Auto Insurance Makes up 2.2% of Drivers' Budgets in the Average City, but City-Dwellers in Florida and Michigan Are Really Feeling the Squeeze

Auto Insurance Makes up 2.2% of Drivers' Budgets in the Average City, but City-Dwellers in Florida and Michigan Are Really Feeling the Squeeze

Drivers in more densely populated areas tend to pay the most for car insurance, so the biggest cities in a state tend to have some of the highest rates. But some city residents can better afford this outlay than others.

In 15% of metropolitan areas, a minimum coverage auto insurance policy costs 3% of that area's per capita income, which we have defined informally in this study as "breaking the budget".

Our research finds that, on average, city-dwellers in 33 metropolitan areas in Michigan and Florida pay in excess of 3% of their income on a minimum coverage auto insurance policy. And although cities in these two states dominate our rankings of auto insurance unaffordability, multiple cities in states such as Louisiana, Texas and New Jersey also make the list.

Auto insurance costs also make up a bigger share of income for drivers in cities with lower income levels. Although auto insurance costs are actually lower in metro areas with lower incomes, a much bigger share of drivers' paychecks are going toward these policies.

The states with cities where auto insurance breaks drivers' budgets

Auto insurance prices for minimum coverage — the lowest cost insurance available — made up 3% or more of drivers' budgets in 54 of the 364 metro areas with data available. And the following states have at least one metro area, and in some cases many more than one, where average drivers pay 3% or more of their income on car insurance.

Florida and Michigan lead the pack, but Louisiana, Texas and New Jersey also have multiple cities where the cost of a minimum policy makes up a sizable share of average incomes.

# of metro areas breaking budgetStateMost expensive metro areaInsurance costs as a % of income
19FloridaTampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater7.1%
14MichiganDetroit-Warren-Dearborn25.2%
6LouisianaNew Orleans-Metairie4.0%
3TexasMcAllen-Edinburg-Mission4.5%
2New JerseyAtlantic City-Hammonton3.4%
1NevadaLas Vegas-Henderson-Paradise4.0%
1Rhode IslandProvidence-Warwick3.9%
1New YorkNew York-Newark-Jersey City3.4%
1KentuckyLouisville/Jefferson County3.4%
1ColoradoPueblo3.2%
1ConnecticutNew Haven-Milford3.1%
1OregonSalem3.1%
1UtahProvo-Orem3.0%
1GeorgiaMacon-Bibb County3.0%
1MarylandBaltimore-Columbia-Towson3.0%
When metro areas crossed state lines, data was used for the most populated city.

Below, we break down data in the five states with multiple metro areas where car insurance weighs on drivers' budget. In Florida and Michigan, the unaffordability of car insurance policies is driven by high prices at a state level. In others, such as Louisiana, Texas and New Jersey, a combination of lower income levels and higher rates is driving the story.

Florida

  • Number of cities where car insurance breaks the budget: 19
  • Average auto insurance costs as a share of income in those cities: 5.3%

Florida has a higher number of expensive metro areas than any other state. In 19 metro areas, the average cost of a minimum car insurance policy is more than 3% of the average income.

The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area leads the pack. Its per capita income levels were $47,240 per year in 2018, near the national average for income. But car insurance costs in Tampa were $3,348 for a minimum policy, more than 31% more than the state average.

High costs as a share of the budget are a result of high state-wide insurance costs in Florida. Our data found it is the second most expensive state for a minimum coverage policy after Michigan. The inclusion of personal injury protection in minimum coverage policies contributes to the higher costs, and a population that skews both old and young is likely a contributing factor in increasing the number of claims in the state.

Michigan

  • Number of cities where car insurance breaks the budget: 14
  • Average auto insurance costs as a share of income in those cities: 12.1%

Every metro area with data available had extremely expensive insurance in Michigan. This is because Michigan has extensive requirements for minimum coverage policies, including unlimited personal injury protection.

