Best and Worst States for Car Insurance: Does Safety Matter?

Insurance.com publishes a monthly listing of car insurance rates.  We thought you might like to see March results.

We also thought it might be interesting to see if safe drivers as measured by the annual GMAC driver safety study had a measurable benefit in insurance rates.

The Best State for Car Insurance is Vermont with an estimated annual premium of $1,304.  It ranks 18 in the GMAC Safe Driver Study.  The 4 other Best States for Car Insurance, i.e. the lowest premiums, are Ohio, Iowa, Wisconsin and Idaho.  The safest state of the top 5 according to GMAC is Idaho with a safe driver rank of 4.  The safest driver state, Kansas, ranks 22 in car insurance premiums.

The Worst State for Car Insurance,( we put DC in a world of its own), is Louisiana with a premium of $2617 more than double that of Vermont!!!  It also ranks 44 on the GMAC Safe Driver Study.  New Jersey the Worst State for Safe Driving in the US has one of the highest car insurance rates rate just below Louisiana.  Rounding out the Worst States for Car Insurance are Delaware, Rhode Island and Pennsylvania.  All these state rate below average in the GMAC study.

Of the popular retirement states Tennessee is best rated for low premiums at 11.  Arizona at 25 and Florida at 36 are more middle of the pack

Car Insurance rates have dropped over the last 6 months yet are still higher than a year ago.  From a look of the list it appears that drivers who know the rules of the road benefit from safer roads and lower car insurance premiums.  It may be beneficial for insurance companies to offer discounts to drivers who take a car exam annually that demonstrates they know the rules of the road.

State Premium $$ Change % Change Safe Rank
1 VT $1,304 $47 3.70% 18
2 OH $1,320 $1 0.10% 26
3 IA $1,335 ($32) -2.30% 9
4 WI $1,348 ($28) -2.00% 12
5 ID $1,396 $14 1.00% 4
6 ME $1,406 $59 4.30% 31
7 NH $1,504 ($64) -4.10% 30
8 IN $1,528 $25 1.70% 11
9 SD $1,550 $97 6.70% 6
10 IL $1,559 $19 1.20% 32
11 TN $1,563 $1 0.00% 33
12 MT $1,573 ($39) -2.40% 15
13 NC $1,577 ($42) -2.60% 22
14 OR $1,586 ($23) -1.40% 8
15 AL $1,611 $29 1.80% 15
16 CO $1,611 ($28) -1.70% 15
17 NE $1,625 $91 5.90% 3
18 GA $1,626 ($46) -2.70% 47
19 MO $1,629 $5 0.30% 14
20 SC $1,638 ($24) -1.50% 39
21 VA $1,667 ($78) -4.50% 40
22 KS $1,668 $4 0.30% 1
23 ND $1,722 $58 3.50% 21
24 MN $1,728 $97 5.90% 5
25 AZ $1,739 ($93) -5.10% 36
26 CA $1,813 ($15) -0.80% 33
27 NM $1,845 ($16) -0.90% 22
28 UT $1,864 ($35) -1.90% 13
29 WA $1,882 $34 1.80% 9
30 OK $1,900 $54 2.90% 22
31 TX $1,921 ($55) -2.80% 18
32 AR $1,929 $17 0.90% 6
33 WY $1,934 $16 0.90% 2
34 MS $1,953 $19 1.00% 46
35 KY $1,984 ($52) -2.60% 29
36 FL $2,015 $8 0.40% 28
37 MI $2,076 ($49) -2.30% 18
38 CT $2,095 ($56) -2.60% 33
39 WV $2,095 $76 3.80% 43
40 NV $2,142 ($40) -1.90% 36
41 MD $2,144 ($48) -2.20% 42
42 PA $2,248 $65 3.00% 36
43 RI $2,356 ($32) -1.30% 41
44 DE $2,520 $11 0.40% 26
45 NJ $2,556 $14 0.50% 51
46 LA $2,617 $3 0.10% 44
47 DC $2,862 ($18) -0.60% 50
48 NY n/a 49
49 MA n/a 48
50 HI n/a 45
51 AK n/a 6

Source:

Are Business Friendly States Best for Jobs?

