Local News

North Carolina Drivers To Receive Insurance Refunds

Posted March 8, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— Millions of North Carolina drivers will get insurance refunds that will easily reach into the hundreds of dollars. Those who do not get a refund will see a drop in their insurance premiums.

North Carolina has settled three rate disputes with insurance companies. Drivers with auto policies in North Carolina in 1995 and 1996 will get roughly a 10 percent refund, plus interest.

North Carolina drivers will also get an average discount of 9.25 percent the next time they renew their policies.

N.C. State InsuranceCommissioner Jim Long says policyholders should receive refund checks between September 1 and December 1. In addition, people are guaranteed lower car insurance rates until next October.

"Many drivers pay more than they should," Long says. "I just can't see how the industry can justify raising everyone's rates when the companies are still offering millions of dollars in discounts to certain drivers."

Long is steering the break to a majority of North Carolina drivers.

"Insurance is just one of those things you really can't control, so any kind of break you can get would be great," says driver Kyma King.

The insurance industry is calling the settlement a compromise. It says it has saved money by not dragging the case out any further.

Insurance companies take a close look at statistics when pricing the insurance rate for cars. The average claim to an insurance company is $3,500, but sports and luxury cars have higher losses.

TheHighway Loss Data Institutesays the Dodge Viper has the worst overall collision coverage loss. Its average claim was more than $26,000. The Honda Odyssey has the best overall collision loss. Its collision losses were less than $1,700.