Why have insurers only just begun to raise car insurance rates for distracted driving violations, despite the proven danger?
Industry regulators must ensure that insurance companies are using fair methods to set rates; any changes they make must be justified and approved. Insurers consider many rating factors to determine rates – information to do with what kind of car you drive, where you live, driver characteristics (age, gender, etc.), and of course your driving record.
In the past three years, insurance companies have determined they have sufficient data about the riskiness of drivers who receive distracted driving violations on their driving records to raise rates accordinglyandthat they have substantial proof to convince regulators of the validity of their rate changes.
Will insurers continue to penalize distracted drivers?
If a risky behavior (such as distracted driving) is increasingly prevalent and has the potential to affect insurance claims, they will likely raise rates accordingly. What we know:
- Americans are driving more than ever – trillions of miles each year – and in 2018 bought more cars than ever before.
- Nearly everyone has a mobile phone. In the U.S. mobile phone use is approximately 82% and climbing, and smartphone use climbing even faster.
- Drivers still aren’t putting their phones down. According to a 2017 study, drivers use their smartphones in 9 out of 10 trips, and are on their phones for 3.5 minutes of every hour on the road.
Given the amount of data pointing to the continued risk distracted driving is likely to pose, drivers may likely expect insurance penalties for distracted driving to continue – if not increase – in the coming years. It’s important to recall, though, that these changes occur at the state level, so some states’ insurers may be “leveling out” how they penalize distracted driving, while others may continue to evolve their practices.