Gasoline prices in the US have plummeted to historically low levels in the past year or so because the global supply of crude oil has far exceeded demand, causing oil prices to decline sharply.

Because of this, more Americans are driving and they are driving more miles. This increases the probability of traffic accidents.

We’ll explain why this is happening, how it affects you, and what you can do to lower your rates.

Why Are Insurance Rates Rising?

Oil prices haven’t been this low in years. Oil prices have gone from around 100 dollars per barrel in spring 2014, to about 40 dollars per barrel in spring 2016.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), “The National Safety Council estimates that motor vehicle crash deaths rose 8 percent in 2015 from 2014, registering the highest year to year increase in 50 years.”

An immutable truth of the insurance business is that rates will rise when claim risk does. Crash and claim statistics are a factor in car insurance underwriting, just like car make and model, accident history, geographic location, and demographic factors.

According to an AAA study, the average car insurance premium has increased by 9.6% since 2015.

But despite the rapid increase, can one still find an affordable policy? The answer is yes. You just need to know where to look and how to shop.

How to Find Affordable Rates

With the increased vehicle activity on the roads due to low oil prices, more accidents are occurring. Insurance companies, like many other institutions, didn’t forecast such a steep drop in oil prices or the corresponding steep increase in accidents. Insurers are losing money by paying out more money in claims than anticipated. As a result, many major insurers are raising their rates.

While it might be impossible to avoid a nationwide and industry-wide rate increase, there are still things you can do to lower your rates. Also, keep in mind, it takes time for insurance companies to get rate increases or decreases approved by the state insurance commissioner.

So if you’re worried you won’t be able to afford your insurance policy in the near future, you have time to learn some ways to save, before your rates go up.

Follow these tips and you’ll be saving money on car insurance in no time.

Increase your Deductible

A deductible is what you pay out of pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in. You’ve probably heard that raising your deductible lowers your premiums. Though you might not be too keen on paying more for your deductible, it’s more economical than paying more than you have to in premiums every month. Consider raising your deductible from $500 to $1,000 or even $1,500. This could reduce your premiums quite a bit.

And as an added bonus, you’ll be more likely to only file a claim if you really need to. This means your insurance record will look a lot cleaner to potential, future insurers.

Research Different Companies

You may want to research insurance companies to determine which ones have the best reviews and customer ratings. Also research by how much each company’s rates have increased or decreased over the years.

Look into Discounts

People often overlook this step, but chances are, there will be a discount for you. There are such things as military, good student, and senior discounts. There are also discounts for bundling insurance policies with the same provider, as well as being a safe driver by taking a defensive driving course.

There are many, many auto insurance discounts out there, you should ask your agent about them.

Shop Around

Many people believe that sticking with the same insurer throughout your lifetime will save you money. This is actually false. It is standard practice for insurance companies to slowly increase the rates of longtime customers as time goes by, in industry parlance, this is known as “rate optimization”.

Luckily, switching insurance companies to avoid higher rates is easy. Start by comparing car insurance quotes to find a better rate than what your current provider offers. It's fast, free, and you could end up saving hundreds of dollars.