It’s a fact of life that what goes down might also go up. And that’s the experience of many automobile insurance customers, who saw their monthly premium rates decrease in the past couple of years but may notice rates are now on the upswing. Melanie Bakala at State Farm explains the reasons include more drivers returning to the road after COVID-19 restrictions expired, an increased number of accidents and rising auto repair costs.
More People are Driving Than in 2020
One reason rates are going up is more people are driving now since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns have been lifted. “In 2020, insurers were returning money to customers because people weren’t driving, and there were reduced rates,” says Bakala. “State Farm rates went down 14.4 percent in the State of Washington. Now people are back.”
More cars are on the road today than in 2020. Increased vehicle traffic causes more unfortunate events like collisions and thefts, which Bakala says have boomeranged back to pre-pandemic levels. This fact produces a rebound in car insurance rates as well.
Increased Number and Severity of Car Accidents
“Over the past nine months, the number of accidents has increased, as well as their severity,” says Bakala. For example, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission initial data for 2022 shows the greatest number of deaths on Washington roads and highways have occurred since 1990.
While an individual auto insurance customer might not have been in an accident, insurance premium rates are established in policyholder groups. More claims related to accidents in a customer group may impact the group’s car insurance rates.
Today’s Rising Auto Repair Costs
The recent significant rise in costs of goods and services across the board applies as well to car repairs that rely on parts, labor and supply chains. “Everything is going up,” Bakala says. “Think about going to the grocery store and how much more each grocery bag costs.”
In addition, cars have a lot more technology today, which can be more expensive to repair. Parking sensors, lane-departure warnings, and stronger materials build in safety but also can be more costly to fix.
Contact State Farm’s Melanie Bakala to Explore Ways to Manage Car Insurance Rate Increases
To contact Bakala and her State Farm team and explore ways to manage rate increases for auto insurance customers, or for more information, call 360.426.2428 (Shelton) or 360.972.7905 (Lacey).