Factors That May Affect Your Auto Insurance Premiums

Personal Injury Lawyer

Every state appoints or elects an Insurance Commissioner to oversee their state’s executive office of the Department of Insurance (DOI). It is the duty of the commissioner to regulate insurance, educate and license agents and to supervise compliance of insurance practices with the law. The commissioner approves or denies rate increases requested by the carriers and advocates for consumers when an insurance-related wrong has occurred.  

As a practicing personal injury attorney Indianapolis, IN trusts, I am concerned when individuals reduce their limits of bodily injury and medical payment coverage to shrink escalating premiums. Factors that may affect your rates are determined by the commissioner in the state wherein you reside. For example, the commissioner may allow or prohibit rate factors such as residential zip code, sex, age, homeowner status, driving record, year, make, model and loan balance of the insured vehicle, education, and creditworthiness. Recently, the California Insurance Commissioner took the step prohibiting insurance companies from employing gender-based factors in calculating their premiums. Prior to the announcement, Insurance companies were permitted to increase premiums on young men and senior women, gender groups that insurance companies considered more likely to be involved in accidents. Currently, six other states have removed gender-bias from the rating factors: Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.

Additional factors that drive insurance premiums are as follows:

Approximately 250 million Americans are required to purchase automobile insurance; a national average of 12% of drivers are operating a vehicle without automobile coverage. Uninsured injury claim pay-outs by insurance companies result in increasing premiums.

Surprisingly, few companies offer anti-theft and safety tech discounts although it has been proven that safety technologies deter auto theft and reduce collisions. Discounts for on-board safety technologies may be on the horizon.

Real property losses due to severe weather events such as wildfires, hurricanes, and tornadoes, account for significant increases in automobile insurance rates. Keep in mind, however, that rates may not increase for several months to a year after the relevant event.

Metropolitan areas with a rise in population results in an increase in crime; henceforth, an increase in automobile insurance rates.

Michigan’s significant payouts for life-long injuries and resulting medical bills generate a substantial rise in personal injury protection (PIP) insurance for every consumer in the no-fault state of Michigan. Until the state of Michigan reduces medical payment benefits or returns to at-fault or tort-based insurance status, this is unlikely to change.

In my profession as an attorney, like a personal injury lawyer in Indianapolis, IN, I routinely talk with people about their automobile insurance policies, many of whom, myself included, bemoan the annual rate increases. In an effort to steer them away from reducing bodily injury coverage, I ask, “Do you know that an independent insurance agent, someone who is licensed to sell insurance but who is not employed by a single insurance company, can access rates from many vendors licensed in your state?” Shopping around may significantly reduce your insurance premiums. Or, “Are you aware that the more insurance you buy, the cheaper it is per unit?” Not only is a larger policy less expensive by the unit, but you and your family will be in a better position if an accident with catastrophic injuries occurs!  

In today’s technology-rich environment, we have a world of information available at our fingertips 24 hours a day. There are several powerful search engines on the Internet that return real-time automobile insurance quotes predicated upon the data you provide. But before you consider making policy changes to offset any increase in premiums you may experience, contact a personal injury attorney Indianapolis, IN looks to for advice and counsel. And to learn more about consumer services as related to insurance, or to file an insurance complaint, visit the website of your state’s Department of Insurance.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Ward & Ward Law Firm for their insight into personal injury practice.

Posted on January 25, 2019 @ 9:00 pm

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