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

You've probably seen ads offering big savings on auto insurance, but are Preferred Mutual or Sterling right for you? Which company offers the lowest premiums, or the most discounts? Read on to see how Preferred Mutual and Sterling compare, and to find out which carrier is the best one for you, your vehicle, and your budget.
Newly insured car driving down the road
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Quick Facts

  • Looking at the national averages for car insurance, Sterling offers significantly cheaper prices than Preferred Mutual
  • Preferred Mutual offers more discounts than Sterling Insurance
  • Sterling tends to be a much more affordable option for residents of urban areas

Preferred Mutual vs. 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 big discounts. But exactly how much can you save by switching?

You might be considering Preferred Mutual or Sterling, but between the two, which one will save you the most?

Preferred Mutual Sterling

Looking at nationwide averages, Sterling has average rates that are about 45% per month less expensive than those from Preferred Mutual.

That being said, Sterling may not be the most affordable or best option for each driver out there. Insurance companies use a variety of complex algorithms to calculate rates, so depending on how good your credit score is or how old you are (among a multitude of other factors), you could see wildly different premiums from the ones above.

Luckily, we've broken down average prices from both Preferred Mutual and Sterling by lots of different rate factors, so read on to find out which company is the best for you.

Preferred Mutual or Sterling: Average Car Insurance Rates by State

State Preferred Mutual Sterling

Preferred Mutual and Sterling only compete against each other in New York, where Sterling offers the cheaper average rates. For New York residents, Sterling offers car insurance for $301 a month on average. Preferred Mutual's average premiums come out to be over 70% more expensive, at $638 monthly.

There are plenty of other factors that go into your auto insurance payment than just where you call home. Read on to learn more.

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Which is the Best Company For Young Drivers?

Preferred Mutual Sterling
18-year-old drivers1095$539
25-year-old drivers$481$284

Teen drivers will almost always have the most expensive insurance prices of any other group of drivers. That's normally because young, inexperienced 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 that doesn't mean teen drivers can't still save money on their auto insurance. As you can see above, teens who use Sterling save more than $500 a month compared to those who use Preferred Mutual.

However, both carriers will offer you dramatically lower rates by the time you turn 25. For example, average prices for Preferred Mutual policyholders reduce over 55% and Sterling's premiums decrease more than 45% over that time.

Which is the Best Company for Retired Drivers?

Preferred Mutual Sterling
65+-year-old drivers$398$227

When it comes to insurance, patience and experience pay off, with drivers around retirement age paying some of the cheapest rates you can find.

When looking at Preferred Mutual and Sterling specifically, which carrier is best for retired drivers? Sterling gets the edge, with premiums for drivers 65 and older $171 more affordable than the national average for Preferred Mutual.

Which is the Best Company for Married Drivers?

Preferred 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. That's generally because married policyholders tend to own and insure more than one car, which can often earn you a discount.

When it comes to relationship status, Sterling is the clear winner for single drivers, with rates around $281 per month less expensive than Preferred Mutual, on average. The advantage for married drivers with Sterling is also obvious, where drivers save nearly $200 a month.

Preferred Mutual vs. Sterling: Average Rates by Gender

Preferred Mutual Sterling

Men are statistically more likely than women to get pulled over for speeding or get into an accident. That means when it comes to auto insurance men will usually end up paying a little more.

Generally, men see premiums about 3% per month higher with Preferred Mutual, while with Sterling, the difference is closer to 8% a month.

Looking at the data for each company specifically, Sterling offers the most affordable average rates for both men and women. On average, women save about $245 per month and men save around $236 with Sterling compared to the average Preferred Mutual policyholder.

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Preferred Mutual or Sterling: Compare State Minimum vs. Full Coverage Rates

Preferred Mutual Sterling
State Minimum*$234$150
Full Coverage**$850$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 insurance can be pretty complicated. There are so many different limits and terms that it can make it pretty confusing to find the right policy.

Even so, the most common policies that many drivers look at fall into two categories -- liability only (which provides bodily injury and property damage coverage for other drivers and passengers if you cause a collision) and full coverage (which typically refers to having comprehensive and collision coverages in addition to liability coverage).

If you're looking for state minimum liability insurance, Sterling normally offers significantly cheaper prices of $150 compared to Preferred Mutual's $234. When it comes to full coverage policies with similar limits, Sterling again has the edge, with policies about $400 a month more affordable than Preferred Mutual, on average.

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

You've probably seen plenty of commercials from car insurance companies offering great rates for good drivers, but that doesn't mean people with less-than-perfect driving records can't save money, too.

At-fault accidents and tickets will most likely raise your premiums, but is Preferred Mutual or Sterling less expensive for drivers with less-than-ideal driving records?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Speeding Tickets?

Preferred Mutual Sterling
Clean Record$389$247
1 Speeding Ticket$392$247

Drivers with Sterling auto insurance policies don't report seeing their prices increase after getting a ticket, but Preferred Mutual policyholders can expect to see their monthly bill increase by around $3.

But Sterling tends to offer the best prices for drivers both with clean records and with a ticket, offering premiums that are 37% and 37% cheaper, respectively, compared to Preferred Mutual.

Which Company is Best for Drivers After an Accident?

Preferred Mutual Sterling
Clean Record$389$247
1 At-Fault Accident$486$289

After an accident, drivers who have their insurance through Preferred Mutual can expect to see about an $97 -- or around 20% -- increase in their car insurance prices. Drivers who use Sterling for their insurance will see a monthly bill about $42 (or 15%) more expensive after reporting an accident to their auto insurance carrier.

Overall, drivers who use Sterling end up with the cheaper prices after an accident, with monthly rates averaging $289 compared to Preferred Mutual's $486.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with a DUI?

