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

So, you're in the market for a new insurance policy. You may have even narrowed down your search to Esurance and Sterling. But which of these two companies is the best one for you? Read on to find which carrier has the best premiums and biggest discounts.
Newly insured car driving down the road
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Quick Facts

  • Looking at the national averages for auto insurance, Esurance offers slightly more affordable rates than Sterling
  • Esurance tends to be a much cheaper option for policyholders who live in urban areas
  • Sterling has less expensive prices for drivers who have a speeding ticket on their driving record

Esurance or Sterling: Which Company has the Cheapest Car Insurance?

Are you in the market for a new insurance policy? You've probably seen commercials and billboards from companies offering large savings, but exactly how much money can you save by switching?

You might have narrowed your search down to Esurance or Sterling as potential options, but which company will offer you cheaper rates?

Esurance Sterling

As you can see, Sterling is around $2 more a month than Esurance when looking at the national average rates for insurance.

However, that doesn't mean Esurance will necessarily be more affordable than Sterling for every single driver. Auto insurance carriers vary their premiums depending on things like where you live, how clean your driving record is, how good your credit score is, how old you are, and tons of other factors, so prices could vary drastically from person to person.

Wanting to know if Esurance or Sterling is really the right company for you? Keep on reading to see how average premiums can change based on all of the factors we've mentioned above.

Esurance vs. Sterling: Average Car Insurance Rates by State

State Esurance Sterling

Esurance and Sterling only compete against each other in New York, where Sterling offers the cheaper average rates. Sterling drivers tend to pay about $454 per month less on average compared to drivers who use Esurance for their car insurance.

That being said, there are plenty of other factors that go into your auto insurance payment 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?

Esurance Sterling
18-year-old drivers$711$539
25-year-old drivers$233$284

Teen drivers will almost always have the most expensive car insurance prices of any other group of drivers. The reason is that teen drivers are statistically much more likely to get into an accident that results in an auto insurance claim, making them much riskier to insure.

But still, even with seemingly sky-high rates, teen drivers can still find ways to save money. Just look at the table above -- where 18-year-old drivers who have Sterling for their insurance pay over 25% less than those who use Esurance. It's worth noting that Esurance offers car insurance in 11 different states compared to Sterling's one, which can skew the average premiums a bit, but the difference here is still considerable.

That being said, both companies will offer you dramatically lower prices once you turn 25. For example, average rates for Esurance policyholders drop about $500 and Sterling's premiums reduce around $250 over that time.

Which is the Best Company for Retired Drivers?

Esurance Sterling
65+-year-old drivers$232$227

When it comes to auto insurance, patience and experience pay off, with drivers around retirement age paying some of the cheapest prices out there.

So, which carrier offers the best rates to retired drivers? In this case, Sterling has the slight edge, with premiums about $5 a month less than Esurance. But the difference is only around 5%, so other variables will likely come into play when determining which company has the most affordable prices for you.

Which is the Best Company for Married Drivers?

Esurance Sterling

You may not be aware, but insurance rates tend to be less expensive for married policyholders than they are for single drivers. That's because policies for married couples normally cover several vehicles, which a lot of carriers will give you a discount for.

For single policyholders, the difference in average prices between these two companies is not very significant, with Sterling premiums coming in at about 7% less than Esurance's. But for married drivers, the advantage is clear - Esurance offers the lowest average prices.

Esurance or Sterling: Average Rates by Gender

Esurance Sterling

Because women are less likely to get tickets and get into accidents, they run a lower risk of filing a claim with insurance. So, women tend to get cheaper rates than men.

On average, men see rates around 7% per month higher with Esurance, but with Sterling, the difference is closer to 8% a month.

When it comes to the most affordable premiums for each gender, Esurance comes out on top for both men and women, with average rates 2% less for men and 0% cheaper for women.

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Esurance vs. Sterling: Compare State Minimum vs. Full Coverage Rates

Esurance Sterling
State Minimum*$201$150
Full Coverage**$396$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.

