magnetic stripes, in-person credit card fraud has taken a big dip. Crooks are turning toward online and card-not-present methods of fraud. CVV codes are good at combating this type of fraud—but shifting CVVs, also referred to as dynamic CVVs, may be even better.

The technology works by displaying a temporary CVV code on a small battery-powered screen on the back of the card. The code regularly changes after a set interval of time. This helps thwart fraud because by the time a hacker has illegally obtained a shifting CVV code and tried to make a purchase, it will likely have changed.

Despite the security benefits, shifting CVVs haven’t been widely implemented due to high cost, and it remains to be seen if the technology and process can scale. Financial institutions have many measures in place, such as fraud alert, to notify you of potentially suspicious activity.

If you suspect you’ve been a victim of identity theft, call your credit card company, change your passwords and notify any credit bureaus and law enforcement agencies. By regularly checking your credit card statements, being careful about who you give your information to and being vigilant when making purchases, you’ll help do your part in keeping your identity secure.


Reviewed by John Heath, Directing Attorney of Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, John Heath earned his BA from the University of Utah and his Juris Doctor from Ohio Northern University. John has been the Directing Attorney of Lexington Law Firm since 2004. The firm focuses primarily on consumer credit report repair, but also practices family law, criminal law, general consumer litigation and collection defense on behalf of consumer debtors. John is admitted to practice law in Utah, Colorado, Washington D. C., Georgia, Texas and New York.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

10 States with the Highest Gas Taxes

Road trips are fun until you have to stop and get gas. Fortunately for drivers, the federal government’s gas tax hasn’t budged from 18.4 cents per gallon since 1993. However, states and the District of Columbia levy their own gas taxes. 

And thanks to the pandemic, folks have been using their cars a lot more since public transportation and flying are viewed as hot-spots for COVID-19. But if you’re traveling cross-country, filling up in certain states can cost you more than others. Here are the 10 states with the highest gas taxes, including a look at how the states do on other big tax metrics, such as sales tax. (A reminder, though: U.S. gas taxes are still among the world’s lowest.)

Gas and diesel prices are from the American Petroleum Institute. Sales taxes are from the Tax Foundation and, when listed as “average,” represent a population-weighted value meant to capture local option taxes. Tobacco and vapor taxes are from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids as well as individual state tax websites.

1 of 10

Indiana

picture of man at gas pumppicture of man at gas pump

State Fuel Tax: 42.16¢  per gallon of gasoline, 52¢ per gallon of diesel

State Sales Tax: 7% state levy. No local taxes.

Tobacco Taxes:

  • Cigarettes: $1 per pack
  • Snuff: $0.40 per ounce
  • Other tobacco products: 24% of wholesale price
  • Vapor products: Starting July 1, 2022, 15% of gross retail income

For details on other state taxes, see the  Indiana State Tax Guide for Middle-Class Families.

2 of 10

Florida

picture of man at gas pumppicture of man at gas pump

State Fuel Tax: 42.46¢ per gallon of gasoline, 35.27¢ per gallon of diesel (both gasoline and diesel taxes will increase by 0.3¢ per gallon in 2021)

Average Sales Tax: 6% state levy. Localities can add as much as 2.5%, and the average combined rate is 7.08%, according to the Tax Foundation.

Tobacco Taxes:

  • Cigarettes: $1.34 a pack
  • Cigars: no tax
  • All other tobacco products: 85% of the wholesale price

For details on other state taxes, see the Florida State Tax Guide for Middle-Class Families.

3 of 10

New York

picture of cars at gas pumppicture of cars at gas pump

State Fuel Tax: 42.7¢ per gallon of gasoline, 43.43¢ per gallon of diesel

Average Sales Tax: 4% state levy. Localities can add as much as 4.875%, and the average combined rate is 8.52%, according to the Tax Foundation. In the New York City metro area, there is an additional 0.375% sales tax to support transit.

Tobacco Taxes:

  • Cigarettes and little cigars: $4.35 per pack (in New York City, an extra $1.50 per pack)
  • Snuff: $2 per container one ounce or less, $2 per ounce for larger containers
  • Cigars and other tobacco products: 75% of the wholesale price
  • Vapor products: 20% of retail price

For details on other state taxes, see the  New York State Tax Guide for Middle-Class Families.

4 of 10

Hawaii

picture of gas stationpicture of gas station

State Fuel Tax: 46.84¢ per gallon of gasoline, 49.55¢ per gallon of diesel

Average Sales Tax: 4% state levy. Localities can add as much as 0.5%, but the average combined rate is only 4.44%, according to the Tax Foundation.

Tobacco Taxes:

  • Cigarettes and little cigars: $3.20 per pack
  • Large cigars: 50% of the wholesale price
  • Other tobacco products: 70% of the wholesale price

For details on other state taxes, see the  Hawaii State Tax Guide for Middle-Class Families.

5 of 10

Washington

picture of gas stationpicture of gas station

State Fuel Tax: 49.4¢ per gallon of gasoline, 49.4¢ per gallon of diesel

Average Sales Tax: 6.5% state levy. Municipalities can add up to 4% to that, with the average combined rate at 9.23%, according to the Tax Foundation.

Tobacco Taxes:

  • Cigarettes and little cigars: $3.03 per pack
  • Cigars: 95% of sale price, with a cap of $0.75 per cigar
  • Moist snuff: $2.53 per 1.2-ounce container
  • Other tobacco products: 95% of sale price
  • Vapor products: Closed products, $0.27 per ml. Open containers greater than 5 ml, $0.09 per ml

For details on other state taxes, see the  Washington State Tax Guide for Middle-Class Families.

6 of 10

Nevada

Las Vegas sign at night with via of stripLas Vegas sign at night with via of strip

State Fuel Tax: 50.48¢ per gallon of gasoline, 28.56¢ per gallon of diesel

State Sales Tax: 6.85% state levy. Localities can add as much as 1.53%, and the average combined rate is 8.23%, according to the Tax Foundation.

