Insurance premiums remain among the costliest components of auto ownership, with the average rates for family sedans rising by 3.4 percent last year, according to the AAA in Orlando, Fla. While premiums are largely based on one’s driving record and personal profile, the make, model and type of car owned and how many miles it’s driven a year, a motorist’s address can make a major difference in what he or she pays for car insurance. As was the case last year, those living in Louisiana are shelling out the most money among all Americans for coverage at an annual average $2,699, based on a study conducted on behalf of Insure.com. According to the website’s editorial director Amy Danise, rates tend to be the highest in the Pelican State in part because of the high number of claims for bodily injury filed each year and the fact that accident lawsuits for less than $50,000 go before elected judges, who more often side with consumers than the insurance companies.
Michigan was found to be the next-costliest state for car insurance, with average premiums at $2,250 that can be largely accredited to state regulations that guarantee unlimited, lifetime personal-injury protection benefits for treatment of injuries that result from an auto accident.
What’s more, the study found that those who live in Oregon and own a high-performance Mercedes-Benz CL 65 AMG luxury coupe can be expected to pay the highest car insurance rates among all U.S. motorists at a whopping annual average premium of $5,867, and that assumes a clean driving record. The national average is currently a far more modest $1,510.
The 10 states Insure.com’s study determined as having the highest annual auto insurance rates are:
Louisiana – $2,699
Michigan – $2,520
Georgia – $2,155
Oklahoma – $2,074
Washington, D.C. – $2,006
Montana – $1,914
California – $1,819
West Virginia – $1,816
Rhode Island – $1,735
Kentucky – $1,725
Meanwhile, drivers in Maine not only enjoy open roads because of relatively low traffic density, as a result they’re granted the lowest annual average car insurance rates in the nation at an affordable $934.
Here’s the 10 states in which residents typically pay the least for car insurance:
Maine – $934
Iowa – $1,028
North Carolina – $1,085
Ohio – $1,106
New Hampshire – $1,112
Idaho – $1,133
Vermont – $1,176
Indiana – $1,183
Washington – $1,226
Arizona – $1,227
Short of pulling up roots and moving to another state, Danise advises motorists to shop among competing carriers to determine which will charge the lowest rates. “Shopping around is the best way to save the biggest amount,” she says. “But even if you don’t want to switch insurers, you can ask your company if you’re getting all possible discounts and check insurance rates before you buy your next car – similar vehicles can have large insurance differences.”
The study was conducted by Quadrant Information Services and was based on auto insurance rates for more than 750 separate models from the six largest carriers (Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm) in 10 ZIP codes per state. Rates are based on a hypothetical single, 40-year-old male with a good driving record, short commute and typical coverage limits and deductibles.
More information on the study and a complete list of all 50 states’ average rates can be found here.
[Related: 16 Cheapest Cars To Insure]