Average auto insurance costs in Vermont went up by 48.8 percent in the 21 years ending 2010. A November 2013 study by the Consumer Federation of America found that the countrywide average went up by 43.3 percent during the same period. In 1989, the average for Vermont stood was $423.43 and the countrywide average was $551.95. By 2010, the figures had come up to $630.19 and $791.22 respectively.
The 48.8 percent increase of costs in Vermont is higher than the national average. This makes Vermont one of 38 states where costs went up by a larger percentage than the countrywide average increase. Despite the higher increase, auto insurance was still cheaper in Vermont, as of 2010, compared to the national average. The study found that states which had good insurance regulation in place had the most success in keeping rates low. California, which implemented the most stringent and pioneering regulation, was by far the most successful state and was the only one where costs actually went down (by 0.3%) over the 21 years ending 2010.
One of the most effective ways to curb rising rates, the study found, was to implement a Prior Approval (PA) system. The PA system compels insurers to file rate changes and have them approved by the state before they can be implemented in the market. Currently, Vermont has a Use and File (U&F) system in place which requires insurers to file rates after they have already been used in the market. Moreover, there is no requirement to obtain approval for rate changes whatsoever. As per the study, this lack of regulation of auto insurance rates is part of the reason for auto insurance costs going up by almost 50 percent in Vermont.
By following California and other states’ lead and implementing stringent regulation, Vermont can help stem rising costs and therefore benefits consumers in the state. The study also showed that such regulation would not affect the profitability of insurance companies.
Liability coverage is mandatory in Vermont, and operating a motor vehicle without this minimum insurance coverage is proscribed. You can either buy auto insurance or get a surety bond to show proof of financial responsibility.
Auto insurance is very affordable in Vermont. Vermont is the second most affordable state to buy auto insurance, with an annual average insurance rate of $873. Maine is the first most affordable state, with an average annual insurance rate of $827.
Vermont has very strict Driving Under the Influence (DUI) laws for alcohol-related offences. Your first DUI conviction will result in a fine of up to $750, or up to two years in jail. You could also face license suspension for 90 days. In addition to the legal repercussions, you will face inflated auto insurance costs for at least three years from the date of your first DUI conviction.
Even though auto insurance rates are affordable in Vermont, DUIs on your driving record will almost double your insurance costs and make it extremely expensive. As of January 2014, the annual average insurance rate in South Burlington is $874. After a DUI conviction, auto insurance rates would increase to $1626. In Winooski, the average rate is $875, while the average insurance rate after a DUI is $1628.
Newport is the most expensive auto insurance zip code in Vermont. The average insurance rate here is $938. This is much lower than the national average rate, but once you are charged with a DUI in Newport you will pay $1745 (i.e., $249 more than the national average insurance rate) to insure your car.
One of the best ways to reduce your insurance cost is to take a defensive driving course.
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Defensive driving courses teach you to drive in hazardous weather conditions. Not only will taking a defensive driving course lower your insurance rates, but it will also help make you a better driver.