March 26, 2015

Missouri Regulator: Auto insurance rates continue downward trend

Only 16 states have lower rates, according to national report

Jefferson City, Mo. - Auto insurance premiums have declined significantly since 2000, according to figures released by the Missouri Department of Insurance. The average annual cost for full coverage peaked in 2003 at $740 - it dipped to $726 in 2013. In inflation-adjusted dollars, premiums declined from $930 to $726 during this time period.

"The auto insurance market is one of the more competitive markets in Missouri with 157 companies actively writing business," said Department of Insurance Director John M. Huff. "For auto insurance, Missouri offers a regulatory structure that ensures transparency among insurance companies. This transparency encourages new companies to enter the Missouri market and increases competition among existing companies. That competition directly benefits all Missourians through lower premiums."

Auto insurers assess several factors when determining rates, including the driver's risk and make and model of the vehicle. Driver's risk is determined by reviewing the driving record and by analyzing other unique characteristics of drivers - where they live, their age, gender, marital status and other usage and insurance factors. Missouri law mandates rates must be actuarially justified and must not be excessive, inadequate or unfairly discriminatory.

For most major lines of insurance, including auto, companies file rates with the department for review. Health insurance is the only major line of insurance for which the department does not have rate review authority.

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recently released its 2011/2012 Auto Insurance Database Report. Missouri ranked 35th in the country, with 34 states having higher average auto insurance premiums. That is an improvement from 2010 when Missouri ranked 33rd

The department encourages consumers to shop around at each policy renewal and compare rates to ensure they are getting the best value. To help consumers, the department provides several free resources, including an easy-to-read Auto Insurance Guide. It explains auto insurance, mandatory and optional coverage, what to do when you have an accident and how to file a claim. The NAIC also offers additional resources on its website.

Consumers who have complaints or questions about insurance can call the Insurance Consumer Hotline at 800-726-7390 or visit insurance.mo.gov.

About the Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions & Professional Registration

The Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration (DIFP) is responsible for consumer protection through the regulation of financial industries and professionals. The department's seven divisions work to enforce state regulations both efficiently and effectively while encouraging a competitive environment for industries and professions to ensure consumers have access to quality products.

###