Auto insurance isn't the easiest topic to understand. There are so many different terms and limits that it can make it pretty confusing to find the right policy for you.

Even so, most policies that drivers look at fall into two categories -- liability coverage (which provides property damage and bodily injury coverage for other drivers if you cause a collision) and full coverage (which includes collision and comprehensive coverages that protect your own car, alongside what you get with a liability policy).

When it comes to state minimum liability limits, Sterling has the edge, while Esurance offers the lowest average prices for full coverage policies with similar coverage limits. Policyholders looking for basic state minimum coverage can save around $50 with Sterling Insurance, while full coverage comes out to be about $55 more affordable with Esurance.

Is Esurance 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.

You'll probably end up paying more with at-fault collisions and speeding tickets on your record, but which of these two carriers offers the cheapest premiums to drivers with less-than-perfect records?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Speeding Tickets?

Esurance Sterling
Clean Record$242$247
1 Speeding Ticket$287$247

Drivers with Sterling insurance policies don't report seeing their prices increase after getting a ticket, but Esurance policyholders can expect to see their monthly bill increase by around 15%.

If you have gotten a speeding ticket, Sterling tends to offer the best premiums at about 14% cheaper, while Esurance has the edge for drivers with a clean record.

Which Company is Best for Drivers After an Accident?

Esurance Sterling
Clean Record$242$247
1 At-Fault Accident$364$289

Esurance policyholders who get in an accident can expect to see their rates increase by over $100, while those who have insurance through Sterling will see around a $40 increase.

At the end of the day, the less expensive premiums come from Sterling, with average rates coming in at $289 compared to Esurance's $364.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with a DUI?

Esurance Sterling
Clean Record$242$247
1 DUI$301$423

If you get a DUI charge, you can expect some pretty significant increases in your monthly car insurance bill -- usually a lot more than a collision or ticket. Sterling drivers usually see a 42% climb in their auto insurance prices after a DUI charge, while Esurance will typically raise rates by about 20%.

Esurance has the overall lowest premiums for drivers with a DUI on their records at $301 per month, but it's worth noting that Esurance's average rates come from 11 states compared to just one for Sterling, so the data may be skewed slightly.

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How does Credit Score Impact Esurance and Sterling Rates?

Often times, your credit score can come into play when companies determine your monthly bill. This isn't true for everyone (Michigan, for example, has banned the use of credit score as a car insurance factor) but it might come into play for many drivers.

The reasoning insurance carriers use is that policyholders with bad credit will be less likely to pay their bills on time; so generally, they'll be asked to pay more, while those with good credit will be rewarded with cheaper prices.

So, which carrier offers the best premiums for drivers with poor, average, or good credit?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Good Credit?

Esurance Sterling
Excellent Credit Score$214$223
Good Credit Score$266$268

If you have solid credit, Esurance will normally reward you the most. For policyholders with "excellent" credit scores, Esurance comes in NaN more affordable. Drivers with "good" credit scores typically save around 1% with Esurance compared to average rates from Sterling.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Bad Credit?

Esurance Sterling
Fair Credit Score$305$298
Poor Credit Score$424$417

Sterling typically offers lower prices than Esurance when it comes to drivers with less-than-perfect credit. Drivers with "fair" credit pay about 2% per month less with Sterling compared to Esurance, and those with "poor" scores usually save an average of around 2% a month.

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

Esurance Sterling
6,000 Annual Miles$298$301
12,000 Annual Miles$299$301

How much you drive can have a sizable impact on your monthly rates. Generally, those who drive less will end up with less expensive premiums since there's less of a chance of causing an accident and filing 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 prices for Esurance, with policyholders who drive 6,000 miles yearly paying about $1 less every month compared to those who drive 12,000 miles each year. Still, for drivers in both categories, Esurance is the cheaper company.

