According to data pulled from Quadrant Information Services, drivers in St. Albans, New York, pay the highest car insurance premiums in the nation, with an average full coverage cost of $5,180 per year. Findlay, Ohio, claims the title of the cheapest city for full coverage, with an average premium of just $883 per year. The national average cost of full coverage car insurance is $1,674 per year. Where you live plays a significant role in how much you pay for car insurance. Your state, city and even ZIP code affect your premium (except in California and Michigan, which don’t allow insurance companies to use ZIP codes when calculating premiums). Some areas of the country have a higher incidence of accidents, exorbitant healthcare costs and higher-than average medical bills and higher prices for vehicle repairs and labor, driving up average rates.
- Drivers in St. Albans, New York, the country’s most expensive city for car insurance according to our research, pay 487% more per year for full coverage than drivers in the country’s cheapest city, Findlay, Ohio.
- Based on our data, California’s most expensive city for auto insurance is Beverly Hills, with an average full coverage premium of $3,340 per year.
- Texas drivers can find full coverage for just $1,577 annually in Grape Creek, the state’s cheapest city for car insurance.
Why your city matters
Each area of the country has unique features which can impact car insurance rates. Each state’s rates vary based on state-specific laws, but areas within each state also have location-specific factors that influence car insurance rates. Major cities, for example, tend to have more traffic, which can lead to more accidents. Additionally, because the cost of living in cities tends to be higher than in rural areas, the costs associated with repairing damaged vehicles may be higher, driving up auto insurance rates. Even your ZIP code can affect how much you pay for auto insurance coverage.
While your location impacts average annual premiums, it is not the only rating factor. Your driving history, the type of car you drive, the number of drivers and vehicles on your policy and what coverage types you choose will all impact your premium. Additionally, your age and gender will play a role in determining your premium, although not all areas of the country allow these rating factors.
Car insurance rates by city
When you get car insurance quotes, knowing the average prices in your state’s most and least expensive cities might help you understand if the quotes you receive are competitive. The table below shows the average annual cost for full coverage car insurance, including collision and comprehensive coverage. Keep in mind, though, that your rates will vary based on your individual rating factors.
|State||Most expensive city||Most expensive city’s average annual full coverage premium||Cheapest city||Cheapest city’s average annual full coverage premium||% difference between highest and lowest city|
|California||Beverly Hills||$3,340||Los Osos||$1,612||107%|
|Florida||Westview||$3,502||Santa Rosa Beach||$1,752||100%|
|Idaho||Moyie Springs||$1,128||Robie Creek||$934||21%|
|Maryland||Gwynn Oak||$3,106||Fountainhead-Orchard Hills||$1,497||107%|
|New Hampshire||Manchester||$1,513||West Swanzey||$1,153||31%|
|New Jersey||Irvington||$2,688||Sea Girt||$1,434||87%|
|New Mexico||South Valley||$1,719||Alamogordo||$1,199||43%|
|New York||St. Albans||$5,180||Webster||$1,417||265%|
|North Dakota||Fort Yates||$1,385||West Fargo||$1,072||29%|
|Oregon||Maywood Park||$1,835||Central Point||$1,169||57%|
|South Dakota||Pine Ridge||$2,156||Brookings||$1,378||56%|
|Utah||West Valley City||$1,503||Cedar City||$1,195||26%|
|Washington||Boulevard Park||$1,460||Port Townsend||$992||47%|
|West Virginia||Kermit||$1,933||Falling Waters||$1,272||52%|
How to compare providers
When you are shopping for insurance, comparing providers is often one of the best ways to find the right coverage. Here are some things to keep in mind when you compare providers:
- Compare discounts: Not every provider offers the same discounts, nor does every provider offer the same savings with each discount. For example, you may save a lot more by signing up for paperless statements with one provider than you will with another.
- Compare coverage options: Everyone has different coverage needs, and not every insurance company will offer the options you may need. If you have custom sound equipment in your car, for example, some carriers have an endorsement to provide coverage for it. Or perhaps you often drive with a dog in the car. Some companies offer medical coverage for your pets if you get into an accident while they are in the car.
- Compare third-party ratings: Companies like J.D. Power and AM Best can help you understand important features of auto insurance carriers. J.D. Power publishes various reports regarding customer satisfaction. AM Best assesses the financial strength of companies, including insurance companies. Car insurance providers with high financial strength scores may be better able to pay out claims during catastrophic events when many losses are filed.
- Compare quotes: Auto insurance companies each use a proprietary rating algorithm to determine how to price your policy. Some companies may charge you more for a speeding ticket than others, for example. Getting quotes from several companies allows you to compare the price of each quote and a company’s coverage, discounts, and policy features.
Lowering your car insurance premium
Finding a cheap car insurance company is one of the best ways to save on your premium, but there are other ways you might be able to lower your auto insurance bill:
- Bundle your policies: Bundling discounts, also called multi-policy discounts, are some of the biggest savings opportunities that insurance companies offer. Insuring both your home and auto with the same company can result in significant savings on both policies. This discount often also applies for insuring your auto policy with the same company as your condo owners or renters insurance policy, if you do not own a home.
- Increase your deductible: If you have full coverage, you have a comprehensive and collision deductible on your policy. If you file a claim for damage to your vehicle, you will pay the appropriate deductible depending on what caused the damage. Increasing your deductibles often lowers your premium, but make sure you look at your entire financial picture before making this change, to ensure that you can afford to pay a higher amount if you need to file a claim.
- Consider the car you drive: Some cars are cheaper to insure than others. If you are in the market for a car or if you need to lower your premium significantly, choosing a car that has low average insurance costs can be a good first step toward keeping your insurance costs low.
- Increase your credit score: Many states use your credit tier as a rating factor. Generally, the lower your credit score, the higher your auto insurance costs will be. If you can improve your score, you may see long-term savings regarding your car insurance.
- Move to a new city or ZIP code: This certainly is not the easiest way to lower your insurance costs, but if you are considering moving anyway, choosing your new location with your auto insurance premium in mind could help you avoid surprise costs.
Frequently asked questions
Why do car insurance rates vary by city?
Different cities come with different rating factors. The frequency of claims, the level of healthcare costs, the likelihood of weather damage and the cost of vehicle repairs all impact car insurance rates. Insurance is designed to cover the financial burden of an accident, so anything that could increase potential claim costs can also increase auto insurance prices.
Is it easy to switch providers?
Switching car insurance companies is relatively easy. Once you have obtained a quote and know you want to proceed with a new company, a representative from that company will let you know how to get your policy started. You might have to sign an application and make at least one month’s payment. Once you know the effective date of your new policy, you can contact your prior carrier to cancel your old policy. Be sure to cancel your old policy on the same date as the new one is effective; you don’t want the policies to overlap or to have a gap in coverage.
Which company is the best car insurance company?
The best car insurance company is personal and will vary based on your rating factors and what you are looking for in an insurance carrier. Knowing what coverage types, discounts and features you are looking for and then getting quotes from several companies to compare them can be helpful.
What is the average cost of car insurance in the U.S.?
The average cost for full coverage in the U.S. is $1,674 a year. Minimum coverage costs an average of $565 per year. Remember that these are only average rates, though. Insurance costs vary widely between states, cities and even ZIP codes. Additionally, your premium will be determined based on your individual rating factors, like your driving history, the type of car you drive and the coverage types and levels you choose.
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 coverage that meets 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.