Tobacco Taxes:

  • Cigarettes: $1.80 per pack
  • Other tobacco products: 30% of wholesale price
  • Vapor products: 30% of wholesale price

For details on other state taxes, see the Nevada State Tax Guide for Middle-Class Families.

7 of 10

New Jersey

picture of gas stationpicture of gas station

State Fuel Tax: 50.7¢ per gallon of gasoline, 57.7¢ per gallon of diesel

State Sales Tax: 6.625% state levy. That rate is cut in half (3.3125%) for in-person sales in designated Urban Enterprise Zones located in disadvantaged areas. Salem County, which borders no-tax Delaware, also charges the reduced 3.3125% rate.

Tobacco Taxes:

  • Cigarettes: $2.70 per pack
  • Moist snuff: $0.75 per ounce
  • Other tobacco products: 30% of the wholesale price
  • Vapor products: $0.10 per ml for closed containers. Bulk nicotine liquid is taxed at 10% of retail price.

For details on other state taxes, see the  New Jersey State Tax Guide for Middle-Class Families.

8 of 10

Illinois

picture of gas stationpicture of gas station

State Fuel Tax: 52.16¢ per gallon of gasoline, 59.98¢ per gallon of diesel

Average Sales Tax: 6.25% state levy. Localities can add as much as 4.75%, and the average combined rate is 8.82%, according to the Tax Foundation.

Tobacco Taxes:

  • Cigarettes and little cigars: $2.98 per pack, Cook County has an additional tax of $3. Three localities, all in Cook County, add to that. According to the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, a pack purchased in Chicago has the highest total tax in the country: $7.16.
  • Snuff: $0.30 per ounce
  • Other tobacco products: 36% of the wholesale price
  • Vapor products: 15% of wholesale price; localities have additional taxes

For details on other state taxes, see the  Illinois State Tax Guide for Middle-Class Families.

9 of 10

Pennsylvania

picture of gas stationpicture of gas station

State Fuel Tax: 58.7¢ per gallon of gasoline, 75.2¢ per gallon of diesel

Average Sales Tax: 6% state levy. Philadelphia has a local sales tax of an additional 2%, and Allegheny County (Pittsburgh’s home county) adds a local sales tax of 1%, and the combined rate is 6.34%, according to the Tax Foundation.

Tobacco Taxes:

  • Cigarettes and little cigars: $2.60 per pack. The City of Philadelphia levies an additional $2 local tax per pack of cigarettes
  • Other tobacco products: 55 cents per ounce. Additional taxes due in Philadelphia.
  • Vapor products: 40% of wholesale price

For details on other state taxes, see the  Pennsylvania State Tax Guide for Middle-Class Families.

10 of 10

California

picture of car at gas stationpicture of car at gas station

State Fuel Tax: 63.05¢ per gallon of gasoline (63.65¢ effective July 1, 2021), 83.06¢ per gallon of diesel (83.46¢ effective July 1, 2021)

Average Sales Tax: 7.25% state levy. Localities can add as much as 2.5%, and the average combined rate is 8.68%, according to the Tax Foundation.

Tobacco Taxes:

  • Cigarettes: $2.87 per pack
  • All other tobacco products: 56.93% of manufacturer’s price
  • Vapor products: $0.05 per ml of consumable product

For details on other state taxes, see the  California State Tax Guide for Middle-Class Families.

Source: kiplinger.com

Understanding credit card security codes

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

Credit card security codes are an important security measure to prevent fraud and identity theft. They add an additional layer of safety when making purchases and help ensure the buyer is, in fact, the cardholder.

These security codes—often called CVV codes, short for “card verification value”—are three- or four-digit codes located directly on your credit card. They’re typically, but not always, asked for when making card-not-present transactions, such as those made online and over the phone. Here, we detail where to find them, how they work and why they’re important for consumer protection.

Where to Find Your CVV Code

The location of your CVV code depends on the credit card issuer:

  • Visa, Mastercard and Discover: The code will be three numbers on the back of the card to the right of the “authorized signature.”
  • American Express: The code will be four numbers on the front of the card above and to the right of the card number.
Where to locate your card's security code.

How to Find Your CVV Code Without the Card

Credit card security codes were designed to ensure that the person making a purchase actually has the card in their possession. Because of this, it’s impossible to look up your CVV code without having the physical card. This is why it’s important to have the physical card on hand if you need to make a purchase that requires a CVV code.

If an identity thief obtains your credit card number—for example, via shoulder surfing—may try to call the bank and pretend to be you in order to get the CVV code. However, banks typically don’t give out this information. Each financial institution has their own policies, but if you can’t read or access your CVV code, they will usually issue you a new card.

While most retailers require a CVV code when making card-not-present transactions, many don’t. In these instances, crooks would still be able to use your card.

How Are CVV Codes Generated?

According to IBM, CVV codes are generated using an algorithm. The algorithm requires the following information:

  • Primary account number (PAN)
  • Four-digit expiration date
  • Three-digit service code
  • A pair of cryptographically processed keys

Other Names for CVV Codes

Depending on the credit card company and when your card was issued, your security code may go by a different name. Even though there are many different abbreviations, the basic concept remains the same. Below are all the abbreviations and meanings for credit card security codes:

  • CID (Discover and American Express): Card Identification Number
  • CSC (American Express): Card Security Code
  • CVC (Mastercard): Card Verification Code
  • CVC2 (Visa): Card Validation Code 2
  • CVD (Discover): Card Verification Data
  • CVV (All): Card Verification Value
  • CVV2 (Visa): Card Verification Value 2
  • SPC (Uncommon): Signature Panel Code

Credit Card Security Code Precautions

While CVVs offer another layer of security to help protect users, there are still some things to be aware of when making card-not-present transactions.

  • Sign the back of your credit card as soon as you receive it.
  • Keep your CVV number secure. Never give it out unless absolutely necessary—and if you fully trust the person.
  • Review each billing statement to ensure there are no transactions you don’t recognize or didn’t authorize. If there are, contact your financial institution immediately and consider freezing your credit.
Credit card security precautions.

