Texans See Some Rates Drop, Increase


Some car owners residing in the state of Texas have seen their Texas auto insurance premiums go down in recent years, thanks in part to the use of ZIP codes by many insurance providers. According to the state insurance department, however, average car insurance rates in Texas have actually risen in the past two years.

Texans See Some Rates Drop, IncreaseIn fact, a recent survey found out that insurance premiums have risen an average of 7.3 percent last year. This year, more providers are expected to post higher rates because of a variety of reasons. Industry experts say that rising medical costs and a host of other possible reasons like car theft and burglaries are to blame.

The state insurance department and the Office of Public Insurance Counsel said that in Tyler and adjacent areas, 21 out of 37 insurers raised premiums last year. several of the providers posted double-digit increases while only five retained their existing rates. Premiums in the said area ranged from $282 per year to as high as $1,012. Analysts say that the relatively large range was due to several factors like the clientele and the coverage of the policies.

Statewide, auto insurance rates went up 5.5 percent last year, says Department of Insurance Assistant Director Jerry Hagins. However, Hagins said that the average rates for the entire state were not yet available. Industry representatives explain that the general increase in insurance premiums is due to more expensive medical costs.

Sources from the insurance industry point out that medical expenses are costing insurers more each year hence the steady increase in insurance rates. Industry players also claimed that car crimes and thefts also contributed to the increase. Officials have also noted a rise in burglary cases involving cars, prompting many providers to impose higher insurance rates.

Even with the overall increase, many analysts agree that the hikes were not excessive. Experts say that rates often rely on the number of insurance claims filed each year. More claims can mean higher premiums because insurers have to make up for their losses.

Hagins, for his part, argues that the periodic changes in the insurance rates will be a common feature of the auto insurance industry. He adds that the business cycle in the Texas insurance market involves changes to the landscape, which may have direct effects on rates. Hagins also adds that the state has seen decreasing insurance rates for the past decades and points to the stiff competition as the reason behind it.