Best cheap car insurance in Chicago for 2021

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The average cost of car insurance in Chicago for full coverage is $2,150 per year, nearly $700 more expensive than the state average for Illinois. There are affordable options, however. According to premium data pulled from Quadrant Information Services, Bankrate’s study of major car insurance providers in the city found that Geico offers the cheapest average full coverage rates at just $1,167 per year.

Some people’s primary goal is to find the cheapest car insurance company, but for many, quality is essential, too. That’s why our editorial team scoured the major carriers writing policies in the city to find both. Here’s what we found in our search for the best and cheapest car insurance in Chicago.

Key takeaways
  • Geico’s average annual full coverage rate is by far the cheapest on our list at $1,167, over $300 cheaper than second-place Erie at $1,497.
  • On average, the annual premium for full coverage car insurance in Chicago is $665 more expensive than the Illinois average of $1,485.
  • To keep your insurance rates low in Chicago, you may want to keep a clean driving record, drive a vehicle equipped with safety features, shop for discounts that apply to you and adjust your coverage as your vehicle ages.

Best cheap car insurance companies in Chicago

If you’re looking for the cheapest rates for car insurance, Chicago’s top option is Geico, followed closely by Erie and USAA. While Chicago car insurance is typically more expensive than car insurance in the rest of Illinois, Geico also claims the top spot on our list of cheapest car insurance companies in Illinois.

When deciding which companies to feature, we first reviewed average premiums obtained from Quadrant Information Services for the major car insurance providers in the Chicago area. We also analyzed each company’s J.D. Power customer satisfaction score. Each of the companies featured here has an above-industry-average score. We also chose companies whose AM Best financial strength scores indicate a solid financial standing for paying claims. Finally, we reviewed each company’s coverage options, available discounts and policy features. Using a combination of these factors, we created a Bankrate Score to help you see how these companies stack up against each other. Five is the highest score possible.

Insurance company Bankrate Score J.D. Power score Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Geico 4.6 837 / 1,000 $351 $1,167
Erie 4.4 857 / 1,000 $486 $1,493
USAA 4.8 *895 / 1,000 $502 $1,520
Grange 3.6 826 / 1,000 $509 $1,640
Auto-Owners 4.6 842 / 1,000 $565 $1,521

*Not officially ranked by J.D. Power due to eligibility requirements.

Geico

Might be ideal for: Drivers looking for a wide range of potential discounts.

Geico offers the cheapest minimum and full coverage premiums on our list by far, making it a great pick for the thrifty car insurance shopper. The company also receives an above-average Bankrate Score. Although Geico’s policies are relatively basic — there are not many options to tailor your coverage to your needs — the cheap premiums and excellent customer service may still encourage you to request a quote.

Geico is perhaps best known for offering one of the longest lists of discounts in the industry. You might save for being a federal employee, a military member, having a vehicle with safety features, taking a driver education course or being affiliated with certain groups, like alumni associations, among others.

Learn more: Geico Insurance review

Erie

Might be ideal for: Drivers looking for more coverage included in a standard policy.

While higher than Geico’s, Erie’s average premiums in the Chicago area are still some of the most competitive on our list. Erie stands out for offering more coverage on its standard policy than some other companies, including locksmith coverage, pet coverage and personal items coverage.

If price is still a concern, Erie offers an extensive list of discounts to help you control your premium. There are more standard options, like savings for young drivers, safety devices and bundling your insurance, but there are also some unique savings opportunities. Erie Rate Lock, for example, is a policy feature that prevents your premium from increasing unless you make certain changes to your policy, like adding a vehicle or driver.

However, Erie receives the second-lowest Bankrate Score on our list, in part due to its higher-than-average number of NAIC complaints.

Learn more: Erie Insurance review

USAA

Might be ideal for: Military families looking for strong customer service and low average rates.

USAA received the highest number of points from J.D. Power in the North Central region, but it is not eligible for official ranking because it only sells coverage to current military members, veterans and their immediate family members. If you qualify, a quote from USAA might be a good idea. The company offers strong customer service and several optional coverages in addition to consistently low average rates.

USAA also provides discounts for loyal customers, new cars, safe drivers, defensive drivers and good students. The car insurance provider also offers unique military-focused discounts, like savings for storing your vehicle on a military base and storing your vehicle while you are deployed.

One con is that USAA only offers coverage to military personnel and qualifying family members.

Learn more: USAA Insurance review

Grange

Might be ideal for: Drivers looking for a regional carrier that allows them to customize their policy.

Grange’s full coverage premium is the highest on our list but is still well below Chicago’s average. Grange currently offers coverage in just 13 states, including Illinois. The company provides numerous ways to customize your coverage, including adding pet and mobile phone coverage, gap insurance, identity theft coverage and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) coverage.