The most extreme example is Detroit, where the highest car insurance costs in the nation — $13,404 for a minimum coverage policy — result in a minimum coverage policy making up 25% of average income. This number represents an average, and our sample driver found much cheaper rates by shopping around, but it illustrates the elevated rates being charged by some of the biggest insurers in the state.

Even in areas with higher income levels, auto insurance takes up a big share of income. The Midland metro area has per capita income of $60,467 per year, but the average minimum auto insurance rate is $4,045 per year, 6.7% of per capita income.

Louisiana

  • Number of cities where car insurance breaks the budget: Six
  • Average auto insurance costs as a share of income in those cities: 3.6%

Among states, Louisiana is the fifth most expensive for minimum car insurance. And in the nine metro areas where per capita income data was available, seven of them had per capita income levels below the national average. The result is car insurance policies that eat up drivers' incomes.

In metro areas such as Monroe and Hammond, per capita income levels are around $40,000 per year or less. But minimum car insurance still costs around $1,400 per year in these cities, meaning costs are more than 3% of incomes.

Texas

  • Number of cities where car insurance breaks the budget: Three
  • Average auto insurance costs as a share of income in those cities: 3.8%

The average cost of minimum coverage car insurance in Texas isn't particularly high. The state as a whole ranks as the 19th most expensive. But it has several metro areas that have the lowest per capita income levels in the country, making car insurance an exorbitant expense.

McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, Brownsville-Harlingen and Laredo have the three lowest per capita income levels of all 364 metro areas used in this study. With income levels of approximately $30,000 (or even less) and car insurance rates of just over $1,000, drivers in these areas could be paying 3% to 5% of their budget on a policy.

New Jersey

  • Number of cities where car insurance breaks the budget: Two
  • Average auto insurance costs as a share of income in those cities: 3.4%

As a state with one of the densest populations in the country, New Jersey has relatively high car insurance rates. In particular, there are two areas where auto insurance makes up a large share of drivers' incomes: Atlantic City-Hammonton and Vineland-Bridgeton.

In the Atlantic City area, income levels are around the country's average, $48,668 per year, but car insurance rates are very high: At $1,662 per year, they're 41% above the state average.

In Vineland, income is a bigger factor. Per capita income rates in Vineland are $40,289 per year, the lowest of the four major metro areas in the state. And with car insurance rates of $1,335 per year, drivers would pay an average of 3.3% of their income for a minimum policy.

The share of city-dwellers' budgets going toward auto insurance across the country

The average per capita income in United States metro areas is $48,292 per year, according to data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. And the average cost of minimum coverage car insurance in these metro areas is $1,078 per year, 2.2% of income.

But the cost of minimum car insurance as a share of average incomes varies widely, from as little as 0.5% in San Jose, California to 25.2% in the Detroit metropolitan area.

Below, we've ranked all 364 available metro areas by the highest car insurance costs as a share of average income. The most expensive metropolitan areas are ranked at the top.

The high cost of minimum car insurance in Michigan and Florida means their cities dominate the top of the list, but 13 other states have cities with car insurance costs exceeding 3% of income.

