You’ve probably seen it in the news, but car insurance rates are on the rise, with all signs pointing to technology as the main culprit. In today’s highly connected world, cars are becoming more advanced with new safety features and technology. While these changes were intended to make cars safer, they also make it more expensive to repair a car when it is involved in an accident. Hence, the increase in car insurance rates in Massachusetts, even for drivers who have not been involved in a recent crash.
Here at HIG, we are breaking down why car insurance rates are going up for almost everyone and sharing a few ways to help you save on your car insurance costs to hopefully offset any changes you may see.
Cost of Fixing Cars
The cost of auto repairs have skyrocketed. There is no doubt that there have been vast safety improvements in cars over the last several years, but these changes have also affected repair costs and subsequently, insurance rates. Modern cars are more complex — made out of different materials and more parts than ever before. All of these improvements translate to labor intensive and costly repairs. Below are some of the ‘used-to-be easy’ fixes that have been impacted by newer and safer technology.
A fender-bender used to be an easy fix, maybe a few hundred dollars at most. In the past, auto technicians could simply punch out the dent — but that’s no longer the case. Many new bumpers are now a molded piece of vinyl attached to aluminum, which is designed to absorb impact and function with the crumple zone. This means that when there is damage to the bumper, it has to be completely replaced and typically with a hefty price tag, sometimes over $1,000! New bumpers also include sensors for things like backing up, collision avoidance, lane alignment, and even cruise control, further increasing repair costs.
Headlights have also evolved over the last several years. In the past, many car owners were able to replace a headlight assembly themselves with a little patience and know-how. However, newer cars now use LED or HID bulbs which require different parts and expertise to replace. A typical halogen bulb would cost $15-20 on average, but HID bulbs typically cost $100 or more — and don’t forget about the cost of labor.
For most insures the cost to replace a cracked or broken windshield is covered under your auto insurance policy; which is a significant saving for you. However, with new technology, the cost of repairing your windshield has increased drastically. According to a recent article in The Boston Globe, it used to cost around $350 for a simple windshield replacement. Today, those same windshields are made with higher quality glass and often contain connected sensors that can detect things like lane departures, rain, and even changes in lighting. Consequently, these advances have almost doubled the cost of repairs.
Technology isn’t the only thing impacting your car insurance rates — low gas prices, unemployment rates, and the technology in your hand have as well.
With gas prices still relatively low and unemployment rates in Massachusetts still under 4% it may seem like a good thing, however in the insurance world, it can mean something completely different. The National Safety Council (NSC) projected that there were 3% more drivers on the road in 2016. And with more people on the road, there is an increased risk of car accidents. Combine this data with increased rates of distracted driving, and auto insurers are seeing much higher rates of auto insurance claims.
For the first time in history, we are dealing with a generation that learned to text before they learned how to drive. But teen drivers aren’t the only ones to blame — 36% of all drivers text and drive. With more distracted drivers on the road, we also see an increase in distracted driving accidents and fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatalities attributed to distracted driving increased 8.8% in 2015, reversing a long-running decline in automobile-related fatality rates. (If you’re concerned about distracted driving and want to learn tips to avoid this dangerous behavior, read our blog on Tips to End Distracted Driving.)
Technology is changing the world we live in, and here at HIG, we want to help you keep up. While we can’t stop auto insurance rates in Massachusetts from climbing, we can work to help you find a policy that fits your needs and your budget. Here are just a few discounts and coverages you should consider when assessing your car insurance options.
- Bundling Auto & Home With The Same Insurance Carrier
- Disappearing Deductible
- Accident Forgiveness
- Multi Car Individual/Spouse
- New Customer Discount
- Automatic Bill Pay/Pay In Full
- Energy-Saving Hybrids Or Electrics
- Advanced Driver Training
- Military Away
- Motor Club Membership
- New Auto Replacement Cost
- Auto Loan/Lease Gap Coverage
- Pet Coverage
- A Student Away At School
- Good Student Discount
- Low Mileage Discount
- Group Discounts
Not happy with your current auto insurance policy? Get in touch with us today to let us help you find a policy that fits your needs. You can reach us at (508) 676-5949 or by visiting our website.