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Car insurance rates by state, 2020 edition

ExpensiveStates2019Michigan is the most expensive state for car insurance for the sixth consecutive year.

The Wolverine State is in a league of its own when it comes to car insurance with an average annual premium that is $313 higher than that of Louisiana, which ranked second. A Michigan car insurance policy averages $2,611, which is almost 80 percent higher than the national average of $1,457.

Louisiana remained in second place for the third year in a row, while Florida secured third place. Oklahoma and Washington D.C. rounded out the top five.

In most cases, a high number of uninsured drivers combined with less than stellar weather and high population density led these states onto the most expensive states for car insurance list.

On the other hand, states where most of the drivers are properly insured and reside in rural areas saw some of the lowest car insurance rates. Maine climbed to the top of the heap this year with an average annual premium of $845, which is 42 percent below the national average. Wisconsin moved into the second place and Idaho stays in third place for the second year in a row. Iowa and Virginia filled out the top five.

Where you live has a huge impact on your car insurance rates. The difference between Michigan and Maine is $1,766.

This year, the national average is $1,457, which is only a $92 increase from last year ($1,365).


RankStateAverage premiums




















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New Jersey



West Virginia






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New Mexico



























South Dakota





















North Dakota






North Carolina



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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: gender, age, location, credit, driving record, vehicle model

In addition to where you live, insurers review numerous factors when setting a premium. While many of those risk factors are under your control, there are some that fall beyond your sphere of influence.

  • Read more about factors that insurers consider when determining your rate

    • Gender and age: You don’t have control over these two factors, but they can have a big impact on your premium, especially if you’re young. Newly minted (teenage drivers) pay the highest premiums of all drivers. “Age and gender are factors in rating auto insurance premiums because there are volumes of statistics that support the assumption that younger drivers have a greater frequency of accident while older drivers experience greater severity of injuries,” says Kevin Foley with PFT&K Insurance Brokers.
    • Location is important: As our rankings show, the state you reside influence your rates, but so can your neighborhood. Insurers look at crime stats, claim rates, and even weather factors in your specific area. They’ll also offer lower rates to drivers who keep their cars in a garage instead of on the streets.
    • Credit score: This has turned into a big rating factor for insurers over the years. “Statistical evidence points to a strong link between low credit scores and a high likelihood of making a claim. Since insurance companies rely on this kind of data to establish their rates, they will charge up to 90% more if your credit scores are low,” advises Tony Arevalo with Carsurance.
    • Vehicle you drive: The car you drive will absolutely affect your rates. A safe vehicle that is mainly driven by parents (think minivan) will always be cheaper to insure than a luxury sports cars. Safety features may help lower insurance costs while expensive materials (teak wood interior) found in luxury vehicles will push up your rates.
    • Weather risks: If a tornado flips your car or a hurricane floods your vehicles, your physical damage coverage will pay to repair the vehicle or its actual cash value, so insurers will consider weather-related risk factors when setting your rate. “If you live in a state where storms are frequent, such as Florida, Oklahoma or Texas, insurance companies simply have to charge more to protect their profits,” says Arevalo.
    • Your driving record: Another major factor (this one is totally under your control) is your personal driving record. Tickets and accidents will drive your rates up and multiple tickets will sent it up dramatically. Keep your nose clean out on the road for the best rates.

State-specific factors: car insurance laws, claim and crime rates, uninsured drivers

There are factors that will vary by state and will impact your rates.


  • Read more about factors that will vary by state and can influence your premium

    Insurance laws: Car insurance requirements and insurance regulation varies by state and can have a major impact on your premium. The most expensive state, Michigan, uses a very unique no-fault insurance system that in many ways is responsible for its high premiums. State required insurance minimums can also raise or lower insurance costs.

    Uninsured drivers cost you money: Insurers pass the cost of uninsured drivers onto insured drivers. So, if you live in a state where many people are cruising the streets without insurance, you will pay more for coverage. Florida is a prime example Roughly 26.7 percent of Sunshine State residents don’t carry car insurance, according to a 2017 study, the latest data available, by the Insurance Research Council (IRC),

    Crash, claim and crime rates: Insurers keep statistics on numerous factors that could affect them. They consider claim, crash, and crime rates in a specific area when setting your premium. Urban areas tend to be more expensive due to higher crime and claim rates.