Metro areaStatePer capita income (2018)Minimum coverage policy costCar insurance cost as a share of incomeRank
Detroit-Warren-DearbornMichigan$53,086$13,40425.2%1
FlintMichigan$41,068$7,29617.8%2
SaginawMichigan$38,754$5,55814.3%3
Lansing-East LansingMichigan$41,812$5,33512.8%4
MonroeMichigan$47,496$5,99812.6%5
MuskegonMichigan$39,072$4,89412.5%6
Bay CityMichigan$41,722$4,99712.0%7
Battle CreekMichigan$40,276$4,70211.7%8
JacksonMichigan$39,832$4,44311.2%9
NilesMichigan$47,430$4,5029.5%10
Grand Rapids-KentwoodMichigan$50,463$4,1488.2%11
Kalamazoo-PortageMichigan$48,723$3,9878.2%12
Ann ArborMichigan$59,363$4,3397.3%13
Tampa-St. Petersburg-ClearwaterFlorida$47,240$3,3487.1%14
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano BeachFlorida$57,228$3,9296.9%15
MidlandMichigan$60,467$4,0456.7%16
Sebring-Avon ParkFlorida$33,453$2,1976.6%17
Lakeland-Winter HavenFlorida$35,463$2,3276.6%18
Orlando-Kissimmee-SanfordFlorida$43,491$2,5675.9%19
OcalaFlorida$36,997$2,1125.7%20
Homosassa SpringsFlorida$37,920$2,1585.7%21
Pensacola-Ferry Pass-BrentFlorida$43,259$2,3345.4%22
Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond BeachFlorida$43,028$2,2645.3%23
TallahasseeFlorida$42,601$2,1555.1%24
JacksonvilleFlorida$49,754$2,4244.9%25
Palm Bay-Melbourne-TitusvilleFlorida$45,425$2,2104.9%26
Panama CityFlorida$43,231$2,0884.8%27
GainesvilleFlorida$42,663$1,9584.6%28
McAllen-Edinburg-MissionTexas$26,410$1,1884.5%29
The VillagesFlorida$46,100$2,0384.4%30
Cape Coral-Fort MyersFlorida$51,266$2,2364.4%31
Port St. LucieFlorida$54,228$2,3264.3%32
Crestview-Fort Walton Beach-DestinFlorida$51,655$2,0844.0%33
New Orleans-MetairieLouisiana$52,431$2,0974.0%34
Las Vegas-Henderson-ParadiseNevada$47,090$1,8694.0%35
Providence-WarwickRhode Island$54,585$2,1353.9%36
Brownsville-HarlingenTexas$28,756$1,0813.8%37
Baton RougeLouisiana$48,042$1,7833.7%38
North Port-Sarasota-BradentonFlorida$56,462$2,0893.7%39
MonroeLouisiana$40,482$1,4543.6%40
HammondLouisiana$38,974$1,3643.5%41
LafayetteLouisiana$44,273$1,5343.5%42
AlexandriaLouisiana$43,995$1,5183.5%43
New York-Newark-Jersey CityNew York$76,681$2,6333.4%44
Louisville/Jefferson CountyKentucky$50,101$1,7183.4%45
Atlantic City-HammontonNew Jersey$48,668$1,6623.4%46
Vineland-BridgetonNew Jersey$40,289$1,3353.3%47
LaredoTexas$31,635$1,0353.3%48
PuebloColorado$39,511$1,2593.2%49
New Haven-MilfordConnecticut$56,650$1,7693.1%50
SalemOregon$42,714$1,3073.1%51
Provo-OremUtah$40,831$1,2413.0%52
Macon-Bibb CountyGeorgia$41,066$1,2333.0%53
Baltimore-Columbia-TowsonMaryland$62,402$1,8493.0%54
Houma-ThibodauxLouisiana$44,127$1,2922.9%55
RomeGeorgia$38,524$1,0962.8%56
Phoenix-Mesa-ChandlerArizona$46,125$1,3102.8%57
Sebastian-Vero BeachFlorida$76,059$2,1592.8%58
ColumbusGeorgia$41,067$1,1612.8%59
DoverDelaware$42,023$1,1822.8%60
Atlanta-Sandy Springs-AlpharettaGeorgia$52,473$1,4692.8%61
Buffalo-CheektowagaNew York$50,414$1,4102.8%62
St. GeorgeUtah$38,847$1,0862.8%63
Lake CharlesLouisiana$49,011$1,3702.8%64
Warner RobinsGeorgia$41,944$1,1642.8%65
Hartford-East Hartford-MiddletownConnecticut$64,337$1,7622.7%66
AlbanyGeorgia$37,500$1,0242.7%67
