3/18/2013 4:30 PM ET|
Where car insurance is most, least costly
Auto insurance tends to be most expensive in Louisiana and cheapest in Maine, according to an annual survey that shows rates vary widely across the country.
Louisiana is No. 1 -- but not in a desirable way. It has the highest average car insurance rates in the nation, followed by Michigan and Georgia, according to Insure.com's annual state-by-state comparison of insurance premiums.
Maine enjoys the least expensive car insurance rates, followed by Iowa.
Louisiana and Michigan have held one of the top three positions since Insure.com began its annual survey in 2010. Georgia rose from the No. 10 position in 2012 to this year's third-place spot, bumping Oklahoma to fourth place.
Maine and Iowa held the bottom two spots on the list last year and have been in the bottom 10 since 2010.
A variety of factors make car insurance rates more painful in some states than others -- the number of insurers competing for business, driving conditions, the portion of drivers who are uninsured, and the way state insurance systems are set up.
No. 1: Louisiana
Compared with the rest of the country, Louisiana drivers who get in accidents file more bodily injury claims than drivers in other states.
Louisiana also has a high rate of comprehensive claims, which include damage from natural disasters, says R. Parke Ellis, president-elect of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Louisiana and chairman of Gillis, Ellis & Baker Inc. in New Orleans.
In addition, a greater portion of people filing insurance claims hire attorneys, says Barry Blumberg, president of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Louisiana and president and CEO of Blumberg and Associates Inc. in Baton Rouge.
Louisiana’s judicial system may also be to blame for high rates. Lawsuits involving claims under $50,000 go before judges instead of juries. Some observers say elected judges are more likely to side with local people than insurance companies.
No. 2: Michigan
Michigan is the only state in the country that guarantees unlimited, lifetime personal injury protection benefits for treatment of injuries from a car accident.
Other states don't even come close, said Jeremy MacDonald, vice president of the Michigan Association of Professional Insurance Agents and president of the Mid-Michigan Agency in Alma. Florida caps PIP benefits at $10,000, for instance, and New York at $50,000.
MacDonald says an instructor at an insurance course for agents once quipped, "'I tell my wife if I have a heart attack, put me in the car and roll it into a tree.'"
Car insurance customers must buy PIP as part of the policy. PIP pays the medical bills for car accident injuries of the policyholder, family members in the household and any passengers who do not have PIP coverage. The injured person's car insurance company pays out the first $500,000 for medical treatment. Any expenses above that threshold are reimbursed by a state-created nonprofit called the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association.
A portion of everyone’s premium includes an assessment from the association, which this year is $175 per vehicle.
Last year a bill to set limits on PIP benefits failed, but legislators are expected to introduce another reform bill backed by Gov. Rick Snyder in March.
In addition to setting a cap on benefits, reform proponents have called for capping payments for medical services. Reimbursement costs for PIP claims are about three times the reimbursement costs for workers' compensation and four times the reimbursement costs for Medicare -- for the same procedures, according to the Insurance Institute of Michigan. The average PIP medical claim more than tripled to $44,138 in 2012 from $13,617 in 2000, the institute says.
Still, efforts to change the system face a tough fight from hospitals, patient advocates and some elected officials, such as Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, who was critically injured in a car crash in August. In an open letter to the public, Patterson vigorously defended the state's current auto insurance system.
The political fight is often portrayed as the "big, bad insurance companies" being stingy versus accident victims who rely on the money for survival, says Jason Verlinde, treasurer of the Michigan Association of Professional Insurance Agents and vice president of the Verlinde Insurance Agency in Richmond.
"But the people who are getting lost in the story are the ones who can't afford it," he says.
He tells of a single mom who recently scraped enough money together to buy a used car and came to see him to buy auto insurance.
"It was a great day for her because she was finally able to get transportation to change her life," he says. "But the premium was $2,600 a year for the bare-minimum coverage. That includes no collision or comprehensive, and she can't afford it."
