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Price Watch: Auto Insurance

A look at how auto insurance prices compare

When it comes to vehicle coverage, annual insurance premiums vary widely throughout the Midwest. Detroit’s average rate is triple Chicago’s, but gridiron archrival Green Bay’s is nearly half Chicago’s average.  What drives this rate disparity? The short answer: traffic, thieves, and mechanics. Insurers, says David Friedlen, of Runzheimer International, a consulting firm that tracks business travel costs, “look at how frequently cars are stolen or vandalized, how frequently people are in accidents, and also the cost of repairs. Certainly in more populated areas, there’s more opportunity for people to get into accidents because of congestion.”  


HOW WE COMPARE
>> Average Annual Auto Insurance Premiums

MOST EXPENSIVE CITIES
Detroit $5,894
Philadelphia $4,440
Newark, N.J. $3,977
New York City $3,430
Los Angeles $3,303
CHICAGO
$1,974
LEAST EXPENSIVE CITIES
Roanoke, Va. $912
Chattanooga, Tenn. $980
Nashville, Tenn. $1,040
Green Bay, Wis. $1,042
Raleigh, N.C. $1,057

Source: Runzheimer International Ltd. Based on 2006 rates for a midsize vehicle with a $500 deductible for comprehensive coverage and a $500 deductible for collision.


PAYING TOO MUCH?

>> The methods that insurance carriers use to calculate premiums vary from insurer to insurer. Though many disparate factors go into pricing insurance, companies rate drivers on a wide range of factors: their age, occupation, marital status, even their credit history, in addition to the traditional factors such as driving record, type of vehicle, and where they live. We asked the online insurance market Insurance.com to do some comparison shopping.

 

60653
Bronzeville

60614
Lincoln Park

60045
Lake Forest

60430
Homewood

60005
Arlington Heights

single male illustration 

HIGH:
Electric
$5,035

HIGH:
Electric
$3,784

HIGH:
Hartford
$2,632

HIGH:
Hartford
$2,882

HIGH:
Hartford 
$2,438

LOW: Progressive
$1,864

LOW: Progressive
$1,066

LOW: Progressive
$1,244

LOW: Progressive
$1,444

LOW: AIG
$1,224

AVERAGE
$3,352

AVERAGE
$2,321

AVERAGE
$1,989

AVERAGE
$2,166

AVERAGE
$1,878

 illustration single femae

HIGH:
Electric
$4,051

HIGH:
Hartford
$3,118

HIGH:
Hartford
$2,452

HIGH:
Hartford
$2,688

HIGH:
Hartford
$2,268

LOW:
Progressive
$1,446

LOW:
Progressive
$904

LOW:
Progressive
$962

LOW:
Progressive
$1,120

LOW:
Progressive
$1,050

AVERAGE
$2,879

AVERAGE
$2,145

AVERAGE
$1,622

AVERAGE
$1,958

AVERAGE
$1,633

 illustration married couple

HIGH:
Esurance
$2,652

HIGH:
Travelers
$2,304

HIGH:
Esurance
$1,768

HIGH:
Esurance
$2,006

HIGH:
Esurance
$1,838

LOW:
Progressive
$1,286

LOW:
Progressive
$814

LOW:
Progressive
$862

LOW:
Progressive
$1,014

LOW:
Progressive
$940

AVERAGE
$1,870

AVERAGE
$1,556

AVERAGE
$1,174

AVERAGE
$1,388

AVERAGE
$1,202

illustration of 70-year-old single male 

HIGH:
Esurance
$3,094

HIGH:
Travelers
$2,552

HIGH:
Esurance
$2,090

HIGH:
Esurance
$2,348

HIGH:
Esurance
$2,172

LOW:
Progressive
$1,346

LOW:
Progressive
$858

LOW:
Progressive
$930

LOW:
Progressive
$1,068

LOW:
Electric
$950

AVERAGE
$2,174

AVERAGE
$1,827

AVERAGE
$1,382

AVERAGE
$1,581

AVERAGE
$1,399

 illustration single female 70 years old

HIGH:
Esurance
$2,622

HIGH:
Travelers
$2,380

HIGH:
Esurance
$1,798

HIGH:
Esurance
$2,014

HIGH:
Esurance
$1,868

LOW:
Progressive
$1,098

LOW:
Progressive
$706

LOW:
Progressive
$762

LOW:
Progressive
$876

LOW:
Progressive
$828

AVERAGE
$1,945

AVERAGE
$1,649

AVERAGE
$1,237

AVERAGE
$1,414

AVERAGE
$1,251

Source: Insurance.com. The service compares quotes from multiple top providers, including Progressive Insurance, AIG, Unitrin Direct Insurance, Travelers, Hartford, Electric, Esurance, Safeco, and Kemper. Not included are Allstate, State Farm, and GEICO. 

Comparison criteria based on $250 deductible for both comprehensive and collision coverage for drivers of a 2004 Toyota Camry with no accidents or traffic violations in the past five years and who drive eight miles each way to and from work and 11,000 miles annually.

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