Most drivers know that owning a car is an expensive venture, with costs like maintenance, state taxes, fuel, and even depreciation eating up one's budget. Car insurance premiums are another expense that motorists must endure, and in this stagnant economy, the ever increasing cost of protection is a hard pill to swallow. Such is the case for residents in the District of Columbia, New Jersey, and Louisiana who are paying the highest car insurance rates in the country, according to a November 2008 report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Car insurance premiums are often based on factors such as age, occupation, marital status, medical condition, and geographic location. Drivers in Washington D.C., a major urban area, are hit with understandably higher car insurance premiums than, say, a driver living in rural Vermont because of the increased likelihood of car theft, vandalism, and a higher density of traffic. In both New Jersey and Louisiana, teen drivers are being socked with the highest car insurance rates. According to a recent report from the Ratewatch Report, published by Insurance.com, New Jersey teens pay approximately $6,200 per year for their car insurance policy, while young Louisianans pay a whopping $7,900.
Uninsured drivers are also inadvertently jacking up the cost of car insurance for responsible drivers in these states. According to the NAIC, approximately 600,000 drivers in New Jersey alone are hitting the roads without insurance. Car insurance companies know that sooner or later some of them will be involved in a major road accident, thereby increasing the car insurance premiums for all. Perhaps the primary reason behind much of the high car insurance rates is that all three states have high coverage requirements. According to the NAIC study, the total average car insurance premium in 2006 for D.C. residents was approximately $1,187 per year; $1,185 for New Jersey residents; and Louisiana drivers paid an approximate $1,078 in coverage per year.
So, is it possible for residents in all three states to acquire cheap car insurance rates? Many companies are giving drivers the opportunity to take online driving courses, similar to refresher courses in defensive driving, that will help reduce their rates. They include I Drive Safely, USA Training Company, Inc., American Safety, Inc., the American Safety Council, and the National Point and Insurance Reduction Course, Inc. The American Automobile Association also offers classes, which are approved by the Department of Motor Vehicles in each state. Teen drivers can reduce their car insurance rates by obtaining the "good student" classification from a driving instructor, which can often result in a 15 percent savings. Consumers should also comparison shop, say several industry experts.