As Auto Thefts Plummet; Car Insurance Continues to Rise, Schumer Reports New York Auto Insurance Rates Still Third in the Nation Despite Falling Thefts, Injuries, and Fatalities

New York While car thefts in New York State plummet, the portion of automobile insurance rates specifically slated for motor vehicle theft continues to rise in New York, according to an analysis conducted by Senator Charles Schumer (DNY).

Between 1993 and 1997 the number of cars stolen in New York State declined from 151,835 motor vehicles to 79,740, a 47% reduction in car thefts. Meanwhile, comprehensive auto insurance for New Yorkers the portion of auto insurance which covers theft increased by 10%, from $177 to $195 per year. New York’s comprehensive insurance rate ranked second in the nation in 1997 even though the state ranked 25
th in per capita automobile thefts.

“There seems to be absolutely no relationship between the number of cars stolen and the amount New Yorkers pay to cover theft insurance,” said Schumer.

Overall, in 1997 New Yorkers paid the third highest average automobile insurance premiums in the country, typically $953 per policy and behind only New Jersey and the District of Columbia. New York’s average insurance rate climbed 14% between 1993 and 1997 despite a reduction in automobile fatalities (8.1%), personal injuries (3.6%), and car thefts (47.5%). Nationally, fatalities (+4.2%) and personal injuries (+8.1%) increased over the same period, and car thefts (16.4%) decreased far less than in New York State. The gap between the average automobile premiums nationally and what New Yorkers pay widened between 1993 and 1997 from $195 to $247 per year.

“The insurance industry seems to be living in the past. Relative to the rest of the country New York has made dramatic progress in thefts, fatalities and injuries but our rates rank so far higher than the national average it seems to make no difference what we do,” said Schumer.

In a letter to New York State Insurance Commissioner Neil Levin, Schumer called for a $73 reduction in automobile insurance rates “to reflect the national average for theft insurance and to bring our rates closer in line to what the rest of the nation pays.” In the letter, Schumer acknowledged that rates have held steady over the past two years “but our rates still do not reflect the progress we have made on thefts and accidents.”

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