Washington News Bureau

New report details importance of clean driving records as auto insurance rates rise

WASHINGTON — Researchers say that inflation and the increasing costs of repair are impacting auto insurance rates, but they’re not the only factors at play.

With more families hitting the road for summer travel, drivers will want to be careful, because any change to your driving record could have a big impact on your wallet.

According to a new report by Bankrate, the average cost of insurance for full coverage after a single accident can increase by more than 40%.

A report from the U.S. Department of Transportation showed that, in the most recent data, car crash fatalities were up 10.1% in 2021.

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Preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed a 3.6% decline of fatal crashes in 2023, but accidents are still happening a lot more often than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the southern region, NHTSA said crashes were down about 4% as well, with Georgia seeing an even larger decrease of 8.8% in fatalities from 2022 to 2023. The NHTSA data showed that was a nearly 160 crash decrease from year to year.

In Atlanta, insurance costs are about $300 more than the rest of Georgia, according to the study.


According to Bankrate, the average cost of insurance for Georgia drivers, as of July, is about $2,554 per year for full coverage, or $867 for minimum coverage, which is required under state law.

The same study from Bankrate showed the highest cost in Georgia was in Lithonia, part of DeKalb County, where the annual premium for full coverage was $3,398 per year.

In Atlanta, Bankrate reports that the premiums are even higher at $2,859 per year, a full 11% higher than the state average.

BankRate’s study said the average cost can go up to roughly $3,300 per year after an accident, or an extra $82 per month if you’re the driver at fault.

“To the everyday person, it feels like your rate is going to double if you have one car accident,” Shannon Martin, Bankrate, said. “And most people think of a car crash involving another vehicle but that’s not necessarily the case. You could skid out on ice, you could hit a pothole.”

Still, it’s important to note that not all accidents will result in higher insurance rates.

Bankrate researchers say vehicle repair costs re more than 45% higher than in February 2020.

“Insurance companies rate risks, so part of it deals with how much vehicle parts costs and labor costs,” Martin said.

To save money on auto insurance, remember that many other factors do have an impact on how much you’ll have to pay.

Anything from your credit score to what type of car you drive, and even where you live, all affect what your premiums can cost, but your driving record still has the biggest impact on what you pay.

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