What’s Driving Up the Cost of Auto Insurance?

Auto insurance rates are on the rise. Just in the last year alone, auto insurance rates have risen by 18.9%, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics. For states whose rates were already on the higher end, it seems like there’s no relief in sight. For many vehicle owners, this can be incredibly discouraging. Auto insurance is a must-have purchase, but why is it becoming so expensive?

In previous articles, we’ve covered topics related to rising auto insurance prices like the hard market its relation to insurance rates as well as high auto insurance pricing for teens and new drivers. In this blog post, we dig a little deeper into the issue with data from SafeCo. We aim to take a look at some global events causing significant ramifications to auto insurance pricing, stats, and more to help broaden your understanding of the current issue as a policyholder, and perhaps give you a starting point on how best to manage your premiums.

Ripples from the COVID-19 Pandemic

This article was written in 2023, and so while the initial outbreak is long behind us and it isn’t looking like we’re going to be seeing any unexpected closures for some time, COVID-19 has had a ripple effect on the economy. During COVID-19, we saw a tremendous depletion in the supply of both new and used vehicles, and even now we have yet to see those inventories come back to what they were. Since 2020, the price of new cars has risen by 20%, and the price of used cars has increased by 37%. 

*Source: Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Consumer Price Index.

What does this mean when it comes to insurance? Well, it’s not really about the number of used or new cars available on the market – it’s about the same market dynamics impacting the number of car parts available to do repairs. Since the end of 2022, car parts and equipment have been about 22.3% This means that the cost to repair vehicles has increased, resulting in higher claim payouts for insurance companies. As a result? Higher claim payouts = the need to raise rates to ensure an adequate pool of payout money for insured losses. 

*Sources: Consumer Price Index, 2022 TechForce Foundation Technician Supply & Demand Report.

Medical Care Costs on the Rise

During COVID-19, work-from-home and stay-at-home orders had fewer vehicles driving on the road, and therefore the number of fatalities and injuries declined – severely. That spiked when many orders were lifted in 2021, peaking, before somewhat falling again. With the rising cost of medical care, personal injury protection and bodily injury liability claim costs continue to spike. Between 2020 and 2022 alone, the cost of medical care in the U.S. jumped by 6.8%.

*Source: Producer Price Index, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.

The Higher the Cost of Losses, the Higher the Premiums

Although it might seem unfair, especially if you have not made a claim or been in an accident, the way insurance works is that to afford the high cost of claim payouts, insurers need to raise rates. It’s a hard hit for low-income and otherwise vulnerable drivers, some of which may need to weigh the cost and benefits of car ownership altogether. 

Premiums Vary State-by-State

Although the average change in car insurance premiums between 2022-2023 was around 17% on average across the United States, that number has varied drastically between each state. An infographic from FINN America at the Washington Post gives us the breakdown, the most notable of which we will highlight in a list below:

  • Minnesota: 4% increase
  • Kansas: 11% increase
  • Colorado: 53% increase
  • Florida: 88% increase
  • Texas: 21% increase
  • Nevada: 51% increase
  • California: 16% increase
  • Nebraska: 46% increase
  • Iowa: 29% increase

State-specific increases can be due to a number of reasons, for example: Colorado’s car insurance premiums have seen a tremendous increase of 50%+, largely in part due to the huge number of tornadoes, blizzards, and hailstorms resulting in an increased number of claims. Florida, by the same token, has increased its premiums due to insurers needing to make up for losses resulting from hurricane damages. All states have been impacted by payouts driven by natural disasters, the high cost of replacements and repairs, inflation, the higher cost of luxury vehicles, and more. 

What Do We Do?

To many, it might seem like there’s really no escape from higher premiums, since many of us are dependent on our vehicles to get to work and manage family affairs. Car insurance is required by law, so to drive, you must have it. Getting caught driving without is oftentimes costlier than a year’s average premium, so it’s just not worth the risk. 

In the face of rising auto insurance premiums, it’s good to have a subject-matter expert in your corner. Working with an agent, like any representative from AHI, can help you gain industry insights and arm you with knowledge on how best to save. We’ll recommend different discounts you may be eligible for and offer personalized advice to help you cut costs.

Navigating a Costly Insurance Landscape

The matter of factors influencing auto insurance rates demands a nuanced understanding, and although we hope that our exploration has shed some light on key contributors, the field is ever-changing.

As policyholders try to make sense of the shifting dynamic, AHI Group stands as a steadfast partner committed to providing tailored solutions for residents of Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, and beyond. AHI is poised to guide you through the intricacies of your coverage. We encourage you to take an active role in managing your insurance costs by reaching out to our dedicated team. Contact AHI today to discover potential avenues for cost reduction, discount opportunities, and more. 

State Farm No Longer Insuring Hyundai or Kia

Car owners across the country have started to see what the impacts of auto theft are doing to their insurance rates, and some more than others. Certain vehicles are stolen more frequently than others, which can cause insurance rates for drivers of those cars to appear much higher. Among the list of most stolen vehicles includes Hyundai and Kia; in some instances carriers are removing them from their “insurable” list altogether, refusing to insure new customers and non-renewing current ones. State Farm, the largest provider of property and casualty insurance in the United States, has done the very thing.

