Owning a car is expensive. In addition to your vehicle payment, you have gasoline to pay for, maintenance, and of course, auto insurance. Car insurance is one of those bills — kind of like an old school long distance phone bill — where some people have a huge bill and others pay very little depending on location, habits, and usage. How much do you pay for auto insurance? The average U.S. consumer pays just under $800 per year, which equates to around $67 per month, according to data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC).
InsuranceQuotes.com conducted a study where it compared auto insurance premiums across the twenty-five largest metropolitan areas in the county (you can view the study here). The results indicate that Detroit is by far the most expensive city for car insurance, with typical premiums that are 165 percent more than the nationwide average. The chart below displays the average annual rates in Detroit, as well as twenty-four other large cities across the country.
“Averages are based on a driver with a bachelor’s degree who drives 15,000 miles a year and who has had no breaks in coverage, a $500 collision and comprehensive deductible, state minimum liability coverage and full PIP coverage,” according to the InsuranceQuotes.com study. This chart calculates each metro area’s premium based on its percentage comparison to the $797 national average premium. Percentage amounts within the charts are expressed in decimal form.
Highest and lowest premiums
Metro areas with the highest premiums
- Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor, Michigan: $2,112
- New York, NY-Newark, N.J.-Conn.-PA: $1,084
- Miami-Fort Lauderdale, Florida: $1,068
- Los Angeles-Long Beach, California: $996
- Atlanta-Athens, Georgia $932
Metro areas with the lowest premiums
- Charlotte-Concord, NC-SC: $454
- Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio: $550
- Pittsburg-New Castle-Weirton, PA-OH-WV: $606
- St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, MO-IL: $654
- Chicago-Naperville, IL-IN-WI: $669
Population density plays a large role in the cost of premiums within a geographic region, the InsuranceQuotes.com study reports. “When you have more cars on the road, you have a greater likelihood of accidents and insurance claims. That’s why you see really crowded cities like Los Angeles and New York near the top of the list, while cities like Charlotte and Cleveland are near the bottom,” says Eli Lehrer, president of the nonprofit research group The R Street Institute, in the study.
Theft and accident rates, and also the amount of uninsured motorist, within an area can also result in higher or lower rates. In areas where accident rates are higher, like Miami for instance, you’ll see overall higher average premiums. Florida also has the second highest rate of uninsured drivers in the U.S. and this cost is passed along to consumers in the form of higher average rates, as well.
State and local regulations can impact auto insurance rates, too. In Michigan, insurance companies pay for accidents for their policyholders, regardless of fault — this “no fault” policy results in higher costs for policyholders. Additionally, Michigan is the only state that pays unlimited lifetime medical coverage for medical claims caused by auto accidents. The money for this has to come from somewhere.