Central Mutual vs. Sterling: Which Company is the Best Fit for You?

Want to know if Central Mutual or Sterling is the better choice for car insurance? You're probably wondering which carrier offers the best rates or the most discounts. Check out our latest guide below to find out which of these two companies is the best for you.
Newly insured car driving down the road
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Quick Facts

  • Looking at the national averages for auto insurance, Sterling offers cheaper premiums than Central Mutual
  • Central Mutual may help you save more money -- they offer more discounts than Sterling Insurance
  • Sterling has less expensive prices for policyholders who live in rural neighborhoods

Central Mutual or Sterling: Which Company has the Cheapest Car Insurance?

Are you considering a new insurance policy? After all, you've seen ads from all sorts of companies offering sizable savings. But exactly how much can you save by switching?

You might have narrowed your search down to Central Mutual or Sterling as potential options, but which one will offer you more affordable rates?

Central Mutual Sterling

As you can see, Central Mutual has average rates that are around 11% a month more expensive than those from Sterling when looking at the national average rates for insurance.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean Sterling will be the cheaper option for every driver. Car insurance carriers use a variety of complex algorithms to determine prices, so depending on how clean your driving record is or where you live (among lots of other factors), you could see wildly different premiums from the ones above.

So, if you want to find out which of Central Mutual or Sterling is really the best for you, keep reading to see average rates for each company broken down by a bunch of different rate factors.

Central Mutual vs. Sterling: Average Car Insurance Rates by State

State Central Mutual Sterling

Central Mutual and Sterling only compete against each other in New York, where Sterling offers the cheaper average prices. Sterling drivers tend to pay about $455 per month less on average compared to drivers who use Central Mutual for their insurance.

That being said, there's a lot more that goes into your auto insurance cost than just the state you live in. Keep reading to find out more.

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Which is the Best Company For Young Drivers?

Central Mutual Sterling
18-year-old drivers$580$539
25-year-old drivers$325$284

Young drivers -- especially teens -- typically pay a lot for car insurance compared to older drivers. That's generally because teen drivers are statistically much more likely to get into accidents since they have less experience on the roads.

That being said, that doesn't mean that teen drivers have to just accept sky-high insurance premiums. Just look at the table above -- where 18-year-old drivers who have Sterling for their auto insurance pay over 7% less than those who use Central Mutual.

But both companies will offer you dramatically lower prices by the time drivers turn 25. For example, average rates for Central Mutual policyholders lower about $250 and Sterling's premiums decrease more than $250 over that time.

Which is the Best Company for Retired Drivers?

Central Mutual Sterling
65+-year-old drivers$275$227

Drivers around retirement age normally enjoy some of the most affordable insurance prices you can find. After all, they've likely been driving for quite some time, which usually lowers their chances of collisions and other infractions that can raise premiums.

So, which carrier offers the best rates to retired drivers? Sterling gets the edge here, with average premiums coming in at around $227 monthly compared to Central Mutual's $275.

Which is the Best Company for Married Drivers?

Central Mutual Sterling

You may not be aware, but car insurance prices tend to be more expensive for those who are single than they are for married couples. This usually boils down to married policyholders having more than one vehicle on their policy -- something a lot of auto insurance carriers will reward with discounts.

For single policyholders, the difference in average rates between these two companies is significant, with Sterling premiums coming in at about 10% less than Central Mutual's. The advantage is also clear for married drivers - Sterling offers the cheapest average rates.

Central Mutual or Sterling: Average Rates by Gender

Central Mutual Sterling

Men are statistically more likely than women to get speeding tickets and get into accidents, which means they'll typically end up paying more for insurance than women.

On average, women see prices around 4% a month less with Central Mutual, but with Sterling, the difference is closer to 8% per month.

When it comes to the lowest rates for each gender, Sterling comes out as the cheapest option for both genders. On average, male drivers save about $33 a month and women save about $44 with Sterling compared to the average Central Mutual policyholder.

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Central Mutual vs. Sterling: Compare State Minimum vs. Full Coverage Rates

Central Mutual Sterling
State Minimum*$174$150
Full Coverage**$506$452

*State minimum value indicates liability-only policies at each state's minimum bodily injury and property damage (BI/PD) limits

**Full coverage indicates state minimum BI/PD limits with collision and comprehensive coverages added to policy.

It's no secret that auto insurance can be a complicated subject for most people. There are so many different coverages and terms that it can make it pretty confusing to find the right policy for you.