Protecting your identity requires constant vigilance—but emerging technology may have the potential to mitigate some of the risk of credit card fraud.

Shifting CVVs: The Future of Credit Card Safety?

Since chip-enabled cards replaced magnetic stripes, in-person credit card fraud has taken a big dip. Crooks are turning toward online and card-not-present methods of fraud. CVV codes are good at combating this type of fraud—but shifting CVVs, also referred to as dynamic CVVs, may be even better.

The technology works by displaying a temporary CVV code on a small battery-powered screen on the back of the card. The code regularly changes after a set interval of time. This helps thwart fraud because by the time a hacker has illegally obtained a shifting CVV code and tried to make a purchase, it will likely have changed.

Despite the security benefits, shifting CVVs haven’t been widely implemented due to high cost, and it remains to be seen if the technology and process can scale. Financial institutions have many measures in place, such as fraud alert, to notify you of potentially suspicious activity.

If you suspect you’ve been a victim of identity theft, call your credit card company, change your passwords and notify any credit bureaus and law enforcement agencies. By regularly checking your credit card statements, being careful about who you give your information to and being vigilant when making purchases, you’ll help do your part in keeping your identity secure.


Reviewed by John Heath, Directing Attorney of Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, John Heath earned his BA from the University of Utah and his Juris Doctor from Ohio Northern University. John has been the Directing Attorney of Lexington Law Firm since 2004. The firm focuses primarily on consumer credit report repair, but also practices family law, criminal law, general consumer litigation and collection defense on behalf of consumer debtors. John is admitted to practice law in Utah, Colorado, Washington D. C., Georgia, Texas and New York.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

Why are my credit scores different? – Lexington Law

woman looking holding and looking at papers.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

If you’ve ever checked your credit score across each of the different credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Transunion) or through multiple credit monitoring sites, you may have noticed some differences in points.  

Credit scores are three-digit numbers that range from 300 to 850 and are based on five main factors—payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of credit and new credit. Though these factors remain pretty consistent across all scoring models, you may not see the exact same score from every credit reporting agency. 

The difference in scores can seem confusing, making it difficult to understand the credit score range you fall under. Luckily, a difference in scores is common and doesn’t have a huge impact on qualifying for new lines of credit. The important thing is that the same general information is evaluated across all credit agencies. 

In this guide, we’ll answer why your scores may be different, when to be concerned about any discrepancies and which credit scores matter most to lenders. 

Why are my credit scores different on different sites? 

When checking your credit score, different sites may populate different scores. For example, some 3rd party sites report scores from TransUnion and Equifax. These scoring models generally use VantageScore 3.0, which may pull a different score than your bank which offers you free access to your FICO score. 

It primarily comes down to what scoring model is being used. There are many different types of credit scores, but they use two main scoring models—FICO Score and VantageScore. 

FICO Score vs. VantageScore  

Though each credit scoring model is based on similar factors, the impact of the factors on your credit score differs from model to model. 

Your FICO score is based on the following factors:  

  • Payment history (35 percent)
  • Amount owed (30 percent)
  • Length of credit history (15 percent) 
  • New credit (10 percent) 
  • Credit mix (10 percent)

The factors that impact your VantageScore are: 

  • Total credit usage, balance and available credit (extremely influential)
  • Credit mix and experience (highly influential) 
  • Payment history (moderately influential)
  • Age of credit history and new accounts (less influential)

As you can see, the information gathered for each scoring model is the same, with some information weighing more heavily than others. For example, payment history is the biggest factor making up your FICO score, but it’s only considered moderately influential when calculating your VantageScore. 

5 reasons your credit scores are different 

Now that we understand exactly what each credit scoring model looks at, let’s dive into why your credit scores can differ. 

Factors influencing a difference in credit scores: credit scoring model used, information reported to credit bureaus, date when your score was pulled, credit score version used, errors on your credit report.

1. Your score was calculated using a different scoring model

As mentioned, your credit score can be calculated using one of the two main credit scoring models—FICO and VantageScore. Your score could appear different because of the difference in the calculations mentioned above. If you were late on a payment, your FICO score could be majorly impacted, but your VantageScore may not see the same drop. 

2. Information varies between credit bureaus

Credit scores are calculated by using the information that appears on your credit report, which comes from one of the three credit bureaus. When lenders report information regarding your accounts to the credit bureaus, they’re not required to report to all three—some may even report to only one. 

Information that may appear on your report from one credit agency may not appear on another. Because of this, each of the three bureaus can have different information on their reports, resulting in a potential difference in scores. 

For example, if Experian had a record of a payment you missed but the other bureaus didn’t, a score based on your Experian report would likely be lower than a score based on the other bureaus’ reports. 

3. Different credit score version

On top of there being different credit score models, there are also different versions of credit scores. For example, FICO uses different scores depending on the type of loan you’re applying for. If you’re applying for an auto loan, the lender may look at your FICO Auto Score. Or, if you’re applying for a credit card, credit card issuers may look at your FICO Bankcard Score. 

If you’re looking to obtain one of these kinds of loans, you’ll want to know your industry-specific scores ahead of time. While the FICO Score 8 model is most widely used, it’s up to each lender to decide which score they will use when determining your creditworthiness. 

Credit score versions are updated every few years when needed. When a new version is rolled out, certain lenders may be slow to adopt the new versions or may choose not to. Because each updated version has slightly different scoring methods, this could cause a difference in credit scores. 

4. Your credit scores were recorded at different times

Though your credit report is updated monthly, the time at which your credit score was calculated can vary. As new information is reported to the credit bureaus and your report is updated, your credit score can change. Because of this, your credit score can look different simply because it was calculated on an earlier or later day. 

If your credit score was calculated on one day, but new information regarding your credit was reported a day or two later, there could be a difference in scores. 

5. There are errors on your credit report 

As mentioned, information can be reported to credit agencies, but lenders don’t always choose to report to all three. There could be a difference in your scores if errors or inaccuracies appear on one credit report, but not the others. If this is the case, you’ll want to dispute these errors to avoid further impact on your credit score. 

