PhotoYou might think the highest car insurance rates would be in the big crowded states -- the ones with lots of traffic, lots of accidents, lots of car thieves and so forth.

But you'd be wrong, for the most part. 

A new study finds that Michigan residents face the steepest car insurance cost burden in the nation, followed by Louisiana, Kentucky, West Virginia and Mississippi.

The study, conducted by, a Bankrate company, found that the typical Michigan household pays a whopping eight percent of its annual income for car insurance. divided the median cost for car insurance by the median household income in each state (plus the District of Columbia) to come up with its list of the most and least expensive states.

The least expensive state is Massachusetts, where the typical household pays 1.43 percent of its annual income for car insurance. North Carolina, Hawaii, Alaska and Oregon round out the five most affordable states.

Click here for a comprehensive breakdown of the car insurance costs in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia:

“The laws in each state vary widely,” explained John Egan of “For example, part of the reason why Michigan is so expensive is that it’s the only state that guarantees unlimited personal injury protection.

"While you’re probably not going to move to a new state just because of car insurance costs, the most important thing to remember is that – regardless of where you live – you can get a better deal than the Average Joe by shopping around,” Egan said.

To determine median car insurance rates, used a proprietary system developed by Quadrant Information Services, Inc. that tracks the rates of car insurers in each state. Median car insurance rates were based on actual customer profiles of online car insurance shoppers that can include multiple drivers, multiple vehicles and other variables.

The car insurance data was collected in June 2012. The income data came from the 2010 Census.

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