Grange also offers a long list of discounts, including savings for multiple policies, multiple vehicles, safe drivers and good students. Grange also offers a telematics program called OnTrack. The program works through a mobile app to track your driving history and offer you a personalized discount of up to 25%.

Grange has the lowest Bankrate score on our list due to lack of online policy management, a slightly higher than average NAIC complaint index and a lack of ratings from S&P and Moody’s.

Learn more: Grange Insurance review

Auto-Owners

Might be ideal for: Drivers who want to customize their policy.

Auto-Owners is a regional insurance company that sells coverage in just 26 states, including Illinois. While the company is limited in its reach, it makes up for it in other areas. The company’s average minimum and full coverage premiums are lower than the Chicago average. Auto-Owners also offers you the ability to customize your policy with options like road trouble service, new car replacement, gap coverage and diminished value coverage.

You may also be able to save by taking advantage of Auto-Owners’ numerous discounts. You might qualify for savings if you pay in full, sign up for a paperless policy, get a quote in advance of your effective date or purchase more than one type of insurance from Auto-Owners.

Learn more: Auto-Owners Insurance review

How to get and keep the cheapest car insurance in Chicago

If you live in Chicago and want to get the most competitive rates for your circumstances, the following tips could help.

To find cheap car insurance rates in Chicago, you can:

  • Request and compare quotes from the cheapest car insurance companies to get the most affordable rates.
  • Take time to learn how much coverage you should have and what coverage limits are best for you.
  • Choose an insurance provider with lots of discounts that apply to you.
  • Continuously re-evaluate your carrier to make sure you’re getting the most affordable rates available.
  • Adjust your coverage as your vehicle ages.

To keep cheap car insurance rates in Chicago, you may want to:

  • Maintain clean driving records so that insurance providers don’t see you as high-risk.
  • Make sure your insurer knows about your safe driving habits, even if this means allowing your carrier to use telematics to track your driving in real-time.
  • Reduce your claims risk by driving a car equipped with top-notch safety features.
  • Be mindful of where you move within the Chicago area. Insurance rates can be much more expensive in certain ZIP codes in the metro area than in less-populated suburbs and rural areas.

Every company will have its own range of discounts, and the savings percentages will vary. The best way to identify savings opportunities is to talk to an agent or representative from your car insurance company.

Frequently asked questions

What are the best car insurance companies in Chicago?

The best car insurance company depends on your specific needs. The first step in shopping for insurance is often identifying what you are specifically looking for from a company. Then you can get quotes from several companies that meet your needs. Finally, you can compare your quotes by looking at coverages, discounts, policy features and third-party ratings to choose the best option for you.

What happens if you drive without insurance in Illinois?

Car insurance is a requirement for drivers in Illinois, and driving without insurance is illegal. If you drive without insurance, you may face fines, license suspension and having your vehicle impounded. 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.

Why is car insurance in Chicago so expensive?

Chicago is a busy area. The city’s roads and the roads of the surrounding area are often busy and congested. With so many cars on the road, there may be a greater likelihood that you will get into an accident. Certain areas of the city are also at greater risk of vandalism or theft than other areas, particularly rural areas in Illinois outside the city.

Car insurance is based on risk, so car insurance companies charge a higher premium to compensate for the increased risk of claims. You may be able to keep your premium low by avoiding accidents and tickets, utilizing discounts and choosing a company that offers cheap average rates.

How can I lower my car insurance rates in Chicago?

You may be able to lower your car insurance rates by comparing quotes from multiple carriers, choosing a carrier with discounts that apply to you, driving a vehicle equipped with safety features, keeping a clean driving record and adjusting your coverage as your vehicle ages.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. 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 coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2019 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.

Bankrate Score

Bankrate Scores primarily reflect a weighted rank of industry-standard ratings for financial strength and customer experience in addition to analysis of quoted annual premiums from Quadrant Information Services, spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C. We know it is important for drivers to be confident their financial protection covers the likeliest risks, is priced competitively and is provided by a financially-sound company with a history of positive customer support.

To determine how well the best car insurance companies satisfy these priorities, third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, S&P, NAIC, and Moodys had the most impact on the companies’ Bankrate Scores. As price is a common consideration for drivers, we analyzed quoted premiums based on 40-year-old male and female drivers with a 2019 Toyota Camry. This profile, assessed across more than 35,000 ZIP codes in the U.S., provided a basis on which drivers may compare each provider.

While coverage options, insurer availability, affordability and customer experience are often the top priorities, Bankrate also analyzed each insurer’s online and mobile resources for policy management and claims handling. Insurance is rapidly evolving to keep pace with our digital world, so these aspects also carried weight in determining Bankrate Scores.

Written by
Lizzie Nealon
Insurance Writer
Lizzie Nealon is an insurance writer for Bankrate. Her favorite part of the job is making home, auto and life insurance digestible for readers so they can prepare for the future.
Edited by
Insurance Editor