Between September and December 2017, The Zebra conducted comprehensive auto insurance pricing analysis using its proprietary quote engine, comprising data from insurance rating platforms and public rate filings. The Zebra examined nearly 53 million rates to explore trends for specific auto insurance rating factors across all United States zip codes, averaged by state, including Washington, DC.

Insurance companies place a lot of weight on your credit score as they see it as a highly accurate way to determine risk. Studies by the Federal Trade Commission have shown that drivers with low credit scores not only file more claims than drivers with higher credit scores, but the actual dollar amount is greater than higher scoring drivers. Thus, they’re cheaper clients. On average, moving from one credit tier to the next among our selected insurers saves you an average of $344 a year.
The type of car you drive matters. If you drive a vehicle that is listed as high theft, or more likely to be involved in an accident, expect to pay higher premiums. Even cars that have collision protection can actually drive up the price due to the cost of repairs. Other things that will drive the cost of repairs up is after-market installs. Things like rims, spoilers, and exterior lighting can be costly to repair. You will want to make sure that you have the right coverage to cover damage to after factory installs.
Because most forms of insurance are regulated at the state level, state legislation influences car insurance premiums. For instance, in Michigan, a no-fault state, state law requires an unlimited amount of Personal Injury Protection coverage, a requirement that increases the cost of car insurance. Although each state legislates insurance differently, auto insurance prices may vary on a zip code-by-zip code basis. Below is an analysis of the cheapest and most expensive states for car insurance (from The Zebra's State of Insurance study).
Some people are hesitant to file a car insurance claim, fearing that their premiums will increase even if they aren’t at fault. However, this isn’t necessarily true, and an insurance company will look at the damage involved and who is responsible for the accident before deciding whether or not a claim results in a rate increase. If you find yourself in an auto accident, whether it’s a fender bender or your car is totalled, exchange insurance information with any involved parties. Even damage that looks cosmetic may have comprehensive damage that you can’t see, so you should file a claim.

Naturally, insurance companies use your driving past as an indicator of how you will drive in the future. It can be difficult to find affordable car insurance if you have a checkered driving history. While it’s very unlikely you will find an insurance company that won’t increase your premium after an at-fault accident or other violation, the degree of the rate increase will vary by company. Let’s compare rate increases for some common violations across major insurance companies.
In aggregate, our three most expensive cities in North Carolina ranked with a cost of car insurance that was 17% greater than the state mean. The average annual premium for these three cities was $946, which, while expensive relatively speaking in the state, actually fell on the cheaper side compared to other states the team has analyzed. These locations ranged vastly in size from populations of less than 5,000 to over 203,000.
Nick Dehn is a writer currently serving as a content specialist for Insurify. A seasoned writer, Nick has produced feature pieces, opinion editorials, and press releases for start-ups, small businesses, and local news publications. He now develops content full-time for Insurify, researching and writing data-driven studies and producing insights on the insurance industry. Nick is an alumnus of Williams College, where he graduated cum laude with a degree in English and Sociology. He hails from Wilton, CT but has recently set roots in Cambridge, MA. Nick enjoys exploring the greater Boston area, making stir-fry, and award-show prognosticating.

No matter which company you quote or what state you live, all auto insurers will want to know your driving history. In most cases, it will be hard to forget a ticket you received or accident that you were involved in. Many insurers will accept estimated dates if you are close. However, if you want more exact numbers, then then you can always call your local Department/Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

Since most people choose one of these large insurers, NerdWallet compared quotes from the five largest auto companies in ZIP codes across the country. Rates are for policies that include minimum coverage required in each state, plus collision and comprehensive coverage. Our “good driver” profile is a 30-year-old with no moving violations and credit in the “good” tier. Use the tabs to see rates for drivers with credit in the “poor” tier and those with one at-fault accident as reported to the insurer.
×