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When you generally think about what determines your auto insurance rates, the standard things come to mind. The kind of car you drive, how far you drive to work, what your credit score is and oh yeah, your driving history. Typically, it will be your driving history that will have the number one effect on your insurance rates but you should also know that the state you live in could make a big difference.

car insurance rates per state
Learn more about the most expensive states to insure your car below. (Image Source – FLICKR)

If you are thinking about moving anytime soon, auto insurance rates probably shouldn’t be your main factor in the final decision but moving is an expensive task to undertake and you should know all the costs that are associated with it. In March of 2011, Insure.com published a comprehensive list of insurance rates based on states, including the District of Columbia. The study was conducted using a 40 year old driver who had an average of a 12 mile commute to work. The company took quotes from six different providers and averaged them together to come up with a rough estimate per state.

Amy Danise, senior managing editor of Insure.com, says that “We often think of car insurance prices strictly in terms of our own personal details, like our driving record and our coverage amount, but Insure.com’s rankings demonstrate how factors like state laws and the judicial system can be the driving force behind high rates.”

The Top Five Most Expensive States To Insure

The top five most expensive states to insure a car in were Michigan, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Montana and Washington D.C.

  • Michigan comes in at the most expensive state to insure a car with the average premium at $2,541. This is because Michigan is the only state that offers unlimited personal injury protection payments. This can be very expensive for insurance companies so they raise the rates on their customers. Personal injury protection will pay any medical bills that are incurred due to an accident but have an added bonus of that it can also reimburse you for lost wages. Whereas in some states, you have to buy a certain amount of coverage, in Michigan, this is offered an unlimited option.
  • Louisiana is the second most expensive state. Its average premiums equal almost $2,400/year and it has a lot to do with their judicial system. Many cases are settled out of court that have expensive settlements only because it is the law in Louisiana that only claims in excess of $50,000 can go through a jury trial. Also, because courts generally favor individuals when cases do go to court, auto insurance companies lose doubly, driving up the overall prices.
  • Oklahoma is the third most expensive states in which to insure a car. Average premiums are $2,197. As far as Oklahoma goes, this could be due to several reasons. One of the main ones though is the number of uninsured drivers on the highway. Based on information from the Insurance Research Council, almost 24% of Oklahoma drivers are uninsured but Oklahoma has been trying to reduce this behavior by implementing several tactics. Officer can now check immediately to see whether a driver has insurance or not and laws are being passed to make punishments harsher.
  • Montana is the fourth most expensive state, with premiums not far behind Oklahoma at $2,190. Many Montana drivers are also uninsured but Montana is a very large state. Even when the average person goes in to apply for car insurance, the insurance company wants to know how far your car will travel on on an average basis. This is because the more wear and tear a car suffers, the more likely it is your insurance company will have to pay out, especially if you live in Montana.  It also doesn’t help that the fatality rate per miles driven is twice the national average.
  • Finally, Washington D.C. is the fifth most expensive place in the U.S. to insure a car. In addition to high congestion and living in a risk prone area to begin with, 15 % of D.C. drivers are uninsured. With the combination of congestion and uninsured drivers, it’s likely your insurance company could be paying out big time. This means you pay a higher premium than some of your other neighbors.

Keeping Your Rates Lows

While it’s true that your state will determine the overall rate percentage you are placed in, it is ultimately you that will determine how they go. If you maintain a clean driving record and keep a safe car on the road, you should be able to offset any kind of harm your state will have on your auto insurance policy.