Are you paying more for your car insurance in KC? Why yes, study says

Auto insurance rates are "at an all-time high" in the U.S., and premiums have increased by 32 percent since 2011 in the Kansas City, Mo. area, a study says.
Auto insurance rates are "at an all-time high" in the U.S., and premiums have increased by 32 percent since 2011 in the Kansas City, Mo. area, a study says. File photo

When you renew your auto insurance each year, do you feel like your bill is going nowhere but up?

You're not imagining things, apparently.

A study by The Zebra recently found auto insurance rates are "at an all-time high" in the United States, and insurance premiums have increased by 32 percent since 2011 in the Kansas City metro — more than the 20 percent increase nationwide.

The Zebra describes itself as a search engine for people looking to compare car insurance quotes.

According to its study, drivers on average currently pay $1,378 per year toward their auto insurance premium in Kansas City. That's less than St. Louis's average of $1,526, though higher than Springfield's average of $1,270.

So why do insurance rates go up in Kansas City?

This is what the company had to say in a statement:

"Kansas City has its fair share of severe weather year-round, tornadoes, wind, hail, flooding and ice. The city’s population has crept up slightly, too, which (especially coupled with low gas prices) means more people on the roads, more traffic accidents and resultant claims that drive up rates in a given area."

On the other hand, the study suggests Kansas City-area drivers pay less or equal to the national average — it depends on which state you live in.

The study estimates that the average American will end up paying $1,427 in 2018 for car insurance. Missouri's average annual premium is $1,334. In Kansas, it's also $1,427 — the closest to the national average of all the states, the study said.

The Zebra said it conducted its study by using its proprietary quote engine, comprising data from insurance rating platforms and public rate filings from 2011 to late 2017. It looked at millions of insurance rates across every ZIP code in the country "to explore trends for specific auto insurance rating factors."

Those rating factors typically include the driver's age, gender, driving record, financial behaviors and vehicles themselves. For the study, The Zebra said it used a base risk profile of a 30-year-old single male driving a 2013 Honda Accord EX with a good driving history and coverage limits of $50,000 bodily injury liability per person/$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident/$50,000 property damage liability per accident with a $500 deductible for comprehensive and collision.

External factors to take into consideration also include state and local laws, population changes, the number of uninsured drivers on the road, fraud and crime rates and the weather.

Generally speaking, it's no surprise premiums have risen since 2011, said Mike Right, vice president of public affairs at AAA Missouri. And in the Kansas City area, Right says increasing rates aren't shocking, considering the factors.

"Urban areas normally pay higher prices than rural areas, for congestion, theft rates and value of property and so on," Right said. "Nationwide, Missouri doesn't have encumbrances as other states do .... Premiums in Missouri are generally low compared to other states."

Right also points out that vehicles from seven years ago are different from vehicles today, as they are equipped with more advanced features such as back-up cameras, sensors, heads-up displays and auto braking technologies. Some of these added technologies would be more costly to repair or replace, though in the Zebra's study, it found that newer safety devices seem to have "little impact on insurance rates."

According to The Zebra's report, the following 10 Kansas City ZIP codes pay the most for car insurance: 64123, 64124, 64109, 64127, 64130, 64128, 64120, 64132, 64125, 64102.

In the same study, The Zebra shared 11 ZIP codes in the greater Kansas City. region that pay the least for car insurance: 64720 Adrian; 64001 Alma; 64730 Butler; 64780 Rockville; 64746 Freeman; 64779 Rich Hill; 64722 Amoret; 64752 Hume; 64723 Amsterdam; 64021 Corder; 64725 Archie.