The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate, we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. To help readers understand how insurance affects their finances, we have licensed insurance professionals on staff who have spent a combined 47 years in the auto, home and life insurance industries. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation of . Our content is backed by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed entity (NPN: 19966249). For more information, please see our .
Car insurance can be expensive, but it provides important financial protection against damage to what’s likely one of your biggest assets: your car. Finding affordable car insurance is key for many people. In Chicago, the average annual cost for full coverage is $1,952 while the minimum amount of coverage required by the state of Illinois runs $613 per year on average. Bankrate’s picks for the best cheap car insurance in Chicago may help you identify some companies to consider as you start your search. Our editorial team analyzed some of the largest car insurance companies in the Windy City and found that Geico and Secura offer the cheapest full and minimum coverage car insurance rates on average.
Best cheap car insurance companies in Chicago
According to rate data from Quadrant Information Services, the Chicago insurers with the lowest average annual costs for full coverage car insurance on average include Geico, Mercury and Secura. State Farm and Erie rounded out our list.
In addition to assessing each company’s average rates, we also assessed other factors like breadth of coverage options, digital experience and ratings from third party organizations such as J.D. Power, AM Best, S&P, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) and Moodys. We used all of this information to calculate a Bankrate Score out of a possible five points to help you quickly evaluate each carrier and make more informed decisions when looking for the best cheap car insurance in Chicago.
|J.D. Power score (North Central)
|Average annual premium for full coverage
|Average annual premium for minimum coverage
In addition to offering the lowest average car insurance rates on our list, Geico also provides robust digital options for its policyholders who prefer to service their car insurance policy online, which is one reason the company earned the highest Bankrate Score on our list. Geico received the second-highest score in the 2023 J.D. Power Insurance Digital Experience Study in the service category. However, it did not fare as well with customers who prefer to shop for their policy online and its coverage options are pretty standard without a lot of potential endorsements, so it might not be the best option for someone who wants to truly customize their car insurance policy and purchase it online.
Learn more: Geico Insurance review
Offering some of the lowest rates on our list for the Chicago area, Mercury has been in the insurance business for over 60 years. It offers competitive rates on average, comprehensive digital tools for policy management and a strong presence of local agents in areas served. It also offers rideshare insurance if you happen to have a side hustle driving for Uber or Lyft. However, Mercury does not offer as many potential discounts as some of its competitors and it also does not offer gap insurance, so if budget is your main concern or you just financed an expensive new car, there may be better options.
Learn more: Mercury Insurance review
Secura is a smaller, regional insurance company, but it could be a strong contender for some drivers. In many cases, Secura offers relatively low rates, local agents, robust travel assistance coverage and the company prides itself on maintaining a high social responsibility standard. However, while the company offers competitive rates on bundled policies, it only sells auto insurance as a bundle with homeowners insurance, so if you don’t own a home or don’t want to switch home insurance companies, it may not be a good option for you.
Learn more: Secura Insurance review
While it may not offer the lowest average car insurance rates on our list, its average full coverage auto insurance premium for Chicago drivers is still well below the city average. State Farm won the Bankrate Award for the best auto insurance company for high-risk drivers who have an accident or ticket on their record, so it might be worth considering if you have a few dings in your driving history. It might also appeal to people who prefer exclusive local agents as well as those who prefer to do their business online as the company is recognized for providing both options in a way that satisfies customers based on its J.D. Power scores in both the Auto Insurance and Insurance Digital Experience studies. It does, not, however, have 24/7 customer service, nor does it offer gap insurance or accident forgiveness, so if any of these things are important to you, it may not be the best choice.
Learn more: State Farm Insurance review
Although Erie has the highest average rates on our list, its average full coverage premiums still come in well under Chicago’s average rate, and its Rate Lock program means that drivers could enjoy stable premiums over time as long as they don’t make significant policy changes (adding a driver, changing vehicles or moving). It also offers pet coverage as part of its auto policies, so those with a furry family member may appreciate that detail. Additionally, it received the highest possible score (among officially ranked companies) in the 2023 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study, which reflects that strong customer service is a top priority. Erie does offer limited options for online or mobile management of policies and claims, although it does rank fairly well for its digital shopping experience. If servicing your policy and filing claims online is important to you, it might not be the best option. Additionally, it does not currently offer telematics or usage-based programs, so drivers who want to earn savings through safe driving may want to look at other carriers.
Learn more: Erie Insurance review
How to get and keep the cheapest car insurance in Chicago
Since car insurance rates are highly personalized, it can take a bit of work to find the best cheap car insurance for your situation. We’ve outlined a couple of tips and tricks that may help you find and keep the best cheap car insurance for you in Chicago.
