Florida car insurance rates are going up. Here’s why

Between gas prices and rising car insurance rates, it’s costing Central Florida drivers like Mel Greenberg more money to get around these days.“I would say about two years ago my six-month premium with Geico was under $500, and now it’s probably closer to $650,” Greenberg said.Greenberg isn’t alone. Nationwide car insurance rates are going up for a lot of drivers for a variety of reasons. Although a lot of different factors determine how much our individual policy costs, Florida drivers are paying the most to insure their cars, according to research from Insure.com.Insure determined Florida drivers, on average, are spending about $213 a month on car insurance. If you live in Orlando, it’s about $216 a month. Regardless of your Florida zip code, drivers are paying, on average, 52% more than the national average, which is just $140 a month.Flora Hodges wonders how she and other families are going to afford the rising premiums.“What if we can’t afford it because we’re on a fixed income,” Hodges said. “How is that going to work?”Laura Longero is the executive director of Insure.com and said Florida’s status as a “no- fault” insurance state helped it climb from third to first place in the site’s annual insurance rankings.“No-fault states like Michigan and Florida typically have a lot higher insurance rates,” Longero said.She also said Florida has a higher percentage of uninsured drivers.“Rates are higher for younger drivers and senior drivers,” Longero said. “And Florida has higher populations of those two groups as well as more tourists.”Mark Friedlander, a spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute, also points to other obstacles unique to Florida.“Florida always seems to be a national leader in fraud. We’ve always had a very high level of auto insurance fraud,” Friedlander said.In January, the state’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, announced the arrests of five people in Miami for a staged accident scheme. Last July, a Tampa clinic owner was also arrested for the same charge.Friedlander also said Florida has a higher level of traffic accident severity.“We rank as one of the deadliest states in the country because our roads are so congested,” Friedlander said.Aside from being a safe driver, you can save money by bundling your insurance policies. You can also save by maintaining good credit, asking about loyal customer discounts and having anti-theft devices.James Lumbra, president of LRA Insurance in Orange County, said you can also save money by paying upfront.“It’s harder to do sometimes, especially as the premiums increase,” Lumbra said. “There’s a pay-in-full discount that can be fairly significant.”Lumbra also said having a higher deductible can help.“Sometimes people use the car insurance as maintenance if something small happens or whatever. But if you use the deductible as a larger one, then you’ll be able to decrease your premium,” Lumbra said.Greenberg plans to ride out the current uncertainty until the car insurance market stabilizes.“I really don’t want to switch just to save a couple of bucks, but if I can save considerable amount of money then I would have to switch,” Greenberg said.Top headlines:IRS tells some Florida taxpayers to wait to file returnsCentral Florida couple says they paid thousands to rent home from person who didn’t actually own itFlorida father charged after 13-year-old son killed in illegal street racing event

Between gas prices and rising car insurance rates, it’s costing Central Florida drivers like Mel Greenberg more money to get around these days.

“I would say about two years ago my six-month premium with Geico was under $500, and now it’s probably closer to $650,” Greenberg said.

Greenberg isn’t alone. Nationwide car insurance rates are going up for a lot of drivers for a variety of reasons. Although a lot of different factors determine how much our individual policy costs, Florida drivers are paying the most to insure their cars, according to research from Insure.com.

Insure determined Florida drivers, on average, are spending about $213 a month on car insurance. If you live in Orlando, it’s about $216 a month. Regardless of your Florida zip code, drivers are paying, on average, 52% more than the national average, which is just $140 a month.

Flora Hodges wonders how she and other families are going to afford the rising premiums.

“What if we can’t afford it because we’re on a fixed income,” Hodges said. “How is that going to work?”

Laura Longero is the executive director of Insure.com and said Florida’s status as a “no- fault” insurance state helped it climb from third to first place in the site’s annual insurance rankings.

“No-fault states like Michigan and Florida typically have a lot higher insurance rates,” Longero said.

She also said Florida has a higher percentage of uninsured drivers.

“Rates are higher for younger drivers and senior drivers,” Longero said. “And Florida has higher populations of those two groups as well as more tourists.”

Mark Friedlander, a spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute, also points to other obstacles unique to Florida.

“Florida always seems to be a national leader in fraud. We’ve always had a very high level of auto insurance fraud,” Friedlander said.

In January, the state’s Chief Financial Officer, Jimmy Patronis, announced the arrests of five people in Miami for a staged accident scheme. Last July, a Tampa clinic owner was also arrested for the same charge.

Friedlander also said Florida has a higher level of traffic accident severity.

“We rank as one of the deadliest states in the country because our roads are so congested,” Friedlander said.

Aside from being a safe driver, you can save money by bundling your insurance policies. You can also save by maintaining good credit, asking about loyal customer discounts and having anti-theft devices.

James Lumbra, president of LRA Insurance in Orange County, said you can also save money by paying upfront.

“It’s harder to do sometimes, especially as the premiums increase,” Lumbra said. “There’s a pay-in-full discount that can be fairly significant.”

Lumbra also said having a higher deductible can help.

“Sometimes people use the car insurance as maintenance if something small happens or whatever. But if you use the deductible as a larger one, then you’ll be able to decrease your premium,” Lumbra said.

Greenberg plans to ride out the current uncertainty until the car insurance market stabilizes.

“I really don’t want to switch just to save a couple of bucks, but if I can save considerable amount of money then I would have to switch,” Greenberg said.

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