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Would getting several insurance quotes affect my credit score?

No. Insurance companies use credit history information (where allowed), along with a lot of other data, to gauge risk and set the car or home insurance premium you pay. But the companies' inquiries into your credit have no impact on your credit score.

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The only inquiries into your credit history that affect your credit score are those made from lenders and credit card companies when you apply for credit. Too many of those types of inquiries can ding your credit score because they might indicate you're hard up for cash. Even those types of inquiries, though, don't have a huge impact on your score. A history of late payments or loan defaults is much more likely to hurt you.

Insurance companies use information about your credit because actuaries have shown a correlation between credit history and risk. They say an applicant with poor credit is more likely to file car or home insurance claims than someone with excellent credit.

The practice is controversial, and some states have set limits on it. Yet most insurance companies continue to use credit information where they are allowed to do so.

For more, see Can your insurer hold your credit report against you?

Last updated: Aug. 2, 2012 Redesign Survey