Vermont is the second least populous state in the country, edging out Wyoming by only about 50,000 people. That’s one reason this beautiful, maple syrup-rich New England state has some of the lowest average car insurance premiums in America. The low population and density mean fewer motorists and less traffic congestion—adding up to lower accident rates.
That’s right; Vermont generally appears in the bottom seven states when ranked by average auto insurance costs. Great news, to be sure, but we have even better news. You have plenty of ways to get your payments down even lower, and we’ll walk you through a number of them on this page.
Most important, though, is shopping around for the lowest possible rate on coverage that’s tailored to your vehicle and lifestyle. That’s what we’re all about here at SmartFinancial. We quickly connect you directly to competing quotes from leading insurers in the state so you can efficiently comparison shop. And, best of all, we do it for free in an unbiased, carrier-neutral way.
There isn’t one right answer to the question of where to find the lowest car insurance rates. A variety of personal factors affect your premium, and each carrier has its own formula for determining your quote. If you want to start investigating providers, though, consider starting with these three top-ranked companies in New England, according to J.D. Power (see the full list).
When doing your own research, look at things like a carrier’s average premiums, how flexible they are with policies and payment options, customer reviews, and the rejected claims rate.
And now that you’ve found SmartFinancial, there’s an easy, fast, free way to compare quotes from the state’s leading insurers. Just click on your location below, or, if you don’t see it, click here instead.
Car insurance laws and minimum coverage amounts are set by the State. They exist to protect all motorists from the potentially devastating financial consequences of a serious crash. By enforcing a system in which all drivers can be financially responsible for damage or injuries they cause, everyone on the road can have some basic peace of mind and protection—and it helps keep the cost of car insurance down, as well.
Maybe it seems like a pessimistic system, but it’s just based in reality, and necessary. Traffic accidents are pretty much an inevitability for the majority of people who drive for years and years. Obviously, some are worse than others, but even those little dents and dings can be expensive to fix.
Vermont Driving Safety
Traffic accident fatalities jumped from 44 in 2014 to 57 in 2015, and to 65 in 2016 in Vermont. According to the Vermont Governor’s Highway Safety Program’s 2016 Annual Report (PDF), drug and alcohol-impaired driving, speeding, and failure to use (or improperly using) seat belts were the three leading contributors to crash-related deaths.
Here’s a look at some recent Vermont crash data:
Vermont is a lushly green state, and many of its residents are equally green-minded. If you strive to make more ecologically responsible decisions about your vehicle and driving habits, you likely qualify for certain financial rewards. We’ve listed just a few examples below.
Vermont requires annual vehicle safety inspections as part of the registration and renewal process. Emissions testing is a mandatory part of these inspections, unless you drive an electric or other emissions-free auto. Hybrids and other alternative fuel vehicles that use gasoline are not exempted.
Do you drive an electric vehicle registered in Vermont? If so, you can save about 50%—that’s more than $50—each year on your vehicle registration fees.
Most auto insurance carriers licensed in Vermont offer some sort of incentives for greener driving. For example, it’s common for them to offer reduced premiums for economy, electric, alternative fuel, and hybrid vehicles. Also, many have a pay-as-you-drive option or a discount for maintaining annual mileage below a designated limit; these are great for people who drive as little as possible to be more environmentally friendly.
Vermont drivers are obligated to carry minimum limits of $25,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person, $50,000 bodily injury liability coverage per accident, and $10,000 property damage liability coverage.
This is a fault, or tort, state. Residents may file a claim through their own carrier or through the at-fault party’s insurer, and they may also file a personal injury lawsuit.
Maximum payment for serious or permanent injury or death to a single person
Coverage for multiple people injured in a single accident
Maximum payment for all damaged property in an accident caused by you
The desire to stick with minimum coverage is understandable, especially if you’re on a tight monthly budget. But when it’s feasible, it’s well worth increasing your limits and even picking up some optional coverages. This all helps ensure you have adequate coverage in the event of a serious accident, and optional add-ons provide coverage in a number of common circumstances that aren’t included under basic liability insurance.
Some exclusions will apply.
For those of you with vehicle financing, keep in mind that lenders often insist that you take out certain optional coverages—usually comprehensive and/or collision—as conditions of your loan.
Read over 12 Things You can do to Lower Your Auto Insurance Premium if you’d like to find some ways to offset the additional cost of optional coverages.
