How Much Car Insurance Rates Vary by State

How Much Car Insurance Rates Vary by State

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Michigan has the highest average rates for minimum coverage of any state at $196 per month, while South Dakota has the lowest, at $28 per month.

That's a difference of $167 per month, depending on the state where you live. Michigan drivers pay nearly seven times more than South Dakota drivers.

Average cost of auto insurance by state

The national average rate for a minimum coverage car insurance policy is $58 per month. Individual rates differ not only by state but also based on factors like age and accident history, so your own car insurance costs may be different.

Michigan has the highest rates in the country for auto insurance, with drivers paying an average of $196 a month for minimum coverage. South Dakota has the cheapest auto insurance — drivers pay just $28 a month on average for minimum coverage. See how average auto insurance prices in your state compare to other states and the national average.

State
Average min coverage cost
Average full coverage cost
Michigan$196$399
Rhode Island$100$229
Nevada$97$216
Florida$91$238
New Jersey$86$159
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Which states have the cheapest car insurance?

South Dakota, Wyoming, Vermont, Iowa and North Dakota are the cheapest states for minimum car insurance.

South Dakota. South Dakota's rural landscape and low number of uninsured drivers result in the cheapest minimum car insurance rates in the country: The average monthly policy in the state costs $28, which is 52% lower than the national average. South Dakota drivers should get quotes from Auto-Owners, American Family or State Farm because they offer the lowest rates for minimum car insurance coverage in the state.

Wyoming. As one of the cheapest states to have auto insurance, Wyoming drivers pay 47% less than the national average. Car insurance in Wyoming costs just $31 per month, with State Farm and Geico offering the most affordable minimum coverage policies. Limited traffic on rural roads, a low population and a small number of uninsured motorists help insurance companies keep rates affordable.

Vermont. The average annual rate in Vermont is only $32 per month, making it 45% cheaper than average. State Farm, Concord and Geico offer the cheapest rates for minimum coverage for Vermont drivers.

Iowa. With an average monthly rate of just $34 for minimum coverage, Iowa has some of the nation's cheapest car insurance coverage — 41% cheaper than the national average. Iowa drivers should consider getting quotes from State Farm, Auto-Owners and Farm Bureau, as they offer the cheapest minimum coverage auto insurance in the state.

North Dakota. A minimum coverage policy in North Dakota costs just $34 each month — 41% cheaper than the national average. North Dakota drivers should get quotes from American Family State Farm or Auto-Owners, as these companies offer the cheapest rates for minimum coverage.

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Car insurance rates by city

Car insurance costs vary not just by state — they also vary significantly by city. As a general rule, the more populated the city you live in, the more expensive your auto insurance rates will be. Drivers who frequently travel on busy roads are more likely to get into an accident, and that higher risk means increased car insurance rates.

For example, in Texas, a monthly minimum coverage policy is $30 more in Houston, the state's most populous city, than in El Paso.

City
Population
Average minimum coverage rate
Houston2,345,606$163
San Antonio1,456,069$145
Dallas1,325,691$163
Austin996,147$137
Fort Worth954,457$138
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Population data based off the 2020 Census

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Compare car insurance rates by city in your state

Car insurance prices can vary considerably depending on what city you live in. Being in larger cities can also be on the cheaper or more expensive side of the spectrum, depending on the state where you live.

Car insurance rates by ZIP code

Insurance companies price car insurance by ZIP code as well as by city. If you compare one ZIP code with another, you'll find that average car insurance rates can vary by more than a third — even within the same city.

Take Houston as an example: If a 30-year-old driver with a clean driving record lives in ZIP code 77036, he will pay $816 per year on average for minimum coverage auto insurance on his Honda Civic EX. By contrast, if he lives in ZIP code 77339, he will pay just $659 per year — a $157 difference.

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Don't be alarmed if your auto insurance rates change when you move across town. Shop around for the cheapest auto insurance rates in your new ZIP code to ensure you're getting the best deal.

Which states have the highest car insurance rates?

Michigan, Rhode Island, Nevada, Florida and New Jersey have the most expensive car insurance rates. Drivers in these states have some of the highest auto insurance rates in the country, though the reasons for these rates vary by state.

