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You’re not imagining it: Car insurance costs 22% more than it did last year

Samantha Fields Apr 17, 2024
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Thanks to rising rates, people are increasingly shopping around to see if they can find a better deal on their car insurance, according to new data from JD Power.  Brandon Bell/Getty Images

You’re not imagining it: Car insurance costs 22% more than it did last year

Samantha Fields Apr 17, 2024
Heard on:
Thanks to rising rates, people are increasingly shopping around to see if they can find a better deal on their car insurance, according to new data from JD Power.  Brandon Bell/Getty Images
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If you’re a car owner, you may have noticed car insurance has gone way up. It’s actually one of the things — along with shelter — that’s keeping inflation stubbornly high.

As of March, car insurance cost 22% more, on average, than it did just a year ago. 

And, largely because of those rising costs, people are increasingly shopping around to see if they can find a better deal, according to new data from JD Power. 

When Emma Balter bought her first car about four years ago, it was a brand new expense for her. 

“I used to live in New York City and before New York City in Europe. And so I didn’t own a car until I moved to Houston. So I have learned a lot about cars and how much they cost,” she said.

When she got her 2019 Nissan, her insurance was about $147 a month — on top of her car payment.

“But, you know, I thought that’s kind of how much it costs,” she said.

Every year since, though, it’s gone up

“And every year, basically, you know, I’ve called my broker,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Hey, this is going up again, can you get me a better deal elsewhere?’ And essentially, the last couple of times that I’ve tried to do that they’ve said, ‘Listen, this is what the market is right now. It sucks.'”

A lot of people are running into this these days with car insurance costs up 22% — or more in some places — said Chase Gardner at the online insurance agent Insurify.

“It’s the biggest year-over-year jump we’ve seen in decades,” he said. “And so we are seeing more interest in looking around for new policy.”

More than 13% of car owners looked around for a better deal last month. 

Stephen Crewdson at JD Power said that’s more than at any other time since the pandemic began.

“Consumers are definitely, I think it’s fair to say, fed up with the continual rate increases and seeing their premiums go up every six months,” he said.

Whether or not they’re actually able to find a lower premium is another question. A growing number of drivers are switching insurers, but only about 4%

There’s also another trend JD Power’s seeing lately Crewdson said: more people are driving without insurance.

But most, like Emma Balter in Houston, just end up sticking with what they’ve got, even after shopping around.

“The last time that I called, I guess a couple of weeks ago, they said, ‘Well let me see if I can tweak your policy to give you a better price,'” she said.

The best her agent could find, they told her: was $13 a month cheaper. With a higher deductible. She passed. 

“And that’s it. $205 dollars, that’s just what I’m paying,” she said. More than double her homeowner’s insurance. 

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