TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — From the grocery store to your rent or mortgage, it seems price increases are hitting everyone from every direction.
And now, here’s a new one that’s sucker-punching Florida drivers: Astronomical increases in car insurance rates.
8 On Your Side Investigator Mahsa Saeidi has been digging into what’s behind these increases.
We’ve seen such turmoil in the property insurance market. Of course, that has a direct impact on Tampa Bay homeowners. But car insurance has a direct impact on almost every single one of us.
Despite having no accidents, no tickets and no changes, one family in Pasco County saw their bill spike 55 percent.
“I went into complete shock,” said Pat Parlee. “I mean who can afford that type of increase.”
Starting next week, to insure two cars, Pat will be paying $115 more each month.
The cost of renewing her auto insurance went up 55%, going from over $1,200 to roughly $1,900—and that just covers half the year.
Pat’s been with her insurer, United Services Automobile Association or USAA for decades.
“After the shock wore off, I said what is going on that’s causing this,” said Pat, “I couldn’t get a straight answer on if there’s any types of caps on how much your auto insurance can increase.”
“So, that’s why I reached out to you because you’ve been so involved in everything with the insurance.”
8 On Your Side contacted the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and found, for USAA, the state’s new insurance Commissioner Michael Yaworsky approved, on average, a 20% rate hike, statewide.
The rate hike impacts customers differently, according to insurance experts.
In a statement, USAA says “the price of goods and services has increased significantly” and “USAA has not been immune to these trends.”
Insurance broker Ronald Assise CIC, CPRM says this is not a USAA problem or even a Florida problem. Car insurance is spiking nationwide because it costs more to repair and replace cars.
Driving habits have changed too. There’s more people on the road, more accidents, and more claims.
“There are statistics that say the severity of claims is up over 60% in the last 18 months,” said Assise.
“How many Floridans should expect their car insurance to increase?” asked Investigator Mahsa Saeidi.
“I would say most Floridians would see it,” said Mr. Assise.
“Bottom line, we’re in one of the most highly inflated periods.”
So, how can you bring down your bill? In other states, you can bundle and save but not here.
In Florida, most carriers either write property or auto, not both.
So, consider installing an anti-theft device, pay your premium up front and protect your credit score and driving record.
“Mahsa, I’m really worried about my homeowners insurance coming up in August. What is that premium increase going to be like?” Pat wondered.
Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo recently said if rates don’t go down within a year, there will be “hell” to pay.
If you have a tip for Mahsa Saeidi, send her an email at MSaeidi@WFLA.com.