For Consumers

Most insurers miss opportunity to offer better auto and homeowner rates for Washington consumers

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September 21, 2021

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance companies selling auto, home and renters insurance in Washington could offer more competitive rates today by reassessing the risk factors they consider to set premiums. To date, most have failed to do so.  

Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler ordered 128 property and casualty insurers in March to end the discriminatory practice of using credit scoring to determine how much you pay for coverage. They had until June 20 to remove credit histories as a rating factor, the date his emergency rule took effect. 

Insurers could reorder a multitude of risk factors they consider for determining premiums. Instead, nearly all companies have attributed recent rate increases for some policyholders solely to the emergency rule. However, companies can use dozens of other rating factors to evaluate risks and set competitive premiums. Some of these factors include: 

  • Moving violations
  • Claims history
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Completion of an accident prevention course
  • Lapse of coverage
  • Length of tenure with a company
  • Length of residency
  • Increased value of property

While a portion of recent premium increases by insurers may be related to the removal of a policyholder’s credit history, premiums have increased due other factors. Investigation of some consumer complaints to Kreidler’s office about increases revealed that only small percentages were the result of removing credit histories. 

Policyholders were eventually told of other non-credit factors involved after Kreidler’s Consumer Protection program asked companies for more details. 

If your insurance company is raising your premium, consider shopping around. Auto and homeowners insurance is very competitive in Washington state and you may be able to get a better deal. 

If you have questions about a recent rate change or if you believe your insurance company is not treating you fairly, contact us.

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