Car insurance rates see biggest jump since 2003

Posted at 4:53 PM, Jun 07, 2016

Car insurance rates are skyrocketing across the country. April's six percent monthly jump was the biggest since 2003.

"Unfortunately, out on our roadways, we're seeing a collision course of all of the factors that affect what we pay for car insurance," said Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. 

Walker says cheaper gas prices mean more Americans are hitting the roads, especially for summer vacations. But, more drivers also lead to more accidents.

The National Safety Council says 2015 was the deadliest year since 2008, with 38,300 deaths. The NSC says 4.4 million others were seriously hurt.

Walker says almost every state is feeling the burden of the contributing factors, and 'good' drivers are not exempt from the rate hikes.

"They say, 'I haven't been in an accident. I haven't gotten any tickets,'" said Walker. "Understand, there are some factors that you, as an individual, are rated on, but then, also where you live affects that."

Insurance companies have seen a drop in profits in recent years. From 2005 to 2013, the average payout for bodily injury claims rose 32 percent, according to the Insurance Research Council.

"Years ago, they basically looked at how much you drive and how you drive," said Walker. "Now, they look at everything from the car to personal risk."

She says avoiding moving violations and at-fault accidents are the best ways to save, but drivers should ask insurance agents about other ways to cut costs in the long term.

"Can I be a better driver? Can I take a defensive driving class? What kind of car do I drive? Is it more crash-worthy?" said Walker. "That will also offer you a discount on what you pay."

Auto insurer Allstate recorded one the biggest rate hikes so far this year, in Georgia, where prices increased by an average of 25 percent. Traffic fatalities in that state increased 21 percent last year.