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Car insurance rates by state, 2018 edition

En Español: Las tarifas de seguro automotor por estado

This year makes it unlucky No. 5 for Michigan as it holds on to the top spot for the fifth consecutive year as the most expensive state for car insurance. The average car insurance premium in the Wolverine state hit $2,239 this year, which is a slight decrease from last year, but still $874 or 64 percent more expensive than the national average premium.

Louisiana slotted into the No. 2 spot for the second year in a row with an average premium that is 56 percent higher than the national average. Florida moved into the number three spot after placing fifth last year.

Rural, less populated states came out on top when it comes to inexpensive car insurance. Vermont ranks No. 1 with a premium that is $433 less than the national average, followed by Ohio and Idaho.

As our rankings clearly show, car insurance rates can vary widely depending on the state you call home, and numerous other factors. The average policy in Vermont costs $932 while in Michigan you pay $2,239, that’s $1,337 more. The national average this year was $1,365. This is a slight increase of $47 over last year.


RankStateAverage premiums
National average$1,365
1Michigan$2,239
2Louisiana$2,126
3Florida$2,050
4Rhode Island$1,852
5Connecticut$1,831
6DC$1,827
7California$1,731
8Georgia$1,668
9Delaware$1,646
10Texas$1,589
11Colorado$1,547
12Wyoming$1,544
13Oklahoma$1,531
14Kentucky$1,525
15Arkansas$1,503
16Nevada$1,485
17Montana$1,446
18Maryland$1,439
19Mississippi$1,410
20West Virginia$1,408
21New Jersey$1,383
22New York$1,361
23Arizona$1,355
24New Mexico$1,352
25Kansas$1,332
26South Carolina$1,327
27Washington$1,309
28Missouri$1,256
29Oregon$1,250
30Alabama$1,235
31Hawaii$1,229
32Illinois$1,223
33Minnesota$1,215
34Nebraska$1,214
35South Dakota$1,213
36Tennessee$1,211
37Alaska$1,200
38Maine$1,176
38Massachusetts$1,176
40Utah$1,131
41Pennsylvania$1,130
42North Carolina$1,104
43Indiana$1,091
44North Dakota$1,086
45Wisconsin$1,084
47New Hampshire$1,039
47Iowa$1,025
48Virginia$1,013
49Idaho$989
50Ohio$944
51Vermont$932

Use the interactive map below and hover over any state to display the average annual rate, comparison to national average, and the percent of change from last year.

Car insurance risk factors

Car insurance premiums are calculated based on a variety of risk factors, some you can control, and others that fall outside of your authority. Here are a few risk factors that insurers will consider regardless of where you live:

  •  Age and gender: This criteria falls out of your control but does have a major impact on your premium. Older drivers tend to pay less than younger ones and statistics show that females have fewer accidents, which leads to lower premiums compared to males.
  • Location: Obviously the state you live in can impact your premium as our study clearly shows but crime rates, whether your car is in a garage and claim rates for your particular area will all factor into your premium.
  • Car you drive: A minivan is always cheaper to insure than a sports car. A car that is driven mainly by parents hauling kids around will come with a lower premium than a luxury sedan loaded with the latest technology.
  • Driving record: This is always a big one, tickets and accidents will dramatically increase your premium so staying ticket and accident free is always a good idea.

When it comes to rates by state there are a number of components that will help determine if it falls into the least or more expensive state for car insurance category. Here are just a few factors that can push a state in one direction or the other:

  • State laws: Car insurance requirements and the type of insurance system they use are left up each state and can dramatically impact premiums. As an example, Michigan (our most expensive state) uses a unique no-fault insurance system that is widely blamed for the expensive premiums drivers pay. The required amount of insurance is set at the state level as well and can push insurance costs up or down.
  • Weather: States that are prone to major storms will often pay higher rates for insurance. Insurers have to pay out every time a tornado or hurricane rolls through and they adjust their rates accordingly.
  • Uninsured drivers: The percentage of uninsured drivers can push rates up for everyone. Florida (number three most expensive) is a prime example with roughly 26.7 percent of drivers hitting the road without insurance according to date from the Insurance Information Institute (III).
  • Crime/Claim/Crash rates: Crime, crash and claim rates will vary by state and will absolutely have an effect on insurance rates. If you live in a state with high crash and crime rates expect to pay more for car insurance.

Most expensive states for car insurance

Population density, unique personal injury protection (PIP) requirements and uninsured drivers are a few of the culprits bumping up car insurance rates in these states.