Most expensive states for car insurance

If you call any of these states home, your insurance bills will be higher (and in some cases much higher) than the national average. The reason varies. It may be a unique insurance system, loads of uninsured drivers or just plain high population density. Here are the top five most expensive states for car insurance, read them and weep.


#1 Michigan: Life-time unlimited benefits

This is the sixth year in a row Michigan has topped our list, and the state has never managed a finish lower than third since Insure.com started the ratings. This is primarily due to its unique insurance system.

The average annual premium in Michigan came in at $2,611. This is a huge leap from last year, a $372 jump to be exact. It also puts Michigan a whopping 79 percent above the national average of $1,457.

The major issue in Michigan is its insurance system. Michigan has a very unique no-fault car insurance scheme, which requires all drivers to carry Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage. PIP helps cover medical expenses that the policyholder, family members or even passengers that are injured in a car accident incur.

The difference between Michigan and other PIP states is the coverage limits. The majority of other states that use a PIP system put a reasonable limit on PIP coverage amounts. However, Michigan guarantees unlimited, lifetime medical benefits to auto accident victims, which dramatically increases an insurer’s risk, and your premium.

  • Read more about Michigan

    “Unlike no-fault laws in other states, Michigan’s Auto No-Fault Law mandates that insurers provide and drivers purchase coverage for unlimited lifetime benefits, including medical costs, for car accident victims,” says Andrea Miller, public information officer at the Michigan Department of Insurance. “In addition to this uniquely broad mandate, costs incurred under the No-Fault Act are not subject to limitations applicable to like services under programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, Workers Compensation or health insurance.”

    While car insurers only have to cover the first $555,000 for a claim before the Michigan Catastrophic Claim Association (MCCA) takes over, this is a much higher figure than other states. That added risk to insurers comes at a price. The MCCA is a non-profit that is funded by Michigan drivers who pay a $192 per vehicle fee. This fee is slated to jump to $220 on July 1, making the cost of insuring a vehicle even more expensive.

    This type of expense has led many Michigan residents to drive without insurance. According to the IRC study, Michigan ranks number four in the country for uninsured drivers. Roughly, 20.3 percent of drivers in Michigan are without insurance. This also helps push rates up for insured drivers.

    All of this has made the majority of Michigan unaffordable for insurance. The U.S. Treasury Department's Federal Insurance Office defines auto insurance premiums as unaffordable if they exceed two percent of an area's median household income. A study done by the University of Michigan found that using this measure, car insurance is unaffordable in 97 percent of all Michigan ZIP codes.

    Relief may be on the way. “Governor (Gretchen) Whitmer has made reform of the Michigan No-Fault Law a priority for the state. The Legislature has also declared reform a priority, and both houses have held hearings related to the issue,” says Miller


#2 Louisiana: Lots of uninsured drivers, lots of lawsuits

Louisiana is back in the second spot for the third year in a row. It has been in the top five every year we’ve done the study. The average premium in the Pelican State hit $2,298, which is 58 percent more than the national average.

In Louisiana, the big factor bumping up rates is uninsured and underinsured drivers who like to sue each other.

The IRC study found that roughly 13 percent of Louisiana drivers don’t have car insurance. in addition to this, almost 40 percent are carrying the absolute minimum coverage levels, according to Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon.

  • Read more about Louisiana

     State-required minimum coverage levels vary by state and in Louisiana all drivers must carry:


    • Bodily injury liability: The minimum is $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident
    • Property damage liability coverage: The minimum is $25,000


    While these aren’t the lowest minimums, these coverage levels will quickly be eaten up in even a semi-serious accident. This leads many drivers to turn to the legal system to get a higher payout. Louisiana Watchdog reports that Louisiana lawsuit costs are amount the highest in the U.S., with annual expenses nearly hitting $7 billion, 20.6 percent higher than the national average. Auto accidents are the largest portion of the tort system costs reaching nearly 3.4 billion.

