Florida residents are facing an unpleasant surprise this year as auto insurance renewal rates surge, adding to the already soaring homeowner insurance premiums.
Ana Curbelo noticed her monthly premium for insuring her 2004 Toyota Camry surged from $170 to $280, leaving her baffled by the substantial increase in cost for what she considers minimal coverage, especially given her age of over 50.
Jon Klapper received a renewal notice from Progressive indicating a 26% hike in the premium for his nine-year-old Kia Optima. He expressed his confusion, as he has never had to file a claim before.
Robin Phillips lamented that her monthly insurance premiums have now surpassed the amount she pays for her car loan. She believes that rate hikes should be reserved for those with records of claims, tickets, or license points.
In a more general context, auto insurance rates are climbing across the nation, according to experts. This increase is attributed to the need to catch up with post-pandemic inflation affecting repair and parts costs, the rise in accidents due to more careless driving, and the elevated prices of vehicles.
In Florida, we face notably elevated insurance rate hikes compared to the national average. This is influenced by distinct local factors such as hurricane-related damages, a significant number of uninsured drivers, high occurrences of auto theft, and instances of claims fraud. The South Florida Sun Sentinel conducted an analysis of major auto insurance providers’ rate submissions to the Office of Insurance Regulation. The findings revealed that a majority of the largest insurers implemented substantial rate hikes multiple times in the past year:
- United Services Automobile Association (USAA), insurer of more than 1 million vehicles in Florida, increased rates three times since August 2022 for each of its four lines of insurance. The total increased percentage rates range from 33.9 for its Garrison Property & Casualty line to 57.3 for its largest USAA line.
- State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., which insures 2.9 million Florida vehicles, took three rate increases this year totaling 30.2 percentage points.
- Progressive took four increases since July 2022 totaling more than 30 percentage points for each of its two major lines that cover more than 3.3 million vehicles in the state.
- Liberty Mutual’s three increases since June 2022 drove average premiums up a total 44.3 percentage points for owners of the 156,654 cars it insures.
- And Geico General Insurance Co. hiked its rates twice since July 2022, totaling 23.8 percentage points for its 2.5 million Florida vehicles.
- Auto Club South, also known as AAA, recently submitted a plan to increase rates for members of its “legacy” brand by 39.7%, to be imposed over two years.
In response to inquiries via email about the significant surges, representatives from multiple companies mentioned similar factors as causes, such as substantial inflation, scarcities in materials, and elevated labor expenses. Additionally, Andrew Fernath, who serves as a spokesperson for USAA, highlighted that their company exclusively caters to veterans and their families. He noted that they provide numerous individualized discount possibilities, which may not be evident in the official state records.