Colorado car insurance rates increasing 15 percent or more

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DENVER -- There has been a big increase in auto insurance premiums lately.

“We are seeing auto insurance go up across the country, but we’re getting hit harder here in Colorado,” said Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.

Colorado drivers can expect to pay an average of 15 percent or more on the next policy renewal. For example, a $500 premium for a six-month policy would increase by $75.

“It’s not going to be the same increase for everyone,” Walker said.

Several factors can affect an individual’s premium, including age, car, address and driving history. But there are risk factors that will eventually increase every Colorado driver’s rates. Some might see increases of more than 15 percent.

“What we’re hearing from our state regulators is insurance companies aren’t even taking as big of rate increases as they could justify,” Walker said.

The number of claims in Colorado is increasing, partly because so many people are moving to the state. In 2016, Colorado added more than 100,000 people, which means more drivers on the roadways.

More drivers inherently cause more accidents. In 2016, the number of crash reports increased, including a 24 percent spike in fatal crashes compared to 2014.

Colorado also ranks second highest among states for claims related to hail damage. Insurance companies charge more for Colorado drivers because they are more likely to have to pay a claim for hail damage.

Another factor in increasing rates is having more expensive cars. A claim for a traditional bumper might cost an insurance company $500 to fix. If a high-tech bumper with backup cameras gets smashed, it could cost as much as $6,000 to repair.

Experts say Coloradans are at a disadvantage because state laws are loose when it comes to auto lawsuits. Walker said insurance industry leaders are working with state lawmakers to tighten some loopholes in the future.