Gainesville residents who grumble about their high electricty bills and property taxes have something to smile about when it comes to automobile insurance.
A survey finds Alachua County, and its municipalities, have the least expensive auto insurance in Florida.
The survey, conducted by Quadrant Information Services for insurancequotes.com, found Waldo was the cheapest, followed closely by Alachua, Gainesville, Earlton and Newberry. While a few dollars separate the cities, all were found to have rates that are 24 percent below the state average.
The average annual rate in Gainesville is $1,174. That compares with Hialeah, with the highest average rate in Florida: $2,719.
The average annual rate for the state is $1,546.
The survey examined premiums in 409 cities across the state, as well as all 67 counties, based on a hypothetical 40-year-old female driver with a clean driving record.
“The main reasons you are going to see increased costs is population and vehicle density,” said Laura Adams, senior analyst at insurancequotes.com. “The more vehicles, the more claims we’re likely to see.”
In fact, all of the top five cities for the most expensive auto insurance are in the Miami area, the state’s biggest population center.
She acknowledged that while Gainesville may have a large number of college-age drivers, who are preceived by insurers as an increased risk, many are on their parents’ policies, distributed across the state.
Proximity to the coast, where flooding is more likely, also can increase car insurance rates, according to Angie LaPlant, spokesperson for AAA.
Florida, overall, ranks as the sixth most expensive state for car insurance, according figures from the Insurance Information Institute.
Consumer Reports says the biggest contributors to increased car insurance rates include a poor credit score, conviction for driving under the influence, adding a teen driver, and having more than one at-fault accidents. In addition to avoiding those pitfalls, the best way to lower your rates may be to get married, increase your deductible and bundle your various insurance policies.
Or move to Waldo.