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Auto insurance premium has lot to do with where you live

Mississippi ranks No. 27 in auto insurance premiums

How much you pay for automobile insurance depends on your ZIP code.

Whether you move from the suburbs to the city, from one side of town to the other or even a few blocks away, the relationship between your ZIP code and your auto insurance premium has much to do with the rate you pay.

Detroit has the nation’s most expensive average annual auto insurance premiums at a whopping $5,072, with the next most expensive found in Philadelphia, Pa., at $3,779 per year.

The best auto insurance rate in America can be found in rural Wisconsin.  Drivers residing in the city of Eau Claire have benefit of the nation’s least expensive insurance at $869 annually.

In Mississippi, the average 2009 auto insurance premium for residents is $1,506, well below the national average of $1,807.

Despite increases in auto insurance rates in several areas of the country, rates in Mississippi are holding steady, according to a metro Jackson area insurance agent.

“There is a soft market in the state right now,” said Keith Hawsey, a Nationwide Insurance agent.  “We haven’t seen the increases in rates that may be occurring elsewhere.  It changes from year-to-year.”  

Drivers in the Dallas area have seen their insurance rates jump by double digits from a year ago, according to new figures compiled by the Texas Department of Insurance.      

In the six Dallas County ZIP codes, the average annual rates for liability coverage ranged from $556 to $574 for a married male drive age 25 to 65 who uses his car to drive to and from work.    

The most common factors that determine a driver’s insurance rate according to industry website Autoinsurancetips.com are: driving record; number of miles driven; where you live; age of the driver; type of car owned; amount of coverage; and, credit.

In the Magnolia State, auto insurance companies also can use personal credit history to determine rates and offers for products.

Hawsey’s advice to those seeking automobile insurance is three-fold.

“Make sure to ask about what types of claims a company will serve and always get quotes from several companies before choosing,” he said.  “And, always ask about multi-line discounts, such as packages to cover your home, automobile and life.” 

 Some important Mississippi auto insurance laws for drivers to remember:

• The State of Mississippi requires that all motorists carry the minimum liability auto insurance coverage

• The minimum liability coverage that a driver must carry in order to operate a motor vehicle in the State of Mississippi is $25,000 bodily injury liability per person in an accident, $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident and $25,000 property damage liability

• All Mississippi motorists must carry proof of insurance in the vehicle at all times.

• If a driver is caught without insurance or proof of insurance, they can be fined $1,000 for the first offense and license suspended for one year or until proof of insurance is provided.  Penalties increase on the second and subsequent offenses.

 Donna Cromeans, public relations director for the Mississippi Insurance Department, said the most frequently asked questions the agency receives about auto insurance include:

• Do I have to buy uninsured motorist coverage?  “No, it is an optional coverage to compensate you for damages you are legally entitled to recover from the operator of an uninsured motor vehicle for bodily injury/physical damage.  However, the coverage will be applied to a policy unless it is rejected in writing by the named insured when a policy is written.”

• Can I require the insurance company to replace my car?  “The personal auto policy is not a replacement policy.  Coverage for your car is based on actual cash value.  The actual cash value of your car is based on the value of your car at the time of the accident, taking into account its current market value.  Therefore, the insurance company’s obligation is to repair the car based upon its actual cash value, not its replacement cost.”

• What is meant by aftermarket parts?  “Auto repair shops may use aftermarket and/or used parts when repairing or replacing a damaged part.  Aftermarket parts are produced by companies other than the original equipment manufacturers.”

• Does my auto insurance policy have a grace period?  “Unlike health insurance policies, auto insurance policies do not have a required grace period.  The premium is due, at the insurance company, on the date identified on the premium notice.  If the premium is not received by that date, the policy automatically terminates or lapses.”

n What is the difference between collision and comprehensive coverage?  “Collision covers accidental loss or damage to your vehicle due to a collision with an object, another vehicle or if the vehicle rolls over.  Comprehensive covers losses named in the policy that are not collision losses.  Examples of comprehensive losses include: vandalism, theft, fire and hail.”


Most expensive states for auto insurance

1. District of Columbia $1342.80

2. New Jersey $1336.20

3. New York $1262.50

4. Louisiana $1230.40

5. Rhode Island $1223.60

6. Massachusetts $1201.00

7. Alaska $1151.60

8. Florida $1148.30

9. Delaware $1120.30

10. Nevada $1117.70


Least expensive states for auto insurance

1. Iowa $664.20

2. Wisconsin $696.90

3. Idaho $708.00

4.North Dakota $722.10

5. South Dakota $723.10

6. North Carolina $730.80

7. Kansas $750.30

8. Maine $751.30

9. Ohio $754.90

10. Indiana $758.80


Middle of the road

25. New Mexico $909.20

26. Kentucky $898.00

27. Mississippi $894.00

28. Minnesota $886.70

29. South Carolina $875.20


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