How Auto Insurance Costs Differ by City in Maryland

Maryland is home to almost 6 million residents, of which over 4 million are licensed drivers. Drivers need to be aware that where they live and park their cars in Maryland can significantly impact their car insurance rates. We compared auto insurance costs using a representative pool of 12 sample drivers to see how much premiums could vary in the Old Line State based on location. We compared costs across 45 companies for our dozen motorists living in 24 cities. Baltimore was an outlier, ranking as the most expensive and costing 86% higher than the state mean for our group of drivers. Even excluding Baltimore, there was still a large variation: the second most expensive spot cost 70% more than the study's best city for auto insurance.

Part I: Least Expensive Places

Using our sample driver profiles, we found the five most affordable locations in Maryland cost 17% less for our benchmark of 12 drivers compared to their state average. These places were scattered across the state, ranged in population, and interestingly enough, were all historic centers for road, air travel and commerce.

Rank

CityAverage Annual RateChange vs. State Average

1

Hagerstown$1,791-19.4%

2

Frederick1,805-18.8%

3

Easton1,854-17%

4

Cambridge1,876-16%

5

Denton1,882-15%

Hagerstown, MD

The "Best City" in our Maryland study was Hagerstown, where our example drivers saw an average annual rate that was 19.4% more affordable than living elsewhere in MD. Its over 40,000 residents can attend annual festivals both musical and cultural, including Downtown Live!, Western Maryland Blues Fest, Augustoberfest, to the Alsatia Mummers’ Halloween Parade. The city is also a transportation hub, with Interstates 81 and 70, railroads, and air travel available at the Hagerstown Regional Airport.

Frederick, MD

Frederick, the second largest city in Maryland, ranked as the #2 most affordable place on our list for auto insurance in Maryland. Rates here were 18.8% lower versus the state average for our study's 12 driver profiles. Residents of Frederick can enjoy being well-connected with access to Interstates 70 and 270, U.S. Routes 340, 40, and 15, and the Frederick Municipal Airport. This city is also 49 miles away from Washington D.C., playing a large part in the growth of the city. The largest employers are Fort Detrick and the county’s Board of Education. Employees might be interested in knowing that there are insurers who specifically cater to teachers and military members (Horace Mann and USAA, respectively).

Easton, MD

Home to over 16,000 residents, Easton is a small town compared to some of the other locations we studied. Our study found Easton to be the third best spot to insure a car across Maryland, with our sample drivers paying 17% less than the state mean. This town got its name because it was located east of Saint Michaels, another small town in Maryland. Frederick Douglass, famed abolitionist and author, was born near Easton and has a seven-foot tall bronze statue on the county courthouse lawn located in this town. There are also Victorian Bed and Breakfasts, historic churches, cemeteries, and museums for tourists who enjoy the small town feel.

Cambridge, MD

Located in the Eastern Shore region of Maryland, Cambridge is another small city in the Old Line State. Our benchmarked drivers here pay the fourth cheapest rates in the analysis, with a premium 16% lower versus living elsewhere in Maryland. Notable people who were born in or around Cambridge are Golden Girls actress Beatrice Arthur, and Harriet Tubman, abolitionist and Underground Railroad activist. The Harriet Tubman Museum is a stop on the Underground Railroad driving tour and works to educate others on her life’s work.

Denton, MD

Rounding out our list is the least populated and smallest town in our ranking with a total area of 5.5 square miles, Denton. Annual rates here for the study's drivers were 15% more affordable compared to their Maryland average. The town was originally named Eden Town, after Sir Robert Eden, the last royal governor of Maryland, and was shortened to Denton. This historical town was a commerce center for agriculture and trade because of it is location on the Choptank River.

Part II: Most Expensive Places

Our five most expensive cities in Maryland for car insurance had average auto insurance quotes that averaged 37% greater than the state mean. These higher costing cities tended to be significantly larger and more densely populated than the more affordable towns in our study, which tends to correlate with relatively higher auto insurance rates.

