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Why are your insurance premiums skyrocketing? Starting June 1 insurers in Washington state have to tell you

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Starting June 1, insurance companies are required by Washington state law to answer the question, “Why are my insurance premiums going up?”

The Washington Premium Change Transparency Rule applies to car and home insurance, in addition to renters' insurance and insurance for mobile homes, manufactured homes, and condos.

Starting Saturday, people can submit a request in writing to the insurance company via email or post asking their insurer to explain premium increases, according to the Washington state Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

The commissioner's office is also the one to reach out to with a complaint, if an insurance company doesn’t respond after 20 days.

In those cases, Commissioner Mike Kreidler said his office would then take the complaint and ask insurance companies to explain rate hikes.

“Hundreds of consumers, every year, have told us they are unable to get a clear answer from their insurance company about why they’re being charged more," Kreidler said. “If your insurance company is going to increase your premium, you have a right to know why.”

Last year, Kreidler's office approved a 25% increase in insurance premiums for car insurance. The commissioner's office said the reason for the rate hike was to compensate for an increase in severe traffic collisions.

The second part of the new rule, which kicks in in 2027, requires insurers to provide information explaining premium hikes when a policy renews.

Insurance companies will have to give their customers a heads up, 20 days before prices change with an explanation as to why. And those explanations will have to be specific.

“Those factors can include claims history, discounts, fees and surcharges, premium capping, base rate changes, and demographic factors — like the policyholder’s age, credit history, education, gender, marital status, and occupation,” according to a statement from the insurance commissioner's office.

Insurance companies will also have to include other reasons why premiums go up on a policy, like where a car was parked, previous driving records, how many people are driving, and how many cars are on the policy.

That level of detail will also be the case for home insurance, where reasons could include how old a home is, where a property is located, and the age of the insured home.

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