Auto Insurance

The 2016 Car Insurance Olympics

Car insurance companies compete to be the best and cheapest.

The Rio Olympics have come and gone with the world watching every triumph intently. At ValuePenguin, we wondered if car insurance was an Olympics, how would that shape up? From our database of nearly 33,000 quotes from across 3,300 cities across the country, we were able to find how different areas of car insurance would shape up if they were Olympic events. 

The Cheapest Car Insurance Company 

The gold medal went to Erie Insurance, where the average quote for a 30-year-old male driver was $1,052. Erie was a top three cheapest provider in 63% of the cities we found Erie quotes. GEICO, which was the first cheapest provider in 34% of cities, and second cheapest in 20% takes the silver medal. The average quote we found for GEICO was $1,067 for a sample 30-year-old driver. The bronze went to American Family, a smaller company that had an annual premium of $1,099 for a 30-year-old driver. 

While these companies were the best nationally, the cheapest insurer in your area may actually be none of these companies. In 37% of the cities Erie was found, it was either the fourth or worst cheapest provider. It is crucial to comparison shop for car insurance to insure you are getting the best deal in your area—never take a brand name for granted. 

The Cheapest State 

In the competition for cheapest state there is a tight race, but in the end, Idaho took the gold medal. With the silver medal was Wisconsin, followed by a bronze for Maine. Only $110, based on our sample driver, separated these three states. Even more striking, less than $60 separated Maine from the next 7 states. 

You can’t control if your state has expensive car insurance, but there are things you can do as a driver to ensure you get a great rate. Obvious ones include maintaining a clean driving record; no accidents, no DUIs, or speeding tickets. Any of those violations can take on hundreds if not thousands of dollars to your bill. A less obvious one is maintaining a good credit score. A poor credit score can cost you an extra 60% on your monthly bill. 

The Cheapest City 

The gold medal for cheapest city goes to Normal, Illinois. The town of about 50,000 is located within the Chicago Metro area, and was about 66% under the national average. The silver medalist was Sheboygan, Wisconsin. The Lake Michigan city only lost out to Normal by a mere $2.31. Lastly, the bronze went to another Illinois city, this time Galesburg. The city of 32,000 resides closer to Iowa than it does Chicago, and is actually one of many Illinois cities in the top ten. 

We found large cities had an average of 14 car insurance companies, where the average difference between the most and least expensive 258%. What does it mean? It means that you should check out as many companies as possible in your area to ensure you are getting the most affordable price. Even in Normal, the most expensive company was offering a quote several hundreds of dollars above the average. 

The Cheapest State For Teenage Drivers 

Teen drivers face the highest car insurance rates due to their inexperience behind the wheel, and affinity for risk. Nonetheless, some states are better than others in terms of pricing. The gold medal for this category went to Hawaii, where rates for young drivers were about 1.6x underneath the national average for a seventeen-year-old male driver. The silver medalist was Alaska, where a 17-year-old driver would be expected to pay about an extra $40 per month than Hawaiians. Lastly, the bronze medal went to Iowa, where rates were about $22 more per month than in Alaska for our sample driver. 

Insurance Company with the Most Discounts 

The gold medal for the most discounts goes to GEICO, who offers a plethora of discounts ranging from being a good student, a good driver, a military member, or even belonging to a certain organization. Silver went to Esurance, and bronze to Allstate. 

Discounts are a great way to reduce your monthly and yearly car insurance bill. While many get automatically applied, there are many you may not know you even qualify for. Check to see if your child gets good grades, or look into taking a safe driving online course. Savings could amount to well over 20% of your current bill. 

Mark Fitzpatrick

Mark is a Senior Research Analyst for ValuePenguin focusing primarily on the insurance industry, primarily auto insurance. He previously worked in financial risk management at State Street Corporation.

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