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

Want to know if Mercury or Sterling is the better choice for auto insurance? You're probably wondering which carrier offers the best prices 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 car insurance, Mercury offers slightly more affordable premiums than Sterling
  • Mercury offers less expensive average rates for policyholders who live in urban areas
  • Sterling tends to be a much cheaper option for single people who will be the only person on the insurance policy

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

So, you're considering switching to a new insurance policy. With so many ads from all sorts of companies offering hefty savings, you're probably wondering exactly how much you might be able to save.

You might have narrowed your search down to Mercury or Sterling, but which one has less expensive prices for car insurance?

Mercury Sterling

Looking at nationwide averages, Sterling is around $6 more a month than Mercury.

That being said, that doesn't necessarily mean Mercury will be the cheaper option for every single driver. Auto insurance carriers vary their rates depending on things like where you live, how good your credit score is, how clean your driving record is, how old you are, and a ton of other factors. So, at the end of the day, premiums from every company will differ quite a bit from person to person.

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

Mercury vs. Sterling: Average Car Insurance Rates by State

State Mercury Sterling

Mercury and Sterling only compete against each other in New York, where Sterling offers the cheaper average premiums. Sterling drivers tend to pay about $663 per month less on average compared to drivers who use Mercury for their insurance.

That being said, there's a lot more that goes into your auto insurance payment than just the state you live in. Read on to learn more.

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Which is the Best Company For Young Drivers?

Mercury Sterling
18-year-old drivers$729$539
25-year-old drivers$230$284

Teen drivers will almost always have the most expensive car insurance rates of any group on the road. The reason is that teen drivers are statistically much more likely to get into accidents since they have less experience on the roads.

However, that doesn't mean that teen drivers have to just accept sky-high insurance prices. As you can see above, teens who use Sterling save almost 25% a month compared to those who use Mercury. It's worth noting that Mercury offers auto 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.

But with both companies, you'll see your rates lower significantly by the time drivers turn 25. Sterling offers the steepest reduction, with 25-year-olds paying less than half what 18-year-old drivers are charged. That being said, Mercury still has the lowest premiums at $230 monthly.

Which is the Best Company for Retired Drivers?

Mercury Sterling
65+-year-old drivers$219$227

Once you approach retirement age, you'll normally enjoy the most affordable car insurance prices you can find. You've been on the road for years, and all that experience pays off when it comes to your monthly rates for auto insurance.

But who has the best prices for retired drivers between Mercury and Sterling? In this case, Mercury has the slight edge, with rates about $8 per month less than Sterling. Even so, the difference is only around 5%, so other variables (like your credit score or where you live) will likely come into play when determining which company has the cheapest premiums for you.

Which is the Best Company for Married Drivers?

Mercury Sterling

Did you know that insurance rates are typically more expensive for single policyholders than they are for married drivers? That's usually because married couples tend to own and insure more than one vehicle, which can often earn you a discount.

For those who are single, the difference in average premiums between these two carriers is not very significant, with Sterling prices coming in at about 7% less than Mercury's. But for married policyholders, the advantage is clear - Mercury offers the most affordable average premiums.

Mercury or Sterling: Average Rates by Gender

Mercury Sterling

Men are statistically more likely than women to cause a collision and get into accidents, which means they'll generally end up paying more for car insurance than women.

Usually, women see prices around 5% a month less with Mercury, and about 8% less with Sterling.

Looking at overall affordability, Mercury comes out as the lowest option for both genders. On average, male drivers save about $12 per month and women save around $1 with Mercury compared to the average Sterling policyholder.

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

Mercury Sterling
State Minimum*$184$150
Full Coverage**$406$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.

Insurance isn't the easiest topic to understand. There are a bunch of different coverages that account for many different things. Some protect you and your car, while others only provide coverage for other people's property and health if you cause a collision.

However, the most common policies that drivers look at fall into two categories -- liability coverage (that covers bodily injury and property damage for other drivers if you cause an accident) and full coverage (which includes collision and comprehensive coverages that protect your own car, alongside liability coverage).

When it comes to state minimum limits for liability insurance, Sterling has the edge, while Mercury offers the cheapest average rates for full coverage policies with similar coverage limits. Policyholders looking for basic state minimum coverage can save around $35 with Sterling Insurance, while full coverage comes out to be about $45 more affordable with Mercury Insurance.

Is Mercury 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 speeding tickets and at-fault collisions on your record, but which of these two companies offers the most affordable prices to drivers with less-than-ideal driving records?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Speeding Tickets?

Mercury Sterling
Clean Record$237$247
1 Speeding Ticket$294$247

Drivers with Sterling auto insurance policies don't report seeing their premiums increase after getting a ticket, but Mercury policyholders can expect to see their monthly bill increase by around a quarter.

If you have gotten a speeding ticket, Sterling tends to offer the best rates at about 16% cheaper, while Mercury has the edge for drivers with a clean record.

Which Company is Best for Drivers After an Accident?

Mercury Sterling
Clean Record$237$247
1 At-Fault Accident$346$289

After an accident, drivers who have their car insurance through Mercury can expect to see around an $109 -- or about 32% -- rise in their auto insurance prices. Drivers who use Sterling for their insurance will see a monthly bill around $42 (or 15%) more expensive after reporting a collision to their auto insurance carrier.

At the end of the day, Sterling offers the lowest premiums for drivers with an at-fault collision on their records, with average rates coming in at $289 compared to Mercury Insurance's $346.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with a DUI?

Mercury Sterling
Clean Record$237$247
1 DUI$303$423

If you get a DUI charge on your record, it's probably going to cost you more than a simple ticket or even an accident. For example, Sterling increases average prices by nearly $200 a month -- that's more than a 40% increase.

