Nobody likes to pay a bigger car insurance premium than they have to. So, in order to minimize what you pay for your coverage, it's helpful to know the various criteria that car insurance companies use when deciding rates. Some of these criteria are well known. For instance, most consumers are aware that their driving record figures heavily into their car insurance rates - get into an accident or get a speeding ticket, and you'll see your premiums jump. However, many drivers are unaware that rates vary from state to state. The place you live can certainly make a big impact on the car insurance premium that you pay.
Quite a few variables in play lead to the state-to-state insurance rate discrepancy. Among the most notable is the varying levels of auto theft in different states. Auto theft is one of the most damaging claims for insurance companies, so insurance companies in states with high auto theft levels typically charge more for insurance. This is particularly true in California, Oregon and other West Coast states. Of course, high levels of traffic also contribute to the cost of a car insurance policy, as the more cars that are on the road, the higher the likelihood of an insurance claim is. Given this, it's not surprising that some of the most expensive states for car insurance are actually in the Northeast, including New Jersey and New York. Washington, D.C., is frequently listed as one of the worst possible "states" to drive in, since its entire area is metropolitan and thus drivers are more prone to accidents and theft.
The best states for good car insurance rates tend to have low traffic and low amounts of theft, so states in the Midwest and Northern United States are fairly safe in this regard. These areas have lots of rural roads, where claims resulting from accidents are less common. There's simply less cars in these areas driving around resulting in less chance for a collision. Theft levels are also very low in these rural areas. When considering locations will result in a better car insurance rate, a driver simply needs to move to a less congested, less metropolitan area.
State regulation of car insurance companies can also have an impact on a driver's car insurance premium. The more regulation, the higher the premiums. States that require more coverage for drivers will of course have higher premium averages, since logically they're forcing more as a minimum, and many drivers buy the least amount of insurance possible. To find out how car insurance rates in your state compare, consider regulation, theft and traffic. Often, the average rate is very much linked to these factors.