#1 Michigan

Michigan is in a league of its own when it comes to higher car insurance rates. This is now the fifth year in a row that it has captured the number one spot and Michigan has been in the top spot six of the nine years that Insure.com has conducted the study. The lowest they have ever managed to get was third place way back in 2012.

Michigan’s average annual premium is $2,239, which is $155 lower than last years but still puts Michigan’s typical premium 64 percent higher than the national average of $1,365.

Michigan employs a unique no-fault car insurance system, which is the main reason car insurance is so expensive. Like other no-fault states, Michigan requires all drivers out on the road to carry PIP coverage. PIP will help cover any medical expenses that the policyholder, members of the household and even passengers who are injured in an auto accident.

Michigan differs from other PIP states in the limit department. Most other no-fault states put a limit on the PIP amount but Michigan guarantees unlimited lifetime medical benefits to auto accident victims, which dramatically increases an insurers risk.

Car insurers have to pay up to $555,000 for a claim and then the nonprofit Michigan Catastrophic Claim Association (MCCA) takes over, paying any additional medical bills.  The MCCA is funded by Michigan drivers who pay an annual assessment fee.

“Michigan law does not provide auto insurance companies the ability to negotiate discounted services with health providers. In addition, it is difficult to project future medical costs because auto insurers could pay benefits for a seriously injured person for the rest of their life. The high cost of medical expenses and the unlimited nature of Michigan no-fault benefits are some of the reasons premiums will increase,” says Andrea Miller, public information officer at the Department of Insurance and Financial Service in Michigan.

Outrageous car insurance premiums have lead many Michigan drivers to hit the roads without insurance coverage. The III ranks Michigan number four when it comes uninsured drivers, estimating that 20.3 percent of drivers are uninsured. Uninsured drivers push rates up for everyone, as there are fewer insured drivers to offset the risk that car insurance companies face.

Shopping your coverage is often the best way to save. “There are many companies offering a wide variety of rates in every area of the state. Sometimes the best rates and best service may come from a company you are not familiar with today,” says Miller.

#2 Louisiana

Louisiana is another state that is no stranger to high car insurance rates. This is the second year in a row it managed a second place finish, but it has been in the top five most years we have done the study. The Pelican State averaged an annual premium of $2,126, which is 56 percent higher than the national average.

Uninsured drivers are a major factor with III data estimating that roughly 13 percent of drivers in Louisiana don’t have car insurance.

While uninsured drivers are a factor, they are not the only issue pushing up rates. According to Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon in a recent article in The Advocate there are other reasons for high car insurance rates. Donelon pointed out the following:

  • Distracted driving has been increasing, leading to more crashes, and deaths, on Louisiana roads.
  • The recovering economy has put more people out on the roads, which has led to additional accidents and insurance claims.
  • As vehicles become more sophisticated and loaded with technology repairs have become more expensive.

Uninsured drivers can also be an issue. “ Many Louisiana drivers are carrying only the bare minimum coverage required by law. That means those who do have insurance must also pay to cover the cost of an accident with someone who does not have enough coverage. About 40 percent of Louisiana drivers carry the minimum levels required,” says a Louisiana Insurance Department spokesperson.

Hopefully, the pain is starting to end. Donelon noted that halfway through the year Louisiana has only seen a 2.1 percent increase in car insurance rates, which is roughly half the increase of last year. In 2017, Louisiana saw an 8.7 percent increase for the entire year.

#3 Florida

The Sunshine state moved up from the fifth spot to number three with an average premium of $2,050, which is 50 percent higher than the national average.

Uninsured drivers is a major factor for high rates in Florida with over a quarter (26.7) of drivers being uninsured. This many uninsured drivers out on the road will absolutely push up insurance costs for everyone, but it’s not the only factor.

Florida is also very densely populated. There are 21 million people crammed into Florida and the majority of them live in medium to large cities. Urban communities have a higher rate of accidents, theft, vandalism and claims, which means that city dwellers will almost always pay higher car insurance rates than drivers in rural areas.

In addition to millions of residents, Florida is a huge tourist draw. “The already dense traffic is made more dense and tourists generally do not know where they are going,” explains Kristofer Kirchen with Advanced Insurance Managers in Tampa. “This leads to people driving too slowly and impeding traffic as well as unexpected, abrupt stops and turns that can result in accidents.”

“Florida also has a high percentage of uninsured drivers. Essentially, the premiums those drivers are not paying are absorbed by those who are responsible and have their vehicles properly insured,” says Kirchen.

Rounding out the factors that raise rates in Florida is the fact that it uses a PIP system that is similar to Michigan’s, without the lifetime protection. However, PIP is a costly coverage in Florida with roughly 20 percent of an insurance premium going towards PIP coverage. A Sun Sentinel report found that Florida drivers fork up about $3.5 billion for PIP coverage.

