Over the past few years, the auto insurance market has been hardening. Policyholders have noticed this in the form of increased car insurance premiums (or expensive auto insurance premiums.) From about 2011 to 2016, insurers were competing against each other, and this competition led to a soft market in which car insurance prices were lower. However, carriers are now either leaving the market or raising their rates to make a profit and stay in business. This can be attributed to several different factors, which all contribute to the trend of rising auto insurance premiums.
5 factors that have caused car insurance prices to rise.
More people are driving…and they’re driving more.
There are a lot more drivers on the road due to low gas prices and strong employment rates, and those drivers are putting a lot of miles on their cars. However, that also means there are more accidents (more cars on the road means more traffic and more crashes.) This means that the average driver has a higher chance of being in a wreck when they drive. (There are also more accidents due to an increase in unsafe driving habits on the roads, such as distracted driving.)
And those claims have to be paid for – by insurance. And insurers can’t necessarily sustain those kinds of losses and payouts, so they’ve had to pass off some of the expense to policyholders in the form of higher premiums.
Accidents are more severe.
Accidents have also become more severe, meaning that the average cost of a claim has gone up. This increase in accident severity has happened because the cost of medical care is going up. Also, the costs of auto repair have been going up, as has the cost of auto parts. The technologies in newer vehicles are expensive, and on the repair end, it requires special equipment and training for the professionals who are working on the vehicles. All of these things contribute to larger claims and a bigger “fallout” from accidents. Simply put, accidents are costing more. And that means insurers are charging higher insurance rates because of the increased risk.
Lots of motorists are uninsured.
Many motorists do not carry enough insurance – or any insurance at all. And when they cause an accident, it’s the insured driver’s underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage that will pay out for the damage. But these claims have been going up by quite a bit recently too, so that means that premiums have also been increasing. Insured drivers are paying more to offset the trend of increased uninsured motorist claims.
Self-driving cars are a trend that is soon to be upon us, and that means that insurers are going to have to learn how to cope with the changes autonomous vehicles will bring to the car insurance industry. The prediction is that self-driving cars will lower accident frequency and make the roads safer, leading to fewer claims (and thus lower auto insurance premiums.) It’s also predicted that the car insurance market will shrink. Insurers are seeing these trends and predictions and they’re trying to get ready for the inevitable change to come, so they are gradually raising rates to compensate for the future when rates could drop by a lot and the personal car insurance market will decrease.
Insurance fraud is yet another factor that has contributed to rising auto insurance premiums. Whether it’s staged accidents or faking an injury to pin the blame on a third party (and collect the insurance money), insurance fraud is always a concern within the industry. It costs the country billions every year. And once again, this cost is transferred to the policyholders.
How policyholders can manage their rates.
Even though these trends are happening and they’re causing car insurance premiums to go up, there are a few things that policyholders can do to keep their rates down and offset the price increase. They can:
- Raise their deductible if they are financially comfortable doing so.
- Maintain a good driving record by driving safely. (Tickets and accidents can cause rates to go up.)
- Choose a safe vehicle to drive.
- Consider bundling their home and auto insurance.
- Explore the car insurance discount options available to them.
- Work on improving their credit score.
- Get multiple quotes for car insurance.
Even though car insurance rates have been rising, we can help you get the coverage you need to protect yourself financially at a great rate. Our agents can help you get multiple quotes so you have options to choose from, and we’ll make the insurance process as easy as possible. You can get in touch with us by filling out our online quote form or giving us a call today.