North Texas Seeing Car Insurance Rates Spike

It has been almost a year since hail storms dented and punched holes in tens of thousands of vehicles in North Texas.

Nearly a year later, drivers are still getting hit, this time, with insurance hikes.

Between hail storms, tornadoes and flooding, experts say Texans filed more weather-related insurance claims in 2016 than any year in history.

Robert Petrin, of Allen, drives all over the state for work.

He pays his car insurance out-of-pocket and was surprised when his rate jumped last month by $200, especially since he didn't file a single claim or received any tickets.

"It was getting out of control the increases and rates," Petrin said.

Insurance experts across Texas say nearly every insurance company is increasing rates.

Ben Patterson is an independent agent based in Richardson. He says Texans filed a record number of weather-related insurance claims in 2016.

"It was a historic year, worst year ever," Patterson said.

But Patterson says the bigger issues, nationwide, are distracted drivers causing more expensive wrecks and higher medical claims.

"When somebody gets hit, they're getting rear-ended by somebody who's going full speed instead of somebody that sees it coming, and they're slamming on their brakes," Patterson said.

The cost, he says, is getting passed down to consumers, like Petrin.

Petrin shopped around and ended up switching to an insurance company that offered him the same coverage at the same rate he was paying before.

Patterson says insurance increases will vary depending on the policy. He says the average increase he's seeing is between $200 and $500 per year.

Nationwide, he says rates are increasing between seven and nine percent.

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