When checking your credit report, you’ll want to look at the following: 

  • Late payments and charge-offs
  • New accounts
  • Increases in card balances 
  • Decreases in card balances 
  • Hard inquiries 
  • Collections 

Which credit score matters to lenders? 

Though each lender has their own method of determining creditworthiness, FICO is one of the most used credit scoring models. In fact, 90 percent of lenders use the FICO scoring model when making lending decisions. While FICO remains the most widely used scoring model, you should still monitor your other credit scores since the models used vary from lender to lender. 

Can your credit score be wrong?

Yes, there is a chance your credit score could be wrong because of fraudulent activity or an error on your credit report. If you see a major point difference between your credit scores, you may want to look a little further into what happened. You can do this by accessing each report and analyzing it for errors and discrepancies. If the information on your credit reports is inconsistent, you may need to look into this further. 

If information that can significantly impact your credit score—like paying off a large amount of debt or noticing an error in payment history—is only reported to one credit agency, you’ll definitely want it reported across all bureaus. You can do this by filing a dispute or submitting a rapid rescore. 

Remember, you can access one free annual credit report from each of the three credit bureaus by visiting www.AnnualCreditReport.com. 

Not all credit scores will be the same, but you do want to be sure you’re properly monitoring your credit report so you understand all of the factors impacting your credit score. Small differences in credit scores are nothing to worry about. Focus on maintaining positive credit habits so you can set yourself up for success when qualifying for new lines of credit and loans. 


Reviewed by John Heath, Directing Attorney of Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, John Heath earned his BA from the University of Utah and his Juris Doctor from Ohio Northern University. John has been the Directing Attorney of Lexington Law Firm since 2004. The firm focuses primarily on consumer credit report repair, but also practices family law, criminal law, general consumer litigation and collection defense on behalf of consumer debtors. John is admitted to practice law in Utah, Colorado, Washington D. C., Georgia, Texas and New York.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

Why are my credit scores different?

woman looking holding and looking at papers.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice. See Lexington Law’s editorial disclosure for more information.

If you’ve ever checked your credit score across each of the different credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Transunion) or through multiple credit monitoring sites, you may have noticed some differences in points.  

Credit scores are three-digit numbers that range from 300 to 850 and are based on five main factors—payment history, credit utilization, length of credit history, types of credit and new credit. Though these factors remain pretty consistent across all scoring models, you may not see the exact same score from every credit reporting agency. 

The difference in scores can seem confusing, making it difficult to understand the credit score range you fall under. Luckily, a difference in scores is common and doesn’t have a huge impact on qualifying for new lines of credit. The important thing is that the same general information is evaluated across all credit agencies. 

In this guide, we’ll answer why your scores may be different, when to be concerned about any discrepancies and which credit scores matter most to lenders. 

Why are my credit scores different on different sites? 

When checking your credit score, different sites may populate different scores. For example, some 3rd party sites report scores from TransUnion and Equifax. These scoring models generally use VantageScore 3.0, which may pull a different score than your bank which offers you free access to your FICO score. 

It primarily comes down to what scoring model is being used. There are many different types of credit scores, but they use two main scoring models—FICO Score and VantageScore. 

FICO Score vs. VantageScore  

Though each credit scoring model is based on similar factors, the impact of the factors on your credit score differs from model to model. 

Your FICO score is based on the following factors:  

  • Payment history (35 percent)
  • Amount owed (30 percent)
  • Length of credit history (15 percent) 
  • New credit (10 percent) 
  • Credit mix (10 percent)

The factors that impact your VantageScore are: 

  • Total credit usage, balance and available credit (extremely influential)
  • Credit mix and experience (highly influential) 
  • Payment history (moderately influential)
  • Age of credit history and new accounts (less influential)

As you can see, the information gathered for each scoring model is the same, with some information weighing more heavily than others. For example, payment history is the biggest factor making up your FICO score, but it’s only considered moderately influential when calculating your VantageScore. 

5 reasons your credit scores are different 

Now that we understand exactly what each credit scoring model looks at, let’s dive into why your credit scores can differ. 

Factors influencing a difference in credit scores: credit scoring model used, information reported to credit bureaus, date when your score was pulled, credit score version used, errors on your credit report.

1. Your score was calculated using a different scoring model

As mentioned, your credit score can be calculated using one of the two main credit scoring models—FICO and VantageScore. Your score could appear different because of the difference in the calculations mentioned above. If you were late on a payment, your FICO score could be majorly impacted, but your VantageScore may not see the same drop. 

2. Information varies between credit bureaus

Credit scores are calculated by using the information that appears on your credit report, which comes from one of the three credit bureaus. When lenders report information regarding your accounts to the credit bureaus, they’re not required to report to all three—some may even report to only one. 

Information that may appear on your report from one credit agency may not appear on another. Because of this, each of the three bureaus can have different information on their reports, resulting in a potential difference in scores. 

For example, if Experian had a record of a payment you missed but the other bureaus didn’t, a score based on your Experian report would likely be lower than a score based on the other bureaus’ reports. 

3. Different credit score version

On top of there being different credit score models, there are also different versions of credit scores. For example, FICO uses different scores depending on the type of loan you’re applying for. If you’re applying for an auto loan, the lender may look at your FICO Auto Score. Or, if you’re applying for a credit card, credit card issuers may look at your FICO Bankcard Score. 

If you’re looking to obtain one of these kinds of loans, you’ll want to know your industry-specific scores ahead of time. While the FICO Score 8 model is most widely used, it’s up to each lender to decide which score they will use when determining your creditworthiness. 

Credit score versions are updated every few years when needed. When a new version is rolled out, certain lenders may be slow to adopt the new versions or may choose not to. Because each updated version has slightly different scoring methods, this could cause a difference in credit scores. 

