North Carolina Shoots Down Auto Insurance Tax

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  • The price of auto insurance is often perceived by drivers as being quite high where they live, and anything that adds to those costs is usually an unwelcome addition to their bills. Fortunately for drivers in the state of North Carolina, it seems their legislators have  worked to remove language from a proposed bill that would have raised premiums somewhat sharply. This may be good news for residents, but it might also provide insurance agents working in the state the opportunity to talk to their clients about why their coverage costs as much as it does, and what they might be able to do to deal with those issues on an ongoing basis.

    North Carolina lawmakers are currently working on House Bill 927, which would have tacked a 6.5 percent tax on auto insurance premiums for everyone in the state, according to a report from Raleigh television station WRAL. However, Rep. John Torbett, a Republican representing Gaston, recently said that this section of the bill – which is designed to reduce the state’s reliance on the gas tax to fund its highway projects – will not be in the final legislation.

    What was the problem?
    While the bill was still in its nascent stages, it seems that the section pertaining specifically to boosting auto insurance costs to cover other aspects of the state’s budget was wildly unpopular with legislators, the report said. And while the law would have actually made insurers pay the money, most experts agreed that those costs would have been passed on to consumers. Altogether, the average driver in the state would have seen his or her bill go up $106.

    “It would amount to the highest across-the-board increase on car insurance in 30 years,” state insurance commissioner Wayne Goodwin told the station. “This 6.5 percent – or higher – increase would definitely be passed on to drivers by insurance companies regardless of their driving records or how much or how little they drive.”

    Paying more for auto insurance isn't something many people would be comfortable with.Paying more for auto insurance isn’t something many people would be comfortable with.

    A focus on costs
    Already, Goodwin’s office works very hard to keep consumers’ insurance premiums down for many types of coverage, the report said. For example, some estimates show that North Carolinians pay the lowest average cost for auto insurance coverage in the country.

    The fact of the matter is that when it comes to issues related to the cost of auto insurance coverage, many consumers may not really understand what they’re paying for, or why. Therefore, the more agents can do to help these people understand their plans, the better off both parties are likely to be. The drivers will have a greater knowledge of their coverage and may therefore be able to make more informed decisions about it, while agents will likely deal with more satisfied clients going forward. Plenty of surveys have shown that people who regularly talk with their agents tend to be happier with their coverage, even if the costs they face are slightly higher than they might like.