My car insurance is up for its semiannual renewal this month, and, when GEICO sent me the bill, it contained an unpleasant surprise: An increase of about $70 on the six-month premium, which was annoying. Apparently, I’m not alone.
The reasons, according to The Wall Street Journal, are plenty: People are driving more, there are more accidents, and also there are parts and car shortages. And also, when people do get into accidents, they are using rental cars — often paid for by insurance companies, depending on your policy — for longer, because of the aforementioned shortages, as they wait for their car to get fixed. All of which has cost insurance companies more money, and insurers are now doing the natural thing, which is trying to pass some of that cost down to you.
Here’s the WSJ’s rundown of various insurers:
Car and home insurer Allstate Corp. is raising rates by an average of 7.1% across 25 states, its executives said on an earnings call, and more increases are ahead.
Travelers Cos. said higher rates have taken effect in 11 states since August, and the company anticipates additional increases in about 25 states in the first quarter, with more later in the year. “We may, in some states, take a couple of rate increases in 2022,” Michael Klein, a senior executive, said on the company’s earnings call.
Kemper Corp. said on its earnings call that in the third and fourth quarters it filed for an approximately 11% premium increase on more than half of its personal auto-insurance business. Progressive Corp. is seeking a range of increases, up to 17% in certain locations, according to filings reviewed by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., the nation’s biggest car insurer by premium volume, aims to make incremental adjustments to minimize the impact on customers, a spokeswoman said. So far this year the carrier has raised rates by 2% to 3% in four states, she said.
For the consumer, getting car insurance is a remarkably opaque process, as premiums — carefully calculated as they are by insurance companies, which factor in a ton of different variables — still nonetheless usually feel like guesswork. In my case, I pay $697 every six months for insurance for the Fit that goes above and beyond New York state minimums, because I tend to fear the worst.
Or at least I did. GEICO said earlier this month that my new bill was $766, due on the 22nd. Upon investigation, I learned that the increase was also partly because an online defensive driving course that I took three years ago and that gives me a $63 discount every six months had expired, and that I would need to take another one. Having done that, the new bill came to $706, which is still more than I was paying before.
A GEICO agent explained the increase in an online chat:
There will be an increase at your renewal due to the overall cost of liability insurance being more expensive. Liability mainly pays to repair vehicles and for healthcare when drivers are injured. With both of those things increasing, it does affect our prices and has caused that increase you’re seeing.
Them’s the breaks, I guess, though records show that GEICO also gave me a $95 credit because of the pandemic in the summer of 2020, like almost every big insurer did back then. Times have clearly changed.