HomeCar InsuranceCar insurance sees largest price hike in decades; severe weather, repairs share...

Car insurance sees largest price hike in decades; severe weather, repairs share blame

Anyone renewing their car insurance recently probably noticed rates are up even more than they were a year ago, and an Horry County underwriter said the latest round of increases are impacting everyone across the board.

“Every insurance renewal, auto insurance renewal coming up this year, we are having to shop, re-shop to see if there is a better rate out there. We are seeing that across the board,” Melissa Jernigan of Southeastern Alliance Underwriters said.

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The most recent Consumer Price Index reports in April 2024, car insurance rates are 22.6% more expensive than in April 2023.

The Insurance Information Institute reported for home and car insurance, companies paid an average of $1.10 in claims and expenses for every $1 collected in premiums last year.

“You see the weather pattern, you see the devastation and therefore those claims are up, and these companies don’t just write in South Carolina, it’s nationwide. So, they’re having to look at their loss ratios and take a step back and say ‘Oh, we need to make sure we can pay these claims out and make sure we’re good and profitable.’” Jernigan said.

She said some factors remain like newer vehicles with more technology leading to more expensive repairs, but the recent weather could have a larger impact.

“The population, the growth in the state and especially in Horry County and Georgetown County that we’re seeing, that plays a factor. The number of claims, we’ve had a pretty rough go with hail claims, that can affect those rates as well,” she said.

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Lately, Jernigan said more customers have been signing up for the devices that track you trying to save money and agreeing to longer terms.

“We are trying to get our insurants into a 12-month policy, that will be a benefit to having you locked in at that rate for that 12 months, versus it going up every six months.”

She said one of the best ways to save is to review your policy and speak with an agent as agents know this market, and SAU uses a “Mobile Rater” that considers your age, gender, and zip code to find fair rates.

“We input that, and it runs a multiple number of quotes, and then we can go in and tweak and add discounts once we have those conversations,” she said.

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With rates continuing to increase, Jernigan said shopping and re-shopping is really the key right now because companies go through cycles.

The one with a higher rate today might have a better offer in a year.

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