    These higher payouts lead to higher premiums for everyone as insurers pass their costs on to policyholders.

    Donelon also points to an increase in distracted driving which leads to more accidents and claims, which raises rates for everyone. Donelon is aware of how auto insurance has hounded Louisiana car owners and in 2018 appointed a task force to look into high car insurance rates and make recommendations to the legislature for action to lower rates. 


#3 Florida: High-risk drivers, highest rate of uninsured drivers

The Sunshine state stayed in the third spot with an average premium of $2,219, which puts it 52 percent above the national average.

Uninsured drivers are a big factor for Florida with the IRC study ranking this state as having the highest rate of uninsured drivers in the nation. The survey estimates that 26.7 percent of drivers are out on the road without insurance. When a quarter of drivers are uninsured, it will absolutely increase the cost of insurance for everyone.

While Florida has more than its share of uninsured drivers it’s not the only factor affecting car insurance rates. It is home to an estimated 21.3 million people and not all of them fall into the right category for insurers.

“Florida has a larger percentage of riskier drivers,” points out Karen Kees, press secretary at the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation. “There are a high number of students due to the many universities in Florida, older drivers due to the large number of retirement communities, and drivers unfamiliar with the local roads due to our popularity with tourists.”

  • Read more about Florida

    Florida sees a significant percentage of claims with attorney involvement, which will often result in higher costs for the insurer. Those costs are passed on to all policyholders via higher premiums.

    “Distracted driving has also played a major role in the increase in accidents and the subsequent increase in rates,” says Kees.

    Florida is no stranger to severe weather and this risk factor results in higher premiums. “Severe weather would contribute to higher than average comprehensive premiums,” warns Kees. Comprehensive coverage pays out to repair your vehicle after it is damaged by something other than an accident, this includes weather damage.

    Finally, Florida uses a PIP system that is similar to Michigan’s without the lifetime protection. PIP coverage is always expensive and Florida is no exception. Roughly 20 percent of a car insurance premium goes to PIP coverage.


#4 Oklahoma: Uninsured drivers, severe weather claims

The Sooner State made a dramatic jump up the list this year, going from 13th in 2018 to number four this year. The average premium in Oklahoma was $1,966 or 35 percent above the national average.

Oklahoma has a couple of problems that help jack up insurance rates. “Automobile insurance rates are higher mainly because of the catastrophic storms Oklahoma experiences and the rather large number of uninsured motorists,” says Wayne Stewart, rate and form analyst with the Oklahoma Insurance Department.

Located in Tornado Alley, Oklahoma has experienced plenty of severe weather that leads to expensive claims for insurance companies and those costs end up hitting everyone’s premium.

According to a Farmers Insurance report, Oklahoma ranked sixth for hail damage claims from 2013 to 2017. Farmers’ data shows that 63 percent of their comprehensive auto insurance claims were connected to hail damage.

  • Read more about Oklahoma

    Uninsured drivers are the second major factor in Oklahoma that raises insurance rates. Officials with the Oklahoma Department of Public Safety estimated that roughly 600,000 Oklahoma residents were driving without valid car insurance. The IRC study says Oklahoma’s uninsured driver rate is 11 percent.

    When an uninsured driver is in an accident, the insured drivers insurance company has to step up and cover their policyholder and those additional costs are passed on to all insured drivers through higher premiums. It creates a vicious cycle where uninsured drivers lead to higher rates, which results in more uninsured drivers as people can no longer afford their premiums.

    Oklahoma took the unusual step of doing something about their uninsured driver problem. On Nov. 1, 2018, traffic cameras placed in high traffic areas in Tulsa and Oklahoma City started scanning licensed plates to identify uninsured vehicles.

    If your uninsured car is caught on camera, a letter with a fine for $174 and a requirement to show proof of insurance will be on its way to your mailbox. As of December 2018, the state has ticketed roughly 2,100 drivers. This is the first of its kind program in the country.

