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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Auto insurance rates in Utah are below the national average, according to a study by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
Utah motorists pay an average of $640 annually to insure one vehicle, while the national average is $718.
Utah ranked 29th among the states.
The average annual premium in Utah increased by 3.2 percent from 2000 to 2001 (the latest period for which figures were available), compared with the average nationwide of 4.6 percent.
Topping the list of states in which residents pay the most for auto insurance is New Jersey, with an average annual expenditure of $1,028, followed by New York ($1,015) and Washington, D.C. ($1,012).
The least expensive states were North Dakota ($498); South Dakota ($510) and Iowa ($513). States with the highest premiums generally are those with the largest cities, said Brad Tibbitts, director of the Utah Insurance Department's Property and Casualty Insurance Division.
"Huge metropolitan areas have a lot of issues that contribute to the higher rates -- not only with regard to vehicles being damaged in accidents, but in terms of vandalism and theft as well," he said.
Other important factors in determining what consumers pay for auto insurance are the number of miles driven to work, the level of coverage they elect and the age of the primary drivers of the vehicle and the type of vehicle, Tibbitts said.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)