No. 3: Georgia
Victor Hamby, president of the Professional Insurance Agents of Georgia, says the market in the Atlanta metropolitan area was "ultra competitive" from about 2003 to 2010.
Then things took a turn.
"The carriers underpriced the market, and claims caught up with them," he says. "We're seeing carriers increasing rates on auto insurance for the first time in seven or eight years, anywhere from 2 to 12 percent. We're seeing some hardening in the market."
But plenty of companies are still competing in Georgia, says Hamby, personal lines and bonds manager at Hamby & Aloisio in Atlanta.
"And that's a great thing," he says. "The regulatory environment is conducive to insurance companies writing car insurance. We're working hard to keep the marketplace in Georgia vibrant and competitive."
Donna Marcus-Doughten, president-elect of the Professional Insurance Agents of Georgia, agrees that Georgia has a healthy, competitive market. But she says traffic is terrible in the Atlanta area, which may lead to more fender-benders.
"It's bumper to bumper across six lanes," says Marcus-Doughten, vice president of Phoenix Associates in Marietta.
More from Insure.com:
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The author needs to do better research. Unlimited medical is only part of the story.
Show me the population demographics of all these states.
Could there be a coincidence? Or dependance?
I guess someone has to pay when all those illegal aliens have an accident
...just pray it doesn't happen to you or your loved ones
Viva La Raza!
Auto Insurance is nothing more than a Bunko Scam in large part. I have been in one accident in the past 50 years, no one hurt, but my premiums suggest I am in an accident about once in 5 years. Me thinks I am paying for all those (illegally) uninsured drivers. If the state requires insurance, the state needs to enforce the law-- 100% but they do not.
So let me get this straight, Louisiana, Michigan, hummmmmmm
#1 Louisiana drivers who get in accidents file more bodily injury claims than drivers in other states.
#2 Michigan is the only state in the country that guarantees unlimited, lifetime personal injury protection benefits for treatment of injuries from a car accident.
Both of these states also have the largest welfare populations, along with the highest unemployment populations......... what else do both of these states have in common........Hummmmmmm
What race hold's the record for the majority for welfare and unemployed in the USA..........?
I'm surprised New Jersey isn't on that list, ranking among the highest... Hell, there are people round these parts, who use a friend's address in PA, in order to get PA plates, just so they can avoid paying NJ state insurance premiums....
Among the things that makes NJ state insurance as high as it is, is; and when I moved from NM to NJ, the insurance agent on the phone said I would laugh when they outlined what coverages were required by state law, coverage for getting in an accident if one's a passenger ON A CITY BUS, WHILE RIDING PUBLIC TRANSPORT. What the hell does that have to do with auto insurance? Many people who depend on public transport are the elderly who can't drive anymore due to age or medical reasons (loss of eye sight, dementia, etc), or people who can't afford a car. So those with cars have to pay for what happens on a public bus, when it's the city's own driver who is responsible for the operation of their own vehicle? Umm, lol
I don't know many who consider themselves lucky when it comes to either car insurance rates here in NJ, property taxes, tolls, or some of the highest (albeit not the highest, that would go to like HI) electric rates charged by PSE&G....
The biggest differences in auto insurance is not even mentioned here. there are basically 2 types of States, "No fault" and "Liability" in a No-fault State each person's insurance pays for their own damages so if someone hits you your insurance company pays for your car. In a Liability State the person who is at fault (Caused the crash) has to pay for both vehicles. If you are involved in a crash that is not your fault it is just as if the accident never happened and your rates do not go up.
I live in Ohio ( Liability State) I have not had a ticket in over 18 years (My responibility) but have been hi 3 times in the past 10 years (Not my fault) I have 2 vehicles and carry almost full coverage on them both, my payment is $48.00 (My reward).
This article say with a 1,000 dollars deductible, I should be saving 40% ...lol
Yell, right !!
I hit a deer, My insurance would only pay 326.00 dollars.
I paid a 1,000 plus more because, I'didn't want after market parts on my New Car !!
And the adjuster was A-O ...
Hate that Pig and Lizzard !!
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