Did your car insurance rates increase in 2016? If so, do you know why?
In 2011, the auto insurance industry predicted that insurance premiums would decline as newer vehicles were produced with technology that increased the safety of passengers and reduced the likelihood of collisions.
What qualifies as a high-tech automobile safety feature?
The following is a partial list of safety features now available in cars. Some of these, such as backup cameras, are quickly becoming standard on most cars and by the end of 2018 will be a standard feature in new cars.
- Backup camera
- Lane departure warning system
- Forward collision warning/collision avoidance system
- Blind-spot warning and rear-cross traffic alerts
- Pedestrian detection
- Adaptive headlights
- Active head restraints
- Automatic emergency breaking
The proliferation of safety features in cars should theoretically result in fewer car crashes. Fewer vehicle wrecks means fewer insurance claims, which in turn should result in lower car insurance premiums for everyone.
Is the number of car accidents decreasing?
Unfortunately, despite the increase in automobile safety features, the number of car crashes is increasing in the U.S. The number of deadly accidents on U.S. Roads increased 7.2% in 2015 and increased 6% in 2016, according to reports from the National Safety Council. This increase has road safety policy experts, the auto insurance industry, and car accident lawyers looking for reasons for the increase. One explanation is lower gas prices and a revived economy, which results in more drivers on the roads and cars being driven more miles. Another explanation is the expanded use of smart phones by drivers. One automobile insurer quoted in several news articles said that it was seeing an increase in accidents with “no skid marks.”
Are insurance premiums increasing or decreasing?
In 2016, the average annual car insurance premium in the U.S. was approximately $926. The Insurance Information Institute, a trade industry expert, said this was 16% higher than car insurance rates in 2011, the year when the industry predicted that rates would begin declining due to an increase in safety technology in new cars. Predictions for 2017 indicate an 8% increase in insurance rates.
Why are insurance premiums increasing?
Studies in the insurance industry indicate that distracted driving, whether from smartphone use or other causes, is increasing, and that increase is resulting in more insurance claims, which drives insurance rates higher. Insurance rates increase when underwriting results for car insurers worsen.
Is distracted driving the cause of more auto accidents and higher insurance premiums?
The CEO of State Auto Financial Corporation, Michael LaRocco, has said that use of smartphones while on the road is a strong contributor to car wrecks, and he has said that use of smartphones by drivers is “an epidemic issue for this country.” His comments are supported by several studies showing the role that smartphones play in traffic collisions. The studies show that other causes of distracted driving, such as drowsiness and reaching for a moving object such as a falling cup also greatly increase the risk of car accidents.
What can a driver do to minimize accidents and insurance rate increases?
Individual drivers can control their own actions in ways that reduce the likelihood of being involved in a car crash. They should pay attention to the important task of driving, avoid using any handheld device and minimize the use of hands free technology (which can be as distracting as handheld devices), avoid alcohol and drugs before or while driving, and get enough sleep before driving. While individual drivers cannot control industry-wide increases, they can minimize any increases to their own insurance by avoiding accidents and traffic violations.
If you or a loved one has been hurt in an automobile accident, call the car accident lawyers at Cerritos Legal today at 562-865-9356 for your free consultation.