Los Angeles County auto insurance rates highest in state


California insurance companies look at your driving record, driving experience and the miles you drive to determine your car insurance premiums.

But a new study shows the ZIP code you live in also has a lot to do with how much you pay. And Los Angeles County motorists pay a premium that's a third higher than the rest of California.

Laura Adams is the senior insurance analyst for InsuranceQuotes.com that commissioned the new study.

"First and foremost it's population," said Adams. "Population density there is a big key here. You've got more cars on the road, more traffic means more accidents, which equates to more claims, and anytime there's an area with more claims, insurance companies are going to raise those rates."

The study found the most expensive zip codes are all in the Los Angeles area, with a zip code in West Hollywood 51 percent higher, one in Pico Heights 47 percent higher, and another in downtown L.A., also 47 percent higher.

And the most expensive city is Beverly Hills.

"We know there are a lot of wealthy people there, so the price of their vehicles, the type of car you're driving plays a big part in your rate," said Adams. "So if you've got a more expensive vehicle, it's going to cost more to insure."

On the other hand, the study shows drivers in Orange County pay some of the lowest rates.

In one ZIP code in Foothill Ranch, Aliso Viejo, Trabuco Canyon and Rancho Santa Margarita, their premiums are all 17 percent lower than the average.

So outside of moving to another ZIP code, there are other ways you can reduce your car insurance costs.

Number one: Shop around.

"We say at least once a year. Not every time you shop will you find a better deal, but until you shop, you won't know what else is out there," said Adams.

Next, ask for discounts, especially the good student discount.

"If you've got a good student record that you can show, that can save you as much as 25 percent off of your rate," said Adams.

If your car is paid off you might want to consider dropping your collision coverage: That could save you $300 a year.

And finally, if your income is low take a look at California's Low Cost Auto Insurance Program.

"It can really save them substantial amounts of money," said Adams.

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