4. Your credit scores were recorded at different times

Though your credit report is updated monthly, the time at which your credit score was calculated can vary. As new information is reported to the credit bureaus and your report is updated, your credit score can change. Because of this, your credit score can look different simply because it was calculated on an earlier or later day. 

If your credit score was calculated on one day, but new information regarding your credit was reported a day or two later, there could be a difference in scores. 

5. There are errors on your credit report 

As mentioned, information can be reported to credit agencies, but lenders don’t always choose to report to all three. There could be a difference in your scores if errors or inaccuracies appear on one credit report, but not the others. If this is the case, you’ll want to dispute these errors to avoid further impact on your credit score. 

When checking your credit report, you’ll want to look at the following: 

  • Late payments and charge-offs
  • New accounts
  • Increases in card balances 
  • Decreases in card balances 
  • Hard inquiries 
  • Collections 

Which credit score matters to lenders? 

Though each lender has their own method of determining creditworthiness, FICO is one of the most used credit scoring models. In fact, 90 percent of lenders use the FICO scoring model when making lending decisions. While FICO remains the most widely used scoring model, you should still monitor your other credit scores since the models used vary from lender to lender. 

Can your credit score be wrong?

Yes, there is a chance your credit score could be wrong because of fraudulent activity or an error on your credit report. If you see a major point difference between your credit scores, you may want to look a little further into what happened. You can do this by accessing each report and analyzing it for errors and discrepancies. If the information on your credit reports is inconsistent, you may need to look into this further. 

If information that can significantly impact your credit score—like paying off a large amount of debt or noticing an error in payment history—is only reported to one credit agency, you’ll definitely want it reported across all bureaus. You can do this by filing a dispute or submitting a rapid rescore. 

Remember, you can access one free annual credit report from each of the three credit bureaus by visiting www.AnnualCreditReport.com. 

Not all credit scores will be the same, but you do want to be sure you’re properly monitoring your credit report so you understand all of the factors impacting your credit score. Small differences in credit scores are nothing to worry about. Focus on maintaining positive credit habits so you can set yourself up for success when qualifying for new lines of credit and loans. 


Reviewed by John Heath, Directing Attorney of Lexington Law Firm. Written by Lexington Law.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, John Heath earned his BA from the University of Utah and his Juris Doctor from Ohio Northern University. John has been the Directing Attorney of Lexington Law Firm since 2004. The firm focuses primarily on consumer credit report repair, but also practices family law, criminal law, general consumer litigation and collection defense on behalf of consumer debtors. John is admitted to practice law in Utah, Colorado, Washington D. C., Georgia, Texas and New York.

Note: Articles have only been reviewed by the indicated attorney, not written by them. The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, act as legal, financial or credit advice; instead, it is for general informational purposes only. Use of, and access to, this website or any of the links or resources contained within the site do not create an attorney-client or fiduciary relationship between the reader, user, or browser and website owner, authors, reviewers, contributors, contributing firms, or their respective agents or employers.

Source: lexingtonlaw.com

DC Studio Apartments Offering One or Two Months Free

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studio-apartments-offering-two-months-free

If you are in the market for a new apartment, this is the absolute best time to secure a new place. Apartments and neighborhoods where you never were able to get concessions are now giving away up to two months free. This is of course due to the fact that while many people were able to work from home, they took that opportunity to leave their Washington, D.C. apartments and move out to the suburbs or home with mom and dad or become digital nomads. That left many apartment buildings with vacancies to fill and that’s where your luck begins!

Last month we highlighted apartments with move-in specials. This week, we are highlighting DC Studio Apartments offering two months free. You’ll see there is a wide range of offerings from rent control apartments in Northwest DC to brand new luxury apartments in SE neighborhoods like Capitol Riverfront.

Act quickly, as soon as the summer heats up and there are more signs of movement in the District, you will see prices start to rise and rent specials dry up.


Hilltop-House-kitchen

Hilltop House

1475 Euclid Street NW Washington, DC.

844-259-7670

Studios starting at $1350

Get TWO MONTHS FREE

Hilltop House is in the Adams Morgan neighborhood in NW Washington, D.C. The building has mostly studios, but on occasion, a one or two-bedroom apartment comes available. The building is within walking distance of Safeway and Harris Teeter and many restaurants. All utilities are included in your rent price.


The Shawmut

2200 19th Street NW, Washington DC

844-300-2186

Studios starting at $1350

Get TWO MONTHS FREE on Studios

The Shawmut is a pet-friendly community in the Adams-Morgan | Kalorama Neighborhod. The building is in walking distance of many restaurants, grocery stores, and shops.

Apartments-with-one-month-free-2800-woodley

2800 Woodley

2800 Woodley NW, Washington DC

833-623-4036

Get One and a Half Months Free

Studios starting at $1495

2800 Woodley is a gorgeous building set back in a tree-lined residential neighborhood just four blocks from the Woodley Park Metro. The apartments have shining parquet floors, energy efficient appliances, and all utilities are included with your rent.

apartments-with-two-months-free-brunswick-house

Brunswick House

1414 17th Street NW, Washington DC

844-287-1930

Get Two Months Free on Studios

Studios starting at $1395

Brunswick House is conveniently located near the Dupont Circle Metro. It is also within a few blocks of Whole Foods Market and a number of restaurants. Brunswick House Apartments have hardwood floors and all utilities are included with the rent.

apartments-with one-month-free-DC-Meridian-Park-Apartments

Meridian Park

2445 15th Street NW, Washington DC

833-233-2513

Get Two Months Free on Studios

Studios starting at $1390

Meridian Park Apartments have a fantastic location between Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. The apartment community is located right next to Meridian Park, walking distance to multiple metro stops and just blocks from two grocery stores.

Avec-on-H-1-Bedroom-AV1adBMx-Kitchen(1)

Avec on H

901 H Street NE, Washington DC

833-715-2382

Get Two Months Free on Studios

Studios starting at $1541

Avec on H is a brand new apartment community on H Street. The building has a two-block long rooftop with a pool, grilling areas, community garden, dog park and outdoor living rooms. The community also has a fitness center and clubroom. Right now they are offering two months free on studio apartments.