Editors Note:  If you are looking for a Best State for Jobs start your search with our latest posts:

 

Which States had the Best Employment Markets in 2009? Will 2010 Job Market Improve?

Best States for Job Openings September 2009

Best States for Job Openings and Where to find a Job

For the August 2009 list of Best States for Employment see Best and Worst States for Employment

Click on the category Best and Worst States for Jobs on the right navigation for our collection of articles on Jobs.

In our Job Openings post you will see the trends by state in job openings and what states are currently experiencing increased job openings.  We also have published the List of Job Openings by State

******Editor’s Note:  The rest of this post was published in April 2009 Go to  Best and Worst States   for our latest  *********************

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the March State Unemployment rates this week.   For our August 2009 listing and analysis of Best States for Job Openings click

We now have 8 states with unemployment above 10%.  Michigan is the Worst State for Jobs with an unemployment rate of 12.6%. Oregon is also very bad for jobs with a rate of 12.1%.  California, our most populated state, has an unemployment of 11.2% meaning that 1 out of 9 people are out of work. South Carolina also is a Worst State for Jobs with unemployment of 11.4%.

The  Best State for Jobs in March was North Dakota at 4.2%.  The other Top 5 States for Jobs were Wyoming at 4.5%, Nebraska at 4.6%, South Dakota at 4.9%.  Iowa and Utah were tied for fifth with 5.2% unemployment.

We thought we would take a look this month also at how states that are ranked for small business are doing on the job front.  In theory the better the small business environment the better the job environment.  We used the recently released SBEC report.  See: Best and Worst States for Small Business

The data shows that the Best States for Small Business are not all the Best States for Jobs at this moment.  5 of the top 10 Best States for Small Business, for example, have below average i.e. higher, unemployment. 45th ranked Iowa for example has the 4th best employment in the U.S.

As mentioned in the previous post, the SBEC index is primarily a tax based system and high or lower taxes are not the only reason companies grow and create jobs.  It would appear intuitive over time business friendly states should create more business and jobs. We will continue to watch this during the cycle as the better states may grow first and faster.

           Small
Rank State %Unemp  Biz Rank
1 NORTH DAKOTA 4.2 36
2 WYOMING 4.5 3
3 NEBRASKA 4.6 40
4 SOUTH DAKOTA 4.9 1
5 IOWA 5.2 45
5 UTAH 5.2 24
7 LOUISIANA 5.8 26
8 NEW MEXICO 5.9 27
8 OKLAHOMA 5.9 15
10 KANSAS 6.1 33
10 MONTANA 6.1 31
12 NEW HAMPSHIRE 6.2 25
13 ARKANSAS 6.5 23
14 TEXAS 6.7 5
15 VIRGINIA 6.8 16
16 MARYLAND 6.9 35
16 WEST VIRGINIA 6.9 39
18 IDAHO 7 41
19 HAWAII 7.1 37
20 VERMONT 7.2 43
21 COLORADO 7.5 8
21 CONNECTICUT 7.5 30
23 DELAWARE 7.7 21
24 ARIZONA 7.8 17
24 MASSACHUSETTS 7.8 42
24 NEW YORK 7.8 46
24 PENNSYLVANIA 7.8 29
28 MAINE 8.1 48
29 MINNESOTA 8.2 49
30 NEW JERSEY 8.3 50
31 ALASKA 8.5 7
31 WISCONSIN 8.5 32
33 MISSOURI 8.7 14
34 ALABAMA 9 9
35 ILLINOIS 9.1 18
36 GEORGIA 9.2 19
36 WASHINGTON 9.2 4
38 MISSISSIPPI 9.4 12
39 TENNESSEE 9.6 13
40 FLORIDA 9.7 6
40 OHIO 9.7 10
42 DC 9.8 51
42 KENTUCKY 9.8 28
44 INDIANA 10 22
45 NEVADA 10.4 2
46 RHODE ISLAND 10.5 44
47 NORTH CAROLINA 10.8 38
48 CALIFORNIA 11.2 47
49 SOUTH CAROLINA 11.4 11
50 OREGON 12.1 34
51 MICHIGAN 12.6 20

