States with the highest and lowest car insurance rates

While auto insurance premiums are largely based on a motorist’s driving record, two otherwise equivalent drivers will find they face drastically different insurance rates based solely on where they live.

According to in Foster City, Calif., those living in Maine ($805), Ohio ($843), Idaho ($877), Iowa ($886) and New Hampshire ($905) will pay the lowest average annual car insurance premiums in the nation. Meanwhile, motorists in Michigan ($2,476), Montana ($1,886), the District of Columbia ($1,799) Louisiana ($1,774) and Florida ($1,742) suffer the highest average annual rates. The spread in premiums between the cheapest and costliest states amounts to a whopping $9,285 over a typical five-year ownership period.

“Laws make a big difference. Each state makes its own rules, and some of them result in bigger or more frequent insurance claims,” says consumer analyst Penny Gusner, noting that widespread insurance fraud, high theft rates and a higher concentration of drivers in urban areas also contribute to how much residents in a given state will pay for coverage.

— Jim Gorzelany

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