*This list is based on the ratings in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study for the New England region of the United States. Consumer ratings are derived from five key customer service areas: price, claims, interaction, policy offerings, and billing. USAA is a military-only option and is therefore not including in the above rankings.
Vermont car seat laws and recommendations are specific, strictly enforced, and designed to keep your children safe when riding in a motor vehicle. Babies must be properly restrained in a Federally approved car seat every time you travel, even if you’re only going a short distance.
State laws require that infants ride in a rear-facing seat until at least 1 year of age and 20 lbs. However, if infants who do not exceed the maximum weight and height requirements for the car seat should continue riding in the rear-facing seat and position until they do (up to 35 lbs.). After babies outgrow their rear-facing position or seat, they can safely ride facing the front of the vehicle.
Young children who have outgrown the harness system on their car seat, which usually happens at around 40 inches or 40 lbs., can move to a booster seat and use the car’s lap and shoulder belt. Children should continue using a booster seat until they are 4’9” tall and are able to properly use the adult seat belt. Children under 12 years of age should always ride in the back seat.
Leaving a young kid unsupervised in your car, SUV, van, or truck is dangerous. There’s the risk of injury or of being targeted by a stranger. And, if you leave the vehicle keys behind, there’s the additional concern of the child setting the car into motion, which can cause damage, injuries, or even death. Also, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach extreme levels that may prove temporarily or permanently damaging, or even deadly.
Vermont isn’t one of the handful of states that has enacted legislation to criminalize leaving a child unattended in a vehicle. It’s still a negligent and dangerous thing to do, though, so please don’t. If such actions do lead to harm, existing child neglect or abuse laws may be applied for prosecution purposes.
It is. Insurance companies have found an inversely proportional relationship between credit scores and number of claims filed. So, except for in a few states that prohibit it (and Vermont isn’t one of them), carriers reference consumers’ credit history in deciding whether to offer coverage and at what rates.
In Vermont, the majority of auto insurance companies have a good-driver discount in their roster of offerings. There are usually plenty of other possibilities, too, and we’ve listed some common ones below. Ask your agent if a good-driver discount is available, and what the eligibility requirements are; typically, you need to have no accidents or moving violations on your driving record for a certain number of years. Other possible discounts to ask about include:
Yes. Request an official electronic card from your carrier and display it on your smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other mobile device when you need to show proof of coverage. So much easier than digging through all that stuff in your glove compartment!
Driving with lapsed coverage is considered a traffic violation in Vermont and will result in a fine of up to $500. You’ll be required to show proof of coverage to be able to continue driving.
It’s illegal to drive in Vermont with the following BAC percentages:
.08%+ at 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ at under 21 years old
In Vermont, you don’t have to display outward signs of intoxication to be arrested for DUI if you register a BAC of at least 0.08%. Conversely, if you are showing any signs of impairment in a police officer’s opinion, you don’t have to have a BAC of at least 0.08% to be arrested and convicted for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Vermont’s “implied consent” law makes it mandatory to take a blood, breath, or urine test to screen for alcohol or drugs when stopped for a suspected DUI. A first-time refusal results in an automatic driver’s license suspension for 6 months; this jumps to 18 months for a second refusal.
DUI penalties vary in Vermont depending on certain circumstances. For example, the number of prior convictions has great bearing on the consequences, and registering a BAC of 0.16% or higher leads to enhanced penalties. Even for a first offense without enhanced penalties, violators of DUI laws may face a temporarily suspended license, fines and fees, possible imprisonment, compulsory installation of an ignition interlocking device, and other penalization.
Auto insurance companies frequently offer reduced rates for people who complete a defensive driving program approved by the State. Ask your agent if this is available to you.
According to the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, car insurance rates vary between carriers in the state by as much as 50% for virtually the same coverage. It goes on to say that comparison shopping for the best rates is so important to getting the most out of the competitive marketplace.
Aside from this, there are a variety of other ways to save. In general, strive to maintain a clean driving record, uninterrupted coverage, and a high credit score. Take a higher deductible in exchange for a lower premium and, if possible, get a lower rate by skipping the monthly payments and shelling out for a full term of coverage upfront. Also, remember to ask about available discounts, like the many mentioned on this page.
This type of coverage is a protection against uninsured drivers and hit-and-run accidents. It’s not mandatory in Vermont, but it’s a recommended optional coverage so you aren’t left high and dry in the event of a crash with one of these law breaking motorists.
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