2009 Best and Worst States for Small Business

The Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council (SBEC)issued this week its 2009 Index of Best and Worst States for Entrepreneurship and Small Business.

According to the report,  the Index pulls together 16 different tax measures, and combines those into one tax score that allows the 50 states and District of Columbia to be compared and ranked.

The 16 measures are: 1) state’s top personal income tax rate, 2) state’s top individual capital
gains tax rate, 3) state’s top corporate income tax rate, 4) state’s top corporate capital gains tax
rate, 5) any added income tax on S-Corporations, 6) whether or not the state imposes an
alternative minimum tax on individuals, 7) whether or not the state imposes an alternative
minimum tax on corporations, 8) whether or not the state’s personal income tax brackets are
indexed for inflation, 9) property taxes, 10) consumption-based taxes (i.e., sales, gross receipts
and excise taxes), 11) whether or not the state imposes a death tax, 12) unemployment tax, 13)
whether or not the state has a tax limitation mechanism, 14) whether or not the state imposes an
Internet access tax, 15) gas tax, and 16) diesel tax.

The report is full of useful information.  While taxes are not the only factor in determining the Best or Worst State to Grow or Start a Business, they are a very important consideration.

The Best State for Small Business is South Dakota according to the Index.  The next 4 in order are Nevada, Wyoming, Washington and Texas.

The Worst State for Small Business is New Jersey if you do not count D.C.  Rounding out the Worst 5 States in order are Minnesota, Maine, California and New York. 

The States are currently increasing many of their taxes to address deficit issues.  Look for California and New York to rank even worse as they are loading up on all kinds of new taxes.  Texas which ranks high in many studies is the best large state.  Florida also has many attractive features and is ranked 6 in the study.

Go to the full report here for more info:

State

Index

1. South Dakota 11.10
2. Nevada 11.88
3. Wyoming 14.14
4. Washington 15.79
5. Texas 15.81
6. Florida 22.42
7. Alaska 24.91
8. Colorado 26.87
9. Alabama 28.13
10. Ohio 28.50
11. South Carolina 29.42
12. Mississippi 29.70
13. Tennessee 30.52
14. Missouri 31.42
15. Oklahoma 31.67
16. Virginia 32.26
17. Arizona 32.36
18. Illinois 33.66
19. Georgia 33.98
20. Michigan 34.54
21. Delaware 35.00
22. Indiana 35.05
23. Arkansas 35.12
24. Utah 35.39
25. New Hampshire 35.50
26. Louisiana 35.68
27. New Mexico 35.74
28. Kentucky 35.89
29. Pennsylvania 36.26
30. Connecticut 37.75
31. Montana 38.01
32. Wisconsin 38.21
33. Kansas 39.05
34. Oregon 39.23
35. Maryland 39.38
36. North Dakota 39.48
37. Hawaii 39.88
38. North Carolina 41.03
39. West Virginia 41.27
40. Nebraska 42.09
41. Idaho 43.08
42. Massachusetts 44.60
43. Vermont 44.86
44. Rhode Island 45.64
45. Iowa 49.15
46. New York 49.36
47. California 49.69
48. Maine 49.86
49. Minnesota 50.79
50. New Jersey 51.09
51.Dist. Of Columbia 58.32

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Best and Worst States for Seatbelt Usage, Michigan Best, Massachusetts Worst

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently released 2008 data on State seat belt usage.

The Best State for Seatbelt Usage is Michigan with a 97.2% usage.  The other top 5 Best States are Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and California.

