No. 49: Iowa

Iowa's rural sensibilities help keep rates down in the Hawkeye State, insurance agents say. The population of Des Moines, the largest city, is about 200,000.

"I don't think we're as rushed to do things," observes Paul Pohlson, president of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa and vice president of Ramsey Weeks in Grinnell.

"I look at other cities I travel to, and I just think we have fewer accidents because people seem to slow down here. Maybe we don't have as much road rage."

In small towns like Grinnell, where Pohlson works, "I'm probably going to know the person that I hit or who hits me in an accident."

People aren't quick to sue one another over car accidents in Iowa, and the culture is fairly conservative, says Terry McDonald, president-elect of the Independent Insurance Agents of Iowa and executive vice president of A.W. Welt Ambrisco Insurance Inc. in Iowa City.

"It's not as easy to win over a jury as it can be in another state," he says.

No. 50: Maine

 

"I do think Maine being so rural is a factor in low rates," says Sheila Sawyer, president of the Maine Insurance Agents Association and an agent with Carl M.P. Larrabee Agency Inc. in Wiscasset. "We just don't have much city driving, and people learn to drive in all types of weather."

Maine's tight restrictions on young drivers and its graduated licensing program for new drivers also likely help keep accidents (and rates) down, Sawyer says.

Teens have to complete a state-approved driver education course before they can apply for a learner's permit, and they go through a three-step graduated licensing system which lets them get driving experience under lower-risk conditions. A driver under 18 with an "intermediate license," for instance, can't carry passengers other than immediate family members or drive between midnight and 5 a.m.

See how all 50 states and the District of Columbia rank at Insure.com.

Survey methodology

Insure.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to provide auto insurance rates for more than 750 car models from six large carriers (Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm) in 10 ZIP codes per state. Rates were compiled in December 2012.

We then averaged rates for all vehicles in each state to create the rankings. Rates are for comparative purposes within the same model year.

Rates are based on insurance 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 rates will depend on individual driver factors.

Top 5 most expensive states for car insurance

Rank

State

Average annual premium

1

Louisiana

 $2,699

2

Michigan

 $2,520

3

Georgia

 $2,155

4

Oklahoma

 $2,074

5

Montana

 $1,914

Least expensive states

46

New Hampshire

$1,112

47

Ohio

$1,106

48

North Carolina

$1,085

49

Iowa

$1,028

50

Maine

$934

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