TALLAHASSEE — The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation puts the responsibility of attaining lower automobile insurance in the hands of the drivers after the release of a national study by The Zebra shows Florida among the top three states with the highest rates.
“There are many factors that contribute to the higher than average car insurance rates in Florida, such as the larger percentage of riskier drivers,” said Karen Kees, a Florida Office of Insurance Regulation spokeswoman.
Kees points to students in the many universities in the state, older drivers due to a large number of retirement communities and drivers unfamiliar with the local roads due to high tourism as these “riskier drivers.”
Karen Kees, Florida Office of Insurance Regulation spokeswoman
The 2019 Zebra report shows that Florida has an average annual rate of $2,059. By comparison, the lowest in the nation, Maine, averages at $896.
The report ranks three Florida cities in the top 10 for paying the most for car insurance in the United States. Coming in third is Hialeah at $2,997, fourth Miami at $2,913 and sixth Tampa at $2,786.
Kees said insurance companies use a variety of factors to determine car insurance premiums including type of vehicle, driving history, vehicle usage, gender, age, marital status, credit history and a slew of geographical elements such as population density, road conditions, repair rates, medical and hospital costs and the number of accidents in a particular area.
“Distracted driving has played a major role in the increase in accidents and the subsequent increase in rates,” she said. “In addition the higher than average rate of uninsured drivers and a significant percentage of claims with attorney involvement also contribute to higher rates.”
The Zebra reports that using a phone while driving will raise insurance premiums 20 percent, and in some states more than 50 percent.
“Being a conscientious and careful driver is one sure way of getting better car insurance rates,” Kees said. “Consumers should contact their agent as many insurers provide discounts to those drivers with better driving habits.”