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New Jersey Back On Top Among Costliest States For Auto Insurance

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- New Jersey has returned to the top of the list for the costliest auto insurance in America, according to a report issued Monday.

As CBS2's Lou Young reported, many drivers in the Garden State were not surprised.

"Maybe we're bad drivers," said Joe Rimaldi of Hackensack. "I don't know."

Locally, the list – compiled by the Association of Insurance Commissioners – shapes up this way. Connecticut motorists pay an average of $626 per year, New York state drivers weigh in at just under $780, and New Jersey takes the prize with $860.54 per year.

Shelly Krueger moved to New Jersey from Georgia, and said she nearly fainted from sticker shock.

"Over double," said Krueger, now of Jersey City.

Auto insurance has always been on the pricey side in New Jersey -- close or at the top of the expense list. The difference between first and third place amounts to perhaps $100 per year.

And as for the state's return to number one, drivers were it that in stride.

"It's just how it is," said Dawn Lenahan of East Rutherford. "It's crowded here. There's going to be accidents. There's going to be high insurance."

"No, I'm not surprised at all," added Victor Nieves of East Brunswick. "You ever drive up and down the Turnpike? People go 80 miles per hour like it's the speed limit."

The experts also said New Jersey has the largest percentage of its population living in densely-populated urban areas.

Repairs in New Jersey also cost a lot, and people are more likely to get sued if they have an accident.

Drivers, however, can catch a break by shopping for discounts. Good driving records, use of mass transit to reduce mileage, and higher deductibles will save you on the premium – as will a cheaper car.

"If you're only driving to and from the train station a mile or two -- if that's what you're driving -- then you might want to consider a less expensive car," said Joanne Salvatore of the Insurance Information Institute.

Insurers said people in the Tri-State Area tend to drive more expensive vehicles that cost more to fix.

New Jersey, New York and Connecticut all placed among the top 10 most expensive states on the list. The lowest auto insurance costs in the country are in Iowa, at roughly $290 per year.

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