Body Repair Prices, Auto Insurance and Inflation through August

Both auto insurance and auto body repair prices continue to increase faster than the rate of overall inflation through August 2014.

The most recent government figures on inflation through August of this year includes good news for both collision repair facility operators and auto insurers. The latest data show that both the price of auto insurance and body repair increased above the rate of overall inflation during the past twelve months.

The Inflation Comparison chart below shows the relative percentage increase of body work, auto insurance and the Consumer Price Index (CPI) All Items over the past 12 months to August.


Over the last twelve months, auto insurance prices have risen above the rate of overall inflation. Over the previous twelve months to August 2014, the price of auto insurance has risen by 4.08 percent.

The consumer price for auto body work has also risen at a rate greater than overall inflation during the last twelve months to August. During the period, the price of auto body work rose 2.73 percent. Overall inflation, as represented by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index (CPI) for all items rose 1.7 percent over the past twelve months to August 2014.

Looking at the chart of relative inflation, the consumer price of body work ended the past 12 month period ahead of overall inflation but slightly behind that of auto insurance. The overall CPI number is intended to represent all goods and services purchased for consumption from over 200 categories.

Auto insurance grew 2.38 percentage points higher than CPI for the twelve months to August. Auto body work, however, increased just 1.03 percentage points higher during the same time frame. Body work great at a rate 1.35 percentage points below that of auto insurance.

The inflation index for body work now stands at 278.6, compared to 237.9 for CPI and 437.4 for auto insurance. The baseline period is 1982-1984.

The average month over month increase for bodywork over the past twelve months to August 2014 has been 0.23 percent while the overall CPI figure has increased at an average monthly rate of 0.14 percent. The price of auto insurance increased an average of 0.33 percent each month over the past year.

The chart below shows the cumulative price increases represented by all three indices since Jan 2009.


Overall CPI has risen 12.65 percent, body work by 13.11 percent, and auto insurance is up 24.53 percent since the start of 2009. For comparison, the BLS reports that over the same period the cost of new cars has risen 6.0 percent, motor vehicle maintenance and repair costs have risen 10.39 percent, and motor vehicle parts and equipment costs are up 8.59 percent.

From the beginning of 2009 through August 2014, the consumer price for body work has increased an average 2.48 percent each year. This is just over one full point above the overall CPI which has increased at an average annual rate of 1.39 percent. Auto Insurance, according to the BLS, has increased at an average annual rate of 4.19 percent since the start of 2009.

 SOURCE: CollisionWeek