For Consumers

Premium increase transparency

Hundreds of consumers call us when their premium goes up

Today, if your auto or homeowners insurance premium increases, it’s very difficult—if not impossible to understand why. Hundreds of people call our office every year because they’re upset their premiums are increasing. They call us when they cannot get a clear or straight answer from their insurance company. Most of the time, when we ask the company, we get a better answer. We believe you deserve to know what's behind a rate increase and your insurance company should be able to tell you.

We held five interested-party meetings with insurers and consumer groups over the last year to hear input on this issue. We learned in many cases, some insurers do not know the specific reasons behind someone's premium change either because their rating formulas are too complex or their computer systems are unable to generate a clear answer.

We want insurers to tell you why your premium is increasing

We're proposing a rule that requires insurance companies to be more transparent with their policyholders when they get a premium increase. Some insurers explained their current systems could not provide the level of transparency we believe consumers deserve. So, we're proposing two phases, allowing insurers reasonable time to implement these new consumer protections. The proposed rule applies to all Property and Casualty Insurers operating in Washington state that sell private passenger auto and homeowners coverage, including coverage for manufactured homes, condominiums and renters.

Starting June 24, 2024 and until June 1, 2027

  • When a policy renews and the premium increases, insurance companies must give policyholders who ask reasonable explanations using terms they can understand.

Beginning on June 1, 2027

  • Insurers must provide a written notice to policyholders receiving a premium increase of 10% or more explaining the primary factors that caused the increase. They must also provide this same notice to any policyholder who asks for one.
  • Primary factors include: the location of the vehicle, driving record, miles driven, number of drivers, number of vehicles, claims history, discounts, fees and surcharges, age, credit history, education, gender, marital status, occupation, property age, location and value. Additional factors may also be included.

What’s next

A public hearing on the proposed rule is scheduled for April 25, 2023 via Zoom and in our Tumwater office. Learn more about the rule and the upcoming public hearing.