How much is car insurance going to cost you? It’s not an easy question to answer. The quote you receive could be painfully high or comfortably low based on a number of different factors. But for what it’s worth, the average amount spent to insure a car in the U.S. was $815 a year in 2012, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.
However, as anyone who pays much less — or more — than $815 a year can tell you, there are a lot of variables that affect your car insurance rates.
Some factors, including where you live and what kind of car you drive, can be tough to change. Others, such as your driving habits and the level of coverage you choose, are a bit easier to tweak. I’ll break down these factors and discuss what (if anything) you can do to save a dime on your car insurance.
Comparison Shop to Lower Your Car Insurance Cost
Before we get started, it’s important to mention one thing you can always do to save some money: Shop around. It’s easiest to start online. Our quote generator below can help you do that quickly, eliminating the hassle of calling individual insurers and repeating the same information. Just enter your ZIP code and you’re on your way:
Find the Best Car Insurance Rates
Enter your ZIP code below and be sure to click at least 2-3 companies to find the very best rate.
Cost Factor No. 1: Basic Demographics
Your age, sex, marital status, and location all weigh heavily on how much you car insurance costs. That’s because your insurance company has an enormous amount of data that tells them how each of these things makes you more or less of a risk for filing claims.
For instance, if you’re younger (typically, age 25 or below), unmarried, and male, you’ll pay more than an older, married female, who is statistically less likely to file a claim.
Location also has a huge impact on your car insurance rates. State laws that regulate car insurance can have a big effect. Michigan, the most expensive state for car insurance premiums according to Insure.com, tops the list because residents get unlimited lifetime personal injury protection for medical expenses resulting from crashes. Montana comes in second, in part because crash fatality rates are very high, and insurers think driver safety laws are too lax.
You’ll also almost always pay more in densely populated areas, where you’re at more risk for an accident. This is likely why Washington, D.C., Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey are all among the top 10 most expensive states. Areas prone to natural disasters can mean car insurance costs a premium, too, which is why Louisiana is fourth on the list.
How to save: Unfortunately, this is the toughest category for eking out some savings. You’re unlikely to move or get married just to save on how much car insurance costs.
Still, it’s worth at least keeping in mind how big an impact where you live can have on what you pay. According to CarInsurance.com, even ZIP codes that aren’t terribly far from one another can vary dramatically on average costs. For more details on how costs vary from state to state, keep reading.
How much is car insurance? A state-by-state breakdown
Below, you’ll see how the cost of car insurance varies by state, according to two measures. The first number is the average expenditure per state, drawn from 2012 data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. This figure is the total amount collected in each state for liability, comprehensive, and collision premiums, divided by the total number of insured vehicles.
The second number compares the average premium for similar coverage across every state and Washington, D.C., according to a 2015 study by Insure.com. The study averaged quotes for a full-coverage policy for the same customer driving 20 of the best-selling cars in 10 ZIP codes per state.
As you’ll see, just because a state has a high average expenditure doesn’t necessarily mean it has a high average premium (and vice versa). Remember that the first number takes into account how much customers actually choose to spend — they may opt out of pricier coverage options or choose lower coverage limits — whereas the second number is simply an average of quotes for a policy that includes everything.
Cost Factor No. 2: The Car You Drive
You probably didn’t think about how your car would affect your insurance rates when you bought it, and you probably won’t trade it in just because of your rate. However, just as your insurance company assumes you’re a bigger or smaller risk based on your own demographics, it assigns risk based on the car you drive, too.
How to save: When it’s time to shop for a car, keep this rule of thumb in mind: The faster the car can go, the bigger the risk of a crash, and the more you’ll pay.
If you drive a sensible family car such as a minivan, sedan, or SUV, you probably won’t pay nearly as much as someone who drives a pricey, high-performance sports car. In a recent analysis, the Nissan GT-R Nismo, Mercedes-Benz SL65 AMG Convertible, Dodge SRT Viper, Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet, and Audi R8 5.2 Spyder Quattro were the most expensive to insure. On the flip side, the Jeep Wrangler Sport, Jeep Patriot Sport, Honda CR-V, Dodge Grand Caravan, and Honda Odyssey were easiest on the wallet.
You can also save a bit of money by considering a used car, which will almost always be cheaper to insure than a new one. Anti-theft devices such as alarms, anti-lock brakes, and other safety-focused equipment can also save you some cash.
Cost Factor No. 3: Your Driving History
This one is probably the most obvious factor affecting your car insurance, and it may seem like the fairest one. The more tickets and violations you have, the higher your rates are going to climb. Some tickets will be worse than others: For instance, if you’re cited for DUI or reckless driving, your insurance premium could nearly double, according to Bankrate.
