2018 U.S. Auto Insurance Study

“Compare.com exists to make car insurance less confusing. That’s a tall order because it’s pretty confusing.”

Tons of factors go into your auto insurance – where you live, what sort of car you drive, education, credit history and more. On an individual level, prices can vary wildly. However, in aggregate, they start to paint a photo of what sort of effect different traits can have – a Mazda 3, vs a Chevrolet Cruze, say.

Using aggregate information from 2.3 million American drivers, we’ve compiled a comprehensive report on how different factors can affect your auto insurance rate, and what you can do about it.

These factors can add up to hundreds in either savings or additional costs for drivers.

Boomers and Gen X’ers pay Considerably Less Than Millennials and the Silent Generation for Insurance

Millennials, those 22-37 years old, and the so-called ‘Silent Generation,’ 79-90 years old, may not have much in common, but higher auto insurance rates is one thing they do share. Boomers and Gen X’ers (Boomers being between 54 and 72 years old, Gen X those between between 38 and 53) pay less for auto insurance than those both older and younger.

Compare car insurance rates by generation

The likely reasons for this are a bit different for each. Millennials likely have a less-established credit history and a bit less experience behind the wheel, making them a greater risk for auto insurance carriers. Meanwhile, members of the silent generation are starting to reach the age where driving gets a bit riskier.

That being said, millennials are paying more than any other generation by a healthy margin – on average, 44% more than their boomer parents.

Commuting and Car Insurance Rates

Generally speaking, the more you’re commuting, the more you’re paying for your auto insurance. Those paying the most for auto insurance are commuting 20-25 miles each way to work. That trend breaks for people commuting 25 or more miles to work. Compared to those commuting under five miles each way, 20-25 mile commuters pay on average an additional $8 per month for their car insurance.

Why do commuters going 25 or more pay less than on average than those between 20-25 miles? It’s likely that these consumers commuting so far tend to be fairly well off – putting down this sort of distance isn’t cheap, after all – and so their better credit history is bringing down their overall auto insurance premiums.

average auto insurance cost by commute

Looking at our data, the average driving commuter is traveling 12 miles each way on their commute. The most common commute length we saw in our data was those users commuting between five and ten miles, followed by consumers traveling between ten and fifteen miles.

Driving Experience and your Auto Insurance

How long you’ve been behind the wheel makes a big difference in terms of your annual premium. If you remember back to when you first got your license, you’ll understand – new drivers are more likely to get into accidents than more seasoned drivers.

Drivers with less than three years of experience pay 37% more than those who have been driving three years or longer – $1,003 vs. $1,378 in annual premium costs.

Most Expensive Cars to Insure

It probably won’t come as a surprise that convertibles and coupes are by far the most expensive types of vehicle to insure. Vans and SUVs come in as some of the cheapest to insure (possibly because of their use as family cars) with pickup trucks just behind.

Annual Insurance Premium by Vehicle
Rank Vehicle Average Premium
1 Van $1,685
2 SUV $1,830
3 Pickup $1,945
4 Wagon $1,970
5 Hybrid $2,014
6 Hatchback $2,095
7 Sedan $2,296
8 Convertible $2,341
9 Coupe $2,594

Of the top ten most popular vehicles in our quote data, however, pickup trucks handily win. The Chevrolet Silverado, Ford F-150, and Dodge Ram come in as the cheapest vehicles to insure, with the Nissan Altima ranking as the most expensive. Pickup trucks tend to be somewhat more rural (try parallel parking a Ford F-150 on a busy street) which means that their premiums will tend to be lower.

Cheapest Annual Insurance Premium by Make & Model
Rank Make & Model Average Premium
1 Chevrolet Silverado $1,129
2 Dodge Ram $1,187
3 Ford F-150 $1,212
4 Toyota Corolla $1,345
5 Ford Focus $1,358
6 Honda Civic $1,365
7 Toyota Camry $1,392
8 Honda Accord $1,398
9 Chevrolet Malibu $1,452
10 Nissan Altima $1,562

Home and your Auto Insurance

This one was a bit surprising. We found that mobile home and condo owners had by far the cheapest car insurance. It’s possible this is due to cheaper assets and a rural location – but it may be more likely that these are relatively small samples.

how your address affects car insurance

Still more interesting is how much people living with their parents pay – 40% higher premiums than those who own a single family home.

Compare to save on car insurance

While some of the auto insurance rating factors we analyzed seemed intuitively reasonable, others surprised us. Car Insurance is confusing, but it doesn’t have to be. By comparing rates across different carriers, you can make sure that you’re able to get the cheapest quote, despite your long commute, poor driving history, or your shiny new convertible. Compare quotes today to see whether you’re getting the best possible deal on your car insurance.

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