Expert: Distracted driving may be behind insurance rate hikes

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EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The cost of car insurance is trending up, and distracted driving may be to blame.

“We’re seeing probably 2 to 3 percent each year,” said Bob Hole of Newport Insurance. “That’s assuming that there’s been no accidents, no tickets, nothing adversarial for that client. With accidents, with violations, then those percentages are a lot higher.”

So we asked why the rates are rising.

“Insurance companies are paying out a ton of money for situations, accidents because of distracted driving,” Hole explained. “They’re paying out a lot of money, they’ve got to try to get it back. They have to raise their rates.”

According to the National Safety Council, the estimated cost of motor vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage last year was $432.5 billion. That’s a 12 percent increase from 2015.

A recent survey by the NCS shows 64 percent of drivers say they’re “comfortable speeding” while 47 percent of drivers admit to texting while driving.

“People, I think, are just a bit complacent with being on the road,” added Hole.

Though insurance companies may be raising rates, you still have the power to be a smart insurance shopper.

Hole said insurance companies use several factors to determine a customer’s insurance rate, including age, driving history, the distance driven to work, and credit score.

‘If rates go up by more than 2 to 3 percent to 5 to 10 percent, I would suggest that they go out and ask their agent to quote it with other companies,” said Hole.

But Hole cautioned against changing policies on a regular basis.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say that you want to jump around a lot because insurance companies nowadays will give you a loyalty discount,” he said. “And they’ll also give you accident forgiveness if you’ve been with them for a while.”