The Worst State for Seatbelt Usage is Massachusetts with only a 66.8% usage.  The other Worst 5 States are Wyoming, New Hampshire, Arkansas and Mississippi.

These stats tend to get wide publicity and embolden states to take more action against citizens who do not use seat belts.

22 states do not allow police officers to stop motorists for not wearing a seat belt.  Primary States, those that allow stopping drivers for no seat belts, tend to have the highest seat belt usage.

According to a 2001 study of US crash data, it was found that previous estimates of seat belt effectiveness had been significantly overstated. According to the analysis used, seat belts were claimed to have decreased fatalities by 1.35% for each 10% increase in seat belt use.  Many drivers would prefer not to be pulled over for lack of seat belt usage.  Should we be asking our limited police departments to pull over drivers for not using seat belts? Are there more important “crimes” that our police should be pursuing?  Are drivers in Massachusetts that much more dangerous than Michigan?
See:

‘The Effects of Mandatory Seat Belt Laws on Driving Behavior and Traffic Fatalities’ by Alma Cohen and Liran Einav at Harvard Law School      
State Seat Belt use %Change
1 Michigan 97.20% 3.50%
2 Hawaii 97.00% -0.60%
3 Washington 96.50% 0.10%
4 Oregon 96.30% 1.00%
5 California 95.70% 1.10%
6 Maryland 93.30% 0.20%
7 Iowa 92.90% 1.60%
8 New Jersey 91.80% 0.40%
9 Delaware 91.30% 4.70%
10 Indiana 91.20% 3.30%
11 Texas 91.20% -0.60%
12 New Mexico 91.10% -0.40%
13 Nevada 90.90% -1.30%
14 Illinois 90.50% 0.40%
15 Dist. Of Columbia 90.00% 2.90%
16 North Carolina 89.80% 1.00%
17 Georgia 89.60% 0.60%
18 West Virginia 89.50% -0.10%
19 New York 89.10% 5.60%
20 Connecticut 88.00% 2.20%
21 Vermont 87.30% 0.20%
22 Minnesota 86.70% -1.10%
23 Alabama 86.10% 3.80%
24 Utah 86.00% -0.80%
25 Pennsylvania 85.10% -1.60%
26 Alaska 84.90% 2.50%
27 Oklahoma 84.30% 1.20%
28 Maine 83.00% 3.20%
29 Nationwide 83% 1%
30 Ohio 82.70% 1.10%
31 Montana 82.60% 3.90%
32 Colorado 81.70% 0.60%
33 Florida 81.70% 2.60%
34 North Dakota 81.60% -0.60%
35 Tennessee 81.50% 1.30%
36 Virginia 80.60% 0.70%
37 Arizona 79.90% -1.00%
38 South Carolina 79.00% 4.50%
39 Kansas 77.40% 2.40%
40 Idaho 76.90% -1.60%
41 Missouri 75.80% -1.40%
42 Louisiana 75.50% 0.30%
43 Wisconsin 74.20% -1.10%
44 Kentucky 73.30% 1.50%
45 Rhode Island 72.00% -7.10%
46 South Dakota 71.80% -1.20%
47 Mississippi 71.30% -0.50%
48 Arkansas 70.40% 0.50%
49 New Hampshire 69.20% 5.40%
50 Wyoming 68.60% -3.60%
51 Massachusetts 66.80% -1.90%

Source:  National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

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Best and Worst States for Happiness?

Mainstreet.com has recently published a ranking of states called the “Happiness index.”

It is a knock off of the famous “misery index” that was so politically influential in the late 70’s and early 80’s.

The Best State for Happiness is NebraskaIowa, Kansas, Hawaii and Louisiana round out the top 5.

The Worst State for Happiness is Oregon Florida, California, Rhode Island and Nevada round out the bottom 5 of the Worst States for Happiness.