Michigan. Michigan has by far the highest car insurance rates in the country: Drivers in Michigan pay an average of $196 a month for minimum coverage — more than three times than the national average.

Michigan's unique approach to auto insurance accounts for this expensive auto insurance. Before July 2020, drivers were required to carry unlimited PIP insurance. This drove up costs and led to many drivers going without insurance altogether.

Thanks to recent reform, drivers now only need $250,000 in PIP insurance, and those with Medicare can opt out altogether. This has significantly reduced annual rates and made auto insurance more accessible for drivers, which should make roads safer. Michigan drivers may want to consider getting quotes from Progressive, Auto-Owners Insurance or USAA, as these companies have the cheapest quotes for minimum coverage.

Rhode Island. Rhode Island ranks as the second-most expensive state for auto insurance. Rhode Island car insurance costs $100 per month on average for minimum coverage, meaning rates are 72% higher than the national average. Travelers, Amica and Geico typically have the cheapest minimum coverage rates for Rhode Island drivers.

Nevada. With residents paying an average of $97 per month for minimum coverage, Nevada has the third-highest car insurance rates in the country. Traffic congestion around cities such as Las Vegas and Reno, which account for much of the state's population, causes insurance companies to charge rates 67% higher than the national average. Nevada drivers should consider quotes from State Farm and Geico, which quoted the most affordable policies for minimum coverage.

Florida. Florida is one of the most expensive states for car insurance. The average cost of Florida car insurance is $91 per month for a minimum coverage policy, about 57% more than the national average.

In addition to a high percentage of uninsured drivers, Florida's frequent exposure to natural disasters leads to insurance companies charging more than they do in states with more stable weather. Geico and State Farm have the most affordable quotes for drivers looking to save on minimum coverage in Florida.

New Jersey. As a no-fault state, New Jersey car insurance laws require drivers to carry PIP insurance. This plays a factor in raising prices 48% above the national average: New Jersey drivers pay about $86 per month a year for minimum coverage, making it one of the country’s most expensive places. Geico offers most New Jersey drivers the most affordable minimum coverage.

How do state coverage requirements affect car insurance costs?

Because car insurance is regulated at the state level, states have what coverage is required in your statedifferent requirements for minimum coverage drivers must have. These differences account for some of the variations in car insurance cost.

There are typically five kinds of liability insurance that states can require drivers to have.

  • Bodily injury liability (BI)
  • {"content":"Pays for medical care for injuries suffered by other drivers and passengers after an at-fault accident","icon":"","label":"","triggerText":"Bodily injury liability (BI)"}
  • Property damage liability (PD)
  • {"content":"Pays damage you cause in an at-fault accident","icon":"","label":"","triggerText":"Property damage liability (PD)"}
  • Uninsured/underinsured bodily injury (UIM)
  • {"content":"Pays for medical care for your injuries and your passengers\u2019 injuries after an accident with an uninsured motorist","icon":"","label":"","triggerText":"Uninsured\/underinsured bodily injury (UIM)"}
  • Uninsured/underinsured property damage (UIM)
  • {"content":"Pays damage to your vehicle and property after an accident with an uninsured motorist","icon":"","label":"","triggerText":"Uninsured\/underinsured property damage (UIM)"}
  • Personal injury protection (PIP)
  • {"content":"Pays your medical care for your injuries, lost wages and funeral expenses after an accident, regardless of who was at fault","icon":"","label":"","triggerText":"Personal injury protection (PIP)"}

Most states require drivers to have auto insurance. All states except Florida require drivers to have bodily injury liability, and all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia require property damage liability. About half of all states require uninsured or underinsured coverage, and 16 states require PIP.

Is full coverage required in my state?

Full coverage adds collision and comprehensive coverages plus higher liability limits. Collision and comprehensive coverage pay for damage to your own car after an accident, while minimum coverage in most states only pays for injuries to other drivers and passengers or property you damage.

No state requires drivers to carry full coverage; you'll pay extra for this added protection. Even in Maine, the state with the smallest difference between full and minimum coverage policies, drivers with full coverage pay an extra $54 each month. Consider the value of your car and whether it makes sense to pay more for full coverage.

