When driving home from work this week, I came face to face with a distracted driver. The driver was looking down, eyes off the road, texting, and nearly hitting me.
Recent studies have shown drivers are more distracted, which accounted for 3,179 deaths and 431,000 injuries in 2014. It is even estimated that 1 in 4 car crashes involved cell phone use.
Take a look at a recent survey that was posted in USA Today:
The percentage of drivers who reported speeding, red light running or texting while driving in the past 30 days
16-18 year olds 69%
19-24 year olds 88%
25-39 year olds 79%
40-59 year olds 75%
60-74 year olds 67%
Now that’s a lot of drivers admitting to risky behavior behind the wheel.
The result is an increase in auto losses, and auto rates across the country are on the rise. Here are some other reasons for this latest trend:
More miles driven. Vehicle miles traveled increased by 3.5% in 2015, the largest annual increase in nearly 25 years, and an additional growth of 3.1% occurred in 2016.
More drivers driving. The number of people employed has increased significantly. Simply put, more cars and drivers on the road leads to a higher probability of accidents.
Increase in accident severity. The average cost per paid bodily injury claim increased 32.1% from 2005 to 2013, and medical costs are on the rise. And I can personally attest to this. My teenage son was involved in an accident that required a trip to the emergency room. He had multiple test run including an MRI and CAT scan. Those 3+ hours ran up a bill of almost $25,000. If he would have been admitted to the hospital it would have been thousands more. Do you have enough liability insurance to cover todays medical costs?
Increase in auto repair costs. The U.S. set a new car sales record in 2015, and new cars have more advanced technology and are more expensive to repair. That back up sensor and camera on your new car will cost over $2500 to fix. They didn’t even exist 15 years ago.
Increase in traffic fatalities: deaths on the roadways increased 8% in 2015 to the highest level since 2005.
What should you do when you get an increase on your auto premium? Some people will recommend you shop for cheaper insurance. In my opinion, as the likelihood of being in an auto accident increases, the quality of your insurance coverage, the service provided, and the prompt and fair claims handling of your insurance company has never been more important. I recommend you contact your insurance professional for an insurance review. Make sure you know the coverage you have selected on each vehicle you own and if you might be eligible for any discounts.
I hope you never get into an accident, but in case you do, take steps now to make sure you are well-protected by a reputable insurance company that will fulfill their promise to be there for you when you need them most.