Elizabethtown-Fort KnoxKentucky$42,144$1,1422.7%68
GainesvilleGeorgia$43,701$1,1742.7%69
DaltonGeorgia$36,316$9752.7%70
Bowling GreenKentucky$36,740$9862.7%71
LoganUtah$38,690$1,0382.7%72
Ogden-ClearfieldUtah$43,988$1,1782.7%73
Shreveport-Bossier CityLouisiana$46,509$1,2432.7%74
Portland-Vancouver-HillsboroOregon$56,991$1,5042.6%75
Augusta-Richmond CountyGeorgia$42,053$1,1072.6%76
Beaumont-Port ArthurTexas$44,527$1,1472.6%77
Athens-Clarke CountyGeorgia$40,690$1,0442.6%78
SavannahGeorgia$47,144$1,1982.5%79
Salt Lake CityUtah$51,736$1,3132.5%80
Gulfport-BiloxiMississippi$36,878$9242.5%81
ValdostaGeorgia$36,217$9012.5%82
Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle BeachSouth Carolina$38,700$9602.5%83
Albany-LebanonOregon$42,891$1,0622.5%84
Colorado SpringsColorado$48,492$1,1992.5%85
TexarkanaTexas$37,607$9262.5%86
Grants PassOregon$40,977$1,0032.4%87
SumterSouth Carolina$37,304$9082.4%88
St. LouisMissouri$55,883$1,3582.4%89
Corpus ChristiTexas$44,311$1,0612.4%90
TucsonArizona$44,028$1,0542.4%91
Lexington-FayetteKentucky$47,875$1,1462.4%92
El PasoTexas$35,836$8542.4%93
FlorenceSouth Carolina$40,413$9602.4%94
LongviewTexas$41,630$9812.4%95
Poughkeepsie-Newburgh-MiddletownNew York$53,811$1,2552.3%96
Naples-Marco IslandFlorida$92,686$2,1552.3%97
BrunswickGeorgia$41,092$9472.3%98
SpringfieldMissouri$41,780$9622.3%99
Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar LandTexas$56,077$1,2842.3%100
Eugene-SpringfieldOregon$45,919$1,0512.3%101
OwensboroKentucky$41,387$9462.3%102
San Antonio-New BraunfelsTexas$46,995$1,0722.3%103
MobileAlabama$38,170$8652.3%104
Lake Havasu City-KingmanArizona$33,148$7432.2%105
Utica-RomeNew York$44,036$9802.2%106
Sherman-DenisonTexas$42,195$9382.2%107
CorvallisOregon$47,019$1,0452.2%108
St. JosephMissouri$39,253$8692.2%109
GreeleyColorado$46,172$1,0192.2%110
Carbondale-MarionIllinois$40,701$8892.2%111
AlbuquerqueNew Mexico$42,536$9282.2%112
College Station-BryanTexas$39,533$8612.2%113
MedfordOregon$46,603$1,0042.2%114
TuscaloosaAlabama$37,983$8122.1%115
SyracuseNew York$49,736$1,0622.1%116
GadsdenAlabama$36,918$7852.1%117
RockfordIllinois$44,328$9402.1%118
JacksonMississippi$43,772$9192.1%119
Denver-Aurora-LakewoodColorado$64,287$1,3462.1%120
DanvilleIllinois$39,481$8242.1%121
Dallas-Fort Worth-ArlingtonTexas$55,886$1,1642.1%122
ColumbiaSouth Carolina$44,906$9322.1%123
VictoriaTexas$45,968$9452.1%124
Hagerstown-MartinsburgMaryland$43,897$9012.1%125
Trenton-PrincetonNew Jersey$69,344$1,4222.1%126
HattiesburgMississippi$38,648$7822.0%127
Killeen-TempleTexas$41,634$8422.0%128
WacoTexas$40,831$8162.0%129
RochesterNew York$51,167$1,0222.0%130
Cape GirardeauMissouri$43,850$8752.0%131
Anniston-OxfordAlabama$37,120$7362.0%132
Oklahoma CityOklahoma$48,571$9632.0%133
LubbockTexas$42,181$8362.0%134
SpringfieldMassachusetts$51,953$1,0222.0%135
Las CrucesNew Mexico$36,570$7182.0%136
Chicago-Naperville-ElginIllinois$61,089$1,1982.0%137
Prescott Valley-PrescottArizona$40,312$7861.9%138
Auburn-OpelikaAlabama$38,036$7411.9%139
Greenville-AndersonSouth Carolina$44,213$8591.9%140
MontgomeryAlabama$42,943$8331.9%141
