According to a just-released ranking of state-by-state costs from the web site Insure.com, average rates in the most expensive state—Michigan—are two and half times as high as in the cheapest state, Vermont…
After Michigan, where the average rate is $2,541 a year, the second-highest rates are in Louisiana, where drivers pay an average of $2,453. Three other states had average rates above $2,000 a year: Oklahoma, Montana, and Washington, D.C.
No surprise to see Mississippi or Louisiana at the top of the list of states ranked by auto insurance rates – but it was somewhat surprising to see the reasoning in the story:
The high rates are roughly correlated with the proportion of uninsured drivers in a state, often in violation of state law. Uninsured drivers still have accidents, and their liability and personal injury costs are passed on to the rest of the state’s drivers through higher insurance rates. In Oklahoma, nearly one-quarter of drivers on the road are uninsured. Economically hard-hit Michigan had 17% of drivers with no insurance and Louisiana 12%. “It’s an economic problem. They just can’t afford the rates,” says Marc Eagan, president-elect of the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of Louisiana. (emphasis added)
Mr. Eagan understands what the Mississippi Legislature must not comprehend – the relationship between the cost of insurance and economy. Hold your tag! Mississippi Senate Passes Auto Insurance Verification Law:
Uninsured drivers could face various penalties under the new legislation, including a suspended driver’s license and a fine of up to $500. The bill also gives tax assessors and tax collectors the authority to deny vehicle license plates to motorists who are uninsured.
So, in a state with the nation’s “lowest per-person personal income — $31,186 — just over three-quarters of the national figure”, the choice is clearly gas or auto insurance.
Actually, according to the “You Work, You Ride” sign in the car lot, the choice for the average Mississippian is going to be between walking to work or not working. HB620 is on the Governor’s desk.