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Posted on 12-05-2017

Auto Insurance Rates Are Rising - Why? And What Can We Do About It?

As my avid blog followers are already aware, I am a Baltimore Chiropractor with two (soon to be three) Baltimore Chiropractic clinics. We routinely treat patients with predominately headaches, neck pain, and back pain. About half of these patients present to our offices due to acute Baltimore auto accident injuries. Many have whiplash symptoms and they require intervention to help get them back to pre-injury status. I spend my time on the internet looking for news and stories that impact these patients since they make up much of my practice. I stumbled across a story that confirms what we've all been experiencing - that auto insurance rates are rising. So it got me wondering why that was happening and what we can do to counteract the rising rates.

So let's start at the beginning. Auto insurance rates are going up for a number of reasons. For one, the economy is good. More people have jobs compared to years ago, which means that by in large, more people are commuting to and from work. This leads to more road congestion and then more crashes. Auto insurers (AllState, StateFarm, Erie, etc.) need to charge increased premiums too offset having more claims and more money to pay out those claims. So they are passing that increase in their cost along to you and me, the consumers.

There's also distracted driving. As we've discussed in past blog posts, people are busy texting, snapping, periscoping, facebooking, tweeting, selfie-ing and doing just about anything other than driving and focusing on the road. This leads to many more injuries due to distracted driving. This also causes insurance rates to go up. Keep in mind - human error has always been a contributor to fatal an non-fatal auto accidents in Baltimore and elsewhere, but having more electronics behind the wheel causes more distraction and ultimately does lead to more accidents.

Finally, the cost to repair people and cars have gone up. As cars have become more technologically advanced the cost to repair damaged vehicles has gone up. And you guessed it- those increases are being passed along to you, the consumer. Additionally, as injuries have gone up, so have the number of ambulance rides to the hospital, the number of x-rays, and the number of medical interventions/treatments that people require after an injury.

Like just about everything in life, the costs are going up. So what smart steps can we take to try and reduce our premiums (without unnecessarily diminishing our coverage)?

1. Use months such as December to re-quote your insurance. If you stick with one particular insurer they aren't likely to get you the best rates year after year. Consider shopping your policy to see if you can save money. You'll find that you typically can. Additionally, call your existing insurer and ask if you qualify for any discounts on your account. One such way to qualify for a discount is to bundle insurance. If you have your renters/home owner's policy with the same insurer as your auto policy you can typically save a hefty percentage compared to having two separate policies.

2. If you drive a small amount (just to church and back) consider asking for a discount. Some carriers will discount your rate for lesser driving distances.

3. See if your insurer offers discounts for defensive driving courses. While these courses are boring and eat up typically a whole weekend, they do help to remind us of how we SHOULD be driving, and typically they come with a premium decrease for auto insurance.

4. Try and improve your credit - so much of your rate is credit dependent. If you are able to raise your credit score you can save lots of money a month for the same coverage. So pay down those credit cards and run your credit reports to make sure there are no false charges - your rates can improve significantly just by doing thos.

5. DO NOT cut coverage in an attempt to save money. All too often people just get "the cheapest thing available" in order to get their cars on the road. What they later find out is that their coverage limits are insufficient to handle a claim. Do not make this mistake. Speak to someone you trust and get a sense as to what policy limits would be beneficial to carry given your financial holdings and your car's value.

Did you know that you can speak to both captive agents (those who work for one company) and non-captive agents (those that can quote multiple companies at once to get you the best price)? Don't be afraid to ask us or your friends where they buy their insurance. You could be wasting money unnecessarily by spending too much.

If you, or someone you know, has been injured in a Baltimore auto accident, please contact Mid-Atlantic Spinal Rehab & Chiropractic. We'll be happy to have your back on the road to recovery.

Dr. Gulitz

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