    While drivers dinged with the $174 ticket are probably not happy about the program, it could end up leading to lower insurance rates for everyone.



#5 Washington D.C: Densely populated, fewer minor claims

Washington D.C. closes out the top five with an average annual premium of $1,876, putting it 29 percent above the national average. D.C. moved up one spot after finishing in sixth last year.

The big reason that D.C. makes the cut is population density. The entire district is basically an urban area, which leads to higher insurance rates. According to Census information, D.C has a population density of 11,020 people per square mile. While this number is certainly smaller than New York City, which clocks in at 28,256 people, it puts it well above other large cities, such as Houston and even Los Angeles.

Highly-populated cities often have higher crime, claim and vandalism rates, which means insurers have to charge higher rates to cover their costs. Tons of cars crammed into a small space leads to more accidents, which leads to claims, which ends in high car insurance rates.

  • Read more about Washington D.C

    High rates of disposable income can also push up insurance rates and D.C definitely falls into that category. 24/7 Wall Street reviewed 2017 income levels to identify the 25 richest cities in America and the nation’s capital finished third.

    The greater D.C. area has a median household income that tops $95,000 and many residents earn much more than that due to the high number of legal, government, and professional jobs. Statista found that D.C. had the most disposable personal income in the nation in 2018 at $70,045.

    High-income earners often drive luxury, high-end vehicles which are  more expensive to insure than more standard fare as the cost for repairs or replacement would be much more. And, it doesn’t help any car owner that CarMD’s 2018 State Repair Cost Rankings found that D.C. grabbing first place for the highest car repair costs. 

Cheapest states for car insurance

Most of our cheapest states for car insurance are fairly rural and not located in Tornado Alley. Less population density leads to fewer accidents and cheaper premiums.


#1 Maine: Rural, low uninsured rate, competitive market

Maine jumped up 13 spots this year to capture the top slot for cheap car insurance. The average annual premium in Maine is $845, which is an astounding 42 percent below the national average.

The usual suspects come into play to help keep premiums low in Maine. The Pine Tree state ranks 38th for population density.

  • Read more about Maine

    In addition, Maine has a healthy car insurance market. “Thanks to a competitive market, Maine consumers are paying less for auto insurance than consumers in nearly every other state,” Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa stated in a recent press release.

    Maine also keeps its uninsured motorist rate low, very low. Maine has the lowest rate of uninsured drivers in the entire country with only 4.5 percent of drivers without coverage. This lowers an insurer’s risk, which results in better premiums for everyone.


#2 Wisconsin: Competitive market, median density

Wisconsin made a five-spot jump this year to finish second in the least expensive rankings. Annual coverage in Wisconsin runs $951 or 35 percent below the national average.

The reason car insurance is so cheap in Wisconsin is a bit of a mystery. While not a huge magnet for severe weather it does receive its fair share of snow in the winter and tornadoes in the summer. Flooding is not uncommon and rising rivers point to spring flooding this year. Flood damage is covered by comprehensive coverage, which is not required in most states, if you want your vehicle to be fully covered, you will need to carry this optional coverage.

Wisconsin falls right in the middle when it comes to population density, ranking 25th, but much of the state is rural. “Rural areas almost always have lower car insurance rates than more urban areas because there are fewer accidents and claims,” says Penny Gusner, consumer analyst with Insure.com.

  • Read more about Wisconsin

    Finally, a healthy and competitive car insurance market helps keep premiums in check. When hundreds of insurance companies compete for customers, premiums tend to go down. The number of insurance companies that write policies in a specific state can have a major impact on rates. In certain 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.


#3 Idaho: Very rural, very few drivers, low uninsured rate

Idaho stayed in third place for the third year in a row. The average annual premium came in at $1,040, which is an impressive 29 percent less than the national average.

Idaho is pretty sparsely populated and mainly rural which leads to lower car insurance rates. According to World Atlas, Idaho has the seventh least population density in the country. There are roughly 20 people for every square mile. Wide-open spaces with few people mean fewer cars out on the road and fewer accidents, everything an insurance company loves.