Why is this? What are the options for drivers of Kia and Hyundai vehicles? How can we still get affordable auto insurance, even if we drive these vehicles? We cover this topic – and more – below.

Kia and Hyundai vehicles as top targets for auto theft

Kia and Hyundai vehicles are both being sought after by auto thieves due to their ease of access. Back in 2021, a social media “craze” popped up wherein it was demonstrated how easily these vehicles’ manufacturers’ anti-theft tech could be overridden. The easier vehicles are to steal, the likelier they’ll be stolen – and this logic applies to any vehicle, which is why we so heavily stress the importance of making your vehicle more difficult to thieves.

Now, the manufacturer oversight is being remedied. Before this, all that a thief needed to steal a Kia or Hyundai vehicle was a USB cord and a screwdriver. This was due to the fact that the vehicles being targeted did not have a specific immobilizer safety feature, leading to the hike in thefts and the vulnerability of these specific cars.

Which models of Kia and Hyundai are being targeted?

This list is subject to change as situations evolve and can depend on your specific carrier. As it stands, the following list of Kia and Hyundai are the ones being targeted by auto thieves due to their lack of immobilizer safety feature and ease of access.

The following models of Kia being targeted include:

  • 2011-2022 Sorento 
  • 2011-2022 Seltos 
  • 2021-2022 K5 
  • 2011-2021 Forte 
  • 2011-2020 Optima 
  • 2012-2021 Rio 
  • 2011-2021 Sedona 
  • 2011-2022 Sportage 
  • 2020-2022 Soul 

The following models of Hyundai are being targeted:

  • 2013-2020 Elantra GT 
  • 2020-2021 Venue 
  • 2011-2019 Sonata 
  • 2011-2022 Elantra 
  • 2013-2014 Genesis Coupe 
  • 2011-2022 Tucson 
  • 2011-2022 Kona 
  • 2019 Santa Fe XL 
  • 2020-2021 Palisade 
  • 2013-2018 Santa Fe Sport 
  • 2013-2022 Santa Fe 
  • 2018-2022 Accent 
  • 2012-2017 and 2019-2021 Veloster 

How to protect your vehicle from car thieves

In a world where car theft remains a persistent concern, safeguarding your vehicle is an essential aspect of car ownership. Whether you own a popular model or a prized possession, taking proactive measures to protect your vehicle from potential theft is crucial. From leveraging advanced security technologies to adopting simple yet impactful habits, we have some key steps to help you fortify your vehicle against the ever-present threat of car thieves.

Use steering wheel locks

Consider using a steering wheel lock as an additional physical deterrent. These devices make it more challenging for thieves to steer the vehicle, even if they manage to start it.

Install a car alarm system

Invest in a reputable car alarm system that includes loud sirens and flashing lights. Visible deterrents can discourage thieves from attempting to steal your vehicle.

Be mindful of keyless entry vulnerabilities

If your vehicle has keyless entry, be aware of potential vulnerabilities. Consider using a Faraday pouch to block signals and prevent relay attacks.

Park strategically

When parking, turn your wheels toward the curb, making it more difficult for thieves to tow your vehicle. If you have a garage, use it to secure your car.

Register with a vehicle recovery service

Enroll in a vehicle recovery service that works with law enforcement to track and recover stolen vehicles. Check if your insurance provider offers such services.

Stay informed about local crime trends

Stay updated on local crime trends and be aware of any specific risks in your area. Knowledge about recent thefts can help you take extra precautions.

Educate family members

Ensure everyone in your household is aware of security measures and follows them consistently. A collective effort enhances overall vehicle security.

Can you still get insurance with a Hyundai or Kia vehicle?

There are still carriers who will insure Hyundai and Kia, so if you have been non-renewed there are options available for you. You may have to take your vehicle to your nearest dealership and request that they make theft deterrent upgrades, as well as keep the documentation to show your insurer.

Working with AHI Group can help you find the best, most affordable insurance for your Hyundai or Kia. We work with a variety of carriers, many of which are still willing to insure your Hyundai or Kia vehicles.

What you need to know to insure a Hyundai or Kia with carriers like State Farm

While State Farm and similar carriers may be refusing to insure Hyundai or Kia vehicles, there are some exceptions. To be insurable through your current carrier, whether State Farm or similar, you may need to follow one or more of these criteria:

  • Have the anti-theft security kit or software installed, plus have a copy of the service record as proof for your insurer to see.
  • Have a push button start. Usually push button models will not be affected by this new ruling. You may need to supply a photo of the push button as well as your vehicle’s VIN number.
  • Have a kill switch installed. You will need to supply documentation of this.

If you fail to meet these eligibility criteria with State Farm-like carriers, then the vehicle may still be insured – however it will be insured with liability only and cannot be insured with physical damage coverage. You won’t be able to add collision or comprehensive coverage unless you have completed one of the above eligibility criteria.

To discuss more about insuring Hyundai or Kia vehicles today, or if you’re looking for a free auto insurance quote for your Kia or Hyundai, give us a call at AHI Group.

Whose Insurance Covers Grandma if She’s Run Over by a Reindeer?