Shop around between insurers. Shopping around might be the most important thing you can do to find what you’re looking for. Decide what is most important to you and then research the companies that write policies in your area to zero in on a few companies that might fit your criteria. A driver with a DUI on their record may find the cheapest car insurance at one company, while a driver with a clean driving record may find their cheapest rate somewhere else. Still someone else might want relatively cheap rates but customer service is even more important to them.
Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a handful of companies, request quotes from each for the same coverage types and levels. Looking at average rates is helpful, but it can be deceptive since so many personal factors go into calculating each person’s premium. By comparing multiple quotes based on your actual needs, you’ll be able to truly see which company offers the best cheap car insurance for you. Additionally, your factors will change over time (you will age, your car will get older, maybe a ticket comes off your driving record), so it’s not a bad idea to request quotes every so often to see if another company can offer you more competitive rates
- Consider a usage-based policy. Some insurers offer usage-based car insurance, which might provide an opportunity to save based on how you drive, how often you drive or both. These programs typically use an app or device to track your driving habits over a certain amount of time, then adjust your premium based on how (and how often) you actually drive. If you’re a safe driver or don’t log many miles, these policies could help you save money. Be aware, though, that some insurers might also use these programs to raise your rate if you exhibit unsafe driving habits, so if you know you have a tendency to drive aggressively on occasion, it may not be the best option for you. Talk to your insurance agent and sure you understand the fine print before signing up for any programs.
Frequently asked question
The best car insurance company depends on your specific needs. The first step in shopping for insurance is identifying what you are specifically looking for from a company. Someone who owns a condo in downtown Chicago and barely drives might have very different needs than a commuter who lives on the outskirts and doesn’t like to take the train. Additionally, someone who prizes customer service above all else might look at different options than someone who has a very tight budget and wants the lowest possible price.
Once you’ve figured out what is most important to you, get quotes from several companies that you think may meet your needs. Make sure the quotes are for the same coverage types and levels so you’re making an accurate comparison. You can also ask each company to apply all the discounts for which you qualify to ensure you’re looking at the lowest possible rates. Sometimes, a company may not have the lowest rate until all numerous potential discounts are applied.
Most states require car insurance to drive legally, including Illinois. The state mandates that drivers carry:
- $25,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $25,000 property damage liability
- $25,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury liability per accident
If you drive without insurance in Illinois you may face fines, license suspension and having your vehicle impounded. If you get caught multiple times, you may also be required to file an SR-22. If you cause an accident and don’t have insurance, you could be responsible for paying for the damages and injuries you cause out of pocket. This could lead to financial devastation and even a lawsuit and seizure of assets if you cannot pay. Even if you have the minimum amount of insurance required, you may want to consider purchasing more to better protect yourself financially. A licensed insurance agent should be able to help you identify how much car insurance you need.
Insurers base premiums on the amount of risk of having to pay out a claim. Chicago is densely populated, which could make it easier to get into an accident or otherwise damage your car. Some areas of the city are also more prone to theft, vandalism and other issues. Despite all this, using some of the tips we outlined might help you find and keep the cheapest car insurance for you.
You may be able to lower your car insurance rates in Illinois by comparing quotes from multiple carriers, choosing a carrier with multiple available discounts that you qualify for, driving a vehicle equipped with safety features, keeping a clean driving record and periodically reviewing and adjusting your coverage. There are no guarantees, but following some of these strategies may help you bring your premium down to a more manageable level. Speak with a licensed insurance agent if you want someone to help you with your specific situation.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:
- $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
- $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
- $50,000 property damage liability per accident
- $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
- $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
- $500 collision deductible
- $500 comprehensive deductible
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2021 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.
Our 2023 Bankrate Score considers variables our insurance editorial team determined impacts policyholders’ experiences with an insurance company. These rating factors include a robust assessment of each company’s product availability, financial strength ratings, online capabilities and customer and claims support accessibility. Each factor was added to a category, and these categories were weighted in a tiered approach to analyze how companies perform in key customer-impacting categories.
Like our previous Bankrate Scores, each category was assigned a metric to determine performance, and the weighted sum adds up to a company’s total Bankrate Score — out of 5 points. This year, our 2023 scoring model provides a more comprehensive view, indicating when companies excel across several key areas and better highlighting where they fall short.
- Tier 1 (Cost & ratings): To determine how well auto and home insurance companies satisfy these priorities, 2023 quoted premiums from Quadrant Information Services (if available), as well as any of the latest third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best and the NAIC, were analyzed.
- Tier 2 (Coverage & savings): We assessed companies’ coverage options and availability to help policyholders find a provider that balances cost with coverage. Additionally, we evaluated each company’s discount options listed on its website.
- Tier 3 (Support): To encompass the many ways an auto insurance company can support policyholders, we analyzed avenues of customer accessibility along with community support. This analysis incorporated additional financial strength ratings from S&P and Moody’s and factored a company’s corporate sustainability efforts.