Are you curious about the states where it costs the least to insure cars? You might be surprised at the results of a recent study. Then, again, maybe you already know one of them, because you live there. On the chance that you just want to compare to see where your state ranks among the rest, check out these 10 least expensive states for auto insurance.

The data comes from recently released research from Bankrate. Data on median car insurance (collected in June 2012) and median household income (from the 2010 U.S. Census) was gathered from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Note that the least expensive states are rated from lowest to highest percent of median annual household income, not the least dollar amount in total.

1. Massachusetts – The Bay State is the cheapest state for car insurance, according to the survey data. This may come as a shock to some consumers who think any East Coast state carries exorbitant auto insurance prices, but it’s true. In Massachusetts, the median annual household income is $78,653, the highest among the 10 least expensive states for auto insurance (but quite a bit less than 30th place Maryland’s $83,137). But it costs just 1.434 percent of median annual household income, or $1,128, to insure a car in Massachusetts – thus awarding the state the top ranking in least expensive states for car insurance.

2. North Carolina – The Tar Heel State of North Carolina makes news by being the second least expensive state for insuring a car. Median annual household income in North Carolina is $52,920, of which 1.625 percent (or $860) goes to pay for a car insurance policy. Insuring cars in the state is cheaper for several reasons, including the fact that the population is dispersed, not jammed into heavily trafficked cities, and that the court system is stable and discourages sensational auto lawsuits.

3. Hawaii – Residents of the Aloha State also get a break when it comes to paying for insuring their autos. The percentage chunk of median annual household income (of $76,134) is just 1.634 percent, amounting to $1,244 for a car insurance policy.

4. Alaska – At 1.752 percent, residents of The Last Frontier State of Alaska, pay some $1,348 as the median annual price for car insurance. Median annual household income in the state is $76,962.

5. Oregon – Oregon, also called the Beaver State, have a median annual household income of $56,661. They pay 1.955 percent of that to cover car insurance on an annual basis, totaling about $1,108.

6. Iowa – The Hawkeye State is home to the sixth least expensive cost for car insurance, based on the 1.973 percent of median annual household income of $60,917. In Iowa, car owners pay a median annual price of $1,202 for a car insurance policy.

7. New Hampshire – Seventh-place New Hampshire, the Granite State, is where car owners pay 1.988 percent (or $1,484) of median annual household income of $74,634.

8. California – The Golden State, surprisingly, since the cost of living is so high there and you’d expect auto insurance to be equally prohibitive, comes in as the eighth least expensive for this driving requirement. Median annual household income in California is $65,481. Of that, car owners pay $1,304 in median annual costs for auto insurance. That’s 1.991 percent.

9. Virginia – At 1.992 percent of median annual household income of $72,476, car owners in the Old Dominion State pay some $1,444 each year as a median annual price for a car insurance policy.

10. Maine – Rounding out the list of the 10 least expensive states for auto insurance is Maine, the Pine Tree State, where the median annual household income is $58,197, the percent for annual car insurance is 1.993 percent, and the median annual price paid is $1,160.

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