Health care costs continue to skyrocket. You’ve probably noticed your health insurance premiums jumping up every year. That’s bad news, but unfortunately the hit to your wallet doesn’t stop there. If you drive a car and have auto insurance, you can expect your auto insurance premium to jump every time your health insurance goes up.
It’s not a relationship that stands out as immediately obvious, but it is there. Anita Flippin, a branch sales manager with AAA said, “It costs more to cover your liability if you’re in an accident. Every time health insurance goes up, car insurance goes up.” What she’s saying is that, if you cause an accident and hurt someone else, it’s going to cost a lot more to treat that person when health care and insurance goes up. Therefore, what your insurance has to pay out in medical payments and potential lawsuits rises every time health care costs go up. To cover themselves, the insurers want to collect higher premiums from you. Since most states now require you to carry liability insurance that will pay not only for cars and other property that you may damage but also medical payments for those you hurt, you can’t avoid the increases.
Even if someone else causes the accident it’s still a problem in your insurers eyes. What if the person who hits you is uninsured or under-insured? Your insurer will likely have to pick up the tab and it may cost quite a lot to patch you up. If you carry uninsured motorist coverage, you can expect that premium to increase when health insurance rises.
Is there anything you can do? Unfortunately much of this is out of your hands. The health insurers raise their costs so the auto insurers raise theirs in turn. Much of it has nothing to do with you, personally. However, you can take steps to reduce your medical exposure and thus your premium.
Drive safely: Obey all traffic laws, don’t engage in road rage, don’t drink and drive, don’t text or talk on the phone while driving, don’t race other cars, and don’t speed. Insurers like people who aren’t likely to cause a bunch of accidents and who are alert enough to avoid many crashes. Do your part to be safe on the road and you’ll reduce the chance your insurer has to make medical payouts on your behalf.
Have (and use) good vehicle safety features: Wear your seat belt, get a car with airbags and anti-lock brakes and, if you’re looking for a newer car, look for features like lane deviation warnings and back up cameras. Good safety features on your car make insurers less nervous. It doesn’t help the person you hit if they aren’t wearing a seatbelt, but you reduce your personal exposure to medical trauma.
Don’t drive a death machine: A lot of insurers charge more now for big trucks and SUV’s because they’ve been shown to cause much greater injuries to the people in the other cars in an accident. You may be safer in your big SUV, but the guy in the VW bug that you hit is likely toast. Insurers know this and will charge you more because it’s likely that they will have to pay out big bucks in medical payments if you hit someone.
You may not be able to stop or avoid the auto insurance increases that are tied to health care costs, but you can at least keep the increases to a minimum if you can continually demonstrate that you are a lower risk driver and that you have done your part to reduce medical payouts on your behalf.