You know one of the more popular (albeit morbid) Christmas songs, “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” once originally performed by Elmo Shropshire in 1979? (We highly recommend not looking into the background of that song, by the way!) While totally fictional, it does remind us that the holiday season, while intended to be full of laughter, cheer, and merriment, exposes us to a lot of potential liability risks. Between icy roadways and drunken partygoers, whose to say someone won’t get hurt? If someone does, how does our home or tenant insurance help?

This article covers personal liability insurance and some ways to prevent injuries during the holiday season. If you have any questions about your insurance limits, call us here at AHI.

What is Personal Liability Insurance?

Both your home insurance and auto insurance contain a liability component. In this article, we’re erring more on the topic of homeowners insurance-offered personal liability insurance. This coverage may help you and your household pay for injuries and incurred legal fees if an incident occurs to another person on your property. Another type of liability insurance may also cover you if you hurt someone else, anywhere in the world, which is usually referred to as “voluntary medical payments.” Both coverages will pay out for insured losses up to a specific limit.

If your hypothetical grandma were run over by a reindeer, then in this instance we’d assume Santa Clause’s policy would cover her for her injuries (although whether that’d be his personal home insurance policy or a commercial insurance policy is a question for another day!) Similarly, if someone were injured due to your actions or on your property, your policy would help cover their medical bills or even death benefits up until the policy’s limits.

If Someone is Injured on Your Property

You could be held legally responsible if someone ends up hurt on your property, like a partygoer, a delivery person, or even one of Santa’s elves. This may also apply in scenarios where injuries have occurred on other people’s property, but due to your actions. Technically, a trespasser getting injured on your property is up for debate, but any guests are considered your responsibility, and you as the homeowner (or renter) is the one who should secure their property to prevent conditions which could result in an accident. Children are especially prone to these kinds of injuries, and the holiday season with all its bright decorations and attractions can entice younger individuals into entering your property.

If someone was injured on your property, then your personal liability insurance would cover you. This includes slips and falls, burns, dog bites, trampoline incidents, etc. You may wish to check with your insurer to see what your limits are, as well as what’s excluded from your coverage (ex: some policies will exclude certain dog breeds from coverage!) Most policies provide a minimum of $100,000.

If You Injure Someone Else

Medical payments is another type of liability coverage that is usually included in a home or tenant policy. This coverage offers payment for people who are injured regardless of whether or not you’re legally responsible. Medical payments limits begin at $1,000 per person in your household, but higher amounts are typically available to purchase.

Avoiding Injuries During the Holidays

The holiday season exposes us to unique vulnerabilities—ones we don’t see daily. Since there isn’t exactly a specific “holiday insurance” policy to protect us (apart from event insurance, if you’re looking to host a big bash) we must take proactive measures to avoid injuries. Here’s some advice:

Childproof both your yard and your pool

Install childproof locks on gates to restrict access to potentially hazardous areas, including any pools you may have, trampolines, or enticing decorations. Use pool covers or fencing to secure swimming pools and prevent unsupervised entry.

Shovel snow promptly from sidewalks

Do as much snow removal as often as you can, removing it from steps, walkways, and play areas to reduce the risk of slips and falls. Apply sand or ice melt to icy surfaces to enhance traction and create designated pathways for safe travel.

Post trespassing warnings signs

To avoid uninvited guests, ensure you clearly mark private or restricted areas to deter unauthorized access. Make sure that these are well-maintained and easily visible to visitors.

Use non-slip rugs to prevent slips and falls

Although there is no ice indoors, guests can still slip when alcohol is involved, when walkways are busy, and when people are having fun. Use non-slip rugs to improve traction and reduce this risk.

These measures collectively contribute to creating a safer outdoor environment, especially for families with children, by addressing potential hazards and minimizing the risk of accidents on your property.

At AHI Group, we wish you a very happy holidays and hope you get some well-deserved rest! If you have any questions or concerns about your personal liability insurance, or anything to do with your home policy, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Should I cancel my auto insurance if I no longer have a vehicle?

Various circumstances could leave you without a vehicle.  Your car may have been totaled, and you don’t have the funds to purchase another immediately.  Maybe your vehicle has broken down or been repossessed, or you sold it.  No matter the circumstances behind your not having a car, you don’t have to cancel your auto insurance altogether.

When we think of an auto policy, we think of a car that we want to cover and protect.  However, in Kansas, you can purchase a non-owner insurance policy to protect you financially if you’re involved in an auto accident. 

How a non-owner policy works

A non-owner policy covers you when driving a borrowed or rented vehicle.  Suppose you are liable for causing an accident.  In that case, a non-owner policy covers your legal liability for auto accident-related property damage and injuries to the other parties involved.  A non-owner insurance policy is typically cheaper than most regular auto insurance policies.  If you don’t own a vehicle but want to protect yourself financially, you can work closely with our agents at AHI Group in Olathe, KS to discuss the appropriate non-owner insurance coverage that meets your needs. 

Coverages for non-owner insurance policies

Non-owner insurance policies in Kansas must cover the state’s minimum coverage that applies to a traditional car insurance policy.  Those coverages include up to $25,000 for bodily injury per person and $50,000 per accident.  They also cover up to $25,000 per accident for property damage. 

