Q. My car insurance premium has gone up but we haven't had any accidents. Are insurance costs rising in general?
A. It seems they are. According to the consumer price index (PDF), which measures the cost of goods and services, average motor vehicle coverage policies were 3.8 percent higher in April 2011 than in April 2010.
See also: Prevent car insurance rate increases.
And people who have speeding tickets or other moving violations on their records may end up paying more. A survey of more than 32,000 policies sold in 2010 through the website Insurance.com found that costs jumped 18 percent after one moving violation and 53 percent after three.
On average, drivers with no violations paid $1,119 annually for car insurance. Drivers with three violations paid $1,713, according to the site, which compares rates among companies.
Older drivers with a record of violations are likely to be charged even bigger increases, Insurance.com found. In a separate analysis of nearly 400,000 policy rate quotes offered to drivers age 65 and older, those who had just two violations were quoted 57 percent more than people of the same age who had no infractions.
Also of interest: The driver safety program. >>
Carole Fleck is a senior editor at the AARP Bulletin.