  • Read more about Idaho

    Idaho rarely experiences severe weather disasters, although wildfires have been an issue in years past. Finally, Idaho has a robust insurance industry with over 185 insurance companies writing policies in the state. A healthy and competitive insurance market means drivers have plenty of options available to them and competition among insurers keeps premiums affordable.

    Idaho is among the states with the least uninsured drivers, with just eight percent uninsured.


#4 Iowa: Rural, few uninsured drivers

When most people think of Iowa, farms and wide-open spaces come to mind. According to a USDA survey, there were 86,900 farms dotting the Iowa landscape in 2017, which translates into roughly 30.5 million acres in Iowa being farmed.

Iowa moved up one spot from last year into the fourth slot. The average annual premium in the Hawkeye state came in at $1,047, which is 28 percent less than the national average.

  • Read more about Iowa

    Rural living means less population density, fewer cars on the road, and in most cases, fewer accidents and insurance claims, all of which translates into lower premiums. While Iowa does get a bit of severe weather, tornadoes in the summer and heavy snow in the winter, it hasn’t had an impact on insurance rates. Iowa is among the states with the lowest uninsured driver rates in the country, at just eight percent.


#5 Virginia: Competitive market, required uninsured motorist coverage

Virginia dropped one spot from fourth to fifth in the rankings. The average premium in Virginia came in at $1,063. That’s an impressive 27 percent under the national average.

According to Kenneth Schrad, director at the Division of Information Resources in Virginia, one of the most prominent reasons that car insurance is so affordable is a competitive market. “There are more than 400 insurance carriers that offer and write coverage in Virginia. So, competition is an effective regulator of the premiums charged.”

While competition certainly helps keep premiums in check, it’s not the only factor. “In addition, under Virginia’s laws for seeking recovery, the person at fault for causing a car accident is held responsible for any resulting harm,” says Schrad. “Virginia also requires uninsured motorist coverage as part of a driver’s own auto insurance plan in case they are involved in an accident with an uninsured driver,” he continues. Not all states require drivers to carry uninsured motorist coverage.

  • Read more about Virginia

    Virginia is a bit of a hodgepodge when it comes to population density and that diversity can also help lower premiums, according to Schrad.

    “Virginia is a very diverse state, with both highly populated and rural areas. As such, insurance companies are permitted to underwrite their policies to the risks associated with specific geographic areas of the state. In other words, if the risk of an accident is historically shown to be greater in a metropolitan area, the policy is priced accordingly.”

LeastExpensiveStates2019Cheap rates in any state

The bottom line is whether you live in an expensive state, cheap state or somewhere in between, to get the best rates for your specific situation you need to shop around.

While states with a healthy, competitive market give you more choices, all you need to do is find at least three car insurance companies to compare to get started on finding the best rates possible.

“Always shop around when there is a life event that would spark rate changes – whether it be getting married, adding a car, dropping a car, adding a teenager to the policy, all of this can make the current insurer you’re with not the best option for your updated needs,” says Gusner.

“Shop around to make sure if you stay with your present carrier you are still paying reasonable premiums or see that there are better deals out there and switch.”

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

Average cost of car insurance by state

More than $100 below national average
Within $100 of national average
More than $100 above national average

  • 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.

    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.

    We averaged rates in each state for the cheapest-to-insure 2019 model-year versions of America’s 20 best-selling vehicles and ranked each state by that average.

    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. as of Dec. 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. Toyota Rav4
    5. Nissan Rogue
    6. Honda CR-V
    7. Toyota Camry
    8. Chevy Equinox
    9. Honda Civic
    10. Toyota Corolla
    11. Honda Accord
    12. Ford Escape
    13. Ford Explorer
    14. Toyota Tacoma
    15. Toyota Highlander
    16. Jeep Wrangler
    17. Jeep Cherokee
    18. Jeep Grand Cherokee
    19. GMC Sierra
    20. Nissan Sentra

    Source: autoNXT best-selling vehicles in America 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.

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Tell us your thoughts
2 Responses to "Car insurance rates by state, 2020 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!!

  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!!


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