Automobile consumers around the nation are opening envelopes with apprehension as they look upon their recently increased insurance rates. Bitter grimaces stretch across their faces as they skeptically question the reason for these more expensive rates, rates they did not necessarily explicitly agree to; and yet, they pay anyway. “What is the meaning of this?” they may ask. “Why now, with lower gas prices, are my rates going up?” they may inquire with a tone of sardonic displeasure.

Well, despite contradicting ostensible rationale, the fact is that lower gas prices are actually contributing to higher insurance costs. With lower prices, there are more people driving, and with more people driving, there are more accidents. However, lower gas prices are hardly the only culprit for rising premiums.

Improved technology also plays a role. Whereas before a minor accident may result in a $300 or $400 bumper replacement, it could very well now cost upwards of a $1,000. With upgraded cameras, windshield sensors, side-view mirror sensors, and everything else that now comes standard on a new automobile, a simple accident has the potential to wreak havoc on not just your car, but your pocketbook as well. The convenience of new technology is fantastic and indicative of the fact that we as a society are improving and innovating, but it comes at a price, literally.

In addition to new to new technology, or perhaps a further result of new technology, there are now greater distractions on the road than ever before. Texting and driving, snapping selfies and cruising and tweeting and trucking along are more prevalent than ever before. As we become more absorbed in our finger brains (our phones) we literally lose sight of what’s before us. In fact, anywhere between 16 and 17 percent of accidents on the road today are directly (purportedly) the result of distracted driving.

This all said, there are a few things you can take into account in order to attempt to keep your premium from rising. For once, and this should likely go without saying, you should compare insurance rates before purchasing a vehicle. The make, model, and age of a car have the potential to drastically affect the price of your hypothetical policy. By the way, if you have an older vehicle, it might make sense to drop the collision coverage so as to save a few bucks.

Regardless, the main takeaway is this: prices are going up, and you should prepare yourself.