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July 10, 2014

Car insurance costly in Rockingham County

State actuary says it's important to shop around

Derry, Kingston, Salem and Windham have been named among the top five municipalities in New Hampshire for costly car insurance, but drivers should not just focus on those numbers.

“We conducted these studies to inform people what the average insurance is so they can use these data points when they’re getting a quote for their car insurance,” said Ting Pen, who conducted the survey.

The survey is part of Value Penguin, a website that researches financial decisions from pet insurance to credit cards.

Pen took an average “driver” to 37 communities in the state and looked at 14 insurance companies, including State Farm, Progressive, Liberty Mutual, National Indemnity (Geico) and Allstate.

“We included about 20 of the largest cities in New Hampshire to capture the majority of the population in the state and then randomly selected smaller locales,” she said.

The “driver” was a 30-year-old single male driving a 2010 Toyota Camry around 12,000 miles per year.

The driver also has good credit, paid off his car, and has had no accidents or violations on his record.

“We used the same profile for standard rates of comparison,” Pen said.

The town a driver lives in, however, is not the only factor in prices, according to Sally MacFadden, an actuary at the New Hampshire Insurance Department.

“There are so many factors that go into pricing,” she said. “Territory is only one of so, so many.”

Those can include numbers of accidents, having kids, how many miles the driver drives and credit.

“They’re only using one example here,” MacFadden said. “The fact that this one example had different prices in different towns, people can expect a variety.”

The general trend of the study, she said, is rational.

“People that live in busier towns with more traffic can expect higher costs,” she said. “They’re right, a rural town is going to have a smaller rate than a big city.”

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