How to get a non-owner auto insurance policy

If you have found yourself without a vehicle and have to borrow a friend’s car, drive a rental, or operate a vehicle as part of a ride-sharing program, contact our agents at AHI Group in Olathe, KS to discuss a non-owner policy.  We can get you covered and protected financially with a personalized insurance policy. 

Is Santa Clause Eligible for Life Insurance?

Life insurance is an excellent financial planning option that can be customized based on your present and future needs. One option, term life insurance, may be purchased to cover you for 10, 20, or even 30 years, where permanent life insurance is designed to cover the insured for their lifetime. Whichever you choose is dependent on your needs.

In the spirit of the holidays, let’s answer one frequently asked question about life insurance through a hypothetical. Many prospective policyholders often ponder the ideal age to purchase life insurance, while a specific group might be curious about the upper age limit for eligibility. To explore this topic, let’s pose the question: Is Santa Claus himself eligible for life insurance?

Would Santa Clause Be Eligible to Buy Life Insurance?

No. Why? Because he’s too old. If we’re going to consider Santa Clause’s real, historical age (yes – he was technically a real person!) then Santa Clause is roughly 1,740 years old. In most pictures, the jolly guy looks to be around 70, or even 80 at most. However, the true monk that would later inspire the Santa Clause fable was born in modern-day turkey in the year 280 A.D. Nimble for his age if he’s still travelling all over the world in one night to deliver presents to children!

Most life insurance policies (keyword here is most) will contain an “age 100 maturity date.” This means that when the insured person turns 100, their policy expires and coverage ends, even if they were still paying premiums up until that point. Most life policies will contain this maturing date, specifically those that were issued prior to 2004. Santa Clause, being well over the age 100 maturity date, might be ineligible for coverage. Of course, the keyword here is might. Not every policy is the same, and nowadays with people living longer than ever, many insurance companies have modified the maximum age for coverage from the ripe old age of 100 to an astonishing 121.

When Are You “Too Old” for Life Insurance?

Here’s an unsatisfying answer: it depends.

Every life insurance company is different. Every policy is different. Life insurance is interesting because as time goes on we start to live longer and are (generally) healthier, rules and regulations start to change. To ballpark it, most companies will not permit the purchasing of life insurance after age 65 or 70. This is usually specific to term life insurance, since some whole life insurers will allow coverage to be purchased up to age 85 or 90.

Coverage can be limited for some people when purchased after a certain age and some causes of death may be excluded from your policy. Odds are that since you’ve purchased life insurance at a later age, you’ve likely had some health issues or ailments pop up. For example, if you’d been a cancer survivor, death due to the reoccurrence of that cancer may not be covered by your policy.

Reasons Why a Senior Might Need Life Insurance

Life insurance is usually purchased at a younger age to secure coverage for some of the major milestones we experience in our 20s-40s. Most families purchase life insurance when they get married, have a new baby, buy their first home, are still paying off student debts, etc. In all of these instances, having insurance can help secure your family in the event of your sudden passing.

But why would someone purchase life insurance as a senior? Here’s some reasons:

  • To prevent outstanding debts from being passed on to family members
  • To help cover funeral expenses, medical bills, and education expenses for grandchildren
  • To support a spouse or partner as they continue to age
  • To provide a legacy for loved ones after you pass on

Life Insurance Options as a Senior

Although Santa Clause may not have much choice when it comes to life insurance options, given his age, there are still ways to get life insurance as a senior. Keep in mind that your premiums will likely be far higher than if you had purchased a policy much younger and you may be required to participate in a medical exam to determine your current health/eligibility for coverage.

In your 50s, you’re likely still eligible for some form of coverage through the majority of insurers. You’re likely eligible for most forms of whole life or permanent life insurance, and you may be eligible for term insurance through some providers (although as to which terms you can select will vary).

In your 60s, term life insurance options may be more limited. Odds are you’ll only be eligible for a 10-year term policy, but you can still choose from a variety of permanent life insurance options.

People in their 70s or about to turn 70 have even fewer options, but may be able to choose a 10-year term policy or a permanent plan to create an estate for your loved ones after you’ve passed on. Purchasing life insurance as a senior means you have fewer options and some causes of death may not be covered. However, if you’re looking for a way to protect your family and provide them some kind of payout in the event of your death, talk with an agent!

AHI Group is happy to discuss insurance options for seniors. Give us a call to discuss your current financial goals today. One of our agents will work with you to find you a fitting plan.

Home Alone! What Does Insurance Cover After a Home Break-and-Enter?

After Kevin McCallister is mistakenly left behind over the holidays, he protects the family home against burglars by rigging his property with booby traps. Unfortunately with most holiday break-and-enters, the majority of households aren’t half as prepared as the Home Alone star.

Break-and-enters are unsettling, and it’s hard to pick up the pieces after you’ve returned home to discover your property has been emptied out. Here’s what you need to know about what your insurance covers following a home break-and-enter.

How does home insurance help after a break-and-enter?

