FOX5 digs into why Nevadans pay some of the highest car insurance rates in the country

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) -It is a triple whammy for Nevadans, as people are getting hammered by higher electricity and natural gas bills and can add car insurance rates to that list.

“Nevadans are getting drilled every time we turn around. Electric, natural gas, car insurance premiums, drilled. One, two and three,” said Karen Kreider-Phillips, who lives in Henderson.

Kreider-Phillips says she gets a good driver discount but still saw her rates go up about $40 per month, which can be a lot to many people.

“I had to sit down and really think, ‘Do I go to CVS and pick up my medicine? Or do I go to the grocery for food?’” said Kreider-Phillips.

Kreider-Phillips wants to know why rates are handed down across the board, especially with her clean driving record. FOX5 asked the Nevada Insurance Commissioner, Scott Kipper, why rates go up, even for those with no tickets or accidents.

“That’s the nature of insurance, which is pooling of risk for the greater good,” said Kipper.

One of the main reasons for higher rates includes the number and severity of crashes in Nevada.

“Unfortunately, Clark County, because it’s grown so fast, and is in a relatively compact space, you’ve got more drivers, driving more. The freeway system, and certainly the level of construction that’s going on down there, is contributing to the high cost of insurance as well,” said Kipper.

State Farm Insurance echoed some of what Commissioner Kipper mentioned.

“Coming out of the pandemic there has been an increase in the frequency and severity of auto claims. On top of that, auto claim costs are being compounded by inflation and supply chain disruptions. All of this has increased the cost of labor and materials, which translates to higher auto repair costs,” State Farm said in a Statement to FOX5.

During a webinar in Nevada last fall, which focused on rising Nevada auto insurance rates, a group that represents insurers said inflation was a cause of higher rates, saying it was the highest it’s been in four decades and auto replacement costs went up three times inflation.

The state approved some double-digit percent increases for some insurance companies, but says it wasn’t done without rigorous discussion to make sure rates weren’t excessive and were supported by data. Nevada Insurance Division officials said some of those companies that received approvals for rate increases showed underwriting losses in the state, big losses in some cases.

Commissioner Kipper responded to our question about him asking insurance companies to hold the line with rate increases.

“Then they’ll turn around and say but look at our expenses. Our expenses are greater than the dollars that we’re charging,” said Kipper.

The state says people can do several things to try and lower their insurance rates, including shopping around with the nearly 130 companies that wrote auto insurance policies in the Nevada in 2023. People can bundle other insurance with car insurance. Some insurance companies will lower a driver’s rate if they use technology that monitors their driving habits such as speed and braking. Kreider-Phillips gets a discount on her policy for being a good driver and paying her premiums in full each month.

All things that may be needed as car insurance rates continue to rise.

“Because of the challenges of the number of folks in this relatively confined space of Clark County, we do pay among the highest rates in the country. We don’t see that changing for any appreciable time in the future,” said Commissioner Kipper.

State Division of Insurance officials say zip codes impact car insurance rates, noting that Las Vegas zip codes generally have the highest automobile insurance premiums in Nevada by a “substantial margin.”

People interested in the auto insurance rate webinar can view and listen to it here: https://doi.nv.gov/uploadedFiles/doinvgov/Content/Public_Forum_on_Auto_Insurance_Rates_in_Nevada_20231101_1836_1.mp4

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