Average insurance costs in Kansas have traditionally been lower than the countrywide average. However, a December 2013 study by the Consumer Federation of America found that the gap is closing. In 1989, Kansas was ranked that 6th cheapest state in terms of auto insurance expenditure. However, it had fallen to 11th cheapest by 2010. Kansas’ auto insurance expenditure which stood at $340.76 in 1989 had gone up to $625.17 in 2010, a rise of 83.5%. In the same period, the countrywide average went up 43.3 percent from $551.95 to $791.22.
Even though average auto insurance expenditure in Kansas is lower than the countrywide average, a rise of 83.5 percent has reduced the difference substantially. Kansas is one of 38 states where average expenditure grew by more than the countrywide average. Moreover, a growth rate of 83.5 percent was tenth highest in the country. Whereas Kansas’ expenditure was 61.7% of the countrywide figure in 1989 it has grown to 79% by 2010 in yet another testament to a closing gap.
The same study found states that the most success in stemming the rise in costs had done so by putting in place strong insurance regulation. California, which has the strongest and most wide-ranging regulations in place, displayed the greatest success in keeping costs down. In fact, it is the only state to show a decrease (of 0.3%) in insurance costs in the 21 years ending in 2010. Kansas has a File and Use (F&U) system which requires insurers to file rates changes before implementing them in the market. In contrast, California is among states that use a Prior Approval (PA) system which requires insurers to not only file rates but also obtain approval from the state for the new rate before they can be implemented. The study suggests that Kansas would be able keep rates from rising quite so rapidly by instituting a PA system.
Kansas has a “no-fault” auto insurance system in place. You are required to have Liability, Personal Injury Protection, and Uninsured/Underinsured coverage in order to legally drive your vehicle in Kansas. As of December 2013, it costs, on average, $1435 to insure your vehicle in Kansas. The actual cost varies depending on the area you live in. For instance, it costs $1503, the highest rate in the state, to insure your vehicle in Kansas City. Salina at $1081 is the cheapest area in Kansas to insure your car. On average, it costs $1172 in Topeka, $1297 in Wichita and $1146 in Lawrence to insure your car.
Apart from your location, factors such as age, gender and the type of car you drive are some of the factors that affect your auto insurance premiums. Probably the most significant factor is your previous driving record. If you’ve have accidents in the past you will end up paying higher premiums. For instance, the average insurance premium in Lenexa before you have any accidents stands at $1110 as of December 2013. One accident will raise the premium to $1367, while a second accident will ramp it up to $2039.
Accidents will hit your pocket when it comes to auto insurance. But drinking and driving can burn an even larger hole. If you get caught drunk driving in Lenexa your premium will climb up to $2065 in one shot. That’s more expensive, in terms of premiums, than having two accidents. Drunk driving in Kansas City will drive your premium up to $2796. A defensive driving course can help bring your premium down by 15% to $2377. However, if you’ve been caught drinking and driving, your premium will remain at the inflated rate for three years and won’t revert to original levels for up to seven years assuming you don’t get caught drunk driving again. So the next time you’re planning a night out, have either a designated driver or a taxi service take you home.