The two most common policies that drivers look at fall into two categories -- liability coverage (that covers bodily injury and property damage for other drivers and their passengers if you cause a collision) and full coverage (which includes two additional coverages -- collision and comprehensive -- in addition to liability coverage).

Looking specifically at state minimum liability insurance, Sterling has the edge, with average monthly premiums coming in at $150. If you want a full coverage policy with the same state minimum limits, Sterling again has the edge, with policies averaging around $452 per month to Central Mutual's $506.

Is Central Mutual or Sterling Better for Drivers with Spotty Records?

It's no secret -- drivers with good records end up getting the best deals on their car insurance. But that's not to say you can't save money if you don't have the best driving record, either.

At-fault accidents and speeding tickets will most likely raise your prices, but is Central Mutual or Sterling less expensive for drivers with less-than-perfect records?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Speeding Tickets?

Central Mutual Sterling
Clean Record$242$247
1 Speeding Ticket$326$247

Policyholders with Sterling auto insurance policies don't report seeing their rates increase after getting a ticket, but Central Mutual policyholders can expect to see their monthly bill increase by about $85.

If you have gotten a speeding ticket, Sterling tends to offer the best prices at around 24% more affordable, while Central Mutual has the edge for drivers with a clean record.

Which Company is Best for Drivers After an Accident?

Central Mutual Sterling
Clean Record$242$247
1 At-Fault Accident$311$289

Both carriers will increase premiums pretty significantly if you get into an at-fault collision with Central Mutual climbing by about 22%. Sterling has a less extreme increase, but you can still expect to pay nearly 15% more than you were prior to your first accident.

At the end of the day, the less expensive prices come from Sterling, with average rates coming in at $289 compared to Central Mutual Insurance's $311.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with a DUI?

Central Mutual Sterling
Clean Record$242$247
1 DUI$482$423

If you get a DUI charge, you can expect some pretty significant increases in your monthly insurance bill -- generally a lot more than an accident or ticket. Central Mutual drivers usually see a 50% climb in their car insurance premiums after a DUI charge, while Sterling will usually raise rates by around 42%.

But if you end up with a DUI charge and are looking for more affordable premiums, Sterling tends to be cheaper for the average driver, with monthly premiums coming in at about $423 to Central Mutual's $482.

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How does Credit Score Impact Central Mutual and Sterling Rates?

Did you know many auto insurance companies take your credit score into account when determining prices? Certain states and carriers do not allow for credit score to be used as an auto insurance factor, but it will come into play for quite a few drivers.

Car insurance companies argue that someone with bad credit is less likely to pay their bills on time, which makes them riskier to insure. Because of that, policyholders with bad credit will often be forced to pay more.

Looking at Central Mutual and Sterling specifically, which company has the best rates for drivers at different credit levels?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Good Credit?

Central Mutual Sterling
Excellent Credit Score$257$223
Good Credit Score$288$268

If you have a great credit score, Sterling will normally reward you the most. For policyholders with "excellent" credit scores, Sterling comes in just under 13.23 more affordable. Drivers with "good" credit scores typically save around 7% with Sterling compared to average prices from Central Mutual.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Bad Credit?

Central Mutual Sterling
Fair Credit Score$329$298
Poor Credit Score$486$417

Sterling typically offers lower premiums than Central Mutual when it comes to drivers with a below average credit score. Drivers with "fair" credit pay about 9% a month less with Sterling compared to Central Mutual, and those with "poor" scores normally save an average of around 14% per month.

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Is Central Mutual or Sterling Better for Drivers who Work from Home or Have Short Commutes?

Central Mutual Sterling
6,000 Annual Miles$335$301
12,000 Annual Miles$345$301

The amount of time you spend behind the wheel of your car plays a big role in your monthly insurance bill. That's because the more milage you drive, the more likely you are to be in a collision and file an insurance claim.

As you can see in the table above, annual mileage doesn't have much of an impact on how much Sterling charges. However, there's a small difference in monthly rates for Central Mutual, with drivers who put 6,000 miles on their car yearly paying about $10 less every month compared to those who drive 12,000 miles annually. Still, for drivers in both categories, Sterling is the less expensive company.

Central Mutual or Sterling: Compare Rates for Urban, Suburban, and Rural Drivers

Where you live can play a considerable role in how much you pay for car insurance. Usually, those who live in urban areas will pay more than drivers in rural areas since there are a lot more vehicles on the road where they live, which increases the chances of an accident.

Central Mutual Sterling
Urban Areas$529$438
Suburban Areas$263$256
Rural Areas$228$210

When comparing these two carriers side-by-side, Sterling generally comes out as the most affordable option for drivers in all areas, regardless of if they're urban, suburban, or rural.

