Is It True That Auto Insurance Rates Have Been Falling Across The U.S. In The Last Couple Of Years?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Sep 15, 2020

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Yes. After many years of rate increases, the cost of car insurance fell slightly, by 0.3%, in 1998, and another reduction is expected for 1999. The total reduction was estimated to be 2 or 3% after dividends on policies issued by mutual companies are considered — like market leader State Farm. California, with 10% of the drivers, had a 5.7% reduction in cost last year. This decline came after reductions in each of the three previous years. High premium states like New York, Florida and Massachusetts are also seeing declines. Even New Jersey — the state with the highest insurance costs — is expected to get a 15% cut in 1999 because of a state mandate.

Factors that have contributed to the fall include:

1. The aging of the population

2. Safer cars (automatic seat belts and air bags)

3. Falling crime rates

4. Tougher drunk driving laws

5. Increased competition

Tougher competition is coming partly from companies that sell direct via telephone, direct-mail, and the Internet. They are contributing to the trend and gaining market share by offering lower costs. Companies that sell through agents still have 90% of the market but the direct sellers are growing faster.

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