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Auto insurance rates jumping sharply: what you can do

Average rates up over 10% in 2022, and heading up again.
Car accident
Posted at 4:00 AM, Feb 24, 2023

Even though the inflation rate is finally starting to come down, that's not the case for your auto insurance.

That's because of higher medical costs if you're in an accident, along with the rising cost of car parts and auto repair in general.

At Boruske Brothers Collision Center, they are hammering out dents, and replacing body panels, after a winter of fender benders.

Shop manager Scott Summers says parts are still hard to find, and prices are up sharply.

"You are looking at 20 percent more, at least."

The hope is that your insurance will cover repairs, as well as a rental car, if parts are on backorder.

But with long waits for parts, Summers says, "Insurers are spending more on rentals sometimes than the actual repairs."

Rates up 10% to 15% last year

According toa report by Bankrate.com, the national average for full-coverage auto insurance in 2023 is $2,014 per year.

That's up from about $1,700 in 2022, more than a 10% increase. It is even higher in some states.

Insurance analyst Cate Deventer says rates are predicted to rise even more this year.

"We do think rates are probably gonna keep increasing for at least part of 2023," she said.

Deventer explains why policies are only now starting to catch up to inflation.

"The companies see those claims getting more expensive and then they have to file for approval with the state's department of insurance for a rate change."

Things you can do to keep your rates down

So what can you do if your insurer tells you a rate hike is coming?

If you're working from home, or just driving less than you were last year, Deventer says make sure your insurance company knows you're on the road less often.

"You may qualify for a lower usage class, meaning you're not physically using your vehicle as often. And that can save you some money," she said.

Deventer's other tips:

  • Shop around at different insurance companies, or try a website that compares multiple companies.
  • Be sure to bundle your auto insurance with home or renters insurance.
  • Don't rely on minimum coverage, even though it may be cheaper month to month.

"If you cause an accident and you have minimum coverage, there's a decent chance that the damages are going to be over that coverage amount," she said, making that accident very, very expensive.

Finally, she says, to keep your rates as low as possible, drive safely. A couple of accidents can raise your rates even more.

That way you don't waste your money.

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