Speeding or running a red light will still raise your rates, but much less. In fact, your insurer may not raise your rates after one speeding ticket. The increase you see may also partially depend on how fast you were going. The average bump is 21% if you were caught going up to 15 mph over the speed limit, but that rises to 30% if you were flooring it at 31 mph or more over the limit.
How to save: You can’t rewrite the past, but you can be a safer driver going forward. If your insurer offers one, you can even consider installing a tracker that records data on driving habits such as mileage, sudden acceleration or deceleration, excessive speed, rough turns, and whether you drive a lot at night. Typically, you won’t be penalized for bad driving, but you could be rewarded for good driving. You may also be able to save by taking a defensive driving course.
Cost Factor No. 4: Your Credit Score
If you’re wondering what your credit score has to do with how much you pay for car insurance, it’s a good question. Insurers cite an abundance of data showing the higher your credit score, the less likely you are to file a claim. The reverse is also true: If your credit score is poor, you’re at a greater risk for filing a claim. This controversial practice is actually illegal in a few states (California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts), but otherwise, it’s fair game.
How to save: There’s no quick fix for bad credit, but raising your credit score is still enormously worthwhile because it affects far more than what you pay for car insurance. Paying your bills on time for an extended period is one of the best things to do for your credit score. Reducing large balances and being judicious about opening new credit accounts can also help. For more on what your credit score affects and how to raise it, check out our article, What is a Good Credit Score?
Cost Factor No. 5: Your Driving Habits
Your driving habits make up your daily driving routine. Do you commute daily via car, and for how long? Do you ever use your car for business purposes? Does your car gather dust until the weekend because you use public transportation during the week? Do you park on the street, in a shared lot, or in your own private garage?
All of these things add up to paint a picture of your risk of getting into a crash. Accordingly, they can affect your car insurance premium.
How to save: It sounds obvious, but the less you drive, the less of a risk you are for your insurance company. Moving closer to work to reduce your mileage, taking public transportation, or carpooling are a few tactics that can save you a lot of money — just be sure to report any such chances to your insurer so that you can reap the benefits.
Cost Factor No. 6: The Amount of Coverage You Choose
When you’re shopping for car insurance, there are a couple of numbers that will weigh heavily on what you pay. The first is your limits — that is, the maximum amount your insurance company will pay in the event of a claim. Limits are usually written like this: $50,000/$100,000. That means your insurer will pay up to $50,000 per person and $100,000 per accident.
The second number to know is your deductible. That’s how much you’ll pay out of your own pocket when you make a claim. A common deductible is $500, but they can go as low as around $100 and as high as $1,000 to $2,000.
How to save: You don’t want to overpay for coverage you don’t need, but you also don’t want to skimp and leave yourself on the hook for thousands after an accident.
You’ll be required to have a certain minimum limit depending on where you live. For instance, as a Tennessee resident, I’m required to have at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident in bodily injury liability coverage as well as $15,000 in property damage liability coverage.
However, just because you are only legally required to have a certain amount of coverage doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to carry only the minimum, even if that will save you money. That’s because you could lose your assets, such as your savings or even your house, if someone’s medical or property damage bills exceed your ability to pay when you’re at fault.
That means if you have significant assets, you’ll want to protect them with more coverage. Experts often recommend $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident as a minimum.
Your deductible can be a better place to save. Agreeing to pay $1,000 instead of $100 in the event of a claim can save you a lot of money — but it’s a tactic you should only use if you have that $1,000 stashed away in your emergency fund, ready to pay that bill should you need it.
Cost Factor No. 7: The Type of Coverage You Choose
The types of coverage I discussed above — bodily injury liability and property damage liability — are required when you buy car insurance. There are some other types of coverage that you may be able to skip, however.
How to save: Instead of blindly paying for every kind of coverage, carefully evaluate whether they make sense for your individual situation.
For instance, personal injury protection (PIP) isn’t required in all states. It helps pay for your or your family’s medical bills after a crash. However, it’s probably not necessary if you and your family have adequate health insurance. It also doesn’t make sense to pay for roadside assistance if you’re already a member of AAA.
Comprehensive and collision coverage will be required if you’re financing or leasing your car, but are optional if that’s not the case. Comprehensive covers damage to your vehicle from car theft, vandalism, and other calamities that don’t involve actual crashes. Collision coverage is similar to comprehensive coverage, but covers actual crash-related damage to your vehicle.
