If you live in Iowa, consider yourself lucky when it comes to cheap car insurance -- at an average of $631 a year, you paid the lowest premiums in the country in 2009.
But if you reside in Louisiana, the news isn't so fortunate -- the state known for great jazz, food and football has the distinction as the most expensive state when it comes to coverage. A policy came with an average price of $1,270 in 2009.
What did the typical motorist pay for car insurance on a nationwide basis? About $901 a year.
These numbers come from the "Auto Insurance Database Report 2008/2009," just released by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The report, representing the most recent data collected by the association, is considered the authority in such pricing and provides "necessary information and analysis to insurance regulators, consumers and policymakers" from coast to coast, according to the NAIC.
Here are the 10 most expensive places for coverage, based on the NAIC's 2009 and 2008 figures:
The 10 least expensive states, according to the NAIC's 2009 and 2008 statistics, are:
Here's what motorists in a few other states paid in 2009:
The good news, says the NAIC, is that national average rate dropped slightly from an average of $955 for each driver in 2005 to $901 in 2009. The typical policy was $903 in 2008 and $914 in 2007.
Vanessa Sink, communications specialist for the NAIC, says it's a challenge to compare auto insurance rates by state because each state has its own consumer requirements for buying policies, including minimum limits for liability and other coverage. Other factors, she points out, are benefit limits, underwriting costs, accident rates, theft figures and auto repair costs.
"Remember that insurance is regulated at the state level and each state makes its own regulations about what is considered (adequate) coverage," Sink says. "Therefore, insurance policies can vary greatly from state to state."
The report also notes that auto thefts fell nationally. In 2006, there were 4.37 reported thefts for every 1,000 registered vehicles. In 2008, there were 3.2 thefts per 1,000.
Here are the theft rates in a handful of major states, according to the NAIC:
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