In my home state of Florida, car insurance is expensive. I mean, really expensive. Florida is the third most expensive state in the nation for car insurance. Thanks to a high rate of almost 27% uninsured drivers and being a no-fault state, drivers are feeling the squeeze.
Sunshine State residents aren’t alone, though. Drivers in every state are dealing with high car insurance premiums. In fact, premiums have increased nationwide almost 30% since 2011, according to The Zebra’s latest State of Auto Insurance report.
What’s driving these rate increases? For one, an increase in natural disasters over the years has given way to a growing number of claims. Another reason for high car insurance is rising car repair costs. Even though many of us are driving less these days, it hasn’t stopped accidents from happening. Drivers are more distracted than ever while on the road.
Why is your car insurance so high?
If you find yourself nodding in agreement to one or more of the statements below, you might be paying too much for car insurance.
1. You're loyal to your insurer
How long have you been with your current auto insurer? According to a recent Auto Insurance Survey from Consumer Reports, 54% of the respondents said they’ve been with their current insurer for 15+ years.
However, while your insurer may give you a discount for being a long-time customer, it’s probably not enough to offset their rising rates in other areas. Auto insurance companies have a unique formula to determine their rates, and they often reset their rates on a regular basis. So while you might feel great getting a 10% loyalty discount, what’s it really worth if your rate has jumped 25%?
I wouldn’t think twice about comparison shopping for a new internet or wireless provider, and I wouldn’t hesitate to switch brands for a better deal. So why aren’t we doing the same with auto insurance? Fortunately, sites like Squeeze make getting quotes easier than ever - no more spending hours and days calling around to different agents.
>>RELATED: How to switch your car insurance
2. You haven't reviewed your coverage in years
Do you know what your deductible is? Are you paying for rental car insurance? If you haven’t taken time to review your coverage lately, you could be paying for insurance coverage you don’t need. If you have a decent emergency fund or could pay for a car repair without going into debt, it might make sense to increase your deductible.
Also review your policy for other types of insurance coverage you're paying for. For instance, if you had an auto loan, the lender likely required collision and comprehensive insurance coverage. But if your car is now paid off and getting older, it may not be cost-effective to keep paying for this coverage. On the other hand, keep in mind that if your car is paid off and still worth a significant value, you could take a big financial hit if your car is damaged or totaled and you’re without these coverages.
3. Your credit score took a hit
Have you missed a payment on your credit card lately or closed a credit card? Did you just take out a personal loan? If your credit score has dropped for any reason, it could be the reason your car insurance bill just jumped.
Your credit score is an indicator to insurers of how likely you are to make a claim. Check your credit and resolve any outstanding issues you can. Once you increase your credit score, you’ll likely pay a better auto insurance rate than someone with a lower or bad score. A good credit history can also have a positive impact on your auto insurance score, which can lead to you getting a lower rate.
4. You're texting and drive
We’re all guilty of being distracted while driving. Sending that quick “On my way” text. Or running through the drive-thru and grabbing a bite on the way to a meeting. But it’s the growing trend of distracted driving that’s driving auto insurance premiums up. Studies show that reading or sending a text while driving can take your eyes off the road for as long as five seconds. That’s long enough to potentially get into an accident.
5. You haven't asked about car insurance discounts
Maybe you just got married, or started a new job that cuts your commute time significantly. These are instances that could make you eligible for significant auto insurance discounts. But if your insurer doesn’t know about these changes in your life, you could be missing out on serious savings.
Check your auto insurance company’s site to see which discounts they offer. For example, it might be worth it for you to combine your home and auto insurance, or switch to a usage-based policy.