Sky-high insurance prices across the board could be driving people out of Louisiana
BATON ROUGE - A family is shocked to learn about their new auto insurance policy. They say it's up nearly 200 percent in two years. It's a cost that is unaffordable to many.
Becky Hillman recently added their 16-year-old son to their policy and the price to insure four motorists and three vehicles skyrocketed.
"This is not affordable to anybody, no," said Hillman.
They're now paying nearly $16,000 a year for auto insurance. To add her son, the cost went up over $600 a month. Hillman says the people on her policy do not have a bad driving history and have not made a claim recently.
"We pay so much more for car insurance than we do for our house," she said.
Hillman has been shopping around, trying to find the lowest rate. So far her current policy at $16,000 a year is the best she's found. The highest to insure her family is nearly $20,000 a year.
"I think the problem is that people like to sue and if you can and get a lot of money, people like to do that but it's costing other people - we're paying for it, basically," she said.
Auto insurance rates are rising nationwide. The Louisiana Insurance Commissioner says the auto insurance market has been challenging for both personal passenger and commercial autos due to our highest-in-the-nation claims-to-litigation ratio. That and insurers recently left the Louisiana market at an alarming rate.
Congressman Garret Graves says insurance costs - homeowners, flood, auto - are pricing people out of living in Louisiana.
"We have some of the highest auto insurance rates in America," said Graves.
As insurers have been leaving, they're also consolidating and fewer are writing policies. There aren't as many options.
"It's just too expensive comparative to other states in terms of the insurance market," said Graves.
Hillman checked on that, she shopped in Alabama just to see if there was any difference. She found that the same coverage under the same insurer would cost about $5,600 a year - that's $10,000 less than what it's costing her in Louisiana.
"The numbers are ridiculous," she said.
The Louisiana Insurance Commission says the best ways to combat higher auto premiums are to shop around for a better deal, participate in a driver monitoring program, and check to see if you qualify for discounts.
Teen drivers are charged higher premiums because they have higher crash rates. Teenagers are also more likely to drive without wearing a seat belt, speed, and run red lights. Many insurers offer discounts for teen drivers who make good grades so policyholders should check with their company or agent to see if their teen driver qualifies for this or other discounts.