In an interview with Insurance.com, independent insurance agent and partner P.J. Miller noted that auto insurance rates vary by state for many reasons.
"Typically, there are different legal mandates or requirements that are more liberal to the injured party, making it easier to receive a greater settlement [thereby raising costs for the insurance company]," Miller says. "Lower labor rates, lower parts prices for vehicles, lower sales tax rates, fewer vehicles on the road, and mandatory auto insurance are a few of the factors that tend to keep rates down."
One factor that might surprise drivers is their credit score. Nearly every state allows insurers to base their rates at least partially on a person’s credit history.
"Most carriers use credit as a portion of the rate-setting process, where permitted by law. While it is supposed to be a portion of the rate calculation, most believe it plays a significant role in determining price," Miller said. "There are countless other factors that enter into the behind-the-scenes formulation that make it almost impossible to know exactly why you pay, or are quoted, the final rate."
Sticking to the state minimum will limit your costs, but it will also increase your risk. Miller commented that states typically have an incredibly low minimum mandatory limit. “Keep in mind that $25,000 doesn’t go far in crashes.”
When you shop for car insurance, first determine what level of coverage suits your needs.
Depending on the age of your vehicle, you might not need comprehensive and collision coverage. Miller also advised the following:
Combine your coverage: Bundle auto coverage with your home or renters’ insurance policy: Showing your loyalty to one insurer could help you land a discount, especially if you have multiple policies. Renew your plan early and you could get a discount, as well.
Be a good driver: "Speeding tickets can dramatically impact your rates," Miller said. Being a safe driver can lower your car insurance by 5% typically. Driving fewer miles a year will also reduce your rate.