Every month I dread when the auto-payment to my car insurance company hits my checking account. It's over $300 per month. Granted, this is for a family of drivers (including two under 25) and insurance on four different vehicles with a mix of full coverage and liability-only coverage. But still, nearly $4,000 per year is a LOT of money. Our rates have actually come down a little bit over the past couple of years, mainly because a couple of speeding tickets have dropped off my record.

I don't know a ton about how insurance works, but I think we all understand that it's a numbers game. Insurance companies calculate numbers inside and out and have decades of data to help calculate risk and loss. I like to compare it to a Las Vegas casino. Only instead of a blackjack table and your precise odds of winning or losing, it's your odds of wrecking a car. And that's why Montanans get the shaft when it comes to insurance.

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According to Wallethub.com, one of the main reasons we have some of the highest auto insurance rates in the nation is because Montana has the highest vehicle fatality rate in the nation. Yay! We're #1. Number one at something not very cool. Montana has a rate of 22.6 deaths per 100,000 annually, over twice the national average. Many of those deaths can be attributed to DUI's, plus other factors that jack our insurance rates like: winter driving, more overall miles driven, wildlife accidents, cost of repairs in Montana, cost of medical treatment in Montana and our high number of uninsured drivers. All of these factors drive up the cost of auto insurance in the Treasure State.

One positive note... while we pay more than the national average for full coverage (around $1,462 per year), our liability-only coverage is less than the national average at around $395 per year. So buckle up, drive safe and put down the beers before hitting the road.