Most states saw auto insurance rates increase for drivers over the past year, but New Jersey wasn't one of them, according to insurance comparison site The Zebra.

Despite drivers returning to the road in 2021 with fewer COVID-19 fears, leaving the door open for more automobile accidents and actually leading to more fatal accidents on New Jersey's roads, the Garden State was one of 13 states to record a drop in auto-insurance rates from 2020 to 2021, the report found.

New Jersey records an average annual auto-insurance rate of $1,459, which is below the national average of $1,529. From 2020 to 2021, rates increased by 3% across the U.S., according to the report.

"I am always happy to see New Jersey bucking the trend when it comes to auto insurance and a decrease in pricing," Christine O'Brien, president of Insurance Council of New Jersey, said in response to the report.

O'Brien noted that auto-insurance reforms put in place by New Jersey in 2003 are still paying dividends, in the way of better rates for drivers and fewer uninsured motorists.

"Overall, New Jersey is doing pretty well for a highly, densely populated state, with countless cars, old roadways and infrastructure, on top of everything else," O'Brien said.

The numbers in the report are based on the "average insured" driver, a 30-year-old single male with a 2017 Honda Accord EX.

"Most people think that the Northeast is the most expensive place to live, and for the most part it is ... but yet we can see when there's a good healthy market in place and drivers have choice and they have affordable choices, the Northeast states like New Jersey compete and do very well," she said.

The report from The Zebra found that rates also decreased year-over-year in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Maine, among other states.

"As soon as the number of claims filed increases, so will insurance rates. However, drivers aren’t powerless – to lower rates, practice safe driving behaviors and take every precaution to protect your vehicles from damages caused by extreme weather," said Nicole Beck, head of communications at The Zebra.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at dino.flammia@townsquaremedia.com.

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