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Car insurance rates will likely go up, meaning now is a good time to shop around

Rental cars
Posted at 12:28 PM, Jan 14, 2022

Experts say that now could be a good time to shop around for car insurance, as rates are expected to increase this year.

Several factors are driving that increase, including a rise in dangerous driving that the U.S. has seen since the start of the pandemic, which is causing the cost of claims to go up.

Another factor is the shortage of cars and car parts, which makes it more expensive to repair or replace cars.

Inflation is playing a role as well.

"By the end of last year, we basically were back to the normal rate for car insurance, so I think with inflation this year, we'll probably see it creep up about the normal amounts, maybe a tad bit more, depending on how much inflation really pushes things," said Penny Gusner, an insurance analyst with Forbes Advisor.

Gusner says an average yearly increase is around 5%.

Gusner adds that drivers looking to buy a new car may want to consider gap insurance. If a vehicle is totaled or stolen after car values have dropped, drivers could owe more than the car's value. Gap insurance covers that difference.

Gusner says drivers can expect to see more companies offering usage-based car insurance this year, too.

"I think people are more used to being monitored and doing things virtually," she said. "It's becoming more popular and it can really help too, with insurance companies putting more focus on your actual driving behavior than other things, say credit or gender, which are factors that they're trying to get away from at this point."

In usage-based insurance, companies have customers plug a device into their car or use an app that allows them to monitor a person's driving. Gusner says most companies will give drivers a 5 to 10% discount for signing up. Many companies claim drivers will get a total discount of 20 to 40%, but she says that doesn't mean drivers will save that much.

Gusner says usage-based insurance is probably best for good drivers, those who don't drive much and those who don't work at night because companies factor in the time of day when making their analysis.