#4 Rhode Island

Rhode Island stayed in the number four spot for another year. The average premium came in at $1,852 or 36 percent above the national average. Rhode Island is a prime example of how population density can push up rates. It is the smallest state in the country but it packs in a lot of people. It is the second densest state in the country right behind New Jersey.

Lots of drivers crammed into a small space will almost always lead to more accidents, which in turn leads to more claims. “Rhode Island is a small area with a lot of vehicles and, therefore, like other metropolitan areas has more accidents.  Unlike larger states, we do not have a large rural population to offset the effect of the metropolitan area,” says Matt Sheaff, spokesperson for Rhode Island’s Department of Business Regulation.

“Rhode Island also has a more generous benefit structure in both bodily injury and property damage,” says Sheaff. In Rhode Island, the required coverages are:

  • Bodily Injury (BI) $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident
  • Property Damage (PD): $25,000 per accident
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury: $25,000 per person / $50,000 per accident

This is more robust than many other states, Florida for example only requires $10,000 in coverage.

Regardless of which state you live in, one of the best ways to lower your insurance costs is to shop your coverage on a regular basis and make sure you are getting every available discount. Insurers rate risk differently so premium quotes can vary dramatically. Shopping your coverage on a yearly basis will ensure you are getting the best rates available.

#5 Connecticut

Connecticut rounds out the top five with an average annual premium of $1,831 putting it 34 percent more expensive than the national average. Connecticut dropped two spots, it ranked third last year.

High vehicle density is one culprit for higher than average premiums. Connecticut is the fourth densest state in the country and Bridgeport regularly makes lists of cities with the longest commute times. Tons of cars piled into a small space leads to accidents, which leads to claims, which ends in high car insurance rates.

High rates of disposable income may also push up insurance rates. According to Statista, Connecticut has the second highest level of disposable income in the country ($59,163), which leads to residents driving more expensive cars and carrying full coverage with higher limits. All of this results in a higher average premium.

Finally, lax government oversight may also be pumping up Connecticut rates. In the Nutmeg state insurers simply have to notify the state they are raising their rates, it is then up to the state to object. Other states have a more rigorous oversight process when it comes to raising rates, usually requiring insurers to provide justification and get state approval before jacking up premiums.

Cheapest states for car insurance

Rural states that avoid severe weather dominate our cheapest to insure list. Fewer drivers on the road results in fewer accidents and cheaper insurance.

#1 Vermont

Vermont grabbed the number one spot this year, moving up from the fourth spot last year. Annual premiums in Vermont average $932, which is well below (32 percent) the national average of $1,365.

Vermont is pretty sparsely populated, it ranks 37th when it comes to population density and much of it is rural leading to fewer accidents, few claims and lower car insurance rates.

In addition to a low-density rate, Vermont has a very low uninsured driver rate. According to III data, Vermont has an uninsured driver rate of 6.8 percent, which is the third lowest in the country.

While Vermont gets its share of snow, a lack of severe weather events such as tornados and hurricanes also helps keep rates reasonable.

#2 Ohio

This is the second year in a row that Ohio secured the number two spot. The average premium in Ohio is $944, which is 31 percent less than the national average.

Ohio is a big believer in competition and with a very competitive base of insurers, Ohioans can choose from almost 250 insurers, finding affordable insurance is easier than in many other states.

“Our mission is to protect Ohio consumers and to help foster a stable and competitive insurance market.  A competitive environment gives Ohioans the ability to choose from many options to find the right policy at the right price,” says Ohio Department of Insurance Director Jillian Froment.

The number of insurance companies that write policies in a specific state can have a major impact on rates. In some states, usually ones that are prone to major storms such as hurricanes, a lack of insurers writing policies in the state can push up costs dramatically. Luckily, this is not a problem in the Buckeye state.

#3 Idaho

Idaho didn’t budge this year with another third place finish. The average annual premium in Idaho is $989 or 28 percent less than the national average.

Much like the other states in our cheapest to insure category, Idaho is not densely populated, is mainly rural and comes with a robust insurance market with over 185 auto insurance companies writing policies in the state. Idaho also maintains a “friendly” regulatory environment and has a lower rate of litigation, which always leads to lower rates. In addition to all of these pluses, Idaho rarely suffers from major weather disasters.

While Idaho already has low car insurance rates, taking advantage of discounts offered by insurers can be a great way to lower rates even further. Insurance companies offer a variety of discounts such as bundling, safe driver, good student and even a discount for going paperless on your policy. Getting all of the discounts you are entitled to receive will ensure that you are not paying more than necessary for car insurance.

