Insurance companies are increasing auto rates in Florida as residents prepare to hunker down this hurricane season. Some major insurers, such as Farmers, are leaving the Sunshine State outright, while others are increasing car insurance premiums by 30 percent or more, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Despite premiums going up all over the country, Florida drivers are seeing price hikes that easily exceed those in other states. The national increase in premiums is reportedly due to higher crash frequency on public roads in the U.S. following the global pandemic. No, it’s not just your imagination; drivers are engaging in riskier behavior: distracted driving thanks to smartphones is up by nearly a quarter, and people are crashing more often and at higher speeds.
More frequent and severe accidents are reportedly leading to a higher volume of claims and lawsuits, therefore driving up the costs of premiums. The insurance industry reported high underwriting losses in 2022, and the same is expected of 2023. Insurers allegedly report that they’ve had to pay out more in claims than they’ve collected in premiums, which leads to higher insurance rates for drivers.
And when you combine a higher frequency of crashes overall with Florida’s unique issues, insurance rates have skyrocketed for residents, per the TBT:
Ana Curbelo says her monthly premium increased from $170 to $280 to insure her 2004 Toyota Camry. “It’s crazy for this minimal coverage,” she said. “And I’m over 50.”
Jon Klapper says he just received a renewal notice from Progressive that increased his premium on his nine-year-old Kia Optima by 26%. “Never had a claim,” he said.
Robin Phillips says monthly insurance premiums are now higher than car payments. “The increases should be for those that are making claims and getting tickets and/or points on their license,” she said.
Insurers increased premium prices three times in Florida from 2022 through 2023, due in part to higher volume of claims, but also due to reasons that are specific to the state. Insurance is getting more expensive in Florida due to “factors like hurricane damage, a high rate of uninsured drivers, high auto theft rates and claims fraud.”
Because of this, State Farm increased rates by just over 30 percent on nearly 3 million vehicles. Progressive increased rates by 30 percent on over 3.3 million vehicles. And Liberty Mutual hiked its rates by slightly more than 44 percent. Liberty insures only about 157,000 cars in Florida, however, so its higher rates affected less drivers than State Farm and Progressive. Geico insures 2.5 million cars in the state, but its rates went up just shy of 24 percent.
When the Tampa Bay Times asked what’s behind the increase in premiums, insurers said it was due to high inflation and high labor costs, among other things. Given that the industry allegedly expects to take another loss this year in claims vs premiums, it’s unlikely insurance rates will normalize soon. And that’s not even accounting for possible damage from hurricanes which are yet to materialize following this year’s record-breaking weather events.
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.