While we find the index interesting, it really should be viewed as a simple financial happiness index as it does not factor many other issues that contirbute to the happiness of a population in a state.  For example, for livability Louisiana is rated 46th one of the worst states see our blog Livability Index.   Hawaii is a very high cost of living state and even if you are employed lifestyle may still be challenging.

The index also does not factor in any other factors such as health, weather or rankings of mental happiness so while useful I would suggest you take a much broader look at other factors in a state than this simple “Happiness Index.”  Many of these other factors are discussed in posts on this site.

Happiness Index
www.mainstreet.com

Tax Freedom Day 2009: Pick Your State Carefully

The Tax Foundation recently released their 2009 Tax Freedom Day Study.  It measures how many days the average worker must work to  pay taxes. There is a wide disparity among states. The tax burden you bear can significantly impact your quality of life.

The Best State for Tax Freedom is Alaska where it takes 82 days almost 25% of the year just to pay taxes.  Louisiana, Mississippi, South Dakota, North Dakota and West Virginia are also rated Best States for Tax Freedom.  If you are not retired, these states would be considered as candidates for Best States to Work.

The Worst State for Tax Freedom is Connecticut where it takes 120 days or until April 30 to pay taxes.  If you live in Connecticut 1/3 of your time every year goes to pay taxes to the Federal, State and Local governments.  That is almost 50% more days than Alaska.  New Jersey, New York, California and Maryland are also rated Worst States for Tax Freedom.

According to the Tax Foundation study, five major categories of tax dominate the tax burden. Individual income taxes, both federal and state, require 38 days’ work. Payroll taxes take another 27 days’ work. Sales and excise taxes, mostly state and local, take 15 days to pay off. Corporate income taxes take 6 days, and property taxes take 12. Americans will log 4 more days to pay other miscellaneous taxes, most notably including motor vehicle license taxes and severance taxes, and about 1 day for estate taxes.

What state you live in is very important in determining your lifestyle as higher cost of living states tend to have higher tax burdens.  Lower disposable income is the result.  Many states are also increasing many taxes due to economic conditions which will increase tax burdens.  Noteworthy examples are the proposed increases in New York and California that will make these heavily burdened states more undesirable to live.  If you are not retired, New York and California would have to be considered as 2 of the Worst States to Work.

Tax
State Days Freedom Day
1 Alaska 82 23-Mar
2 Louisiana 87 28-Mar
3 Mississippi 87 28-Mar
4 South Dakota 88 29-Mar
5 North Dakota 91 1-Apr
6 West Virginia 91 1-Apr
7 Alabama 92 2-Apr
8 New Mexico 92 2-Apr
9 Montana 93 3-Apr
10 Kentucky 93 3-Apr
11 Oklahoma 94 4-Apr
12 Iowa 94 4-Apr
13 South Carolina 94 4-Apr
14 Arkansas 94 4-Apr
15 Tennessee 95 5-Apr
16 Wyoming 95 5-Apr
17 Missouri 96 6-Apr
18 Maine 96 6-Apr
19 Texas 96 6-Apr
20 Nebraska 98 8-Apr
21 Kansas 98 8-Apr
22 Nevada 98 8-Apr
23 Indiana 98 8-Apr
24 Florida 99 9-Apr
25 Oregon 99 9-Apr
26 North Carolina 99 9-Apr
27 Michigan 100 10-Apr
28 Arizona 100 10-Apr
29 New Hampshire 100 10-Apr
30 Ohio 101 11-Apr
31 Delaware 101 11-Apr
32 Vermont 102 12-Apr
33 Idaho 102 12-Apr
34 Georgia 102 12-Apr
35 Colorado 102 12-Apr
36 Illinois 103 13-Apr
37 Hawaii 103 13-Apr
38 Utah 103 13-Apr
39 Wisconsin 103 13-Apr
40 Pennsylvania 104 14-Apr
41 Rhode Island 104 14-Apr
42 Minnesota 105 15-Apr
43 Washington 106 16-Apr
44 Massachusetts 106 16-Apr
45 Virginia 106 16-Apr
46 Maryland 109 19-Apr
47 California 110 20-Apr
48 New York 115 25-Apr
49 New Jersey 119 29-Apr
50 Connecticut 120 30-Apr