Assume during this break-and-enter that multiple things happened. The thieves might have broken a window or a door in their entry attempt, busted locks, etc. They might have damaged your home while inside, turning the place inside out. Busted glass, broken cabinet doors, stained carpets. Odds are, they probably made away with plenty of your prized belongings as well.

With home insurance, there are multiple components of a policy that “activate” to cover a loss, and certain losses may fall under certain coverages. Below, we’ll address which “parts” of your home policy are likely to trigger after a break-and-enter.

Contents coverage

With most break-and-enters, burglars are after your stuff. So, if you’ve just returned from a nice Christmas spent in the Bahamas to find your home ransacked, it’s good to know you’ll have insurance for that. Contents coverage insures your belongings up until a certain limit, which varies by policy.

Belongings that are typically covered under contents coverage include:

  • Electronics and appliances
  • Furniture
  • Clothing, including shoes
  • Artwork and decor
  • Personal assets

High-value items may need separate coverage to be fully insured under your contents coverage due to their special monetary value. We recommend always keeping a home inventory list on-hand, complete with receipts, pictures, warranties, or any other kind of proof of ownership. This will make it easier when filing a claim for your stolen belongings.

Dwelling coverage

In the case of a severe break-and-enter where major property damage was done, your home insurance may also cover you for physical damages to your walls, doors, ceiling, floors, windows, etc. if the thieves broke, smashed, or otherwise damaged your property while inside your home.

Additional living expenses (ALE)

Additional living expenses, or ALE, may also come into play following a break-and-enter. If your home is so damaged following the break-and-enter that it is considered unlivable or an investigation is currently being done causing you and your family to leave the property, ALE may activate to cover hotel stays, meals, and additional necessary costs until you can return.

Preventing burglary and home theft during the holidays

Break-and-enters happen more commonly than you might think, with the burglary rate in 2021 at approximately 9 per 1,000 households (according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics) so it’s important to take the necessary steps to prevent a break in. Here’s some thoughts on protecting your home against burglary and theft, specifically if you go away for the holidays.

Hire a house sitter

Homes left unoccupied over the winter while the homeowners are away on vacation are extra appealing to thieves. By having a neighbor, friend, or family member check in and give the appearance that the home has been “lived in” (i.e., by removing mail, shovelling the driveway and walks, turning on lights) you greatly lessen the odds of having someone target your home.

Invest in an alarm system

Alarm systems have gotten increasingly sophisticated with time, and it’s no surprise that insurers want you to have them. Some alarm systems will even qualify you for an insurance discount!

Try a safe for valuables

If you have any extra sensitive information or high-valued items you keep at home, consider storing them in a safe in an area that is well-hidden.

Install motion-activated or timed lights

A well-lit house is far less likely to be the target of thieves, as it can make a home seem “occupied” and lived in. Consider investing in timed lights if you are planning to take an extended vacation as this, in addition to hiring a house sitter, can act as a deterrent for thieves wanting an easy target.

Get to know your neighbors

Not only is getting to know your neighbors an all-around good idea (especially when you need to borrow salt) but having your neighbors know your face means they’re likelier to call for help if they notice someone on your property who doesn’t belong.

What to do after a break-and-enter:

Despite all your efforts, if you do come home to discover your home has been broken into, here’s what you need to do ASAP:

  • Make sure you and your family are safe. If you have any reason to suspect that someone has broken in, prioritize your family’s safety first. Do not confront an intruder. Go to a neighbor’s home or a safe location.
  • Call the police. As soon as you and your family are safe, call 911 and offer the dispatcher as much information about the situation as you can.
  • Don’t tamper with evidence. Wait until police arrive before touching anything in your home, as police may want to take fingerprints.
  • Make a home inventory to file a claim. Determine, once you’ve had approval to do so, what was stolen from your home/what was damaged. Approximate values and include descriptions of the items that were stolen.
  • Contact your insurer. Once you’re safe and the police have been summoned to the scene, call your insurer and provide them with the police report plus whatever other documentation that they may need. From there, the claims process can begin.

If you have any more questions or want to discuss your home insurance coverage with an AHI agent, give us a call today!

Do EVs Cost More to Insure Than Regular Cars?

A shock in high fuel costs seems to have caused the surge in electric vehicle purchases, with roughly 77% of respondents in a survey by AAA stating an EV would be their next car purchase due to a desire to save on fuel costs. However, gas prices are only a small fraction of the picture. Insurance, maintenance, upfront price, and electricity costs should all be considered when considering purchasing an EV – especially if you’re on a tight budget.

In this blog post, we talk electric car insurance prices. For the most part, electric car insurance tends to run more expensive than insurance for gas-powered vehicles. Here’s why.

Insurance Companies and Electric Cars

Some drivers are still hesitant to flip to electric cars due to concerns over the upfront cost and insurance costs. Yes, electric cars can be more expensive to insure than gas-powered vehicles of similar values. This is due to a combination of factors.

Here are some of the factors why insurers charge more for electric car insurance than regular car insurance:

Rising Cost of Parts

Primarily, electric car insurance is higher than regular car insurance due to the expensive cost to repair or replace damaged parts. Of all the parts that an electric vehicle is made up of, the costliest of all is the battery the vehicle runs off. Batteries for electric vehicles can run anywhere between $5,000 to as high as $50,000, in some cases.