Mercury has the overall cheapest rates for drivers with a DUI on their records at $303 a month, but it's worth noting that Mercury'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 Mercury and Sterling Rates?

Did you know many insurance carriers take into account your credit score when determining premiums? This isn't true for everyone (for example, Michigan and Massachusetts are two states that ban the practice entirely), but it will come into play for lots of policyholders.

Car insurance companies argue that those with good credit scores are more likely to pay their bills on time each month, which reduces the risk involved on their end, while the opposite is true for those with bad credit.

So, which company offers the most affordable prices for drivers with poor, average, or good credit?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Good Credit?

Mercury Sterling
Excellent Credit Score$223$223
Good Credit Score$266$268

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

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Bad Credit?

Mercury Sterling
Fair Credit Score$302$298
Poor Credit Score$406$417

If you have less-than-stellar credit, it can be somewhat of a toss-up as far as which company offers you the best rates. Drivers with "fair" credit pay around 1% less with Sterling than Mercury, but those whose credit is considered "poor" have it flipped -- saving about 3% per month with Mercury.

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

Mercury Sterling
6,000 Annual Miles$295$301
12,000 Annual Miles$295$301

How much you drive can have a pretty big impact on your monthly prices. Normally, those who drive less will end up with less expensive premiums since there's less of a chance of causing a collision and filing an insurance claim.

In this case, neither Mercury or Sterling report increasing rates for drivers with higher annual mileage figures. Mercury comes out as the cheapest for drivers at both intervals, whether they put 6,000 or 12,000 miles on their vehicle yearly, with average premiums of $295 a month for both.

Mercury 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 insurance, but the type of area you live in can have a large impact as well. Generally, those who live in urban areas will pay more than drivers in rural areas since there are a lot more cars on the roads where they live.

Mercury Sterling
Urban Areas$401$438
Suburban Areas$275$256
Rural Areas$209$210

Looking at these carriers side-by-side, Mercury tends to offer the most affordable option for drivers in rural and urban areas, while Sterling wins in suburban areas.

For drivers in urban ZIP codes, Mercury's average prices are around $401 while Sterling offers rates about $438. People in suburban areas pay a monthly price of around $256 with Sterling compared to $275 with Mercury. Those in rural areas can expect to pay about $209 per month with Mercury and $210 with Sterling.

Mercury 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.

The difficult part is finding all of the discounts you can take advantage of, since it can feel sometimes like every company has different discounts and each one is advertised differently.

Luckily, we did the hard work for you and compared all of the different discounts offered by Mercury and Sterling so that you can easily see which company offers the most discounts and, therefore, the largest savings.

Mercury Sterling
ABS Discount
Advance Quote Discount 
Anti-Theft Discount
Continuous Insurance Discount 
Covid-19 Relief Discount 
Defensive Driver Discount
Distant Student Discount 
Driver Training Discount 
DRL Discount
E-Signature Discount 
Electric Vehicle Discount 
Employee Discount 
Good Driving Discount 
Good Payer Discount 
Good Student Discount
Group Discount 
Homeowner Discount 
Mature Driver Discount 
Minor Child Discount 
Mobile Home Policy Discount 

Mercury blows Sterling away when it comes to the sheer amount of discounts available, offering 19 more discounts than Sterling.

Both companies offer lots of the same discounts -- like anti-theft discounts, DRL discounts, and discounts for being a good student -- but Mercury also offers discounts for advance quote, continuous insurance, COVID-19 relief, 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 Mercury or Sterling Best for You?

So, you've seen how different factors can affect your car insurance premiums. We've broken down the different discounts each carrier offers, too. That's all well and good, but at the end of the day, which insurance company is the best fit for you?

Mercury might be best for you if....

  • Your driving record includes a DUI charge.
  • You want the most robust protection via a "full coverage" policy.
  • You drive often but have a short commute.

Sterling might be best for you if...

  • You will be the only person on the insurance policy.
  • You're looking for the best rates on liability only coverage.
  • You want to save money while purchasing auto insurance for a teenager.

Hopefully, this guide helps you get a better idea of the difference between Mercury and Sterling. We also hope we've given you the information you need to make the best decision when it comes to your car insurance.

But, at the end of the day, there's only one way to know for sure that you're getting the best possible deal on insurance -- comparing quotes from a handful of carriers, not just Mercury and Sterling. Luckily, sites like make it easy for you to do just that. Just enter your ZIP code below and get multiple free quotes from some of the best car insurance companies in your area, all in just a few minutes.

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Mercury vs. Sterling FAQs

Is Mercury or Sterling cheaper?

Mercury is the more affordable of the two carriers when looking at national average premiums, with policies averaging $295 per month with Mercury and $301 for Sterling. That being said, that doesn't mean Mercury will be the lowest carrier for every policyholder, since there are multiple different variables that come into play when it comes to your auto insurance cost.

Who is better, Mercury or Sterling?

Unfortunately, the real answer is "it depends.". One company is not necessarily "better" for everyone -- it all depends on the makeup of your unique insurance profile. For example, Mercury is less expensive for drivers who have less-than-stellar credit scores, while Sterling offers cheaper prices for policyholders with an at-fault accident on their record.

Why do Mercury and Sterling offer me different rates?

Auto insurance companies use quite a few different factors when calculating the premiums they charge. Variables such as your driving record, age, where your home is, gender, and sometimes even things like your credit score can all be used. Both Mercury and Sterling calculate prices using different factors, so it's likely they'll offer different rates. The best way to determine which carrier is the cheapest for you is by comparing personalized quotes from a variety of different carriers.

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

The only way to find the car 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, sites like do all the hard work for you. Just enter your area information 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 rate. And maybe you'll find that the best carrier for you isn't Mercury 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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