By Mark Kleis
Monday, Mar 14th, 2011 @ 6:43 pm
 
The latest figures have been released for expected automotive insurance rates for owners of 2011 model year vehicles, and the results show the national average is on the rise, up $131.74.

The latest hike puts the estimated annual rate at $1,561 based for a 40-year old sample male, and sees the lowest cost state of Vermont at $995, and the highest state, Michigan, at $2,541, according to Insure'sreport via MotorTrend. This means that the automotive heartland of the U.S. has nabbed its calling as the most expensive state to insure a vehicle from Louisiana after seeing a single-year hike of $443 on average.

Louisiana now comes in at an average of $2,453, and Oklahoma at $2,197 lays claim to being the third most expensive state to insure a driver in.

The insurance site says that it came to its latest conclusions after collecting auto insurance rates from six large carriers across 10 zip codes per state, and ranging across 2,400 different vehicles. Insure says that while the reason for each state's rates being higher or lower can vary dramatically based on several factors ranging from the court system, to populations, to weather, to the types of vehicles purchased, the one common and undeniable factor was the national hike in rates due to uninsured motorists.

For example, in Oklahoma, which was ranked as the third most expensive state for auto insurance, it is estimated that just shy of one in four drivers in the state were uninsured in a 2007 study. Similarly, Michigan was ranked ninth for most uninsured drivers.

What else makes Michigan unique?
Michigan didn't see a $443 rate hike just because of uninsured motorists, the state is the only one in the nation that guarantees unlimited personal injury protection payments to people injured in car accidents. That means that insurance companies can be stuck with bills of up to $480,000 per claim before a private nonprofit organization created by state law known as the Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association steps up and covers costs above and beyond that mark.

If that wasn't enough to raise rates in Michigan, insurance companies are also on the hook for three years of lost wages and replacement services as well.

So why the hike in uninsured motorists?
It's simple - they can't afford it. "It's more of an economic problem than anything else," says Marc Eagan, president-elect of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Louisiana, and president of Eagan Insurance Agency in Metairie and LaPlace, La. "They just can't afford the rates."

As the economy continues to struggle and unemployment hovers around 9 percent, the problem of uninsured motorists is not expected to go away any time soon. In fact, some analysts predict the rate of uninsured motorists could continue to climb as rates are hiked, pushing the costs even further out of reach.

Where's the best bargain?
In the great state of Vermont, of course, coming in just under $1,000 at an average cost of $995.

"Because Vermont is still not thought of as a particularly litigious state, we have a lot of auto insurance carriers vying for a fairly small piece of the pie," said John Handy, president of the Vermont Insurance Agents Association. "And despite our long hard winters, Vermont drivers are a seasoned lot. We tend to hunker down and stay off the roads."

All 50 states + D.C., most to least expensive

1. Michigan - $2541
2. Louisiana - $2453
3. Oklahoma - $2197
4. Montana - $2190
5. Washington, D.C. - $2146
6. California - $1991
7. Mississippi - $1896
8. New Mexico - $1837
9. Arkansas - $1836
10. Maryland - $1807
11. North Dakota - $1794
12. Connecticut - $1786
13. Rhode Island - $1747
14. Wyoming - $1714
15. Hawaii - $1707
16. South Dakota - $1707
17. Georgia - $1670
18. New Jersey - $1663
19. West Virginia - $1633
20. Kentucky - $1629
21. New York - $1627
22. Minnesota - $1614
23. Washington - $1584
24. Missouri - $1563
25. Indiana - $1518
26. Colorado - $1508
27. Texas - $1492
28. Delaware - $1489
29. Florida - $1476
30. Nebraska - $1470
31. Pennsylvania - $1468
32. Kansas - $1461
33. Alaska - $1454
34. New Hampshire - $1334
35. Massachusetts - $1328
36. Idaho - $1325
37. Alabama - $1306
38. Oregon - $1306
39. Nevada - $1300
40. Illinois - $1290
41. Arizona - $1280
42. Utah - $1272
43. Virginia - $1237
44. Iowa - $1179
45. North Carolina - $1154
46. Ohio - $1152
47. Tennessee - $1146
48. Wisconsin - $1128
49. Maine - $1126
50. South Carolina - $1095
51. Vermont - $995



References
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