Charleston-North CharlestonSouth Carolina$50,958$9881.9%142
Pine BluffArkansas$34,554$6681.9%143
Ocean CityNew Jersey$60,877$1,1741.9%144
Florence-Muscle ShoalsAlabama$37,608$7251.9%145
SalisburyMaryland$48,296$9311.9%146
Grand JunctionColorado$44,935$8661.9%147
PeoriaIllinois$48,870$9391.9%148
Kansas CityMissouri$53,788$1,0321.9%149
Sierra Vista-DouglasArizona$40,308$7691.9%150
Norwich-New LondonConnecticut$59,264$1,1241.9%151
Philadelphia-Camden-WilmingtonPennsylvania$64,440$1,2171.9%152
Glens FallsNew York$46,411$8741.9%153
AbileneTexas$43,140$8041.9%154
DecaturIllinois$48,214$8981.9%155
Fort CollinsColorado$54,188$1,0091.9%156
DecaturAlabama$38,719$7121.8%157
Champaign-UrbanaIllinois$45,975$8451.8%158
AmarilloTexas$46,131$8451.8%159
DothanAlabama$40,883$7471.8%160
BinghamtonNew York$44,817$8151.8%161
IthacaNew York$45,282$8231.8%162
East StroudsburgPennsylvania$42,722$7751.8%163
ColumbiaMissouri$46,510$8421.8%164
OdessaTexas$47,271$8541.8%165
BendOregon$55,143$9961.8%166
ElmiraNew York$44,373$8001.8%167
Wichita FallsTexas$43,527$7831.8%168
SpartanburgSouth Carolina$43,148$7761.8%169
SpringfieldIllinois$48,793$8761.8%170
California-Lexington ParkMaryland$56,820$1,0161.8%171
FarmingtonNew Mexico$35,453$6271.8%172
St. CloudMinnesota$46,513$8191.8%173
TylerTexas$55,229$9701.8%174
TulsaOklahoma$54,866$9611.8%175
LawtonOklahoma$41,509$7261.7%176
Jefferson CityMissouri$43,802$7641.7%177
Minneapolis-St. Paul-BloomingtonMinnesota$62,889$1,0951.7%178
Washington-Arlington-AlexandriaDistrict of Columbia$72,483$1,2601.7%179
Carson CityNevada$50,754$8821.7%180
Albany-Schenectady-TroyNew York$58,104$1,0071.7%181
Birmingham-HooverAlabama$50,979$8771.7%182
JonesboroArkansas$36,588$6271.7%183
FlagstaffArizona$48,129$8201.7%184
Austin-Round Rock-GeorgetownTexas$58,773$9991.7%185
Watertown-Fort DrumNew York$46,924$7921.7%186
RenoNevada$59,639$1,0041.7%187
Daphne-Fairhope-FoleyAlabama$45,596$7651.7%188
PocatelloIdaho$38,038$6381.7%189
BloomingtonIllinois$49,180$8221.7%190
Little Rock-North Little Rock-ConwayArkansas$45,512$7471.6%191
BeckleyWest Virginia$38,717$6341.6%192
HuntsvilleAlabama$49,595$8121.6%193
Youngstown-Warren-BoardmanOhio$42,443$6941.6%194
LawrenceKansas$43,642$7091.6%195
Hilton Head Island-BlufftonSouth Carolina$53,056$8581.6%196
FayettevilleNorth Carolina$36,903$5921.6%197
Huntington-AshlandWest Virginia$40,299$6461.6%198
Twin FallsIdaho$39,309$6301.6%199
MemphisTennessee$46,620$7441.6%200
San AngeloTexas$46,406$7291.6%201
Great FallsMontana$47,518$7411.6%202
BoulderColorado$73,394$1,1361.5%203
Fort SmithArkansas$37,800$5831.5%204
EnidOklahoma$44,465$6811.5%205
WichitaKansas$51,854$7931.5%206
Hot SpringsArkansas$40,004$6111.5%207
TopekaKansas$46,017$7011.5%208
MankatoMinnesota$46,141$6911.5%209
BillingsMontana$52,019$7791.5%210
Riverside-San Bernardino-OntarioCalifornia$40,486$6031.5%211
LincolnNebraska$49,886$7431.5%212
DuluthMinnesota$46,250$6881.5%213
MercedCalifornia$38,519$5711.5%214
MissoulaMontana$49,492$7331.5%215
WorcesterMassachusetts$55,801$8241.5%216
EriePennsylvania$44,903$6581.5%217
Idaho FallsIdaho$45,477$6551.4%218
Scranton--Wilkes-BarrePennsylvania$46,175$6641.4%219
