Cleveland — Auto insurance rates continued to rise throughout the third quarter this year, according to a study by Solon, Ohio-based Insurance.com, an online auto insurance agency.

Insurance.com’s RateWatch for Car Insurance found that the lowest car insurance quotes, on average, were up 3% over the previous quarter, rising from $1,893 per year to $1,949 per year. This 3% hike follows a 3.4% increase in the second quarter.

RateWatch is based on real-time auto insurance quotes from more than a dozen insurance companies given to consumers at Insurance.com during the third quarter. It marks the third consecutive quarter of rate increases, causing concern among cash-strapped drivers who already are struggling in this challenging economy.

“The increase in rates this quarter represents a trend that will most likely continue into 2009,” says Sam Belden, VP, strategic alliances at Insurance.com.

Some locales experienced rate quote increases in the third quarter that were greater than the average. For example, Washington, D.C. had an 8.3% increase in rates, while Nebraska and Rhode Island saw rates jump 8% and 7.4%, respectively.

Additional states seeing a sharp increase in car insurance rates in Q3 were Kansas (up 6.6%) and Florida (up 4.9%). Rates in 10 states decreased compared to Q2. The largest decreases were in North Dakota (down 7.8%), West Virginia (down 7%) and Wyoming (4.5%).

Source: Insurance.com

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