Need for Skilled Repairmen

Electric cars require a skilled workforce to carry out the repairs they need when damaged. As there are fewer electric cars on the roads, there are consequently fewer mechanics trained in repairing electric vehicles. This added “skill” also means that mechanics trained in repairing electric vehicles can charge more for their services, adding to the overall costs.

Availability of Parts

Another factor (which technically ties into the rising cost of parts) is the availability of EV car parts. During the pandemic, drivers, mechanics, and insurers alike faced the issue of a lack of access to new and used cars, meaning there were also fewer car parts around for repairs. This, in turn, can hike the cost of insurance for electric vehicles as the demand for parts is high.

How Much Does Electric Car Insurance Cost?

Electric car insurance, just like regular car insurance, is based on factors such as the driver’s age, experience, and driving history, gender, postal code (or state), the claims history of the driver, the level of coverage they purchase, their deductible, and so on. Not much difference there. Electric car insurance is typically more expensive, as we’ve mentioned, due to the high cost of repair and replacement, but just how much more expensive?

In some instances, there’s very little difference. Forbes Advisor estimated the national average premium for electric vehicles was around $2,280/year based on the 41 top-selling electric car models. In the same analysis, the least expensive EV to insure was the Toyota RAV4 hybrid (averaging out to around $1,776$) and the most expensive EV to insure was the Porsche Taycan ($4,683).

According to the Forbes Advisor analysis of car insurance rates for top-selling vehicles, it was estimated that car insurance for EVs costs $100 more per year when compared to similar-value gas-powered models. Again, rates vary a lot depending on the individual car and driver. It’s also important to note that some insurers offer alternative fuel discounts (discounts for driving EVs) which, depending on the company, can range anywhere from 5% to as much as 15%.

Saving on Electric Car Insurance with AHI Group

As we’ve learned, electric car insurance does tend to cost more than insurance for regular, gas-powered vehicles. There are several practices that you, as an EV owner, can take to reduce your premiums. AHI Group is happy to go over any of these tips or discuss with you one-on-one to find strategies more befitting of your individual needs!

Here are some quick tips:

  • Keep a clean driving record. We can’t stress this enough, whether you’re an EV driver or the driver of a gas-powered vehicle. Avoid risky driving behaviours, avoid distractions, and follow the rules of the road.
  • Maintain a good credit score. Not all states allow credit scores to influence insurance ratings, but some will offer an opt-in model. If your score is good, opt in for better savings!
  • Work with an agency to compare rates. No driver’s circumstances or profile is the same, so working with an agency like AHI Group can help you shop between multiple insurers to find the best choice for your needs.
  • Opt for an annual payment. If finances allow, paying for your electric vehicle insurance all as one lump sum can result in a savings discount plus you avoid being charged interest/finance arrangement fees in the meantime.

As always, feel free to give us a call if you have any questions!

Protecting Your Home Against Holiday-Related Liabilities

‘Tis the season! The season for joy, the season great meals, the season for family—but not the season for an unexpected (and costly) liability claim against you and your household! From unattended candles catching on the curtains to guests slipping on icy pathways, the holidays are ripe with potential liabilities. To spare yourself a costly headache or the annoyance of having to file a claim through your home insurer, we’ve compiled some tips on protecting your home against holiday-related liabilities.

Residential Fire

Fire is single-handedly perhaps the largest holiday-related liability that exists, ranging from residential fires resulting from dry wood from live trees being used as décor to unattended candles catching on decorative drapes. We all love the décor in our homes come the holiday season, as they add a note of festive cheer and truly make the holidays feel like—well, the holidays. But you need to be aware of the risks to protect your home and household.

Candle fires alone increase up to 4x during the holidays, killing over 10 people and injuring 175. The holidays invite a lot of flame-related decorations, dry paper, and lumber—all of which, when mixed, spell out a recipe for disaster.

Here’s some tips to prevent a residential fire this holiday season.

Watch your candle usage

If using candles, keep them in sturdy, non-combustible holders. Never leave candles unattended, and extinguish them before leaving a room or going to bed.

Water your live trees

If you have a live Christmas tree, keep it well-hydrated to reduce its flammability. Check the water level daily, and dispose of the tree promptly after the holidays.

Watch your cooking

Stay vigilant when cooking holiday meals. Keep flammable items, such as kitchen towels and curtains, away from the stove, and never leave cooking unattended.

Get fire extinguishers ready

Ensure that fire extinguishers are accessible and in good working order. Know how to use them, and ensure family members and guests know their locations.

Slippery & Icy Pathways

If it’s looking like a white Christmas for you this year, then great! More fun for the whole family. Having snow on the ground just in time for the holidays can seem like a festive movie scene come to life but know that your snowy or icy walkway can be a liability!

If you’re expecting guests this holiday season, or even if you aren’t but may have neighbours passing by your home or delivery people leaving presents at your doorstep (or Santa?) it’s a good idea to stay on top of your pathway’s condition. From the sidewalk in front of your home to your driveway and your front steps, make sure to shovel and salt accordingly to ensure the path leading up to your door is as clear and safe as possible. While ice is melting, consider marking any slippery spots. And, if you’re expecting elderly guests or guests with mobility issues, lend them a hand and help them to your front door to ensure they get there safely!