Source: Tax Foundation, Tax Freedom Day

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State Unemployment Up Everywhere in Feb, Michigan tops 12% Unemployed

The February 2009 State Unemployment numbers were released this past week and they were not pretty. Every state in the U.S. saw its unemployment rate increase.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)  also released March Unemployment, along with Feb state data, and the nationwide unemployment rate increased again to 8.5% nationwide.  It was 8.1% in February.

Seven States had unemployment above 10% in February.  Michigan was the Worst State for Jobs with a whopping 12% unemployment number.  South Carolina, Oregon, North Carolina, California Rhode Island and Nevada also qualify as Worst States for Employment as the 6 other states with unemployment above 10% .

The Best State for Jobs based on a low 3.9% unemployment is Wyoming. 4 other states qualify as Best States for Employment with rates still below 5%.  They are:  Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Iowa.

Some of the state year on year changes are quite large.  Unemployment increased by over 100% from last year in Hawaii and Oregon for example.  Of the large states, Texas is holding up the best with unemployment of only 6.2% in February which was below the U.S. Feb average of 8.1%.

State data is released with a one month lag so expect March state unemployment to get even worse as unemployment increased nationwide in March by .4%.

State Feb-08 Feb-09 Change
1 Michigan 7.4 12 4.6
2 South Carolina 5.7 11 5.3
3 Oregon 5.4 10.8 5.4
4 North Carolina 5.2 10.7 5.5
5 California 6.2 10.5 4.3
6 Rhode Island 6.5 10.5 4
7 Nevada 5.5 10.1 4.6
8 District of Columbia 6.1 9.9 3.8
9 Florida 5.2 9.4 4.2
10 Indiana 5 9.4 4.4
11 Ohio 5.9 9.4 3.5
12 Georgia 5.4 9.3 3.9
13 Kentucky 5.6 9.2 3.6
14 Mississippi 5.9 9.1 3.2
15 Tennessee 5.5 9.1 3.6
16 Illinois . 5.9 8.6 2.7
17 Alabama 4.1 8.4 4.3
18 Washington 4.7 8.4 3.7
19 Missouri 5.5 8.3 2.8
20 New Jersey 4.7 8.2 3.5
21 Minnesota 5 8.1 3.1
22 Alaska 6.5 8 1.5
23 Maine 4.9 8 3.1
24 Massachusetts 4.6 7.8 3.2
25 New York 4.6 7.8 3.2
26 Wisconsin 4.5 7.7 3.2
27 Pennsylvania 4.8 7.5 2.7
28 Arizona 4.5 7.4 2.9
29 Connecticut 5.2 7.4 2.2
30 Delaware 4 7.4 3.4
31 Colorado 4.5 7.2 2.7
32 Vermont 4.4 7 2.6
33 Idaho 3.9 6.8 2.9
34 Maryland 3.7 6.7 3
35 Arkansas 4.8 6.6 1.8
36 Virginia 3.5 6.6 3.1
37 Hawaii 3.1 6.5 3.4
38 Texas 4.5 6.5 2
39 Montana 4 6 2
40 West Virginia 4.2 6 1.8
41 Kansas 4 5.9 1.9
42 Louisiana 3.8 5.7 1.9
43 Oklahoma 3.2 5.5 2.3
44 New Mexico 3.8 5.4 1.6
45 New Hampshire 3.7 5.3 1.6
46 Utah 3.3 5.1 1.8
47 Iowa 3.9 4.9 1
48 South Dakota 2.7 4.6 1.9
49 North Dakota 3 4.3 1.3
50 Nebraska 3 4.2 1.2
51 Wyoming 2.8 3.9 1.1
p = preliminary.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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