Auto insurance policyholders are warming to higher deductibles, a new report finds.

The second quarter 2010 edition of the Industry Trends Report (ITR) from San Diego-based Mitchell International Inc. delves into insurance deductible data from 2003 through 2009 for collision and comprehensive (excluding glass-only) losses. Authored by Mitchell's VP of Industry Relations, Greg Horn, the study notes that light-comprehensive deductibles are rising 160% faster than collision deductibles.

"Mitchell data shows that a growing number of consumers are opting for higher comprehensive deductibles as their vehicles age, more so than collision deductibles,” he says. “Vehicle owners are more willing to absorb more of the financial impact of a potential comprehensive claim versus the risk of a possible collision claim."

Horn said the age of vehicle fleet and the ongoing macroeconomic malaise are driving the trend.

"This also falls in line with the trend identified in our previous ITR of drivers completely dropping their first-party coverage on older vehicles, and causing more new vehicles to shift into insurers' first-party coverage pool—more than was the case prior to the recession." Horn added, "The data definitely points to major shifts in the culture of the American driving public, with a corresponding impact on how collision repair industry participants will have to realign business practices and priorities in the future."

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