How Does Lemonade Car Price Policies?

And what the heck is a Safety Score?

At Lemonade Car, the way you drive matters. From mileage to behind-the-wheel behavior to driving history, we crunch a ton of numbers from the Lemonade app to help us determine the fairest price for your car policy. A main feature of how we calculate your car insurance cost comes from your Safety Score, which you can read more about here.

We’re here to guide you on your journey to reaching achievements as a Lemonade Car policyholder and celebrating them with lower premiums. Buckle up, and let’s take a spin through what things influence the price you pay for car insurance…

Here are the main factors that might affect your premium:

Mileage

We’ll fill you in on a little secret, that’s actually not so secret: Your mileage is one of the top factors that can raise or lower your premium. 

There are plenty of reasons why your annual mileage is important. Even if you are the safest driver in the world, it’s just statistics— the more you drive, the higher the risk that you may be involved in a car accident. Someone who puts 50,000 miles on their car every year is much more likely to get in a crash than someone who only drives 5,000 miles.

When you buy a Lemonade Car policy, we use your estimated mileage to help price your policy for your driving needs from the get-go.

We understand though that your daily commute may vary or change completely over time, and that’s okay! The Lemonade app takes your actual, total mileage when you’re in the driver’s seat into consideration to update your premium with precision. This way, when you drive less or less than expected we can reward you with a lower policy price accordingly. Pretty cool, right?

P.S. The motion sensors in your phone are able to pull enough information to determine, with high accuracy, whether or not you’re the one behind the wheel. Thanks, technology!

Violations history

Everyone has a history, and we want yours to boost your car policy savings. 

Moving violations, traffic tickets, and accidents on your driving record can negatively impact your premium. Some minor violations like a speeding ticket only stay on your record for a few years, while more serious events like a DUI can remain for much longer. 

When it comes to the cost of your car insurance, it’s safe to say that the fewer violations on your driving history, the better. We recognize drivers that keep to the straight and narrow with Safe Driver Discounts. But also, we know that sometimes… shit happens.  After a minor hiccup that you might have had on the road falls off your record, you’ll no longer be penalized.  

Claims history

It is often said that history repeats itself—and history shows that people who have a record of making claims are more likely to make claims in the future. As an insurance rule-of-thumb, the more likely you are to file a claim, the more your car insurance will cost. 

An insurance history that’s full of claims will increase your policy price, and in some cases even prevent us from being able to cover you. Luckily, as past claims drop from your history what you pay for car insurance goes down. And, if you hold a clean claims history you may be eligible for a discount. Keep in mind though, if new claims are added to your record your policy price can go up.

Driving behavior

When, where, how, and how much you’re on the road play a major role in navigating toward a lower car premium. We combine your total mileage and driving behavior to calculate your Lemonade Safety Score, which is one of the main factors that determines how much you pay for car insurance. 

Here’s a breakdown of some of the habit-related moving parts that swerve the direction of your policy price.   

Time of day

Bumper-to-bumper jams and driving after dark increase your chances of an incident

The level of risk on your driving route varies depending on when the tires meet pavement. For instance, whether you choose to go out for a ride in the morning or at midnight affects your chances of getting into an accident. 

Certain times of day are associated with more traffic, which increases hazards. If your daily commute involves bumper-to-bumper jams during rush hour, you’re more likely to get in an incident. 

There is safety in sunshine. Daylight hours make for better visibility on the road compared to driving at night. Surprise collisions with nature’s nocturnal creatures, like our friend Bambi, are more likely in the evening than in the light of day.

Weather conditions

We know that you can’t control the climate (but imagine how convenient it would be if you could). Sometimes you simply have to get from point A to B despite the dreary conditions outside. The weather you drive through impacts the safety of each journey, so the Lemonade app recognizes these conditions when and where you’re on the road. So we can tell, for example, if you have a habit of only going out under blue skies…or are regularly chasing tornadoes.

Walking driving on sunshine runs a much lower risk than cruising around during a rain, snow, or hail storm. Braving the elements to get where you need to go exposes you and your car to potential damages, lower visibility, questionable road conditions, and other drivers that are up against the same obstacles.