If you’re not required to have comprehensive or collision, it might make sense to drop this pricey coverage if you drive very infrequently or if your car’s value is very low.
How Much Does Car Insurance Cost? A Lot — If You Don’t Shop Around
Remember that one of the best things you can do to save on car insurance has nothing to do with who you are, where you live, the coverage you select, or how you drive. Instead, it’s simple comparison shopping: You should always look around to make sure you get the best deal, since each company places a slightly different emphasis on the factors I outlined above.
One other critical reason to shop around is that different insurers offer different discounts. Some will offer you a break for being a good student, a member of certain organizations, active-duty military, or for bundling other policies such as home insurance with the same company. That’s on top of common price breaks for driving less, driving a low-risk car, or having a good credit score, among the other factors I discussed in this article.
Online quote tools can be particularly helpful as you start your search. However, remember that the quicker the quote, the more information you’ll have to provide further down the line. Given how many variables affect how much car insurance costs, you’ll eventually have to provide a fair amount of personal information to get the most accurate price. Good luck!
ValuePenguin researched and crunched the numbers to get you the average cost of car insurance by state. Use our data to see what your states average premiums are to get a better idea of what you should be paying for insurance.
To jump directly to the average cost for different types of insurance, click on the links below:
Car Insurance Rates: By Age
Car Insurance Rates: By Gender
Average Cost of Car Insurance
The average annual cost of car insurance paid in the United States was $907.38 in 2014 according to a study commissioned by Quadrant Information Services. This figure will vary wildly state to state and does not always include all forms of coverage and may not be accurately reflect your coverage needs. Scroll through the table below to find the average cost of car insurance in your state or use the form to find a cheaper quote for auto insurance:
Monthly Car Insurance Rates by State
State Monthly Car Insurance Rate Annual Car Insurance Rate
Alabama $127 $1,529
Alaska $134 $1,605
Arizona $102 $1,222
Arkansas $117 $1,399
California $164 $1,962
Colorado $130 $1,558
Connecticut $137 $1,638
Delaware $132 $1,580
Florida $153 $1,830
Georgia $183 $2,201
Hawaii $117 $1,400
Idaho $88 $1,053
Illinois $114 $1,370
Indiana $100 $1,202
Iowa $88 $1,058
Kansas $113 $1,358
Kentucky $125 $1,503
Louisiana $164 $1,971
Maine $80 $964
Maryland $151 $1,810
Massachusetts $134 $1,604
Michigan $213 $2,551
Minnesota $113 $1,360
Mississippi $115 $1,385
Missouri $101 $1,207
Montana $168 $2,013
Nebraska $110 $1,317
Nevada $116 $1,388
New Hampshire $82 $983
New Jersey $159 $1,905
New Mexico $114 $1,371
New York $98 $1,173
North Carolina $88 $1,060
North Dakota $143 $1,710
Ohio $77 $926
Oklahoma $131 $1,568
Oregon $111 $1,333
Pennsylvania $120 $1,440
Rhode Island $168 $2,020
South Carolina $110 $1,316
South Dakota $130 $1,557
Tennessee $116 $1,397
Texas $135 $1,620
Utah $99 $1,192
Vermont $96 $1,149
Virginia $93 $1,114
Washington $125 $1,499
Washington, D.C. $177 $2,127
West Virginia $210 $2,518
Wisconsin $91 $1,087
Wyoming $128 $1,541
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Find the Cheapest Auto Insurance Quotes in Your Area
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Data from various states’ Departments of Insurance show that annual car insurance premiums are on the rise in the majority of states across the nation. The average cost of insurance for car owners of insuring their vehicles from accidents and other events has generally increased, with the exceptions of Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia, who all saw their car insurance premiums drop between 1% and 5% in the last year. These quotes for automobile insurance in select states across the country should give you a ballpark estimate for average annual car insurance.
Car Insurance Rates by Age
Auto insurance quotes will vary significantly depending on the age of the driver or applicant. Young drivers are notoriously more dangerous behind the wheel and because of that, insurance companies charge higher rates on policies covering young drivers. The chart below will show you how drastically car insurance quotes fluctuate based on your age. Each dollar amount in the graph below represents the average annual cost at that age.
Graph of car insurance rates by age
Car Insurance Rates by Gender
Amongst those drivers that have had no violations or accidents within the past 3 years, auto insurance rates are fairly similar with the exception of young drivers. Our data, which looked at rates from 54 different insurance companies, showed that 19 year old male drivers paid an average of 12% more in car insurance premiums each year over their female counterparts. Why is this the case? While gender is not a direct ratings factor that insurance companies look at, the data behind the gender shows that men tend to drive more often, receive more speeding tickets, be involved in more accidents, and receive more DUI convictions than women!
