Credit Karma guide to free scores

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In a Nutshell

You may already know you can check your credit scores for free and at any time using Credit Karma, but did you know you can check your auto and home insurance scores too? Find out what factors impact each score and how they differ from one another.
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As a Credit Karma member, you have access to free VantageScore 3.0 credit scores from two major reporting bureaus: TransUnion and Equifax. We also provide your auto insurance score and home insurance score from TransUnion.

Checking any score on Credit Karma will always be free, and there’s no impact to your credit since it’s considered a soft inquiry.

On Credit Karma, you can also get your credit reports from TransUnion and Equifax for free. Your scores and reports may be updated as often as every week, which could help you spot signs of possible identity theft more quickly.

Here’s a guide to each type of score you’ll see using Credit Karma.

VantageScore 3.0 Credit Scores

VantageScore 3.0, which ranges from 300 to 850, is a credit scoring model created collaboratively by the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. With VantageScore 3.0, the credit bureaus aim to make credit scoring more consistent and accurate across all the bureaus.

Traditional credit scoring models weigh credit history heavily, so consumers with shorter credit histories often have a “thin file” in traditional models. The VantageScore model tries to remedy this by putting more weight and emphasis on the past 24 months of your credit history.

Auto insurance score

Your auto insurance score, which typically ranges from 200 to 997, that you see on Credit Karma is from TransUnion. Auto insurance scores are used primarily by auto insurance companies. They are designed to help them assess the risk of insuring you as a consumer by predicting the likelihood that you will file a claim. A good score is usually around 770 or higher, according to TransUnion.

Your auto insurance scores are typically three-digit numbers calculated using information from your credit reports, and they can influence your premium rate. The fact that data in your credit reports can affect your auto insurance premium may seem unfair, but studies show that there is a correlation between credit behavior and the likelihood a consumer will file a claim. In other words, consumers with higher credit scores tend to file fewer insurance claims and, as a result, are typically given better rates.

Fortunately, because the information in your credit reports affects your auto insurance scores, healthy credit habits may translate to better auto insurance scores and a lower insurance premium for you.

Several aspects of a healthy credit history, such as the following, can positively impact your auto insurance scores.

  • Open accounts in good standing (no past-due accounts)
  • No late payments
  • Long credit history
  • Low use of available credit

Home insurance score

Your home insurance scores range from 150 to 950. The home insurance score that you see through your Credit Karma account is calculated by TransUnion. Your home insurance scores are used primarily by home insurance companies to help assess the likelihood that you’ll file an insurance claim.

As with your auto insurance scores, your home insurance scores are, in part, based on your overall credit health. That means the factors that create healthy credit scores may translate to a good home insurance score too.

Here are some credit history factors that are calculated into your home insurance scores.

  • Payment history
  • Age of your oldest account
  • Types of credit you have (e.g., credit cards, mortgage loan, student loans)
  • Credit card utilization ratio (the percentage of credit you’ve used)
  • Overall amount of debt you have

There are also a few other factors outside of your credit history that can impact your home insurance scores, such as the safety and location of your home. For a full list of factors, check out our full article on the topic.

Bottom line

Remember that these scores will differ from one another because each uses the data in your applicable credit report differently. Which means it’s important to pay attention to and track the factors influencing your scores, rather than just the three-digit number.

Working on improving the individual factors could result in improved credit health across the board. Credit Karma provides these scores free of charge, so come back often to check your progress.