That’s our round-up of studio apartments in DC offering up to two months free. Want to see more options? Do a free search at apartminty.com and sign up for the mailing list to get notified as more specials come available!

Amazon and the Amazon logo are trademarks of Amazon.com, Inc, or its affiliates.

Source: blog.apartminty.com

10 Cities Near New York To Live in 2021

New York City is one of the most exciting places on the planet. But big-city life often comes with significant stressors — not to mention a hefty price tag. Luckily, there are plenty of cities near New York that are great alternatives.

Read on to learn about our favorites, from urban streets to the bucolic countryside. Plus, these cities are all within 50 miles of Manhattan, so commuters and students have easy access to the Big Apple.

Below, we’ll share what life is like in the following cities:

  • Jersey City, NJ
  • Hoboken, NJ
  • Fort Lee, NJ
  • Elizabeth, NJ
  • Montclair, NJ
  • New Rochelle, NY
  • White Plains, NY
  • Ossining, NY
  • Yonkers, NY
  • Stamford, CT

Jersey City, NJ. Jersey City, NJ.

  • Distance from downtown NYC: 3.4 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,742 (down 8.4 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $3,839 (down 7.5 percent since last year)

Jersey City is on the Hudson River, just a few miles away from Midtown Manhattan. It’s the second-most populous city in New Jersey, with a bustling restaurant scene, great shopping and beautiful riverfront parks.

Jersey City residents can enjoy the perks of big-city living while also savoring extra space, more affordable rent and other benefits of the suburbs.

Jersey City is also home to numerous mass transit options, making it easy to get around without a car. Light rail systems, bus lines and water ferries connect you to New York City and other parts of New Jersey. For residents who choose to drive, easy access to the Holland Tunnel and New Jersey Turnpike will make commuting a breeze.

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Hoboken, NJ. Hoboken, NJ.

  • Distance from downtown NYC: 3.9 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $3,027 (down 15.1 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $3,906 (down 13.9 percent since last year)

Hoboken is just north of Jersey City, which means that people here also enjoy stunning waterfront views and a short, easy journey to Manhattan. However, Hoboken is a smaller city with a friendlier, more suburban feel.

Hoboken is also home to a thriving art scene, proving that culture doesn’t just exist in the bigger cities. With the Barsky Gallery, Mile Square Theatre and Hoboken Historical Museum in your backyard, you’ll never run out of things to explore.

Families love Hoboken because it’s safe, easy to navigate and full of excellent schools.

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Fort Lee, NJ. Fort Lee, NJ.

  • Distance from downtown NYC: 12.4 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,456 (down 21.7 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $3,248 (down 16.7 percent since last year)

Fort Lee is another great option for people who want a big-city feel without the big-city inconveniences. This city lies just south of the George Washington Bridge, which connects to Upper Manhattan and provides easy access to the Bronx. Fort Lee is known for its many high rises, some of which offer beautiful views of the Hudson River or the New York City skyline.

History buffs will also love Fort Lee, which is older than America itself. The borough was originally a Revolutionary War encampment and served as headquarters for General George Washington.

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Elizabeth, NJ.Elizabeth, NJ.

  • Distance from downtown NYC: 14.7 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $1,466 (up 24.9 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $1,500 (up 6.4 percent since last year)

Elizabeth is a lively, diverse and historic city located south of Newark.

The fourth-largest city in New Jersey, it’s also the state’s most densely populated. As a result, people here live a more urban lifestyle. There are plenty of shops and restaurants to keep residents busy, plus a very active nightlife scene.

The city’s central location is great for commuters and travelers. Elizabeth is accessible via the New Jersey Transit and is at the crossroads of several major highways, including the New Jersey Transit. Traveling outside the tri-state area? Newark International Airport is just a few miles away.

Elizabeth has lots of affordable housing options, making it a great choice for city-dwellers on a budget.

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montclair njmontclair nj

Photo source: The Montclair Gardens
  • Distance from downtown NYC: 17.7 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,387 (down 7.3 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $3,203 (down 2.7 percent since last year)

Montclair is near several big cities, including Jersey City, Newark and, of course, New York City. However, Montclair’s green scenery, rolling hills and historic homes make this city feel worlds away from the concrete jungle.

Montclair offers a laid-back and suburban feel, which is perfect for those looking to escape city life. However, there is still plenty to do here. Visit the Montclair Art Museum or the Montclair History Center for your dose of culture, or spend the day shopping and dining in the charming downtown area.

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yonkers nyyonkers ny

  • Distance from downtown NYC: 19.5 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,388 (down 3.8 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $3,304 (down 4.5 percent since last year)

Yonkers lies on the Hudson River, just above the Bronx, serving as a great alternative for those looking for city living. It’s an urban environment with a distinctly “young” feel, unlike some of the other suburbs on our list, which are more attractive to families.

Yonkers has a very active nightlife scene, where residents can enjoy everything from nightclubs to craft cocktail lounges.

However, Yonkers also has plenty of opportunities to get out in nature. Untermyer Park and Gardens is one of Yonkers’s key attractions. The park is on the National Register of Historic Places and offers 150 acres of landscaping, Grecian-style stonework and Hudson River views.

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New Rochelle, NY. New Rochelle, NY.

  • Distance from downtown NYC: 22.2 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,422 (down 0.3 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,770 (down 2.0 percent since last year)

New Rochelle lies at the southern tip of Westchester County, giving residents easy access to New York City, neighboring Connecticut and upstate New York.

It’s long been a popular commuter town as it directly connects to Manhattan via the Metro-North railway. Interstate 95 also runs through New Rochelle, which offers drivers direct city access at multiple points.

Like many parts of Westchester County, New Rochelle also has a wealth of historical sites dating back to the Revolutionary War.

New Rochelle is known for having great public schools and plenty of green spaces, making it a popular destination for city residents looking to settle down and start families.

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White Plains, NY. White Plains, NY.

