If you’ve noticed your car insurance rates going up, you’re not alone. The average premium in New York State is on the rise. It’s one of the factors making the Empire State costly for drivers.
One study by Insure.com found the average rate in New York went up 22% from 2016 to 2017 to $1,352 per year. The jump amounted to a higher increase than every state except Connecticut.
Star Quarles, 20, is still on her parents’ insurance. That helps her save a little bit of money on her premium.
“(Otherwise) I don’t even know if I would drive,” Quarles said.
“Underwriting is going to be a complex type of transaction,” said David Hodge, the Vice President of Insurance for AAA of Western and Central New York. “Depending on the carrier you’re with, it’s going to represent a number of different things.”
One of the several factors insurance experts say is affecting rates is the increase in distracted driving.
“Since distracted driving has become more prevalent, you see the accident frequency increase,” Hodge said.
That bumps up premiums, especially in New York, according to Cassandra Anderson, who is a vice president for the New York Insurance Association.
“In New York, I’ve read a couple of recent studies that show we’re one of the most distracted states,” Anderson said. “So even though we were the first state in the nation to ban the use of a cell phone behind the wheel, more needs to be done.”
Anderson referenced reports from Bloomberg and the networking app Life360.
She is now pushing for police to be able to use a ‘textalyzer’ device after a crash. It’s a controversial device that can be used to determine whether or not a cell phone was in use at the time of a collision.
State Senator Chris Jacobs, a Republican, is sponsoring legislation that would give officers the power to use a textalyzer.
“This is one step,” Jacobs said. “It will certainly help rates. My first priority, though, is the safety because distracted driving is of epidemic proportions.”
But not everybody supports the plan.
“The textalyzer law as it’s been proposed is an overreach,” said John Curr, a regional director for the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Curr has privacy concerns.
“If this is passed, it forces drivers to decide between either losing their license or potentially losing a lot of private information on their phones,” he added.
In July 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo asked his Traffic Safety Committee to review the textalyzer technology. A representative in his office said the study isn’t finished yet.