#4 Virginia

Virginia jumped up four spots from its eighth place showing last year. The annual average premium for Virginians is now $1,013, which is 26 percent less than the national average.

There are a number of reasons that Virginia residents enjoy such low rates, according to Kenneth J. Schrad, director of the Division of Information Resources in Virginia.

A competitive marketplace with over 300 carriers licensed to write policies in the state means that Virginians have plenty of choices when shopping their coverage. Another factor that helps keep rates reasonable is a stable regulatory environment, the SCC, of which the Bureau of Insurance is a part, is an independent department of Virginia state government.

States that have robust regulatory departments often enjoy lower rates, as insurers have to vigorously defend rate increases while other states (Connecticut as an example) don’t oversee rate increases as forcefully.

Schrad also points out that Virginia has a financial responsibility law requiring that all vehicle owners are covered by insurance or offer proof they have the ability to pay for losses resulting from motor vehicles they own or operate as well as established minimum limits of liability for bodily injury or death and for property damage.

#5 Iowa

Iowa is the definition of a rural state with 86,900 farms dotting the landscape. There are 30.5 million acres in Iowa being farmed and all of this rural living leads to lower insurance rates as rural areas have fewer accidents and fewer claims.

Iowa moved up one place to round out the top five. An average premium of $1,025 puts it 25 percent below the national average.

While Iowa has certainly had its fair share of severe weather, tornadoes are common in the summer and heavy snow in the winter, it doesn’t seem to impact the low rates that residents of the Hawkeye state pay for car insurance.

 

Best-selling vehicles in 2018 -- How we determine state rankings

The annual study compiled annual rates from six large insurance carriers in 10 ZIP codes in every state. A hypothetical driver with a full-coverage policy is used.  The driver is a 40-year-old male who has a clean driving record and good credit history.

To keep from skewing the data with high-end luxury and sports vehicles, the study averaged rates for the 20 best-selling vehicles in U.S. for the first half of 2018. Each model was rated on its cheapest-to-insure trim level. You can see rates for more than 3,000 models in Insure.com’s Most and Least Expensive Vehicles to Insure tool. This year’s 20 best-selling vehicles includes:

 

1

Ford F-Series

2

Chevy Silverado

3

Ram Truck

4

Nissan Rogue

5

Toyota Rav4

6

Honda CR-V

7

Toyota Camry

8

Honda Civic

9

Toyota Corolla

10

Chevy Equinox

11

Ford Escape

12

Honda Accord

13

Jeep Wrangler

14

Ford Explorer

15

Nissan Altima

16

Toyota Tacoma

17

Nissan Sentra

18

Toyota Highlander

19

Jeep Cherokee

20

Jeep Grand Cherokee

Source: autoNXT best-selling vehicles for first half of 2018

This apples-to-apples comparison is different than other research, such as the rate comparison conducted by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The NAIC’s numbers display the average amount that state residents spend for auto insurance, regardless of the type of car they insure or amount of coverage they purchase.

Average cost of car insurance by state

AL AK AZ AR CA CO CT DC DE FL GA HI ID IL IN IA KS KY LA ME MD MA MI MN MS MO MT NE NV NH NJ NM NY NC ND OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VT VA WA WV WI WY
More than $100 below national average
Within $100 of national average
More than $100 above national average

See Insure.com's Best Car Insurance Companies

Methodology

Insure.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to calculate auto insurance rates from six large carriers (Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm) in 10 ZIP codes per state.

We averaged rates in each state for the cheapest-to-insure 2018 model-year versions of America’s 20 best-selling vehicles and ranked each state by that average.

Rates are based on full coverage for a single, 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day, with policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. The hypothetical driver has a clean record and good credit. The rate includes uninsured motorist coverage. Actual consumer rates will depend on individual driver factors.

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2 Responses to "Car insurance rates by state, 2018 edition"
  1. Gail Eaton

    I don't believe it is fair that insurance companies are allowed, by law, to check your credit report. I have worked my fingers to the bone to attain good credit. My credit score was excellent. After having a new HVAC system put in it went down to "good." My car insurance went up $139. It it very unfair to pay more for insurance because my debt increased. My finances should not be any business of the insurance companies. I always pay my bills on time and have never been late with a premium payment. So So UNFAIR!!

      Reply»  
  2. Karen

    I grew up in Michigan and am thinking of moving out of state and one of the few primary reasons is the high, unaffordable cost to insure my family friendly vehicles!!

      Reply»  

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