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California auto insurance premiums are among most expensive in the U.S., ranking seventh-highest in a new analysis by Insure.com.

But there are worse states to live in in term of auto coverage. It costs more to insure most cars, trucks and sport utility vehicles in Louisiana than in any other state.

On average, the cost of an auto insurance premium in Louisiana was $2,699. That's more than Michigan ($2,520), Georgia ($2,155), Oklahoma ($2,074), Washington, D.C. ($2,006) and Montana ($1,914).

California's average of $1,819 seems not so bad, by comparison.

Why is Louisiana so high? Blame the judges there and a population of residents who seem very inclined to sue.

"A high proportion of Louisiana drivers who are in accidents file bodily injury claims," said Amy Danise, editorial director for Insure.com.

Danise added that car accident lawsuits for less than $50,000 go before elected judges in Louisiana rather than juries, and the elected judges are seen as siding with consumers more than the insurance companies.

The seven states with the lowest average premiums were Maine ($934), Iowa ($1,028), North Carolina ($1,085), Ohio ($1,106), New Hampshire ($1,112), Idaho ($1,133), and Vermont ($1,176).

A reason for Maine's low premiums is the state's "graduated licensing program," which places tight restrictions on young drivers and helps reduce accidents, Danise said.

But the averages don't tell you everything. Some states seem particularly averse to certain very expensive cars, kicking premiums up near $5,900 even for drivers with clean records.

In Wyoming, meanwhile, cowboys and their pickup trucks seem to be getting a major break.

Here are the most expensive combinations of cars and average premiums:

  1. Driving a Mercedes-Benz CL65 AMG coupe in Oregon. The CL 65AMG Coupe retails for $213,200 and the average annual premium, even with a clean driving record, is $5,867.
  2. Mercedes-Benz CL600 coupe ($163,805) in Washington, D.C. ($5,543)
  3. Mercedes-Benz S65 AMG ($105,500) sedan in Oregon ($5,443)
  4. Porsche Panamera Turbo ($138,650) in Washington, D.C. ($5,414)
  5. Mercedes-Benz S600 ($160,300) sedan in Georgia ($5,316).

The least expensive combinations:

  1. Driving a Toyota Tacoma pickup in Wyoming. The Tacoma costs $26,900 to $34,485 and the average annual premium is just $698.
  2. Honda Odyssey LX ($28,675) in Maine ($704)
  3. Kia Sportage ($19,000)  in Maine ($706)
  4. Ford Edge SE ($27,555)  in Maine ($717)
  5. Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo ($27,695)  in Maine ($727).
By Ronald D. White.
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