UNAFFORDABLE UTAH

Simple ways to fight back against rising insurance costs

Apr 25, 2024, 4:49 PM | Updated: 10:43 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — It’s one of the most painful parts of inflation right now – the rising cost of insurance.

Families across Utah are facing big price increases for their cars and their homes.

“I’ve been in the business 40 years,” said Bill Penton, owner of Penton Insurance in Salt Lake City, “and I’ve never seen this hard of a market where we had this much going on.”

But there are some simple ways to fight back.

man sits in a chair in an office

Bill Penton, owner of Penton Insurance in Salt Lake City, said the insurance market is tough in the first part of 2024. (Eddie Collins, KSL TV)

‘Huge, huge jump’

Insurance is necessary if you drive a car or own a home. But just because we have to pay for it doesn’t make it easy.
According to the latest inflation report, motor vehicle insurance costs rose 22.2% from March 2023 to March 2024.

Rob Simpson, a solar salesman in Roy, got hit with that – and much more.

Simpson received his auto insurance renewal notice in February. For a six-month term, the price was going up from $645 to $920.

“Huge, huge jump,” said Simpson.

Doing the math, it was roughly a 43% jump.

“That was a cause of concern because that’s a huge increase,” Simpson said. “I called them up to ask them what was going on. They really didn’t have an answer for me.”

Man in shorts sleves talks to a reporter in a tie

Rob Simpson speaks to KSL TV reporter Daniel Woodruff about the rising costs of insurance. (Eddie Collins, KSL TV)

Why are insurance prices rising?

There are reasons for insurance prices going up. Penton said it comes down to the cost of repairing vehicles – and buying new ones.
“All the brand-new cars have all these safety features, which is awesome because they’re trying to save lives,” Penton said.

“Unfortunately, they’re driving up the costs of repairing those vehicles.”

That’s led to where we are now. Penton said he gets calls “every day” from customers dismayed over their insurance bills.
As for Simpson, he wasn’t content to just fork over more money. He started shopping around and got multiple quotes.

When he found the winning one, “I was shocked that it was less than what I was paying” for the same amount of coverage.

“Exactly the same,” Simpson said. “I’ve done nothing different, and I’m coming in hundreds of dollars less than that $920 quote.”

Other ways to save money

Just being willing to shop around and do a little research can make a huge difference. But experts said it’s not the only thing you can do to save money in this tough market.

For starters, Penton said, check with your insurance agent before you buy a car to make sure you can afford the monthly insurance costs on it.

“Some cars are less than others,” he said. “Some cars, I’m surprised at how much they cost.”

Penton said you can also improve your credit score, which has a huge impact on insurance costs. Additionally, consider increasing your deductible, package your home and auto insurance together, and drive safer since tickets and crashes can cause your premiums to skyrocket.

Senior citizens can also take a state driver safety course, Penton said, to get a discount on their policies.

But in all this pushing for a better price, Penton warned, be careful.

“If a company comes in and they’re telling you they’re going to be half the rate of your other companies, buyer beware,” he said, “because maybe they’re buying business right now, and in a year or two, their rates will be higher than what you would have been paying.”

Be proactive

Back at home in Roy, Simpson is feeling pretty good about where he landed.

“Definitely paid off to make a phone call,” he said.

Simpson believes with a little work, others can discover the same savings.

“We need to have insurance obviously,” Simpson said, “but go and try to find a company that’s going to take care of you and price it to where it even makes sense.”

Because, he added, “going from $645 to $920 did not make sense at all.”

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Simple ways to fight back against rising insurance costs