GEORGIA — Car insurance rate hikes have hit nearly 2 million Georgians this calendar year, according to an analysis by Channel 2 Investigates. The increases range from a high of 23 percent to a low of less than 1 percent.
The companies range from well-known insurance companies like Geico General Insurance Company, which raised rates by 14.5 percent on more than a quarter of a million Georgia customers, to little-known companies like Integon National Insurance Company, which raised rates 2.5 percent on 41 customers.’
One of the latest significant increases is for Georgia customers who have car insurance policies with insurance giant Hartford. The company tells Channel 2 Action News that a rate hike of more than 24 percent for nearly 25,000 customers has taken effect.
However, the Georgia Insurance Commissioner’s Office has sent the paperwork about the increases to an outside actuary firm for further examination.
A Channel 2 Action News investigation showed that when it comes to car insurance rates, some people in Georgia are hit harder than others.
Marital status, age, zip code and credit score all play a part in how much drivers pay for car insurance.
A spokesman for The Hartford told Channel 2 Action News setting appropriate rates enables the company to maintain financial strength in order to pay claims when its customers need them the most.
As costs related to providing insurance coverage in Georgia continue to rise, prices must be adjusted to reflect that trend, the spokesman said.
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Under state law, most rate hikes do not need prior approval from the Georgia Insurance Commissioner.
The commissioner can only stop a rate hike if two requirements are met.
First, the rate hike must be “unreasonably high for the insurance provided.”
But the part of the law that really ties the commissioner’s hands is that there’s a second requirement that “a reasonable degree of competition does not exist.”
There are about 200 car insurance companies doing business in Georgia.
Still, officials with the Insurance Commissioner’s Office say that in many cases, they try to negotiate with insurance companies to keep rates down. Sometimes it works, other times it does not.
The top 5 rate hikes in 2017 (as of Nov. 9, 2017) ranked by the number of Georgians affected are as follows:
Cox Media Group