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Blue-collar Americans are Getting Stiffed on Auto Insurance Rates

By Hal M. Bundrick

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- If you don't have a college degree and you struggle to makes ends meet in a blue-collar job, chances are good that you're paying more for car insurance, according to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA). For example, buying the minimum liability coverage required, the CFA says that GEICO often charges a factory worker with a high school degree far higher annual premiums than a plant supervisor with a college degree--in fact 45% more in Seattle ($870 vs. $599), 40% more in Hartford ($1,299 vs. $926), 33% more in Oakland ($922 vs. $693), 23% more in Louisville ($2,200 vs. $1,791), 21% more in Chicago ($1,013 vs. $840), and 20% more in Baltimore ($1,971 vs. $1,647).

The study also says these differences would be even greater if, for education, the comparisons also included no high school degree and a graduate degree. For example, the Baltimore factory worker would pay an annual premium of $2,061 with no high school degree, an annual premium of $1,971 with a high school degree, an annual premium of $1,801 with a college degree, and an annual premium of $1,722 with a graduate degree.

But other major insurers bust the chops of working folk, too. Progressive also often charges a factory worker with a high school degree higher annual premiums than a plant supervisor with a college degree - 33% more in Baltimore ($1,818 vs. $1,362), 14% more in Houston ($1,406 vs. $1,236), 9% more in Louisville ($2,390 vs $2,185), 9% more in Denver ($995 vs. $911), and 8% more in Oakland ($736 vs. $684).

This trend is wide-spread. Liberty Mutual, for example, charges a high school graduate higher annual premiums than a college graduate - 13% more in Baltimore ($2,116 vs. $1,877), 13% more in Houston ($1,373 vs. $1,216), 12% more in Phoenix ($1,592 vs. $1,418), and 10% more in Hartford ($1,913 vs. $1,735). In five other cities studied - Atlanta, Louisville, Chicago, Denver, and Seattle - Liberty's website quoted rates for a college graduate but not for a high school graduate.

In many cities, Farmers Insurance charges those who are neither professionals nor certain government workers 5% higher premiums.