We're are always looking for a way to save a little money. While car insurance is a necessity, there are many variables that affect the price you pay for it. Where you live could be the biggest one.
You know that your driving record is a big piece. The type of car is a big one too. The station wagon just isn't going to cost the same as the Corvette - but what about where you live? Studies from 2014 show that the state you live in is one of the biggest reasons you have affordable or outrageous auto insurance payments.
Here is a look at the 3 best and 3 worst states, based on Average Premium Cost (APC)
Lowest Premium States
Aggressive regulation of insurance companies mixed with a large number of those companies competing for your insurance business makes Ohio the winner with an average premium cost (APC) of just $926 per year. Ohio has been a constant top performer in these rankings with costs barely changing over the last decade.
Despite some less-than-ideal winter driving conditions, Maine comes in second at $964 APC. A laid back pace due to its lack of large metros helps out. Crime? Not a big factor in the lobster state. All in all, these guys just keep things relaxed and reap the rewards.
$983 APC. Why? See "Maine." When's the last time you read about a 30 car pileup or a grand auto heist in New Hampshire?
Highest Premium States
You probably thought some state with notoriously crazy drivers would take this crown, right? California perhaps? Nope, they're the 8thworst. New York with all the congestion? Shockingly, the Big Apple is a very respectable 42nd worst (or 10th best) on the list with an APC of just $1,173. So who what are the costliest states?
Now what is a nice, laid-back southern state doing this high on the list? Fallout from over-zealous pricing and stingy drivers during the recession have come back to haunt the state. Prices couldn't stay the course and underinsured drivers having accidents created a big upswing in prices. Throw in a couple of uncharacteristically harsh winters and you have a recipe for high rates. Georgia comes in at $2,201 APC
Weather and uninsured drivers play a part here too, but they're not the biggest reason that West Virginia comes in second with $2,518 per APC. It's roadkill mayhem in the Mountain State. A huge population of deer has led to astounding numbers of car accidents. Is it any wonder that West Virginia also holds West Virginia Roadkill Cook-off? When life hands you lemons . . .
This northern state nestled in amongst the Great Lakes seems like an unlikely candidate for this spot. However, laws requiring Personal Injury Protection (PIP) with nearly limitless payouts create a very high premium. It doesn't help that as many as 50% of drivers in the Detroit area are estimated to be uninsured. Crime rates in the city are consistently among the nation's worst as well. Residents of Michigan pay for all of this to the tune of $2,551 in premiums each year.
Lowering Your Premium, No Matter Where You Live
Even if you're located in one of the high APC states, you have options to optimize your auto insurance coverage. Here are a few tips to help out.
Drive the Right Car
Maybe you don't want to switch cars right now, and that's okay. However, if you're driving a GMC Yukon, would you consider trading it in for a Ford Explorer if it meant an extra few hundred dollars per year in savings? Know what vehicles are affordable to insure and which ones come with heftier insurance price tags and you'll be saving right away.
Only Cover What You Need
While it's essential to know and follow your state's minimum coverage laws, what you do beyond that is up to you. Are you in a lot of stop and go traffic? Make sure you're covered for those possible fender benders. The trick is to get coverage that actually makes sense for your driving life. You may not need everything the insurance company offers.
Drive Less, Pay Less
Did you move jobs this year so your commute went from 20 miles a day to just 10? Make sure you tell your insurance company about that! The less you expect to drive in a year, the less you'll pay. It's a small thing, but it helps.
Ask For Discounts
Ask your insurance company to go over possible discounts with you. Multi-car, good student or antitheft devices are just a few examples. Even your payment method may help you save a few dollars.
Change Deductibles, Change Premiums
A low deductible feels like a nice warm, comforting blanket. You know that an accident won't leave you scrambling to come up with an unreasonable amount of money. However, you are, in a way, paying that money; you're just doing it by way of higher premiums. Are you able to save a few hundred dollars in a savings account for emergencies? By doing that and bumping your coverage to a higher deductible, you can keep that money and only use it if necessary. Why give it away?
Review Your Coverage Annually
Over the course of a year, many things can change. Touch base with your insurance company to see if there are any new discounts or laws that will affect your coverage. Then, compare your findings with other agencies to see if you can find even better deals out there. While there are quite a few factors that you can't control when it comes to your car insurance, there are also many that you can adjust to better fit your budget. If you happen to live in one of the most expensive states, a thoughtful approach to your insurance coverage could mean big savings for you and your family.