Best cheap car insurance in Chicago for 2021

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Auto insurance policies can be expensive, but there are ways to find the best cheap car insurance options in your area. Especially in Chicago, where the average rate for full auto coverage is $2,150 annually and minimum coverage is $660 annually, finding a cheap car insurance provider is a top priority for many drivers. With more than 8.5 million licensed drivers in Illinois, and a large number of them in Chicago, finding coverage that fits your budget and protects your finances is important.

Bankrate’s insurance editorial team has researched the best cheap car insurance providers in Chicago to help simplify the selection process. Our team takes into account customer satisfaction, financial strength, coverage options and available discounts to determine some of the best car insurance options in your area.

Best cheap car insurance companies in Chicago

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.

If you are shopping for the best cheap car insurance in Chicago, the companies below might be a good place to start:

Insurance company J.D. Power score
(North Central region)
Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Geico 851 / 1,000 $351 $1,167
Erie 846 / 1,000 $486 $1,493
USAA *897 / 1,000 $502 $1,520
Grange 832 / 1,000 $509 $1,640
Auto-Owners 845 / 1,000 $565 $1,521

*USAA is not eligible for official ranking with J.D. Power due to eligibility restrictions.

Geico

Geico offers the cheapest minimum and full coverage premiums on our list, as well as boasting the highest official ranking from J.D. Power in the North Central region. Although the company’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 warrant a quote.

Geico is perhaps best known for offering a long list of discounts, perhaps one of the longest 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.

Learn more: Geico Insurance review

Erie

Erie is another regional carrier offering coverage in the Chicago area, and its average premiums are 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 more 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.

Learn more: Erie Insurance review

USAA

USAA received the highest number of points from J.D. Power in the North Central region, but the company 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 as well as several optional coverages.

USAA also offers discounts to help you save money. There are discounts for loyal customers, new cars, safe drivers, defensive drivers and good students. USAA also offers military-focused discounts, like savings for storing your car on a military base and storing your vehicle while you are deployed.

Learn more: USAA Insurance review

Grange

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 offers 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 up to 25%.

Learn more: Grange Insurance review

Auto-Owners

Auto-Owners is a regional insurance company that sells coverage in just 26 states, including Illinois. The company’s average minimum and full coverage premiums are lower than the Chicago average. Auto-Owners 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

Cheapest car insurance in Chicago

Chicago drivers pay more for coverage than drivers in both Illinois as a whole and in the United States. Chicago’s average minimum coverage premium is $660 annually. Illinois drivers pay $442 per year and the national average is $565 per year. Full coverage is similarly expensive in Chicago, with an average annual premium of $2,150. Illinois drivers pay $1,485 each year, while the national average is $1,674 annually.

These higher premiums are due in large part to the heavy traffic in and around Chicago. With more cars on the road, the likelihood of getting in an accident is higher. With this in mind, it is not surprising that finding the cheapest car insurance company could be a priority for many drivers.

The following table analyzes the cheapest car insurance rates available in Chicago from the largest providers by market share:

Insurance company Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Geico $351 $1,167
Mercury $365 $1,374
State Farm $474 $1,258
Erie $486 $1,493
USAA $502 $1,520

Although finding a cheap company might be important, it is not the only aspect of a company you should consider when shopping for coverage. Buying the cheapest policy possible could leave you without valuable coverage and expose you to out-of-pocket expenses if you are in an accident. You may also want to consider a company’s coverage options, discounts, policy features and third-party reviews when you are shopping for coverage.

Chicago insurance requirements

According to Illinois state law, Chicago drivers must purchase at least the following minimum insurance coverages and levels:

  • $25,000 bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 bodily injury per accident
  • $20,000 property damage
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident

If you purchase uninsured motorist coverage in higher limits, Illinois law also requires that you purchase underinsured motorist coverage.

While minimum coverage is often the cheapest type of coverage to purchase, most insurance professionals recommend that you purchase higher limits. If you cause an accident and the damages and injuries exceed your insurance limits, you are responsible for the overage out of pocket. Purchasing higher liability limits provides you with more financial protection.

Minimum coverage also does not include any coverage for damage to your own vehicle. For that, you will need full coverage, which adds comprehensive and collision coverages. If you have a loan or lease, your lender will likely require you to carry full coverage.

Car insurance discounts in Chicago

Most insurance companies offer discounts that might help you lower your premium. Although discounts vary by provider, some common options in Chicago are:

  • Multi-policy discount: If you buy more than one policy from the same company, like your auto and home insurance, you might save on both.
  • Safe driver discount: If you have not been in an accident or gotten a ticket in several years, you may qualify for a safe driver discount.
  • Telematics discounts: These programs use a mobile app or plug-in device to track your driving habits and develop a personalized discount.
  • Billing discounts: Paying in full or signing up for automatic payments might save you money.

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 company.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company?

The best car insurance company depends on your specific needs. The first step in shopping for insurance is often to identify 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 option that is best 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 you do not 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 more expensive than it is in the rest of Illinois?

Chicago is a busy area. The city’s roads and the roads of the surrounding area are often crowded and congested. With so many cars on the road, there may be a greater likelihood that you will get into an accident.

Car insurance is based on risk, so to compensate for the increased risk of claims, car insurance companies charge a higher premium. 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.

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.

Written by
Cate Deventer
Insurance Editor
Cate Deventer is a writer, editor and insurance professional. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in English with a concentration in professional and technical writing from Indiana University East. She began writing for Bankrate in January 2021 and has nearly a decade of experience in the insurance industry as a licensed insurance agent. Cate has worked with over a dozen insurance companies and is experienced with auto, home, flood, umbrella and life insurance.
Edited by
Insurance Editor