Car insurance rates on the rise for 83 percent of U.S. drivers

Auto insurance rates across the U.S. are higher than they ve ever been up 23 percent since 2011 with an average annual cost of $1,470, according to The Zebra. Contributed graphic
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Auto insurance rates across the U.S. are higher than they ve ever been up 23 percent since 2011 with an average annual cost of $1,470, according to The Zebra. Contributed graphic

Report reveals car insurance premiums are highest on record, volatile, reactive to changes in technology and human behavior

The Zebra, a car insurance search engine, has released its 2019 State of Auto Insurance Report, which reveals that car insurance rates have risen for four out of five American drivers (83 percent) over the past year. In fact, rates across the U.S. are higher than they’ve ever been – up 23 percent since 2011 with an average annual cost of $1,470.

The Zebra’s annual report examines more than 61 million auto insurance rates across every U.S. zip code to provide insight into the many factors insurance companies use to price insurance – and how that pricing is unique to every individual.

“Some people are paying $500 a year while others are paying $5,000. Why? It could be weather in your state, your driving habits, or even your gender, marital status or credit score,” says Alyssa Connolly, director of market insights, The Zebra. “Car insurance is a major expense for most Americans, and drivers want to know how much their rates are changing – especially as new technology comes into play.”

Key findings reveal that the state of auto insurance in 2019 is:

Expensive – Car insurance rates are higher than ever, with some parts of the country paying upwards of $5,000 per year.

Most expensive states:

Michigan: $2,693

Louisiana: $2,339

Rhode Island: $2,110

Most expensive cities:

Detroit, MI: $5,464

New Orleans, LA: $3,686

Hialeah, FL: $2,997

Erratic – Rates vary dramatically, with massive increases (and some decreases) over time, and vast disparity even within a single state.

In Colorado, car insurance costs are up 80 percent since 2011, but they’re down 20 percent in Oklahoma in the same time frame.

Rate changes from year to year have been as high as 45 percent in some states.

Even within a state, rates can vary from one zip code to another by as much as 265 percent.

Evolving – In 2019, technology is changing both how people drive and how car insurance companies operate.

Insurance companies are using telematics (apps or plug-in devices to monitor a driver’s behavior), which has the potential to lower costs for safe drivers and provide extensive data about driving trends.

Distracted drivers are starting to pay the price for their dangerous behaviors with an average insurance rate penalty of 20 percent.

Although new technology is making cars safer, it’s also making them more expensive to repair or replace, so drivers likely won’t see any car insurance savings for these new car features.

Car insurance companies are already leveraging insights from consumers’ online behavior for marketing and other purposes, and there is potential this data could inform how they price rates in the future.