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Car insurance rates by state, 2015 edition

"It doesn't lead to as much competition as other areas can get," says Hoffman, whose agency is licensed in 36 states. "Virginia is so much cheaper."

No. 49: Idaho

Idaho has the cheapest car insurance in the West. The average premium is less than half what you'd pay in Montana, according to the study, and a few hundred dollars less than the average rate in Oregon.

The largely rural state doesn't have big-city problems that can jack up car insurance rates. And a larger-than-average share of drivers are insured in Idaho, compared to other states. Only about 7 percent of drivers are uninsured in Idaho, according to the Insurance Research Council, well under the nationwide average of roughly 13 percent.

A larger percentage of insured drivers helps keep premiums down for everyone who buys coverage.

No. 50: Ohio

Fierce competition leads to affordable rates in Ohio. According to the Ohio Insurance Institute, 671 auto insurance carriers do business there - more than in any other state except Illinois.

"It boils down to the climate for insurance. Ohio continues to be a strong advocate for its citizens and has a strong insurance department that stays on the forefront as times are changing," says Jeannine Giesler, president of the Professional Independent Agents Association of Ohio and COO of Diversified Insurance Service in Elmore. "It's possible to get from independent agents rates that are very competitive."

Ohio has consistently ranked as one of the least expensive states for car insurance since began conducting its annual state-by-state premium comparison.

No. 51: Maine

The quiet, rural state doesn't have the problems that many other states battle, which helps keep rates down.

"We have few large urban areas so we have lower overall traffic problems, and we don't have hailstorms or tornadoes," says Jeffrey McDonnell, president of the Maine Insurance Agents Association and a principle of the Allen/Freeman/McDonnell Agency in Brewer.

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