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Car Insurance Premiums in a Changing Economy

Let’s face it. The economy has seen better days. And, although a recovery might be in sight, times are still tough for many businesses. This is especially true in the car insurance industry, where rates have been rising for many drivers. Most customers know that that a rising car insurance premium could be due to any of a number of factors. During bad economic times, however, it’s often because of less capital flowing into the car insurance companies themselves. Car insurance agencies need a good source of funds to draw on when accident claims come in. In a good economy, they’re often covered by continuing policyholder investments, and can afford to offer a lower average car insurance rate to each customer. In a struggling economy, however, they pass the cost off onto those same consumers.

Therefore, the hurting economy means higher premiums for many customers overall, unfortunately. Other factors can affect car insurance rates, though, and some work in the benefit of consumers. For example, the U.S. government’s Cash for Clunkers program led to a lot of new vehicle sales. And, with the sale of a new car comes the sale of a new car insurance policy. Any time more car insurance is being bought, a simple supply and demand effect is seen. More insurance means lower rates overall because the insurance companies have more funds to back up the policies that they sell.

The higher average rates aren’t an indication that every person’s premium is going up, either. Individual customers can bring down their own car insurance premiums during a recession by engaging the market, causing a sort of micro-bidding war. The easiest way to do this is to visit car insurance comparison websites, where several car insurance quotes are generated simultaneously for drivers. These websites have led to huge increased competition in the car insurance market. Competition is good. It means lower costs for car insurance and better customer satisfaction rates as insurers improve their customer service and other aspects of their services to get more policies. Drivers can also get lower rates by changing the coverage on their policies, though experts warn that driving with inadequate coverage negates the point of buying a car insurance policy in the first place.

During a struggling economy, no consumer likes to see his or her monthly budget go up for any reason, least of all car insurance. The good news is that savvy consumers can have some affect over their own insurance rates, and the increased demand for car insurance caused by government programs may yield a lot of benefit for drivers around the country. If insurance rates eventually go down rather than up, most motorists will be more than happy.

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