Insurance Rates Up

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Homeowner insurance in Michigan is up by an average of 23 percent this year, and car insurance rates have increased by an average of 10 percent, according to the Insurance Information Association of Michigan.

Experts at the IIAM say insurance costs have gone up as a result of increased insurance claims, higher prices for medical care and increased cost of repairing cars and homes.

Several recent weather-related catastrophes have increased the number of insurance claims, and as a result, insurance companies have raised their rates to pay for the claims.

Insurance experts at Michigan's Office of Financial Services say insurance companies must prove their rates are not excessive (by showing the insurance market is competitive and offers a variety of prices) in order to be approved for a rate increase.

Officials say soon, insurance rates will settle down, and consumers will only see slight increases in their insurance rates instead of double digit price hikes.

Experts advise consumers to ask their insurance companies about discounts. Some companies offer discounts for non-smoking households and families with more than one insurance policy. Also, people can save money by increasing their deductible.

Officials advise people to shop around. Sometimes the best deals on insurance are with a company that no one has ever heard of, they say.

The Office of Financial Services will launch a Web site within the next week that will give tips to consumers about how to shop around for reasonable insurance rates. People can access the current Web site by logging onto