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    Auto insurance rates skyrocketing in Ohio for drivers

    The Unprecedented Surge in Car Insurance Rates in Ohio

    In recent years, the cost of insuring a car in Ohio has skyrocketed, with the state’s biggest insurers raising rates by the largest percentages in at least a decade. According to data from the Ohio Department of Insurance, several of the state’s largest carriers increased rates by more than 10% in 2022, with some even approaching a staggering 20% hike.

    The surge in car insurance rates shows no signs of abating, as federal government inflation data for September reveals that rates for auto insurance have gone up by a staggering 18.9% over the past year. This rapid increase has left experts and industry professionals astonished. Dean Fadel, president and CEO of the Ohio Insurance Institute, an industry group, expressed his surprise, stating, “We’ve really never seen anything like this.”

    Among the major carriers in Ohio, Geico, the insurer with the fourth-largest share of the state’s auto insurance market, raised rates by a staggering 19.5% last year. American Family Insurance and Nationwide, both significant players in the state, also saw substantial rate increases of 17.5% and 17.4%, respectively.

    However, not all carriers experienced such drastic rate hikes. Progressive, the largest carrier in the state with 17.5% market share, increased rates by a comparatively moderate 10.8% in 2022. Erie stood out as the exception among the big carriers, raising rates by a minuscule 0.2% last year. Over the previous four years, Erie had maintained flat rates three times and even reduced them once by 3.6%.

    In total, the ten largest carriers in Ohio, which hold 81.2% of the state’s market, increased rates by an average of 11.4%. This represents the largest increase in data going back to 2012, surpassing even the second-largest increase of 3.6% in 2017. Despite this significant rise, the average cost of car insurance in Ohio still remains well below the national average.

    On average, Ohio drivers pay $1,266 per year for full coverage and $338 per year for minimum coverage, according to Bankrate.com. In comparison, the national average for car insurance costs is $622 per year for minimum coverage and $2,014 per year for full coverage. Despite the noticeable increase in rates, Ohio continues to be one of the most reasonable states in terms of insurance costs, relatively speaking.

    The question arises: what factors are driving these higher insurance costs? According to Dean Fadel, it is challenging to pinpoint one specific cause for the surge in rates. Rather, a combination of factors has contributed to this unprecedented situation. Factors such as more accidents, drivers speeding, higher prices for new and used vehicles, slower repair times, difficulties in obtaining spare parts, and increased labor costs have all played a role in driving up insurance rates.

    Government inflation data reveals that the cost of motor vehicle maintenance and repair alone has risen by 10.2% over the past year. Additionally, a rise in stolen vehicles, particularly thefts and attempted thefts of Kia and Hyundai vehicles, has become a significant concern.

    Some consumer groups attribute the rate hikes to corporate greed, arguing that insurers are taking advantage of the situation. Michael DeLong of the Consumer Federation of America states, “The spiking of insurance premiums is far outpacing inflation. And these rate increases come on the heels of massive insurer windfalls during the COVID-19 pandemic, where they got massive profits. When times were tough only for consumers, insurers kept most of the money for themselves and gave their CEOs and senior executives and stockholders big rewards. And now that times are tough for insurers, they claim they need to raise rates.”

    It is not only car insurance rates that have experienced a surge. Homeowner insurance rates in Ohio also saw a significant increase, rising by 3.8% last year. While more modest than auto rates, this represents the most substantial increase since 2018. American Family Insurance posted the largest increase among the major carriers at 14.3%, while Nationwide raised rates by 10.1%.

    The change in weather patterns due to climate change has further complicated the insurance landscape. Extreme weather events have led some insurers, including Nationwide, to change coverage in certain regions of the country. These changes have resulted in exclusions, increased premiums, and deductibles for various weather events.

    Amidst these rising costs, homeowners and drivers have options to try and keep their insurance premiums manageable. Shopping around, increasing deductibles, and utilizing smart home devices can all potentially reduce premiums. Bundling home and auto policies with the same insurer can lead to savings of up to 20%. Additionally, adopting usage-based policies that track driving behavior or mileage can reduce policy costs. Good driving records and credit scores also have a significant impact on insurance rates.

    In conclusion, the surge in car insurance rates in Ohio is an unprecedented occurrence, leaving experts and industry professionals astonished. Various factors such as more accidents, speeding, rising vehicle prices, slower repair times, and increased labor costs have all contributed to this surge. While the rises have been significant, Ohio drivers still enjoy relatively reasonable rates compared to the national average. Homeowner insurance rates have also seen an increase, driven by climate change-related events and other factors. The key for consumers to save on insurance bills lies in shopping around, adopting smart strategies, and maintaining good driving records.

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