Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Jim Strickland has discovered the insurance company that covers one out of every five cars in Georgia will hike rates for the second time in six months.
"Well, that's a little worrisome," said State Farm customer Denise Warren. Her SUV is one of the 1.5 million Georgia automobiles covered by the insurance giant.
Strickland showed Warren the rate information she requested from state regulators.
“It's ridiculous," she said.
The report reflects two rate hikes: 8.1 percent in April and an additional 6.6 percent coming in October.
State Farm is not alone in raising rates this year, but it is by far the largest car insurer in Georgia.
"I would feel a little better, I guess, if I knew I couldn't find a better price. I would know that, okay, this is standard," said Warren.
The research service Risk Information says all carriers are responding to a spike in claims costs.
"Up almost five times as much as the rest of the country has gone up. 15.4 percent increase in the cost of claims versus about 3.2 for the rest of the country," said Jamie Kimbrough of the Georgia Insurance Information Service, citing the Risk Information statistics.
State Farm claims costs rose 25 percent. The researchers blame liability claims for both damage and injury, especially cases where lawyers get involved.
"It seems like nowadays you can't drive around town or turn on the TV without seeing a billboard or commercial to get you to sue somebody," Kimbrough said.
Consumers often do not pay the full amount of any rate increase, as they will adjust their deductible or shop for a better deal.
That is Denise Warren's plan.
"It probably looks like I'll be changing pretty soon, and I've been with them a long time and I don't like to do that," she said.
State Farm gave Strickland this statement:
“The good news for Georgia consumers is that we have a very competitive auto insurance market. Customers make decisions based on the cost of products offered and the service that comes with it. As the number one insurance provider in the state we are proud that more Georgians choose State Farm than any other insurer.”