Americans have been doing a happy dance at the gas pump for months now, with gas prices at their lowest in years (down nearly 50 cents a gallon on average over this time last year.) But that fancy footwork may be about to end. Not because gas prices are suddenly going up, but because car insurance is. And if you haven’t gotten a new premium notice in the mail yet, there’s a good chance one will arrive soon.
4. U.S. TRAFFIC DEATHS ARE UP
Add to all this that 2015 was likely the deadliest year on U.S. roads since 2008, according the the National Safety Council. The group estimates 38,300 people were killed nationwide on roads last year and 4.4 million were seriously injured. That brings us back to our Georgia example above. Allstate says it hiked rates because traffic deaths there increased 21 percent last year.
So what’s a driver to do?
Well, besides shopping around, or buying a cheaper car, not a whole lot. But it’s worth asking your insurance company for potential discounts. For example, some insurers offer better rates to drivers who put less miles on their cars. Some insurers are even installing devices on cars to see how far people drive.
It also boils down to where you live in some cases. In some states, like California, rate increases must be approved by the state. In others, like Georgia, that’s not the case. Also know that in some places like Texas, credit scores cause rates to fluctuate by 50 percent. According to a WalletHub report, Farmers Insurance appears to rely on credit data the most, causing a significant cost disparity for customers across credit levels, while GEICO uses it the least.
The bottom line here is to expect rates to continue to climb and prepare to shop around accordingly.