Omaha-Council BluffsNebraska$58,037$8291.4%220
Boise CityIdaho$45,973$6551.4%221
CharlestonWest Virginia$44,053$6261.4%222
Bridgeport-Stamford-NorwalkConnecticut$120,630$1,7101.4%223
BakersfieldCalifornia$39,703$5621.4%224
StocktonCalifornia$44,995$6351.4%225
Weirton-SteubenvilleWest Virginia$40,472$5711.4%226
Terre HauteIndiana$38,299$5371.4%227
Hanford-CorcoranCalifornia$35,306$4931.4%228
ClarksvilleTennessee$39,991$5561.4%229
Coeur d'AleneIdaho$44,987$6211.4%230
ToledoOhio$46,868$6411.4%231
MorristownTennessee$35,829$4901.4%232
ManhattanKansas$46,008$6281.4%233
Lewiston-AuburnMaine$41,528$5661.4%234
FresnoCalifornia$43,084$5861.4%235
Manchester-NashuaNew Hampshire$61,147$8271.4%236
VisaliaCalifornia$40,420$5441.3%237
Grand IslandNebraska$43,817$5881.3%238
ModestoCalifornia$44,120$5921.3%239
ClevelandTennessee$38,371$5141.3%240
MaderaCalifornia$39,897$5321.3%241
JohnstownPennsylvania$43,420$5771.3%242
Allentown-Bethlehem-EastonPennsylvania$54,120$7161.3%243
MuncieIndiana$37,201$4911.3%244
Santa FeNew Mexico$58,510$7691.3%245
LewistonIdaho$45,368$5961.3%246
ReadingPennsylvania$49,945$6541.3%247
Los Angeles-Long Beach-AnaheimCalifornia$63,913$8361.3%248
GoldsboroNorth Carolina$38,472$5021.3%249
YakimaWashington$43,379$5651.3%250
MorgantownWest Virginia$42,509$5531.3%251
JacksonTennessee$40,226$5211.3%252
AltoonaPennsylvania$46,743$6021.3%253
Yuba CityCalifornia$42,925$5511.3%254
Kennewick-RichlandWashington$44,256$5621.3%255
Spokane-Spokane ValleyWashington$45,903$5811.3%256
RochesterMinnesota$55,323$6921.3%257
El CentroCalifornia$36,974$4611.2%258
KokomoIndiana$41,842$5191.2%259
EvansvilleIndiana$47,313$5841.2%260
York-HanoverPennsylvania$50,113$6161.2%261
Canton-MassillonOhio$44,767$5501.2%262
KnoxvilleTennessee$45,739$5601.2%263
LebanonPennsylvania$48,352$5911.2%264
LongviewWashington$44,990$5471.2%265
Lafayette-West LafayetteIndiana$39,969$4851.2%266
Sacramento-Roseville-FolsomCalifornia$56,278$6791.2%267
BloomingtonIndiana$41,947$5061.2%268
ChattanoogaTennessee$45,900$5511.2%269
AnchorageAlaska$60,953$7291.2%270
MansfieldOhio$39,234$4691.2%271
Milwaukee-WaukeshaWisconsin$57,005$6811.2%272
WilmingtonNorth Carolina$43,311$5171.2%273
Kingsport-BristolTennessee$40,042$4771.2%274
SpringfieldOhio$40,769$4851.2%275
Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport NewsVirginia$50,619$6011.2%276
Charlotte-Concord-GastoniaNorth Carolina$52,176$6181.2%277
Grand ForksNorth Dakota$50,670$6001.2%278
GreenvilleNorth Carolina$41,191$4871.2%279
LancasterPennsylvania$52,664$6191.2%280
BangorMaine$42,053$4941.2%281
Chambersburg-WaynesboroPennsylvania$46,403$5441.2%282
Fort WayneIndiana$46,141$5391.2%283
Dayton-KetteringOhio$47,687$5561.2%284
Johnson CityTennessee$40,360$4701.2%285
AkronOhio$49,423$5761.2%286
ColumbusOhio$51,165$5951.2%287
Olympia-Lacey-TumwaterWashington$51,684$6011.2%288
Rocky MountNorth Carolina$39,498$4581.2%289
Hickory-Lenoir-MorgantonNorth Carolina$39,849$4621.2%290
LynchburgVirginia$40,374$4681.2%291
Harrisburg-CarlislePennsylvania$52,354$6051.2%292
VallejoCalifornia$51,664$5931.1%293
Cleveland-ElyriaOhio$53,738$6151.1%294
