Friday, November 06, 2009
Are Auto Insurance Companies Piling On Increases?
Due to a heightened sense of financial vulnerability in my personal situation during the 1990’s, I went to my auto insurance agent and requested to have higher liability coverages for more protection. I don’t recall exactly what the coverages were at the time but I thought they were ridiculously low considering the expensive cars on the road, the higher costs necessary to repair them, and the continuous ratcheting up of medical expenses. I do remember what some of the coverage numbers were changed to.
The agent recommended 100,000/300,000 liability which translated to $100,000 for uninsured motorists/per injury and $300,000 per accident. Property damage was set at $25,000. I also recall the agent explaining how these amounts were becoming more common as the new low standard for automobile insurance and would raise my premium only a few dollars per period because they don’t anticipate any sudden surge in costs or claims. I clearly remember that part because he said it while scrutinizing me with one eye. I reassured him I didn’t expect to post any sudden claims – with that, we had a good laugh.
However, when we got to the medical coverage part, he seemed to show some resistance and suggested anything higher than $10,000 would have a substantial impact on my premiums. So it was capped at $10,000. All in all, my yearly premium increased by a little more than 10%. Again, I remember the amount because I wrote a separate check in advance at the agent’s office. I don't recall receiving any shocking increases thereafter.
Over the years since, I’ve changed insurance companies, but kept the exact same coverages while making zero claims. It also now turns out that the coverage I’ve had for the past 15 years is nearly identical to the new increased coverages mandated by the Wisconsin legislature. And so, with the new mandatory requirement that all drivers must carry insurance and pay into the kitty, I felt I should see either little to no increase in my premium. Well, I figured wrong. I just received my usual 6-month premium notice which is due during the last week of November and according to my calculator, it has a 11.8% increase.
According to GOP partisans and their media enablers, I'm supposed to hold insurance companies blameless for this increase.
Posted by Lou Kaye at 12:03 AM