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

We've already mentioned how your home state can play a role in how much you pay for car insurance, but the type of area you live in can have a big impact as well. Normally, those who live in urban areas will pay more than drivers in rural areas due to the number of vehicles that are on the roads where they live.

Esurance Sterling
Urban Areas$396$438
Suburban Areas$288$256
Rural Areas$211$210

When comparing these two companies side-by-side, Sterling boasts the most affordable average premiums in rural and suburban areas, while Esurance wins in urban areas.

Those in rural areas can expect to save around 0% with Sterling compared to Esurance. People who live in suburban areas pay about 11% less with Sterling compared to Esurance. For policyholders in urban ZIP codes, Esurance's average prices are around 10% less than Sterling Insurance.

Esurance 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 hard to find all the ones you're eligible for or to nail down the company that has the most discounts for your unique driver profile.

Luckily, we did the hard work for you and looked at all of the different discounts Esurance and Sterling offer their customers so that you can see which one can save you the most money each month.

Esurance Sterling
ABS Discount
Advance Quote Discount 
Agency Transfer Discount 
Anti-Theft Discount
Defensive Driver Discount
Driver Training Discount 
DRL Discount
Education Discount 
Good Driving Discount 
Good Payer Discount 
Good Student Discount
Group Discount 
Homeowner Discount 
Mature Driver Discount 
Military Discount 
Multi-Car Discount 
Multi-Policy Discount
Online Quote Discount 
Paid In Full Discount 
Paperless Discount 

Esurance blows Sterling away when it comes to the sheer amount of discounts available, offering 24 different discounts to Sterling's eight.

There are a couple discounts both carriers offer, but Esurance also offers discounts for advance quote, agency transfer, education, and more.

On the other hand, Sterling has a proprietary discount of their own -- a driver training discounts.

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Final Thoughts: Is Esurance or Sterling Best for You?

You've seen the effect certain factors have on your insurance and the different discounts companies offer. But, when it comes down to it, is Esurance or Sterling the right carrier for you and your specific needs?

Esurance might be best for you if....

  • You're looking for the best rates in NY.
  • You're looking for the best rates on liability only coverage.
  • You live in a rural neighborhood.

Sterling might be best for you if...

  • Your driving record includes a DUI charge.
  • You're looking for discounts -- Esurance has the most.
  • You drive fewer than 12,000 miles annually.

Hopefully, this guide helps you get a better idea of the difference between Esurance and Sterling and that it aids in making a more informed decision about your car 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 several carriers, not just Esurance and Sterling. Luckily, sites like do all the hard work for you. Simply enter your ZIP code below and get free quotes from dozens of the top insurance companies in your area, all in just a few minutes.

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Esurance vs. Sterling FAQs

Is Esurance or Sterling cheaper?

Esurance is the more affordable of the two carriers when looking at national average premiums, with policies averaging $299 a month with Esurance and $301 for Sterling. However, that doesn't mean Esurance will be the cheapest carrier for everyone, since there are a variety of different variables (things like age, driving record, gender, etc.) that play a role in how much you pay.

Who is better, Esurance or Sterling?

Unfortunately, the answer truly is "it depends.". Neither company is "better" for every policyholder -- it all depends on the makeup of your unique car insurance profile.

Why do Esurance and Sterling offer me different rates?

Insurance companies use quite a few different factors when determining the prices they charge. Things such as age, gender, your driving record, where you call home, and sometimes even things like your credit score can all come into play. Both Esurance and Sterling calculate rates using different variables, so it's likely they'll offer different prices. The best way to determine which carrier is the lowest for you is by comparing personalized quotes from a range of different carriers.

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

The only way to find the auto insurance company that's right for you is by getting quotes from multiple companies and finding the one best suited for your individual budget. Luckily, does all the hard work for you. Just enter your information once and you'll get quotes from dozens of your local top insurance carriers for free. With those, you can guarantee you're getting the best price. And maybe you'll find that the best carrier for you isn't Esurance 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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