LAS VEGAS -- Nevada is frequently mentioned as an expensive place to buy auto insurance but a study released today by the website Insure.com reached a different conclusion.
In a ranking based on December premiums Nevada placed 40th among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., with an average premium of $1,223, less than half the $2,536 average found in top-ranked Louisiana.
Those results were quite different than the ones released in January by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, which ranked Nevada as 8th most expensive with average premiums of $1,073.
Like Insure.com, the association ranked Louisiana as the most expensive state for auto insurance. But the two reports used different methodology and the results produced radically different rankings for some states, including Nevada.
The Insure.com study was based on rates for a single, 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work daily, with $100,000 coverage for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries, $50,000 for property damage in an accident, and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. Researchers also factored in more than 900 vehicle models to calculate the average premium in each state.
The association, which represents insurance regulators, calculated the average costs of liability, collision and comprehensive coverage's. The 2009 data was the latest available for those calculations.
Insure.com, which is based in Foster City, Calif., and owned by publicly traded Internet marketing and media company QuinStreet, is frequently quoted in the national media.
Nevada ranked 34th by Insure.com in 2010 and 39th in 2011, suggesting that Nevada is becoming less expensive for car insurance in relation to other states. But the association ranked Nevada among the top 10 most expensive for insurance each year from 2005 through 2009.
Among the factors that go into the cost of premiums in a given state are the number of uninsured drivers, insurance laws, level of competition among carriers and the role severe weather plays on claims, the website stated.
Other factors that contribute to different costs in each state, as cited by the association, include types and relative amounts of coverage's, accident rates, traffic and population density, vehicle theft rates, auto repair costs, medical and legal costs and per capita disposable income.
Insure.com reported that Louisiana is expensive because its auto insurance claims below $50,000 go before elected judges but not juries and those judges tend to rule against the insurers. Oklahoma, ranked second with average premiums of $2,047, is expensive because it has a high number of storm-related claims, the website reported.
"Many of these problems are outside the control of drivers," website spokeswoman Amy Danise said. "But even if you live in an expensive state, you can hold down your insurance costs by keeping your driving record as clean as possible and selecting a car that is cheap to insure."
Insure.com also reported that the least expensive vehicle to insure is the four-cylinder Toyota Sienna LE, with a national average premium of $1,111. On the upper end of the scale is the 10-cylinder Audi R8 Spyder Quattro convertible, which costs an average $3,384 to insure.