Cars are getting smarter. Features like collision mitigation and blind spot monitoring have been shown to help prevent accidents and save lives. But these features cost a lot to repair even in a minor collision, and the insurance companies are reacting.
The Chicago Tribune recently reported on three major insurance companies increasing rates in the state of Illinois by an average of 5.9 percent. The last increase even close to this big happened in 2003, when that state’s drivers were bumped by 14 percent, the story says.
One of the primary factors for the rate hike is the replacement cost for the technology when smart vehicles are involved in a collision. Via Missy Dundov of State Farm, the nation’s largest auto insurer:
“Now we’re not just replacing a bumper for a fender-bender, we’re replacing the cameras or the sensors in that bumper... We’re seeing newer, more sophisticated models costing much more to repair, especially with some of the more advanced safety features.”
While this rate hike data is just focused on the state of Illinois, as more smart features become standard, we could start to see a trend rate increases nationwide even if severe accidents decrease due to the technology.
Even though the overall average insurance premium may rise, it’s important to remember that replacement cost is just one metric that insurance companies use to determine your individual policy rates, and sometimes the overall safety rating of a vehicle can actually save you some money.
I mentioned before that I was surprised when I found out that my 2015 GTI had a lower premium than my 2010 Mazda3. Despite being much quicker and appealing to drivers that are stereotypically is not the most responsible when it comes to speeding, GEICO told me that the crash ratings were better than the Mazda, hence the small discount.
When you shop for your next car it’s not a bad idea to get some preliminary insurance quotes on the vehicles you are considering to give you better picture of your total vehicle expenses. Some cars might cost a little more, but could save you on your policy, while other vehicles may spike your rates more than you expect.