Insurance agents: Soaring car insurance rates could trigger crisis

According to a new report, Louisiana has the second highest car insurance rates in the country. Some agents say that could lead to a coverage crisis.

NEW ORLEANS -- According to a new report, Louisiana has the second highest car insurance rates in the country.  And some insurance agents worry it could lead to a coverage crisis.

"No more handle, it's a sensor," Oscar Enamorado pointed to a repair he was making on a wrecked car.

He says all these things add up to a lot of money.

"There are so many sensors lately on the cars, like sensors on the bumper, sensors on the mirrors," he said.

And all that adds up to claims.

"Five years ago we had 18 auto markets, now we have five," said Dean Basse.  Basse is the general manager of Dan Burghardt Insurance.  And he's talking about car insurance companies.  He points out less competition means higher rates.

"They're being forced to buy this insurance, they have to buy this insurance to drive their car, go to work, take care of their family, and the rates keep going up, there's no end in sight," Basse said.

From an agent's point of view, Louisiana is facing a crisis. 

"What just used to be a dented bumper is now a destroyed sensor," Basse said.

Back at Enamorado's shop, he showed us a side view mirror with a sensor that had minor damage.

"A special mirror can go up to $1,200," he said. "Used to be just used to be $200-300."

As insurance companies pay more, their profit margin is less, so more companies are pulling out of the market.

"Certain types of accidents are automatically a person's fault," Basse said.

He believes part of the issue is Louisiana laws reward those who take claims to court. Rather than go to court for a small claim, companies often pay out.  That's why he says you've seen more ads from lawyers. 

"The total premium, the least expensive for six months of coverage is $859," Basse said of a premium for one client.

Even with a clean record, that client with a new Jeep is paying close to $900 on the low end of insurance coverage.  And it's only expected to go up. 

"It has for the past 4-5 years," he said.

As that continues, Basse says more people won't be able to afford insurance. 

We already see that trend.  According to Autoguide.com 14 percent of drivers in the state don't have insurance.  That's about one out of every 10 drivers on the road.

© 2017 WWL-TV


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