WalletHub.com recently posted an article about "cheap" car insurance, and Appalachian State University Professor of Insurance David Marlett was quoted.
Why do car insurance rates (and even providers) vary so much from state to state?
There are many reasons, but most are due to the risk profile of the drivers and environment (urban or rural, quality of infrastructure, demographics). The variability is also impacted by the state differences in legal environment and degree of litigation.
Is it riskier to drive in some cities and states than others? Are the drivers themselves riskier?
Certainly, because there are differences in the levels of congestion, road quality, law enforcement, distracted driving laws, the tendency of the drivers to sue, etc.
Is there anything that state and local governments do to promote cheap car insurance rates for their constituents?
In the short run, state regulators can try to suppress insurance rates, but that is a short term solution with long term consequences. The insurance rates are a function of expected losses, so the focus should be on ways to reduce the frequency and severity of auto accidents. Improving the infrastructure, tort reform and implement effective distracting driving laws would reduce losses.
Why do you think credit history has more of an impact on car insurance rates in some states than others?
It is not allowed to be used by insurers in all states.
Is cheap/inexpensive car insurance bad car insurance?
Possibly, but It depends. Most all of the major auto insurers fare well in customer surveys on service, and the coverage terms are usually similar because of state regulations. However, a lower premium may be a result of lower liability limits or a lack of comp and collision. A lower premium for limited coverage is only a cheaper option if you do not have a loss.