Hurricanes, lawyers, and outdated regulations: a recent study found that these three things are the main causes of why states like Louisiana and Michigan top the country in car insurance rates.
The study was commissioned by Insure.com, which surveyed the six largest insurance carriers (Allstate, Farmers, Geico, Nationwide, Progressive, and State Farm) to find how much it would cost to insure a single, 40-year-old male who commutes roughly 25 miles a day.
The result: the average annual premium for the single gentleman and his new car in Louisiana is $2699, and Michigan isn’t far behind with an average annual premium of $2520. On the other side of the spectrum, Iowans rank 50th with a $1028 average, and Maine comes in 51st (the study includes DC) with an average premium of $934.
That leaves one big question—how is it possible that someone in Bangor pays almost one third of someone in Baton Rouge? Insure.com points to Louisiana’s natural disasters as one cause: a state with lots of hurricane damage has high numbers of totaled cars and stretched comprehensive coverage. It doesn’t help that Louisianans seem to hire more attorneys to file insurance claims/sue for personal injury than other states.
As far as Michigan is concerned, any Automobile writer can tell you why his or her car insurance premiums are so high: no-fault insurance with lifetime personal injury protection. Michigan insurance plans don’t use an at-fault system, but the mitten state is also the only one in the union that requires insurance plans cover lifetime personal injury benefits for people involved in a car crash.
On the other end, states like Iowa and Maine have low population densities (which means fewer traffic jams and thus fewer rear-end collisions). Iowans are also less likely to sue for personal injury following a crash, and Maine has a tough driver-training system to slowly incorporate new drivers into the system.
Insure.com also says that the national average is $1510 a year—does that sound about right for you? Let us know if you’re saving pennies on car insurance or shelling them out in the comments below.
2013 state rankings of car insurance rates
Avg. annual premium*
|5||Washington, D.C.||$ 2,006|
|8||West Virginia||$ 1,816|
|9||Rhode Island||$ 1,735|
|National average||$ 1,510|
|47||New Hampshire||$ 1,112|
|49||North Carolina||$ 1,085|