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Most expensive auto insurance by area

January 15, 2015

Not all cities and states are created equal, and that seems to especially be the case for the price of auto insurance on a region-to-region basis.

Auto insurance costs are especially pricey for those living in Detroit.
For example, Detroit-area drivers pay 165 percent more than the national average for car insurance. Laura Adams, an analyst for an insurance company, said part of the reason is because Michigan is the only state in the nation where car insurance includes unlimited personal protection.

“Also, Detroit has a very high percentage of uninsured motorists—as high as 50 percent by some estimates,” Adams said. “That unfortunately raises rates for those who do have car insurance.”

Michigan gives lifetime coverage for injuries related to motor-vehicle accidents, according to Forbes. That factor alone can skyrocket insurance rates. But that's not all. Michigan is also a “no fault" state in which each insurance company compensates its own policyholders for the cost of injuries sustained during a car accident. That means if one person is severely injured by another motorist, the person who is injured will be covered by his or her insurance policy, not the person at fault.

Adams said the national average expenditures for auto insurance is $797, meaning metro Detroit drivers pay an average of $2,100 per car, according to the 165 percent increase over the national average.

To put Detroit's car insurance payment problems in context, motorists in New York—which is widely known for being expensive in nearly every facet—pay 36 percent more for car insurance than the national average.

Miami, Los Angeles and Atlanta round out the top five cities for drivers paying more than the national insurance average. Miami drivers pay 34 percent more, Los Angeles motorists dole out 25 percent more and Atlanta drivers pay 17 percent more than the nation's average.

Sacramento, California (16 percent more); San Jose, California (10 percent); Philadelphia (10 percent); Houston (10 percent); and Tampa, Florida (9 percent) round out the top 10 most expensive cities for auto insurance.

Drivers living in one of these costly cities should consider looking into the options provided by SelectQuote Auto & Home. SelectQuote offers comparison shopping for a dozen of the nation's blue-chip insurance providers, ensuring motorists find the right policy and plan for their needs.

One big city doesn't gouge drivers

While it wasn't surprising to see New York and Los Angeles, the two most populated cities in the U.S., both sitting among the top five cities for expensive car insurance, it was a bit of a shocker to see the third most populated city well down the list. Chicago, the largest metro area in the Midwest, actually provided drivers with cheap auto insurance. Chicagoland drivers pay 16 percent less than the national average for auto insurance.

At 34.6 minutes per commute, Chicago drivers have the third longest daily commute in the nation. New York City was tops at 39 minutes and Washington D.C. was second at 37.3 minutes. Typically, using a vehicle to commute long distances to work can increase an insurance premium, though Chicago seems to have bucked the trend.

Where should you move if you want cheap auto insurance?

The least expensive city was Charlotte, North Carolina, where motorists pay 43 percent less than the national average for auto insurance. Charlotte was followed by a pair of cities from Pennsylvania:  Cleveland and Pittsburgh. Drivers in Cleveland pay 31 percent less, and drivers in Pittsburgh pay 24 percent less for insurance, on average.

Residents in Denver, Phoenix, Seattle and Orlando, Florida, all pay less than 10 percent below the national average. Dallas and Portland, Oregon, proved to be the median, with Dallas drivers paying 1 percent more on average and Portland drivers paying 1 percent less.