Do you get a pit in your stomach every time you open your car insurance renewal notice? You’re not alone. The cost of car insurance has increased by 19% in the last year – the biggest increase since 1976 – according to August’s Consumer Price Index (CPI). The surge in car insurance rates over the past year is a culmination of various factors, ranging from the cost of vehicle repairs to the increase in vehicle theft incidents.
Escalating vehicle repair costs is one of the main reasons for the increase. Newer vehicles come equipped with a multitude of advanced technologies and require parts and professionals which are significantly more expensive. Car repair costs are up nearly 17% according to the (CPI)
Rising medical costs also contribute to the spike in car insurance premiums. Hospital and hospital related services showed an increase of 3.5%. As healthcare costs increase, insurers must likewise adjust their rates to meet their financial obligations.
Near record levels of vehicle theft are also a reason for rising insurance costs. Last year, over 1 million vehicle theft incidents were reported. The number of vehicle thefts surpassed one million instances last year for the first time since 2008, and Texas is one of the states with the highest percentage of theft increase.
“There is little we can do control the rising costs of vehicle repairs or medical costs,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Central East Texas. “But there may be some actions you can take which could help you lower your insurance premiums.”
Make sure you have a clean driving record. Insurance companies typically reward safe drivers with lower insurance premiums. A record which is free of accidents, traffic violations, and insurance claims may put you in a “low-risk” category and may earn you a lower rate.
Ask about discounts. Your insurance company may offer discounts if your vehicle has an anti-theft device such as an alarm or tracking system or if they have other safety features like an immobilizer system or other theft-prevention equipment.
Bundle several policies. If you maintain other types of insurance, you may be able to save money by having one company manage all of them.
Shop around. Not all companies have the same pricing models, so it is worth it to compare quotes from several insurance providers to find the most competitive rate for your situation.
Remember that insurance rates can vary significantly depending on factors such as your location, the type of vehicle you drive, and other personal circumstances. Review and update your policy on a regular basis, shop around for competitive quotes, and go to bbb.org to find businesses you can trust.
For more tips to help you manage expenses for your vehicle, check out our Consumer Headquarters. Visit BBB’s auto HQ for more auto resources and tips.
About BBB: BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information. BBB Serving Central East Texas was founded in 1985 and serves 19 counties.
Based in New York, Stephen Freeman is a Senior Editor at Trending Insurance News. Previously he has worked for Forbes and The Huffington Post. Steven is a graduate of Risk Management at the University of New York.