ChicoCalifornia$44,346$5051.1%295
PittsburghPennsylvania$58,072$6581.1%296
ReddingCalifornia$46,582$5251.1%297
CincinnatiOhio$54,176$6101.1%298
Bloomsburg-BerwickPennsylvania$45,527$5101.1%299
Blacksburg-ChristiansburgVirginia$38,538$4311.1%300
FargoNorth Dakota$52,712$5871.1%301
LimaOhio$42,816$4721.1%302
Greensboro-High PointNorth Carolina$43,189$4751.1%303
BellinghamWashington$48,792$5341.1%304
South Bend-MishawakaIndiana$47,244$5161.1%305
Indianapolis-Carmel-AndersonIndiana$54,179$5861.1%306
Seattle-Tacoma-BellevueWashington$74,620$8011.1%307
Elkhart-GoshenIndiana$46,816$4991.1%308
RichmondVirginia$57,301$6061.1%309
HarrisonburgVirginia$39,721$4191.1%310
Burlington-South BurlingtonVermont$57,575$6061.1%311
CheyenneWyoming$52,039$5441.0%312
BurlingtonNorth Carolina$39,342$4091.0%313
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--FranklinTennessee$57,953$6001.0%314
Bremerton-Silverdale-Port OrchardWashington$56,244$5791.0%315
Janesville-BeloitWisconsin$44,204$4521.0%316
Boston-Cambridge-NewtonMassachusetts$78,694$7961.0%317
Mount Vernon-AnacortesWashington$53,060$5351.0%318
RoanokeVirginia$46,963$4721.0%319
Sioux FallsSouth Dakota$59,520$5981.0%320
BismarckNorth Dakota$56,564$5681.0%321
PittsfieldMassachusetts$56,503$5611.0%322
Portland-South PortlandMaine$57,751$5631.0%323
Winston-SalemNorth Carolina$44,850$4351.0%324
ColumbusIndiana$49,922$4821.0%325
Kahului-Wailuku-LahainaHawaii$49,040$4721.0%326
Oshkosh-NeenahWisconsin$48,101$4611.0%327
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-VenturaCalifornia$61,712$5860.9%328
SalinasCalifornia$56,193$5320.9%329
Raleigh-CaryNorth Carolina$55,045$5160.9%330
San Diego-Chula Vista-CarlsbadCalifornia$61,386$5610.9%331
AppletonWisconsin$51,134$4640.9%332
Durham-Chapel HillNorth Carolina$54,036$4900.9%333
Davenport-Moline-Rock IslandIowa$49,172$4440.9%334
WinchesterVirginia$48,174$4320.9%335
Fond du LacWisconsin$48,126$4300.9%336
Fayetteville-Springdale-RogersArkansas$65,306$5820.9%337
Wausau-WestonWisconsin$49,373$4360.9%338
Eau ClaireWisconsin$47,450$4160.9%339
San Luis Obispo-Paso RoblesCalifornia$58,491$5080.9%340
Green BayWisconsin$51,553$4470.9%341
Sioux CityIowa$50,586$4360.9%342
Waterloo-Cedar FallsIowa$46,063$3970.9%343
FairbanksAlaska$56,606$4850.9%344
Santa Rosa-PetalumaCalifornia$64,501$5440.8%345
Urban HonoluluHawaii$59,608$5010.8%346
AshevilleNorth Carolina$45,433$3790.8%347
La Crosse-OnalaskaWisconsin$50,412$4190.8%348
CasperWyoming$69,379$5750.8%349
Barnstable TownMassachusetts$74,756$6190.8%350
Des Moines-West Des MoinesIowa$54,098$4430.8%351
SheboyganWisconsin$52,851$4320.8%352
AmesIowa$43,519$3550.8%353
DubuqueIowa$49,085$3960.8%354
Santa Cruz-WatsonvilleCalifornia$69,355$5540.8%355
MadisonWisconsin$59,371$4690.8%356
Cedar RapidsIowa$52,168$4040.8%357
Santa Maria-Santa BarbaraCalifornia$62,690$4730.8%358
CharlottesvilleVirginia$66,577$4840.7%359
NapaCalifornia$74,984$5300.7%360
Iowa CityIowa$53,280$3580.7%361
MidlandTexas$122,247$7980.7%362
San Francisco-Oakland-BerkeleyCalifornia$99,424$6330.6%363
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa ClaraCalifornia$106,213$5580.5%364