  • Distance from downtown NYC: 29.1 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,431 (down 9.2 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $3,351 (down 16.5 percent since last year)

White Plains is another popular city in Westchester County. Like its neighbor New Rochelle, White Plains offers Metro-North railway service and multiple highways for an easy commute to Manhattan.

However, White Plains is more than just a bedroom community. It’s also a bustling city in its own right, with a busy downtown area that serves as a hub for Westchester commerce. Residents can enjoy concerts, sporting events and more at the Westchester County Center or simply relax in one of the numerous parks. Whether you prefer urban adventures or suburban relaxation, White Plains has something for you.

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ossining new yorkossining new york

  • Distance from downtown NYC: 37.4 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,514 (up 4.2 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $3,325 (up 3.6 percent since last year)

Ossining might be close to New York City, but this peaceful community feels like it’s worlds apart.

This village is right on the Hudson River, offering residents a friendly, coastal community with an abundance of waterfront activities. It also boasts a historic downtown area with plenty to do and see.

Ossining is on Metro-North’s Hudson line, which provides easy access to both the city and the country. An express train from Ossining takes travelers to Grand Central Station in less than an hour. However, the train can also be taken farther upstate to towns like Peekskill and Cold Spring, where some of the Hudson Valley’s best hiking awaits.

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Stamford, CT. Stamford, CT.

  • Distance from downtown NYC: 39.5 miles
  • One-bedroom average rent: $2,283 (down 6.3 percent since last year)
  • Two-bedroom average rent: $2,926 (down 5.8 percent since last year)

Stamford is one of the largest cities in Connecticut, making it another great NYC alternative. This city provides a nice balance of urban and suburban and is popular with young professionals and families.

Metro-North offers direct train service to Manhattan every 30 minutes. Passengers will reach Harlem in under 45 minutes, or they can continue to Grand Central Station, which is just a few more minutes away.

Stamford is close to other charming Connecticut towns, such as Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan.

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Make one of these cities near New York your next home

New York state, New Jersey and Connecticut offer great alternatives to New York City. Our interactive search tools and apartment hunting tips make it easy to explore the best cities near New York.

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Source: apartmentguide.com

The Best Car Insurance Companies in Florida

The search for the best car insurance company entails digging into such factors as price, coverage options and customer satisfaction. And things get more complicated when you are choosing auto insurance in Florida. That said, we break down how you can choose insurance you’ll afford while feeling comfortable with your choice in auto insurance carrier.

Florida has some of the highest car insurance rates in the nation due to factors like its weather, its no-fault insurance law and the high rate of uninsured drivers. In fact, the Insurance Information Institute reports that Florida had the sixth highest in uninsured drivers in 2019 at 20.4%, the year with the most recent data.

That said, you can still find an insurance company in Florida that provides excellent coverage within your budget. We took a look at the best insurance carriers that serve Florida and picked our five favorite ones, including the best overall auto insurance company in Florida. (Spoiler alert: It’s Geico.)

The factors that influence how much car insurance companies will charge you include your age, marital status, driving history and even ZIP code. Each insurer weighs those factors differently. The best strategy for finding cheap car insurance in Florida will always be to compare quotes. Just make sure the quotes you get are comparable in coverage, and of course, check out our reviews below.

In this article

Methodology

When comparing Florida auto insurance companies, we used our SimpleScore Methodology to consider factors such as discounts, coverage, support, customer satisfaction and accessibility.

We also looked at authoritative reviewers and gatherers of auto insurance statistics such as J.D. Power, Bankrate, Insurance Information Institute and Consumer Reports. Bottom line: We’ve worked to give you the best advice about car insurance in Florida.

The best car insurance companies in Florida

These insurers were ranked at the top of J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Auto Insurance Study in the Florida region. J.D. Power is a global leader in customer service surveys. These insurance providers also have excellent marks on our own SimpleScore and have gained the notice of Consumer Reports and the Insurance Information Institute.

  • Geico — Best overall for Florida auto insurance
  • State Farm — Best for Florida auto insurance claims customer service
  • Allstate — Best overall for Florida auto insurance customer service 
  • Progressive — Best for Florida auto insurance coverage options
  • Liberty Mutual — Best for Florida auto insurance discounts

Best overall for Florida car insurance – GEICO

When compared to other Florida auto insurance providers, Geico got top marks both from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports. Why? This carrier’s scores for claims and non-claims service were excellent. In fact, Geico is our favorite all-round Florida auto insurance carrier.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A++

Standard & Poor’s

AA+

SimpleScore

4.8 / 5.0

SimpleScore GEICO 4.8

Discounts 5

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

Among the auto insurance carriers we track, Geico’s premiums were among the lowest for average minimum coverage, at $433 (per Bankrate’s 2020 data), which is actually also one of the lowest among the Florida providers we like best.

In addition to ranking among the best with J.D. Power for auto insurance companies in Florida (846 out of a score of 1,000) in 2020, we found that Geico was one of the largest auto insurance providers in 2019, according to the Insurance Information Institute, with almost 14% market share. We found that coverage options were robust, with 11, and discounts were quite plentiful, with 16.

Best for Florida car insurance claims customer service – State Farm

We consider State Farm to be the best in claims service satisfaction, an assertion backed up by its strong ratings with Consumer Reports.

J.D. Power Rating

4/5

AM Best Rating

A++

Standard & Poor’s

AA

SimpleScore

4.6 / 5.0

SimpleScore State Farm 4.6

Affordability 4

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

State Farm’s wide reach can be a major attraction for some, with more than 19,000 independent agents and over 16% of the market share among auto insurance direct premiums written. This ensures that such benefits as the number of coverage options (we counted 13) is at your fingertips.

Over at Consumer Reports, we found that State Farm gets a 4 out of 5 for both claims and non-claims service satisfaction, although the company doesn’t rank as well for premiums and policy review satisfaction.