Serve Alcohol with Caution

Planning to serve booze this holiday season? There’s a lot of reasons why households might choose to incorporate liquor as part of their celebrations, and to each their own. However, consuming alcohol can seriously impair people’s judgement, and over imbibing may result in your party guests engaging in potentially risky behaviors, like unsafe cooking, impaired driving, or other activities that could result in accidents or injuries – which you, as the party host and server of alcohol, could be held liable for.

Alcohol can be the cause of numerous liability claims, from contributing to an increased risk of falls (or even fights, with the wrong crowd), an increased incidence of drunk driving, legal consequences, cooking mishaps, and more.

In order to mitigate these risks, individuals drinking during the holiday festivities need to manage their intake responsibly. However, as the host, you’re technically legally liable for their wellbeing, so make sure you’re providing alternatives for getting home such as designated drivers, cabs, or Uber. You should also encourage moderation and responsible drinking for all your guests.

Your Home Insurance and Holiday Liabilities

Although we’d like to do our best to prevent every possible mishap and ensure your holiday season goes off without issue, sometimes things happen. When they do, it’s good to know that you’re protected. As the host of your upcoming holiday festivities, make sure to cover all corners and review with your policy to ensure you have adequate coverage. Be mindful of unattended flames, paper-y or flammable décor, slippery walkways, and if you’re planning to make alcohol a part of your get-together, make sure that everyone who indulges does so responsibly and has a safe way to make it home!

And, as we roll into December, the team here at AHI Group wants to wish you happy holidays! However you choose to celebrate (and even if you don’t) we hope that you and your household stay safe, enjoy your time with your loved ones, and if you ever have any questions about your policy or what it covers feel free to reach out and discuss with one of our agents.

What is a Continuous Insurance Discount?

Nowadays, it seems like everything’s costing us more. Gas, rent, electricity, groceries – and auto insurance. To combat the rise in insurance rates, a lot of drivers are looking for alternative ways to save. Discounts are the easiest and most reliable means of saving on auto insurance, and virtually all drivers qualify for at least one.

Let’s look at one of the more common auto insurance discounts: a continuous insurance discount. This auto insurance discount rewards drivers for maintaining their insurance over a certain period of time. Most insurers offer this discount, although how much of a discount they offer and for what period of time the driver qualifies for the discount will vary.

What Does “Continuous Insurance” Mean?

Continuous insurance is as the name implies: time spent being continuously insured. Some insurers offer this discount on a graded scale, so drivers who have had 5 years of continuous insurance may be discounted 5%, where drivers with 10+ years of continuous insurance history might have a discount of 10%+ or more. This includes time spent with your current insurer, and oftentimes the time you spent with your previous insurer as well – assuming there’s no lapse in coverage between policies.

Why Do Insurers Reward Continuous Insurance?

Experience is key. The more experienced you are, the likelier you are to practice good driving behaviours and possibly even handle small damages yourself without filing a claim. If you’re newly insured, there’s a higher chance you’re a younger, less experienced driver who is likelier to file a claim versus dealing with the damages yourself. Having a strong, uninterrupted insurance history usually serves as a signal to potential insurance providers that you are a responsible driver who is low-risk and understands how important it is to have insurance.

Having a continuous insurance history goes beyond qualifying you for a discount. A good insurance history can mean more options for coverage from a broader range of insurers. It can also mean better rates, since a cancellation or even a lapse in coverage can hike your rates.

If you need to change insurers at any point in your policy period, whether because that insurer stops serving your area, because you’ve become uninsurable, etc., we advise finding a new policy ASAP to avoid a lapse in coverage. Contact an AHI agent to help you. The last thing you’ll need is to find yourself in a situation where you’re without insurance. Not only is it illegal to drive without auto insurance in many states, but it’s just not a good idea for your wallet or for your peace of mind.

Other Loyalty-Based Auto Insurance Discounts

A continuous insurance auto discount is just one of many auto discounts that exist – and just one of the several loyalty-based discounts that are out there. Here are several other types of loyalty-based discounts for auto insurance that you could be eligible for:

Multi-Policy

Also known as a bundle discount, a multi-policy discount is an opportunity to save when you have two or more policies through the same insurer. For example, if you have a home policy through one insurer, you might consider buying your auto insurance through the same insurer to enjoy a discount. Discounts can be anywhere from 5%-10%. Some insurers also offer discount opportunities for other insurance products, like RV insurance, motorcycle insurance, etc.

Multi-Car

Similar to above, you can save when you have more than one automobile on your policy. You don’t necessarily need to be the registered owner of both vehicles, either. You can add any vehicle to your policy that belongs to someone living with you, usually a spouse, roommate, or family member. The second vehicle must be kept primarily at the same address as the first vehicle.

Why Shouldn’t I Cancel My Auto Insurance?

Cancelling your auto insurance and having a lapse in your auto insurance history will void your continuous insurance discount. Most insurers recommend against cancelling your auto insurance, but in some glaringly obvious cases there isn’t much other choice.

