Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Louisiana has the highest average auto insurance rates in the United States, while Maine has the lowest, according to new data from Insure.com that ranks the states according to their average insurance rates (see the full ranking below).
The data, which Insure.com released Monday, comes from a study Quadrant Information Services performed for Insure.com to find the most and least expensive vehicle to insure nationwide, which we covered in a March Bucks post. The data, which determined average insurance premiums rates for more than 2,400 vehicles from the 2010 model year from six large carriers across 10 ZIP codes in each state, also enabled a comparison of auto insurance rates in general across the states.
What's behind states' different rates?
According to Insure.com, states' different laws are partly to blame. "Our findings show that the financial ramifications of specific state laws and regulations are driving high rates in certain states," Amy Danise, senior managing editor of Insure.com, said in a statement. "No matter how good your own driving record is, you're paying for the decisions of lawmakers."
Ms. Danise said she had expected to see states with more urban areas at the top of the list but Insure.com discovered from talking with insurance agents that the states at the top of the list have certain regulations that drive up rates in those states. In Louisiana, for instance, more cases are settled out of court with expensive settlements because only cases with claims in excess of $50,000 receive a jury trial there. In Michigan, meanwhile, which had the second-highest average auto insurance rates, state law provides unlimited medical benefits for accident victims for life, probably pushing up auto insurance costs, according to Insure.com.
In contrast, population levels may be why certain states are at the bottom of the list. According to Ms. Danise, the states with the lowest insurance costs tend to be more rural. Maine, for instance, may have low auto insurance rates because its highways are less crowded, which may mean fewer crashes over all.
Here's the full ranking below, and let us know if it lines up with your experiences buying auto insurance in different states.
The most and least expensive states for car insurance:
Source: Insure.com, from a study commissioned by Insure.com from Quadrant Information Services