Best overall for Florida car insurance customer service – Allstate

When compared to other Florida auto insurance carriers for overall customer satisfaction, Allstate landed on top, with a J.D. Power score of 851 out of 1,000.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A+

Standard & Poor’s

A-

SimpleScore

4.4 / 5.0

SimpleScore Allstate 4.4

Discounts 3

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

Allstate is a solid provider of car insurance, with good coverage options, customer support and accessibility. This carrier offers two apps: QuickTrip, which provides support for routing daily trips and maintenance reminders, as well as Allstate Mobile, which can be used for filing claims and other tasks.

This carrier is not a favorite for premium prices: Consumer Reports only gives Allstate a 1 out of 5 in that category, although the company ranks well with claims satisfaction, with 4 out of 5.

Best for Florida car insurance coverage options – Progressive

Progressive is the best in coverage options in our estimation, when compared to other Florida insurance providers, with 13 at our count.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A+

Standard & Poor’s

AA

SimpleScore

4.2 / 5.0

SimpleScore Progressive 4.2

Discounts 4

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 4

When it comes to claims satisfaction, Progressive performs well, says Consumer Reports, with a 4 out of possible 5. The Progressive app is also robust, with the ability to get roadside assistance, file a claim and more.

Progressive is middle to top of the pack in premium costs for Florida auto insurance. Bankrate found that average minimum coverage was $1,356, near the top of the providers we follow, while full coverage was middle of the pack at $2,573. That said, Progressive has definite advantages as a large, established insurer.

Best for Florida car insurance discounts – Liberty Mutual

Of the Florida auto insurers we compared, Liberty Mutual won out with its insurance discounts (we counted 17). Options include such discounts as rewarding you for driving a hybrid or electric vehicle and even if you get a quote from this company before your policy runs out.

J.D. Power Rating

3/5

AM Best Rating

A

Standard & Poor’s

A

SimpleScore

4.8 / 5.0

SimpleScore Liberty Mutual 4.8

Discounts 5

Coverage Options 5

Customer Satisfaction 4

Accessibility 5

Liberty Mutual is also one of our strongest in coverage options, with 18 counted. One nice feature is that you can have the option for original manufacturer replacement parts, which means that if you have a Toyota Camry, you can get parts made by Toyota, not an after-market manufacturer.

Consumer Reports found that Liberty Mutual did not enjoy the satisfaction in premium prices that you might hope for, but satisfaction in claims processing was strong with 4 out of 5.

[ Read: Steps to Switch Car Insurance Companies ]

Choosing your Florida car insurance provider

One of the first decisions you’ll have to make when signing up for car insurance is whether to choose a local or national carrier. Both come with advantages and disadvantages.

Local carrier

Pros 

  • A personal relationship with your agent.
  • Services that are specific to your location.

Cons 

  • Fewer discounts.
  • Fewer digital tools.
  • Slower claims process.

National carrier

Pros

  • More discounts.
  • Faster claims process.
  • More money to invest in digital tools.

Cons 

  • May not have an individual agent.
  • Less of a personal touch.

Florida’s minimum insurance requirements

Florida’s minimum insurance requirements are the lowest in the U.S., with 10/20/10 in bodily injury liability and property damage liability. That’s as of March 2021.

What does that mean? Coverage must include up to $20,000 for everyone in an accident (middle number), subject to a limit of $10,000 for one person (the first number), and $10,000 for property damage (the last number). Also, instead of policy limits, policyholders can satisfy the requirement with a combined single limit policy. 

By comparison, Maine’s and Alaska’s minimum required coverages are at 50/100/25. (For Maine, policyholders must also carry coverage for medical payments.)

Property damage

Florida requires that all drivers carry a minimum of $10,000 in property damage liability insurance. This coverage will protect other drivers from financial loss in case you are at-fault for an accident and damage another vehicle. Failure to do so can result in the suspension of your registration or driver’s license.

Personal injury protection

Florida is one of a handful of no-fault auto insurance states. This means that regardless of a car accident, each driver is responsible for covering their own medical bills. As a result, the state requires that all drivers carry at least $10,000 in personal injury protection. This coverage will pay for 80% of medical expenses from a covered accident.

Taxi insurance

Florida requires that taxis carry extra car insurance to protect their passengers. Vehicles registered as taxis in the state must carry at least $125,000 bodily injury liability per person, $250,000 bodily injury liability per accident, and $50,000 property damage liability per accident.

How much does car insurance cost in Florida?

Drivers in Florida pay $2,364 annually for full coverage and $1,101 annually for minimum coverage, according to Bankrate records.

Florida car insurance can get high depending on the ZIP code, as much as $3,314 in Miami, the state’s largest metropolitan area. (Miami-Dade is one of the largest counties in population in the U.S., with almost 2.8 million in 2018, according to the U.S. Census.)

Meanwhile in North Florida, Tallahassee has some of the cheapest premiums for the state, according to Bankrate.

City Average annual premium for full coverage
Jacksonville $2,230
Miami $3,314
Orlando $2,405
Tampa $3,027
Tallahassee $2,043
St. Petersburg $2,662

Bankrate uses Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record and good credit.

Car insurance FAQs

Florida drivers face a variety of unique circumstances that make car insurance rates more expensive. Factors that cause Florida car insurance rates to be high include:

  • The state’s no-fault insurance law.
  • A high rate of older drivers.
  • A high rate of uninsured drivers.
  • High rates of inclement weather.

Florida requires that drivers carry $10,000 of both property damage liability and personal injury protection coverage. But you can certainly choose to purchase more insurance, and you may want to. Florida’s minimum requirements don’t provide any protection for your vehicle, only for other drivers. If you want your car to be covered in an accident, increase your coverages.

Both collision and comprehensive coverage protect you in case of damage to your vehicle, but they apply to very different situations. Collision coverage protects you in case of a car accident. Comprehensive applies to situations where your car is damaged for a reason other than an accident, such as vandalism, theft or inclement weather.

We welcome your feedback on this article and would love to hear about your experience with the insurers we recommend. Contact us at inquiries@thesimpledollar.com with comments or questions.

Source: thesimpledollar.com