Roads

Your driving safety differs depending on whether you’re team “Long Dirt Road,” team “Life is a Highway,” or somewhere in between. When congestion-free, highways and simpler street networks present a lower risk than more complex roads. Each sharp twist, double left turn lane, 4-way stop sign, and off-ramp you encounter impacts the likelihood that you’ll face an incident. And road quality matters, too. Regularly taking roads that could use a little TLC (and fewer potholes) can cause more damage to your car than a route with fresh asphalt.      

Braking

Stop, in the name of love- but be gentle on your brakes. With the Lemonade app, your smartphone can detect and analyze simple movements when you drive—like whether your phone is in your pocket, in a dashboard holder, or sitting on the seat next to you. Your phone can sense, with high accuracy, if you’ve slammed on the brakes. 

If you’re driving down the street and you didn’t notice the stop sign because of a distraction, you may have braked pretty hard to avoid running the stop sign. Maybe said braking incident was a one-time thing and not a regular habit. If that’s the case, you won’t be penalized in the grand scheme of your policy price. That being said, even if sudden and harsh braking doesn’t lead to an accident in that moment, long-term it’s hard on the brakes and can eventually affect the value of the car if done regularly.

Smoothness

If you have a habit of accelerating rapidly and braking harshly, the Lemonade app will recognize this as tailgating. Tailgating adds a new level of danger to your time on the road and honestly, it won’t get you to where you’re going any faster. We’re all about smooth sailing at Lemonade Car, and are firm believers that tailgating should be reserved exclusively for weekend parking lot barbecues.

Cornerning

Be kind to yourself, to others, and especially to your brakes

Turn down for…what. How you slow down before you make a turn— and the sharpness of the turn itself—affects your car’s center of gravity. Basically, if you go into a turn too fast you risk rolling your car, especially if it’s already top-heavy. Abrupt turns and harsh braking into turns can not only impact your immediate safety, they can have long-term implications on your brakes, tires, and your car’s overall ability to maintain balance in the future. The best practice is to slow down gradually to a desirable, safe speed into turns, and accelerate gently out of them. 

Phone usage 

We call it like we see it: Operating a car and a phone at the same time is a lethal combination. Cell phone and mobile device use, especially texting, while behind the wheel is one of the top driving distractions for many people. Whether hand-held or hands-free, phone usage significantly increases the danger of a car crash. Taking a phone call (or trying to plug an address into a navigation app) while on the road has implications for your safety as a driver. So kiss us through the phone, but only when you get home. 

Discount eligibility

You can start your Lemonade Car journey with a healthy dose of ‘discount serotonin.’ Some of our insurance discounts can be applied as soon as you purchase a Lemonade Car policy, like for Hybrid/EV drivers, bundling with other Lemonade products, and signing up for Lemonade Car before your coverage start date. Other discounts may become available later based on your driving behavior and status updates to your driving records once you’ve joined the Lemonade Car family. 

We reward safe driving with lower policy prices. Say you’re a golden-age driver looking to improve your driving habits and lower your premium. You may be eligible for a Mature Driver Discount when you complete a defensive driver course. Haven’t had a driving violation or accident in 3 years or filed a claim in 5 years? We offer discounts for that too.

Stay safe and save

With Lemonade Car, we have made it our mission to get you covered, keep you safe, and even help you fall in love with your car insurance. 

When you drive with the Lemonade app, you’ll enjoy benefits and savings now, later, and as you drive. It allows us to take your actual driving behavior into account. That means we can offer discounts based on good driving, and avoid penalizing you based on how actuarial science might price your policy based on demographics.

If you’re interested, brush up on our ultimate guide to car insurance, as well as an explainer on what car insurance covers. And when you’re ready, click the button below to get your quote.

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Shelby Kaplan

Shelby Kaplan is an Associate Content Writer at Lemonade, a part-time tree hugger, and a devoted lover of the written word. Before diving into the world of insurance, Shelby previously worked and wrote extensively on climate security, environmental peacebuilding, and sustainable development issues in the non-profit sector.

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Please note: Lemonade articles and other editorial content are meant for educational purposes only, and should not be relied upon instead of professional legal, insurance or financial advice. The content of these educational articles does not alter the terms, conditions, exclusions, or limitations of policies issued by Lemonade, which differ according to your state of residence. While we regularly review previously published content to ensure it is accurate and up-to-date, there may be instances in which legal conditions or policy details have changed since publication. Any hypothetical examples used in Lemonade editorial content are purely expositional. Hypothetical examples do not alter or bind Lemonade to any application of your insurance policy to the particular facts and circumstances of any actual claim.