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Your record matters, but where you live may have an even bigger impact on what you pay for insurance.

While it might not get you to pick up and move, a new study reveals a big gap in what you’ll pay for auto insurance depending upon what state you live in. Maine is, by far, the cheapest place to get coverage, while you’ll pay nearly twice the national average if your car is registered in Michigan.

A number of factors influence the insurance rates a motorist will pay, even for two motorists driving the same vehicle, noted website, which averaged rates for the 20 best-selling vehicles across the country, comparing rates from six major insurance carriers.

“The car you drive matters, of course,” said consumer analyst Penny Gusner. “But where you live usually matters more.”

Among the factors that can influence your insurance rates are theft and fraud. Motorists also pay more when they live in urban areas where claims tend to be higher.

But Gusner noted that, “Laws (also) make a big difference. Each state makes its own rules, and some of them result in bigger or more frequent insurance claims.”

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Michigan, for example, not only has a no-fault insurance law but is the only state which provides for unlimited personal injury protection. That lifetime coverage tends to drive up costs in the event of a crash exponentially.

Michigan drivers, on average, are paying $2,476 a year for standard insurance coverage, 89% more than the national average of $1,311. A separate study, conducted last autumn by Quadrant Information Services for, found that metro Detroiters had the highest insurance costs of any major metropolitan area in the U.S., at around $2,650 annually, or 165% above the national average.

That study found that motorists in the Charlotte, North Carolina region were paying about 43% less than average, the lowest of any metropolitan region.

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But on a statewide basis, you’ll head for the rural state of Maine if you want to keep your car insurance premiums down to a minimum. There, motorists are paying an average $805 annually, or 39% below the national average.

The study suggests that rural parts of the country tend to have lower costs than more populous and industrial states, but that’s far from a hard-and-fast rule.

Ohio, which includes population centers like Cleveland and Cincinnati, and plenty of major manufacturing sites, was second-lowest according to the new study, at an average $843 in annual auto insurance premiums, or 36% below the national figure. Idaho, Iowa and New Hampshire, in order, round out the top five, each running at least 30% below the national average.

At the other extreme, Montana has the second-highest auto insurance costs in the country, at $1,886 a year, or 44% above the national average. And Louisiana comes in at 48th among the 50 states and Washington, DC, at $1,774 a year, and 35% above average.

Within individual states, of course, insurance costs can vary widely, as those living in Detroit itself are quick to point out.

“Your driving record and your car are the same no matter where you live,”’s Gusner noted, “but change your ZIP code just a couple of towns the wrong way and your rates can double.”

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