Mississippi is home of the Delta blues and birthplace of a myriad of historically important musicians: Jimmie Rogers, Howlin’ Wolf, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Bo Diddly and Elvis Presley, just to name a few.
Unfortunately, residents of the Magnolia state are singing the blues when it comes to paying for auto insurance. For motorists in Mississippi, insurance premiums have sky-rocketed, more than doubling in only the last four years. Mississippians are now paying the seventh most expensive auto insurance rates in the country.
For Mississippi motorists, in 2011, the average annual auto insurance premium cost was $1896; in 2007, it was only $710.
One of the reasons for the escalating Mississippi auto insurance costs passed on to consumers is the high number of automobile accidents resulting in death. The state of Mississippi is one of the least populated states in the nation, but unfortunately, ranks among states as having one of the highest fatal auto accidents count in the country. There is also a very high incidence of accidents where drinking is involved – forty percent of all car accidents in Mississippi are alcohol related.
Stolen and vandalize vehicles in the state are another factor in the high cost of auto insurance. The top three most stolen or broken into vehicles in Mississippi in 2011 were trucks—the Chev full-size C/K Pickup, the Ford Series F150 and the Dodge Ram.
Another reason Mississippians are paying higher auto insurance premiums is because of rampant insurance fraud.
What can you do to reduce the devastating costs of insurance fraud?
Beware of crooked insurance agents. The overwhelming majority of Mississippi insurance companies and agents are decent, honest and trustworthy. Unfortunately, it’s the disreputable ones who shoot auto insurance rates sky high by perpetrating fraud on unknowing victims.
The Mississippi Insurance Department (MID) is vehemently fighting the unscrupulous ones who are taking advantage of innocent Mississippians and all residents of the state pay the costs when their car insurance premiums are driven up by the fraud. While the insurers recover some of the cost through tax write-offs provided by the state, the consumer is the one who pays.
Tips to avoid being a victim of auto insurance fraud
Confirm with the MID the legitimacy of all insurance companies and agents you are seeking quotes from. Contact the toll-free Consumer Help line at 800-562-2957 to inquire whether a certain company or agent is licensed with the state of Mississippi. They are legally required to be licensed to do business in Mississippi and don’t just take their word for it. Verify!
The state also encourages anyone who is being quoted a rate that is unusually low to contact them. Unfortunately, reports the MID, crooked agents may appear to have a helpful attitude and be deceptively courteous – these crooks want your money and they prey on vulnerable people, especially seniors. If the offer you receive sounds too great to be true, it probably is. Protect yourself! Call the help line first, before signing on the dotted line.
Here are some of the phony schemes an unscrupulous agent may engage in:
- Putting your auto insurance premium payment in their pocket. This is called “pocketing.” The crooked insurance agent leaves you without insurance coverage because they have simply pocketed your payment instead of paying it to the auto insurance company.
- Targeting seniors. An unscrupulous agent begins the sale by appearing to be most helpful. Once they have hooked the senior, they apply pressure to add on extreme coverages that aren’t in the best interests of the individual looking to insure their car.
- Unlicensed agent selling over the phone. All Mississippi residents and seniors especially, are warned to not to do business over the phone without meeting the agent, seeing their license and confirming with the state of Mississippi that their licensure is indeed legitimate.
Mississippi’s mandatory auto insurance liability minimums
According to Mississippi auto insurance laws, every Mississippi resident is required to carry liability auto insurance. And it is mandatory that every driver carry an auto insurance identification card in their vehicle verifying that they are in compliance.
Your auto insurance policy must provide the following minimum liability limits:
- $25,000 – bodily injury, one person
- $50,000 – bodily injury, per accident
- $25,000 – property damage
Average annual cost of insurance
It costs more to insure your vehicle in the Magnolia State than in much of the rest of the country. The average annual premium for Mississippi auto insurance in 2011 is $1,896, while the national average is $1,561.
Mississippi Insurance Department
Tel 800-562-2957, toll-free in state