Low-income areas pay more than twice the share of their budget on car insurance than high-income areas

The share of income drivers spend on car insurance is driven by two factors: their income and their car insurance costs. We found that drivers in low-income areas actually tend to have lower car insurance costs than those in high-income areas. However, incomes are low enough that car insurance makes up a much bigger share of their budget.

Metropolitan areaAverage per capita incomeAverage cost of car insuranceShare of budget
The 10 poorest metro areas$33,001$1,0853.3%
The 10 richest metro areas$92,237$1,2591.4 %

Across all metropolitan areas, minimum coverage car insurance makes up approximately 2.2% of driver income.

This data represents rates for the same hypothetical driver in two different locations, but the truth is that no two drivers will be exactly alike, and other factors may result in areas with lower income levels spending an even bigger share of their income on car insurance.

For instance, our sample driver has an identical credit score across all the locations in this study. But in reality, those with lower income levels may be more likely to have a poor credit score, resulting in auto insurance rates 58% higher than if they had excellent credit.

Methodology

Data for personal income by metropolitan area was taken from the Bureau of Economic Analysis and includes wages, proprietors' income, dividends, interest, rents and government benefits.

For auto insurance prices, 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. Data used minimum coverage policies for given states.

If a metropolitan area crossed state lines, it was assigned to the state with the biggest individual city. For example, auto insurance costs for New York City were used for the New York-Newark-Jersey City metropolitan area.

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

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.