By Kelly Werthmann
DENVER (CBS4) – If you own a car in Colorado, your insurance rates are likely Rocky Mountain high.
Car insurance rates are especially steep in the Denver metro area, up more than 50 percent in six years, according to a study by car insurance comparison company The Zebra.
That’s a big jump compared to the 20 percent high across the rest of the nation during the same time.
“I knew it was coming,” Jason Hornyak, a car owner in Denver said of insurance price hikes. “But I didn’t expect it to be that high. I have a perfect driving record. I’ve never made a claim and then, out of nowhere, I received a 33 percent rate increase.”
Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, said Colorado’s population boom is a big part of the rate increase, but there are many factors.
“There are more people out on the roadways, more crashes and more expensive crashes,” she told CBS4’s Kelly Werthmann.
Mother Nature is also to blame, like last year’s billion-dollar hailstorm. Combine that with distracted driving and a spike in lawsuits, Walker said it’s a perfect storm.
“All of those factors are on this collision course to put Colorado auto insurance premiums higher than the rest of the nation,” Walker said.
And, Walker said, there’s likely no end in sight to Colorado’s climbing costs.
“Unfortunately Colorado is on the upward trend,” she said. “We don’t see less people moving out of Colorado. We don’t see repair costs going down. Mother Nature isn’t helping us out. I know a lot of people are in sticker shock, so what I say to them is it’s more important than ever to be a good driver.”
Hornyak’s 33 percent price hike was enough to send him shopping for a new insurance company. While Walker said that is an option, she suggested car owners talk with their insurance providers about discounts first.
Kelly Werthmann joined the CBS4 team as the morning reporter in 2012. After serving as weekend morning anchor, Kelly is now Covering Colorado First for CBS4 News at 10. Connect with Kelly on Facebook or follow her on Twitter @KellyCBS4.