If you live in a rural area, you can expect to pay around $210 a month with Sterling and $228 with Central Mutual. People in suburban areas pay a monthly price of about $256 with Sterling compared to $263 with Central Mutual. For drivers in urban ZIP codes, Sterling's average premiums are around $438 per month compared to Central Mutual's $529.

Central Mutual vs. Sterling Discounts

You want to save as much money as you can, right? The best way to do that is by taking advantage of as many auto insurance discounts as possible.

But with what seems like a million different discounts out there, it can be challenging to nail down the company that has the most discounts for your unique driver profile and to find all the discounts you're eligible for.

Luckily, we did the hard work for you and looked at all of the different discounts Central Mutual and Sterling offer their customers so that you can see which carrier offers the most discounts and see which ones you might be able to take advantage of.

Central Mutual Sterling
ABS Discount
Anti-Theft Discount
Book Transfer Policy Discount 
Defensive Driver Discount
Distant Student Discount 
Driver Training Discount
DRL Discount
Good Student Discount
Group Discount 
Multi-Policy Discount
Paid In Full Discount 
Passive Restraint Discount
Renewal Discount 
teenSMART Discount 
Youthful Driver Discount 

Central Mutual blows Sterling away when it comes to the sheer amount of discounts available, offering seven more discounts than Sterling.

A couple of those are overlapping for things like discounts for being a defensive driver, discounts for getting driver training, and multi-policy discounts. Central Mutual also offers discounts for book transfer policy, distant student, group discount, and more.

Sterling's discounts come through just a few categories, including ABS, Anti-Theft, Defensive Driver, and more.

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Final Thoughts: Is Central Mutual or Sterling Best for You?

You've seen the role certain variables have on your insurance and the different discounts companies offer. That's all well and good, but when it comes down to it, which carrier is the best company for you and your specific profile and needs?

Sterling might be best for you if....

  • Your driving record includes a DUI charge.
  • Your home is in a busy urban area.
  • You want to save money while purchasing car insurance for a teenager.

Central Mutual might be best for you if...

  • You have a clean driving record, free of collisions, tickets, or DUIs.
  • You're looking for discounts -- Central Mutual has the most.

Hopefully, this guide has ben a valuable resource as you compare Central Mutual and Sterling. We also hope we've given you the information you need to make the best decision about your insurance.

At the end of the day, the sure-fire way to make sure you're getting the best deal on your auto insurance policy is to compare quotes from a handful of carriers, not just Central Mutual and Sterling. Luckily, sites like Compare.com make it easy for you to do just that. Just enter your ZIP code below and get multiple quotes from some of the best insurance companies in your area, all for free.

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Central Mutual vs. Sterling FAQs

Is Central Mutual or Sterling cheaper?

Sterling is the more affordable of the two carriers when looking at national average prices, with policies averaging $301 a month with Sterling and $340 for Central Mutual. Even so, that doesn't mean Sterling will be the cheapest company for each driver, since there are a variety of different factors (things like gender, age, driving record, etc.) that play a role in how much you pay.

Who is better, Central Mutual or Sterling?

Unfortunately, the only answer we can give you is "it depends.". Neither carrier is necessarily "better" for every policyholder -- it all depends on what your unique car insurance profile looks like.

Why do Central Mutual and Sterling offer me different rates?

Auto insurance companies use several different variables when calculating the rates they charge. Things such as where you park your car, where you call home, age, gender, and sometimes even things like your credit score can all come into play. Both Central Mutual and Sterling use different formulas, so it's likely they'll offer different premiums. The best way to determine which company is the most affordable for you is by comparing personalized quotes from a range of different carriers.

How do I know if Central Mutual or Sterling is right for me?

The only way to find the car insurance carrier that's right for you is by getting quotes from several companies and finding the one best suited for your individual budget. Luckily, Compare.com makes it easy for you to do just that. Just enter your information once and you'll get quotes from dozens of your local top auto insurance carriers for free. With those, you can guarantee you're getting the lowest premium. And maybe you'll find that the best company for you isn't Central Mutual or Sterling at all, but another you hadn't even thought of!


All of the data referenced in this article has been gathered in collaboration with Quadrant Information Services. We analyzed more than 2.5 million rows of carrier-reported data to calculate the average rates referenced above. All rates are based on an insurance profile of a single-vehicle policy for a driver that owns a 2016 Honda Accord. For more information on how we calculate rates, please reference our data methodology.

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