DC carjackings, inflation contributing to auto insurance rates increase

Two days after a man told FOX 5 his brand new Honda Accord Hybrid was stolen on a tow truck in Southeast D.C., a Georgetown woman says something similar happened to her.

Home surveillance video from Feb. 28 shows a dark-colored tow truck hauling the Chevy Corvette away from 27th St. NW just before 3:40 a.m. The car’s alarm can be heard blaring in the background.

Jaclyn Baker, the car’s owner, tells FOX 5 she purchased the Corvette brand new in 2016. The car was recovered in May, according to a police report.

These types of crimes, both auto thefts and the rash of carjackings facing the D.C. region since late 2020, are not just impacting public safety —  they may also now be hitting wallets.

"Auto thefts are up across the country and inflation is just like, anyone going to the grocery store can see the impact on inflation," said Bob Passmore with the American Property Causality Insurance. "Auto insurance is no different because the cost of things that auto insurance pays for like medical care and collision repair and the cost of total vehicles have all been going up. So, that’s going to have an impact on rates."

A recent DC area politico pointed this issue out, tweeting that even with "a clean driving record," starting Sept. 1, his auto insurance was supposed to jump 37% because of inflation and the uptick in D.C. carjackings.

D.C. Police stats show auto thefts only rose about 3% from this time last year. Police recorded 329 carjackings so far this year with a 52% increase in year-to-date 2022 to 2021 stats. MPD also notes a 73% increase in those carjacking with guns.

Passmore tells FOX 5 that insurance companies consider auto thefts and carjackings to be in the same category. Another issue is the fact that used car prices have gone up, meaning car insurance companies are having to sell more with the higher volume of auto thefts.

Officials are quick to note these auto issues are not unique to the D.C. area. However, a new Hot Spots Report issued by the National Crime Insurance Bureau does show Washington D.C. had the second-highest overall theft rate last year. 

The report says Washington, D.C. reported 651 thefts per 100,000 people in 2021 compared to 562.98 in 2020.

When FOX 5 asked Baker, the Corvette owner, who she feels is responsible for doing more to address the issue, she said "everybody." 

"The people themselves. It’s got to stop," she said. 

More car crashes and more drivers on the road are other contributors to car insurance rates rising. 

Passmore says there’s some indication inflation is going down. However, higher rates may persist as long as other auto issues keep happening.

He told FOX 5 that shopping for a new auto insurance plan is always possible, but to make sure you’re comparing line-by-line to ensure you’re getting the best plan.