There are many reasons why someone would cancel their auto insurance. Here are some of the most common:

  • Dissatisfaction with price: You may choose to cancel your auto insurance due to dissatisfaction with your price and the urge to shop elsewhere for a more cost-effective option.
  • Sold your vehicle: If you’ve sold your car, you’ll no longer need insurance.
  • Bundling policies: You may have discovered a bundle policy opportunity with another provider that will end up saving you more money. Ask an AHI agent about bundle discounts.

However, if you’re entering into a temporary situation where you may not have access to your car, whether due to an extended trip, a work-from-home arrangement, or because you’re putting away your car over the winter, hold off on cancelling. We advise you keep your insurance going to avoid any cancellation penalties, avoid a lapse in coverage on your record, and to maintain your continuous insurance history discount. You can reduce coverage temporarily, which will cost you less than if you maintained your full policy.

If you’re entering a period where you won’t have access to your vehicle or won’t be driving, ask an agent for their advice on your next steps. Everyone’s situation is different.

Which States Use ZIP Codes as an Insurance Rating Factor?

A ZIP Code is essentially a system of “zone” codes, traditionally used by the USPS (or United States Postal Service). The system was used to designate delivery points in the U.S. but has also been used in the insurance industry to help in pricing auto insurance premiums.

However, there is much debate over whether using ZIP codes is fair to drivers, especially those with otherwise clean driving records, and few to no claims, but who live in areas where their ZIP code has been associated with a higher risk of claims. Those drivers, who may never have been in an accident, could face higher rates simply due to where they live. In this blog post, we’ll examine how ZIP code influence car insurance rates and which states use ZIP codes to price auto insurance policies.

Why Do Insurers Use ZIP Codes as a Rating Factor?

When determining rates for drivers, car insurance underwriters will evaluate many factors. In most states, one of those factors—and perhaps one of the most influential ones—is ZIP code. ZIP codes have been implemented in the U.S. ever since their launching in 1963, and insurers have used these codes to gauge risks related to proximity, including population density, crime rates, and accident likelihood.

If you live in an area with a designated postal code that is associated with a high accident rate, you could end up facing higher rates because of the statistical probability of loss, even if you’re a great driver. Not every state uses ZIP codes as an insurance rating factor, however.

How ZIP Codes Affect Car Insurance Rates

ZIP codes can shed light on specific high-risk factors, which include:

  • Vandalism
  • Crime rates
  • Population density
  • Natural weather events
  • Accident rates
  • Auto theft
  • Road conditions

As these factors can vary from ZIP code to ZIP code, it makes sense why auto insurers would look at ZIP code to assess risk level in a certain area. ZIP codes are only one factor for how insurance rates are determined; they’re included amongst a much larger list, like driver age, driving record, number of miles driven, credit score (not all states), and so on.

Which States Don’t Use ZIP Code?

Currently, the only two states that have banned the usage of ZIP codes for auto insurance ratings are California and Michigan. In all other states, it’s legal for insurers to use ZIP codes as a rating factor for auto insurance to assess risk.

In states where it is legal to use ZIP code, some policyholders may be tempted to lie about their location to receive lower insurance rates. Doing so will constitute as an act of insurance fraud, which is illegal and can result in severe penalties, including but not limited to the cancellation of your policy. The bottom line? It’s better to be upfront and honest with your insurer.

Which ZIP Codes Have the Cheapest Auto Insurance Rates?

Currently (as of data from 2023) the ZIP code which has the cheapest car insurance rates is located in Charlotte, North Carolina, featuring an average quote (for liability only) of less than $50/month. Other states with affordable ZIP codes include Vermont, Arizona, Ohio, and North Carolina. The postal codes in these states are located in regions with lower population density, and therefore the drivers living in those areas are less likely to be involved in collisions.

Why Isn’t Using ZIP Codes as an Auto Insurance Rating Factor a Good Thing?

Well, it depends. If you’re a driver living in an area with rates that are lower due to a minimal accident rate, low crime, and low incidence of natural disasters, your ZIP code rating may be beneficial. However, if you live in an area with a ZIP code that is associated with high accident rates, high theft, and more, your rates may be higher – even if you were a good driver, and you could end up penalized despite being a responsible driver solely based on your geographical location.

ZIP codes are a convenient way for insurers to assess location-based risks, but they can end up oversimplifying the otherwise complex dynamics that exist in a neighborhood. Using a ZIP code approach may result in a disparity in premiums, overlooking individual circumstances in favour of looking at underwriting from a more “statistic” based approach.

While ZIP codes have only been banned in two states so far, there’s are talks about the banning of ZIP codes as an insurance rating factor altogether. The argument for this is that ZIP codes (and credit scores – although that’s a conversation for another day) tend to disproportionately target lower income communities and, incidentally, a higher rate of minorities living in a specific ZIP code. However, this varies all over the country. The consensus is ultimately that, as ZIP code can overlook responsible driving behaviour in favour of a statistic-based, “catch-all” approach, it can unfairly assign higher rates to what insurance companies would otherwise view as “good drivers.”