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Rising car insurance costs threaten affordability surge

Rising car insurance costs have risen rapidly in recent years, nearly negating recent improvements in affordability

Car insurance costs have surged without any sign of slowing down for the last three years, offsetting affordability improvements gained by falling car prices.

Economic data suggests that car insurance premiums have rapidly outpaced inflation, climbing 22.2% between 2023 and 2024 alone. The number marks the sharpest increase since the 1970s and comes during a time of stabilization for the prices of goods and services.

Several factors can be attributed to this surge. For instance, weather patterns have grown more severe in recent years, increasing the number of claims for vehicle owners. Cars today are also more technologically advanced, involving multiple components that, if broken, could heavily add to the cost of a repair bill. Furthermore, new vehicle prices have risen sharply since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing the monetary burden on insurers when the unit is totaled.

Whatever the cause, the rising cost of car insurance has started to negate recent declines in new and used vehicle prices. Kelley Blue Book now forecasts that auto premiums will account for 26% of the total cost of vehicle ownership in 2024, up from just 16% in 2019. On the other hand, the average transaction price of a new car in February dropped just 2.2% from last year.

For dealers, rising car insurance costs may present a risk to sales, which have lifted in 2024 thanks partly to pent-up demand and partly to reports that affordability is returning to the market, albeit at a slower pace than many would want. Should the financial burden on consumers continue to grow, it may soon lead to a cooldown in the auto market at a crucial time for retailers hoping to maintain stability during the upcoming normalization period.

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Colin Velez
Colin Velez
Colin Velez is a staff writer/reporter for CBT News. After obtaining his bachelor’s in Communication from Kennesaw State University in 2018, he kicked off his writing career by developing marketing and public relations material for various industries, including travel and fashion. Throughout the next four years, he developed a love for working with journalists and other content creators, and his passion eventually led him to his current position. Today, Colin writes news content and coordinates stories with auto-industry insiders and entrepreneurs throughout the U.S.

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