Recently, we were having a discussion in one of our weekly office meetings regarding the auto and homeowners rate increases taking place with personal lines carriers across the board.
In regards to the auto increases, the fact is that auto insurance pays for two things: to fix automobiles and to fix people injured in auto accidents. The cost on both of those has increased exponentially over the last few years. The good news is that in the next 20 years, they are predicting auto rates to decrease almost 30% due to the development of autonomous driving vehicles. The best way to keep these rates down is to stay accident free and keep a good credit score.
In regards to the homeowners increases we are seeing, it’s reflective of the fact that this I-85 corridor from Birmingham to Charlotte has seen an enormous increase in severe weather losses. Most of these losses are due to hail storms. We have seen some companies fighting the increases by reducing coverage, making roofs “Actual Cash Value” instead of “Replacement Cost” or applying percentage deductibles to wind and hail losses just like coastal homes. A lot of companies pulled out of Alabama in the homeowners market because they couldn’t get necessary rate increases.
The great thing in South Carolina is that we have a very competitive marketplace. From about 1990 – 1996, we were down to about 12 auto carriers in the state – primarily due to legislative regulations. On the coast, we were down to a very few standard (not Lloyds of London) carriers for the same reasons. In 1998, the legislature changed the auto insurance laws, which opened up the marketplace. They have also passed legislation that helped the free markets along the coast and now the Upstate. Today, there are over 150 auto insurance companies and even more homeowners companies.
We have partnered with many strong insurance carriers in personal lines that we know will stand behind their promises to deliver fast and fair claims service when the need arises. The fact is, they all have different markets they target, which gives us the opportunity to match you with the best company for you at a great value.
We thank you for your business and hope you have the confidence in us to tell someone else that The Turner Agency is a great place to have your insurance.