Save on Car Insurance: Best and Worst States

Last Updated Apr 13, 2010 11:18 AM EDT

Auto insurance in Louisiana costs almost three times as much as it does in Maine, says a new study from Insure.com. The average premium in Louisiana is $2,511; in Maine it is $903. Other high-cost states include Michigan, Oklahoma and Montana; cheaper ones are Wisconsin, Ohio and Vermont. The national average auto premium is $1,429.

High insurance rates show up in states that are litigious and hard driving, says the study's authors. You can't do much about that, nor is it likely you'll trade the south for New England just because car coverage costs less. But there are steps you can take to cut your own insurance costs. Here's how.
  • Drive a soccer mom car. The flashier the car, the higher the premiums, according to a ranking of insurance costs by car. In 2010, you'll pay $2,533 to cover the supercharged Jaguar XKR but only $1,095 for the Honda Odyssey. That's not just because the Honda is cheaper to fix. It's because, on average, those Jaguar drivers are putting on more miles and driving faster than the carpool-driving mom who's probably behind the wheel of the Odyssey.
  • Raise your deductibles. Insurance is meant to cover the costs you can't afford. So save every month by raising your deductible to $1,000. If you're driving an old beater, you could drop your collision coverage (which pays for your car to be fixed) altogether.
  • Grab every discount. Like the ads say, "There's a discount for that." You can cut your premiums if you are older, belong to a professional association, buy your homeowners insurance from the same company, or work in a low-risk occupation like engineering. (We hear that they are careful drivers.)
  • Comparison shop. Use online brokers like Insure.com and Insurance.com, and compare their quotes with companies like Geico and Progressive that sell directly to consumers.
Those four moves will save you big bucks, and you won't have to move to Maine. Though it's lovely at this time of year.
More on MoneyWatch: Photo by KB35 at Flickr
  • Linda Stern

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