For many drivers, one of the most mysterious aspects of owning a car is the manner in which auto insurance rates are determined. Rates fluctuate from time to time, from driver to driver and from vehicle to vehicle. While most of us realize that driver profiles and the make and model (and cost) of a vehicle will determine to some extent what we pay, other factors are more opaque. It helps to get a better understanding of what insurance carriers base their decisions on.
Inflation has been a persistent problem for several years now, and it has played a significant role in the increase of auto insurance rates. Simply put, today it costs more to repair or replace a vehicle thanks to inflation. Prices for both new and used vehicles are higher than ever, and insurance premiums have risen in response to these increases.
The supply chain issues that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic are not completely resolved, and as a result, some auto parts are still difficult to find and more expensive than they were before the pandemic began. The demand for items like bumpers, side panels, windshields and the semiconductor chips used throughout modern vehicles has escalated due to greatly increased demand. As a result, it’s taking longer and costing more to undertake auto repairs.
The End of the COVID-19 Pandemic
This one is a bit of a head-scratcher, but it makes sense upon closer examination. During the pandemic lockdowns and broad work-from-home programs, far fewer Americans were driving on the nation’s roads, which resulted in significantly fewer accidents and claims. These trends gave insurance companies a financial break, reducing the number of claims they needed to pay out. In some cases, they passed these benefits onto their subscribers, who were driving far fewer miles (therefore reducing their risk profiles). With driving returning to pre-pandemic levels, accidents and claims are back to normal levels, which can in part explain premium increases.
More Complex Vehicles
The cars of today are not the cars of 20 years ago. Vehicles today are filled with high-tech features that are more difficult and expensive to repair and replace. Sensors, cameras, smart keys, artificial intelligence-driven systems and built-in entertainment systems make vehicles more usable today, but it also costs significantly more to repair or replace cars with these advanced features.
Today, claims are on the rise as more drivers engage in distracted driving (hello, cell phones), speeding and impaired driving. As a result, the number of accidents has risen, which results in higher rates overall for auto insurance subscribers.
How You Can Save on Insurance Rates
Contact your auto insurance provider to find out how you can lower your premiums, either through bundling (putting several of your policies in the hands of the same company), multi-vehicle policies, paid in full discounts, good student discounts or safe driver discounts with telematics apps or devices.
Talk to a Professional Insurance Agent