Rank

CityAverage Annual RateChange vs. State Average

1

Baltimore$4,13986%

2

Owings Mills3,03737%

3

Fort Washington3,00935%

4

Silver Spring2,56115%

5

Waldorf2,48112%

Baltimore, MD

Our #1 most expensive city for car insurance in Maryland is Baltimore. Our drivers who lived in the largest city in Maryland found the highest rates here, 86% greater than the state mean. Before Baltimore was a service-based economy focused on science and technology, it was a large manufacturing center and its Inner Harbor was a point of entry for immigrants. Today, the largest employers in Baltimore are Johns Hopkins Hospital and Johns Hopkins University. Famous residents from Baltimore include Edgar Allan Poe, Billie Holiday, and Babe Ruth.

Owings Mills, MD

A suburb of Baltimore, Owing Mills is home to over 30,000 residents as well as the Baltimore Ravens’ headquarters facility. Black & Decker and CareFirst are other companies that are headquartered in this area. Our study's 12 drivers paid an average annual premium of $3,037, which was 37% more expensive than the Maryland average.

Fort Washington, MD

Third on our most expensive list is Fort Washington, where costs are 35% higher versus the state mean for our benchmark drivers. Fort Washington is just south of Washington D.C. and is a census-designated community located in Prince George’s County. It was originally named for the stone structure built to protect the capital during the War of 1812, the Civil War, and World War II. The Fort is now part of a large park with hiking trails and great views of the Potomac River.

Silver Springs, MD

Silver Springs is the fourth largest spot in the state as well as the fourth most expensive city in our Maryland study. The average cost here for the study's pool of drivers was 15% more than the state mean. This census-designated area has a population of over 76,000 and is a center for retail, residential and office development. In 1840, Francis Preston Blair found a mica-flecked (a glittery mineral) spring and bought the surrounding land, giving the name to his estate. Today this silvery spring is said to be in Acorn Park, a park that features an acorn-shaped gazebo.

Waldorf, MD

Waldorf, originally named Beantown after a local family and then renamed in honor of William Waldorf Astor, is home to over 67,000 residents. Although the community is quickly urbanizing, Waldorf is bordered by farms and once was a tobacco growing area. Now, Waldorf is mostly a commuter town for residents who work in Washington D.C. and is the fifth most expensive city for car insurance in our Maryland study with rates 12% higher than the state mean.

Cost of Auto Insurance: by City

Besides the 10 cities showcased as the most affordable or most expensive in Maryland, here is a list of all 24 cities that were included in our study. They are ranked from the cheapest to most expensive.

This graph shows how cities and towns in Maryland stack up to each other based on the cost of 12 sample drivers

How We Conducted the Study

We analyzed car insurance quotes based on Maryland government’s premium comparison data. The study’s average was calculated by using our 12 sample driver profiles across 45 insurers in 24 cities. To get a good idea of car insurance rates in the state, we had a mix of motorists with different types of policies, cars, driving backgrounds, and credit scores. There were four married couples with children, two single senior citizens, three single women and three single men of various ages.

All of our benchmark motorists had a $2,500 Full PIP(as required by the MD Financial Responsibility Law), a $500 deductible for collision, and all profiles except one had a $250 deductible for comprehensive coverage. The two single senior citizens both drove 5,000 miles a year for pleasure and had the best credit history. Other single males, single females, and married couples all had differences in the amount they drove.

Below is the average cost of insurance in all 24 of the cities for the dozen drivers used in our study, ordered alphabetically.

Cost Rank

CityAverage Annual RatesChange vs. State Average

14

Annapolis$2,182-2%

24

Baltimore4,13986%

17

Bel Air2,2491%

9

Berlin1,900-14%

4

Cambridge1,876-16%

7

Centreville1,888-15%

8

Chestertown1,895-15%

19

Columbia2,3616%

11

Cumberland1,916-14%

5

Denton1,882-15%

3

Easton1,854-17%

18

Elkton2,2501%

22

Fort Washington3,00935%

2

Frederick1,805-19%

1

Hagerstown1,791-19%

15

Leonardtown2,197-1%

12

Oakland1,918-14%

23

Owings Mills3,03737%

16

Prince Frederick2,2391%

6

Princess Anne1,888-15%

10

Salisbury1,913-14%

21

Silver Spring2,56115%

20

Waldorf2,48112%

13

Westminster2,087-6%

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