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Either way, get car insurance quotes from multiple companies both large and small to find your best rates. Of the major national companies, USAA and State Farm offer the cheapest rates for full coverage. You may find a better deal with a small local or regional company, though, so it pays to shop around before purchasing a policy.

No-fault state vs. fault states

States with the most expensive car insurance rates often experience these high costs because of a legal structure known as "no-fault." No-fault states require drivers to carry PIP insurance that covers their own medical bills in case of an accident and limits the rights of a driver to sue for damages after an accident. Of the 12 no-fault states, three appear in the top five for highest auto insurance rates.

Fault states take the opposite approach. Rather than having drivers cover their own injuries, as in no-fault states, the person who caused the car accident must use their liability insurance to pay for the other driver's injuries.

The 12 no-fault states are:

  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah

A few states, including New Jersey and Pennsylvania, allow drivers to pay more to opt out of the no-fault system. This allows them to sue for "pain and suffering."

Some states, notably Delaware, Maine and Oregon, require PIP, even though they are not no-fault states.

What other factors besides location affect my auto insurance rates?

In addition to location-specific factors like ZIP code and crime and theft rates, insurance companies also consider personal demographic details about the driver when setting insurance rates, like your age, driving record and credit score.

  • Driving record. If you've received speeding tickets or had accidents in the past, companies will assume you are a high-risk driver and raise your rates accordingly.
  • Marital status. Insurance companies charge married drivers lower rates than single drivers, as married drivers are viewed as less likely to engage in risky driving behavior.
  • Gender. Men spend more time on the road and get into more accidents than women. Except for a few states, companies generally charge men more than women until they hit their 30s to reflect this increased risk.
  • Car. Drive a sporty, luxury or exotic car? You'll pay more to insure it. The more expensive your car is to repair, the more you'll pay annually.
  • Age. Senior citizens and young drivers under the age of 30 are far more accident-prone than middle-aged drivers. Accordingly, they pay more for insurance, with rates gradually dropping between the ages of 16 and 30 and then rising again after age 60 or so.
  • Credit score. Several states, including Michigan, Hawaii and California, have banned the use of credit score to set rates. Unless you live in one of these states, your credit history will likely impact your insurance rates. A good to excellent credit score will get you a lower rate; a poor or bad credit score will get you a higher rate.
  • Lapse in coverage. Gone without auto insurance coverage for less than a month? Insurance companies will likely increase your rates. Gone without for more than a month? You could see an increase of 29%.

Every company has its own unique formula for developing rates, with some companies emphasizing certain factors more than others. That's why it's so important to compare quotes to maximize your chances of getting your best rate.

How moving states can impact your car insurance rates

Moving across state lines will impact your auto insurance rates. As a general rule, if the state you're moving to has higher requirements for minimum coverage, you'll pay higher rates, and if it has lower requirements, you'll pay lower rates.

That's a good way to start estimating car insurance to get an idea of how much your car insurance rates might change if you move states.

For example, drivers who move from Pennsylvania to Texas will likely find their rates will increase. Texas drivers pay 20% more, on average, for minimum coverage than Pennsylvania drivers.

This is partly because Texas has higher minimum coverage requirements than Pennsylvania, requiring drivers to have bodily injury liability limits of $30,000 per person and $60,000 per accident, with $25,000 in property damage liability limits.

By contrast, Pennsylvania only requires about half those coverage amounts — bodily injury liability limits of $15,000 per person and $30,000 per accident, with $5,000 in property damage liability limits.

Some drivers will see a decrease in their rates when they move. If you compare rates in New Jersey versus Pennsylvania, you'll find that Pennsylvania drivers pay 53% less on average for minimum-coverage car insurance — even though the states have identical minimum coverage requirements and are both no-fault states.

You may also need to factor in the cost to change your registration and license with your new state DMV as well.

Methodology

We collected quotes from 37 top insurance companies across all available ZIP codes in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quotes are for a 30-year-old man with a 2015 Honda Civic EX and good credit.

Full coverage policies include coverage limits above minimum requirements.

Coverage type
Study limits
Bodily liability$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident
Property damage$25,000 per accident
Uninsured/underinsured motorist BI$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident
Comprehensive & collision$500 deductible
Personal injury protectionMinimum when required by state

ValuePenguin's analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only — your own quotes may be different.

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.