If you haven't received a notice yet that your auto insurance rate is increasing, you can likely expect one is coming.
The General compiled a list of factors that may contribute to higher car insurance rates, including data from the Insurance Information Institute, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and other industry sources and news coverage.
Shortages of parts and new vehicles, waves of retiring mechanics, and deadlier roadways are changing the automotive insurance landscape for insurers and you—the driver. That's on top of the fact that the value of new vehicles has skyrocketed since 2020, charting their largest gains in 2021 as Americans returned to offices, restaurants, and social events again, pushing up demand for both new and used vehicles.
New vehicles have sold for above sticker price for nearly a year and a half now, according to Kelley Blue Book. New cars cost 18% more in October 2022 than they did in October 2020, according to the BLS. Meanwhile, used car prices increased by 29% over the same time period.
Generally speaking, any form of insurance is premised on complicated financial schemes that balance cost and risk while also turning a profit and sheltering consumers' exposure to financial ruin. Most states have laws that require drivers to carry a minimum level of automotive insurance to help spread out risk.
When an insurer has to pay out more in claims than it takes in through premiums, the company could become insolvent and collapse. Therefore, insurance companies are constantly evaluating and adjusting the amount of money they need to collect in premiums—either semiannual or annual charges, often paid in monthly installments—to avoid taking losses.
Of course, insurers also evaluate how much to charge a client based on their assessment of how likely it is the client will trigger reimbursement for damages. And those factors can extend well beyond just the client's driving record to include their education level and occupation.
"Underwriting losses are expected to continue as more rate increases are needed to offset catastrophe and economic and social inflation loss pressures," Jason B. Kurtz, a principal at financial consulting firm Milliman, said at a virtual industry conference in November.
The Insurance Information Institute's chief insurance officer is projecting rates will have risen 8.8% over the course of 2022 and are on pace to rise another 8.9% in 2023. The institute points to difficult economic conditions as well as climate disasters as reasons companies are anticipating losses in the coming year. Hurricane Ida's impact has already bankrupted 11 insurance agencies since it made landfall in August 2021, and the aftermath of 2022's Hurricane Ian could do further damage.