Report: N.C. auto insurance rates lowest in South

Posted March 19, 2010 4:04 p.m. EDT

— North Carolina drivers pay an average of $591 each year for auto insurance, the eighth lowest in the country and the lowest in the South, according to a new report from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

North Dakota had the lowest auto insurance rates in the nation, followed by Iowa, South Dakota, Nebraska and Idaho. Kansas, Wisconsin, Maine and Indiana joined North Carolina in sixth through 10th place.

The report, which is based on 2007 data, places Tennessee at No. 14, Virginia at No. 17, South Carolina at No. 30 and Georgia at No. 31.

“I’m pleased that North Carolina remains one of the most affordable states in the country for auto insurance and definitely the best value in the Southeast,” North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin said in a statement. "This good news for North Carolina families and businesses is especially welcome in these challenging economic times.”

Goodwin recently signed a settlement with insurance companies that rolls back auto insurance rates to 2006 levels and freezes them until at least 2011. Drivers also will receive a total of $50 million in refunds from insurance companies under the settlement.

North Carolina is one of the only states to negotiate standardized, across-the-board rates for all companies, depending on territory, officials said. The rate Goodwin sets is the cap, and companies writing traditional policies can deviate from it only by offering discounts.