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Marketplace

Why car insurance rates vary wildly by state

Gigi Douban Apr 27, 2015
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A new report from InsuranceQuotes shows that North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Maine have at least one thing in common: drivers there pay the least for auto insurance. In North Carolina, insurance rates ran 41 percent less than the national average. Highest was Michigan, where drivers paid more the double the national average for car insurance. There is a method to all of this insurance madness.

Next time you’re in your car driving down the road, take a look at the billboards. Do you see a lot of ads for what are known as ambulance chasers? That might explain a thing or two about your insurance rates.

Robert Hoyt, who teaches risk management and insurance at the University of Georgia, says your state’s legal environment has a lot to do with it. In other words, how likely drivers are to sue each other. Hoyt says when they’re setting rates, insurance companies track all of this, even how often juries decide to award for damages.

Also, state laws factor in.

“The states that have the highest auto insurance costs do happen to be the no-fault states,” he says. No-fault means your insurance company covers your injuries.

Laura Adams, senior analyst with InsuranceQuotes, says often it’s just a matter of population density.

“The more cars, the more accidents that happen,” she says.

She says that’s why people in urban areas pay a lot more for car insurance.

 

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