Inflation will cause the price of all insurance policies to rise slowly, but you may have noticed that your auto insurance has risen more than normal lately. Most lines of insurance cycle between soft and hard markets over a number of years, which has a direct impact on the price you pay. Now, the auto insurance market is currently hardening after many years of a soft market, which has resulted in higher prices for personal auto policies.
Between 2011 and 2016, competition between insurance carriers created a soft, buyer-friendly market. Since then, however, a number of factors have caused carriers to exit the auto market or increase their prices in order to make a profit.
More Drivers Lead to More Accidents
Thanks to low gasoline prices and rising employment rates, more Americans can afford to drive. However, more vehicles on the road have led to more accidents that must be paid for by insurance carriers, and many carriers have transferred this cost to policyholders by raising premiums.
The number of accidents has also risen because of an increase in unsafe driving practices. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, about 87 percent of drivers admitted to engaging in at least one risky behavior while behind the wheel, including using their phones and not wearing seat belts.
The number of accidents isn’t the only factor affecting auto insurance claims. The size of the average insurance claim—also known as claim severity—has increased as well. The three largest drivers of claim severity include the increase in the costs of medical care, auto repairs and auto parts. According to a recent study by CarMD, the largest repair cost comes from replacing the expensive technology that’s common in newer vehicles, as body shops struggle to afford the special equipment and training required to perform the repairs.
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