Paying too much for Colorado car insurance? Well, safe driver or not, you’re about to pay even more. Here’s why.

Colorado Drivers Renewing Their Policies Will Pay 15% More

Car insurance rates in Colorado are expected to jump by an average of 15 percent or more in 2017, according to an industry spokeswoman. If you’re paying $500 for a six-month policy, you can expect to see a $75 increase.

In an interview with Denver’s KDVR TV station, Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association warned:

We are seeing auto insurance go up across the country, but we’re getting hit harder here in Colorado. It’s not going to be the same increase for everyone. What we’re hearing from our state regulators is insurance companies aren’t even taking as big of rate increases as they could justify.

The rates that car insurers quote to drivers depend on a number of factors, including the buyer’s driving history, age, type of car, and locality. But the size of the new increases is impelled by statewide factors — and all Colorado drivers will be affected.

Who’s to Blame for the Sticker Shock

The spike in insurance rates can be attributed in part to the massive increase in road fatalities in the state over the past two years. Between 2014 and 2016, deaths on the road increased by 24 percent, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. The number of deaths increased from 547 in 2015 to 605 in 2016, about 10 percent. Nationally, road fatalities increased by about 8 percent in 2016.

The Colorado counties with the most road deaths in 2016 were Adams County with 60 deaths, Weld County with 56, Denver County with 54, and El Paso County with 46.

CDOT reported that 196 of the deaths, or 33 percent, were alcohol-related. Of those who died in auto accidents in Colorado in 2016, 380 or almost 50% were passengers; 186 of these passengers were not wearing seatbelts.

You can also blame helmetless motorcyclists for the rate jump. In 2016, Colorado saw an all-time high of 125 motorbike fatalities, and most of those killed were not wearing helmets.

Storms Don’t Care About Your Insurance Burden

Then there’s Mother Nature. According to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA), a series of hail storms striking Colorado in August 2016 caused more than $164.6 million in damage to insured automobiles. Affected motorists filed some 51,300 claims.

Are newcomers to the state also to blame for heftier auto insurance bills? Possibly. Roads that are more crowded tend to have more automobile accidents. And in Fiscal Year 2016, Colorado added 99,171 new residents, making it one of the fastest-growing states in the union, according to census data.

You can also blame the costs of repairing body damage for the rate increases. Costs of vehicle repair began rising faster than the rate of inflation in 2012, according to insurance industry sources. Replacement costs for new technology, such as rear-viewing cameras, multiple airbags, and other safety systems in high demand are also boosting the overall cost of repair.

Repair costs may have an even bigger impact on insurance rates in the years ahead as government regulators mandate that expensive new technology come as standard equipment on new cars. Under rules approved by the Department of Transportation in 2014, new cars and trucks under 10,000 pounds will have to have backup cameras by summer 2018. The cameras will add about $140 to the cost of a new vehicle.

Bottom line: When a fender gets bent, somebody has to pay for it. If you’re a driver, that’s you.

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