Graph of car insurance premiums by gender
Average Cost of Home Insurance
The average cost of homeowners insurance throughout the United States is $978 per year. Take a look at our table below to get an idea of how much it costs in your state:
State Monthly Home Insurance Rate Annual Home Insurance Rate
Alabama $97 $1,163
Alaska $77 $924
Arizona $56 $675
Arkansas $86 $1,029
California $81 $967
Colorado $80 $961
Connecticut $91 $1,096
D.C. $90 $1,083
Delaware $55 $664
Florida $161 $1,933
Georgia $76 $906
Hawaii $76 $907
Idaho $43 $518
Illinois $69 $822
Indiana $65 $779
Iowa $59 $713
Kansas $92 $1,103
Kentucky $70 $839
Louisiana $139 $1,672
Maine $60 $714
Maryland $67 $800
Massachusetts $89 $1,072
Michigan $65 $774
Minnesota $88 $1,056
Mississippi $117 $1,409
Missouri $85 $1,022
Montana $68 $818
Nebraska $80 $958
Nevada $57 $689
New Hampshire $68 $811
New Jersey $76 $915
New Mexico $66 $793
New York $91 $1,097
North Carolina $72 $869
North Dakota $81 $969
Ohio $54 $644
Oklahoma $116 $1,386
Oregon $47 $559
Pennsylvania $62 $744
Rhode Island $95 $1,139
South Carolina $91 $1,091
South Dakota $60 $721
Tennessee $76 $915
Texas $132 $1,578
Utah $47 $563
Vermont $62 $748
Virginia $65 $782
Washington $52 $626
West Virginia $62 $743
Wisconsin $49 $592
Wyoming $64 $770
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Home insurance is designed to cover homeowners in the event of any unforeseen catastrophe that damages their home. The average cost of home insurance will be influenced primarily by the location of your residential property and the extent of your insurance coverage. Several types of home insurance are common or typical to specific regions or locales, such as damage to floodwaters, hurricanes, earthquakes, etc. As a general rule, the Federal Reserve Bureau says you can estimate the expense of homeowners insurance by dividing the value of your home by 1,000 and then multiplying that number by $3.50. Using average home price data from AARP, here are some typical annual homeowners insurance prices from around the country, ValuePenguin has constructed a table for your reference.
Average Cost of Renters Insurance
The average cost of renters insurance for 2016 (for $20,000-$30,000 in coverage):
State Monthly Renters Insurance Rate Annual Renters Insurance Rate
New York $18 $216
California $19 $224
Illinois $13 $154
Texas $18 $216
If you’re one of the millions of Americans who have forgone buying a house in exchange for renting a place, you may want to consider renters insurance as a way to protect your personal belongings. Renters insurance protects your studio, walk-up apartment, or elevator apartment against events such as destruction of property from fire, vandalism, and theft. Looking at some of the average costs of renters insurance in our four representative states, ValuePenguin thinks the monthly premium is cheap enough and worth the peace of mind knowing you can at least recover the cost of any lost or damaged items.
Average Cost of Health Insurance
State Monthly Health Insurance Rate Annual Health Insurance Rate
Florida $442 $5,304
New Jersey $479 $5,748
Illinois $517 $6,204
Texas $404 $4,848
Health insurance is an important investment to make in oneself, family members, and loved ones. According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ 2017 Annual Insurance Survey, the average monthly premium for individuals in the United States was $476 (or $5,712 per year). Between 2013 and 2017, average premiums increased 105% for individual policies. These figures include rates from all 39 Healthcare.gov states.
The average cost of health insurance ranges between $319 in Utah and $1,041 in Alaska. ValuePenguin’s table has a few examples of average annual premiums for individuals in select states to give you an idea of the average cost of health insurance.
Average Cost of Pet Insurance
Insurance companies providing pet health coverage factor in the breed of your pet when determining quotes for your premium. In a 2017 survey of the market, ValuePenguin found that on average, medical insurance prices for the most popular breeds of pooches varied by over 18%, and rates for the most popular cat breeds varied by over 62%.
Popularity Rank Breed Monthly Premium
1 Labrador Retriever $37.44
2 German Shepherd $34.32
3 Golden Retriever $40.56
4 Bulldog $39.00
5 Beagle $34.32
The below table shows the estimated monthly cost of pet insurance for the most popular breeds of cat, averaged across the expected monthly premiums of the different plans at several major pet insurance providers.