Preferred Mutual Sterling
Clean Record$389$247
1 DUI$902$423

On average, a DUI offense is going to cost you much more than a single accident or speeding ticket when it comes to your car insurance bill. For example, Preferred Mutual increases average premiums by over $500 per month -- that's over a 55% increase.

If you have a DUI on your record and are looking for more affordable prices, Sterling tends to be the much more affordable option with average rates of $423 per month compared to $902 from Preferred Mutual.

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How does Credit Score Impact Preferred Mutual and Sterling Rates?

You may not have known, but your credit score can come into play when carriers determine your monthly bill. This isn't always the case (for example, Massachusetts and California are two states that ban the practice entirely), but it might come into play for several policyholders.

Auto 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, drivers with bad credit will often be forced to pay more.

Looking specifically at Sterling and Preferred Mutual, which company has the lowest premiums for policyholders at different credit levels?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Good Credit?

Preferred Mutual Sterling
Excellent Credit Score$501$223
Good Credit Score$569$268

If you have a great credit score, you'll usually find a better deal with Sterling. Drivers with "excellent" credit can save more than 55% compared to Preferred Mutual, and those with "good" scores can also expect to see savings -- around $301 or 53% less expensive each month.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Bad Credit?

Preferred Mutual Sterling
Fair Credit Score$652$298
Poor Credit Score$831$417

Sterling typically offers lower prices than Preferred Mutual when it comes to drivers with less-than-perfect credit. Drivers with "fair" credit pay about $354 a month less with Sterling compared to Preferred Mutual, and those with "poor" scores generally save an average of around $414 monthly.

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

Preferred Mutual Sterling
6,000 Annual Miles$541$301
12,000 Annual Miles$543$301

The amount of time you spend behind the wheel of your car plays a big role in how much insurance carriers will charge for coverage. Usually, the more miles you put on your vehicle each year, the more you can expect to pay for car insurance.

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 Preferred Mutual, with drivers who put 6,000 miles on their car every year paying about $2 less each month compared to those who drive 12,000 miles yearly. Still, Sterling is the cheaper option for drivers in both categories.

Preferred Mutual vs. Sterling: Compare Rates for Urban, Suburban, and Rural Drivers

Where you call home can play a sizable role in how much you pay for auto insurance. Typically, policyholders who live in heavily-populated urban areas will pay quite a bit more than rural drivers because of the number of vehicles that are on the roads in those areas.

Preferred Mutual Sterling
Urban Areas$902$438
Suburban Areas$472$256
Rural Areas$253$210

Sterling boasts the lowest average rates for drivers in all areas, regardless of if they're urban, suburban, or rural.

Policyholders in rural ZIP codes see the most affordable premiums from both companies, but Sterling comes out on top with average prices around $210 a month. Sterling also has less expensive average rates for drivers in urban and suburban ZIP codes -- a 51% and 46% per month respective difference when compared to Preferred Mutual policyholders in similar areas.

Preferred Mutual vs. Sterling Discounts

Regardless of why you might be in the market for a new car insurance policy, you're always going to want to save as much money as possible, and the best way to do that is by taking advantage of as many insurance discounts as you can.

But where do you even start? With so many discounts out there, it may seem difficult to find all the of the ones you're eligible for.

In the table below, we've taken a look at all of the different discounts Preferred Mutual and Sterling offer their customers so that you can easily see which company offers the most discounts and, therefore, the biggest savings.

Preferred Mutual Sterling
ABS Discount
Annual Mileage Discount 
Anti-Theft Discount
Defensive Driver Discount
Driver Training Discount 
DRL Discount
Good Driving Discount 
Good Student Discount
Group Discount 
Mature Driver Discount 
Multi-Car Discount 
Multi-Policy Discount
New Business Discount 
Paid In Full Discount 
Passive Restraint Discount

Preferred Mutual knocks Sterling out of the park when it comes to the sheer number of discounts available, offering six more discounts than Sterling.

Both carriers offer several of the same discounts -- like anti-theft discounts, DRL discounts, and discounts for being a good student -- but Preferred Mutual also offers annual mileage discounts, good driving discounts, group discounts, and more that Sterling does not.

On the flip side, Sterling has a unique discount of its own -- a driver training discounts.

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

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

Sterling might be best for you if....

  • Your driving record contains an at-fault collision.
  • You want basic auto insurance coverage at the state minimum limits.
  • You live in a rural neighborhood.

Preferred Mutual might be best for you if...

  • You want to save extra money with discounts.

We hope this guide helps you get a good idea of the differences between Preferred 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 multiple carriers, not just Preferred Mutual and Sterling. Luckily, sites like do all the hard work for you. Just enter your ZIP code below and get multiple free quotes from some of the best insurance companies in your area, all in just a few minutes.

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Preferred Mutual vs. Sterling FAQs

Is Preferred Mutual or Sterling cheaper?

Looking just at the national average premiums, Sterling is the more affordable of the two carriers, offering average rates of $301 a month compared to $542 for Preferred Mutual. Even so, Sterling won't necessarily be the cheapest carrier for every driver, since there are a bunch of different variables (things like gender, age, driving record, etc.) that play a role in how much you pay.

Who is better, Preferred Mutual or Sterling?

Sadly, the real answer is "it depends.". One company is not necessarily "better" for everyone -- it all boils down to your unique car insurance profile.

Why do Preferred Mutual and Sterling offer me different rates?

Auto insurance companies take a look at lots of different factors when calculating the rates they charge drivers. Variables like age, your driving record, gender, where your home is, and sometimes even things like your credit score can all be taken into consideration. Both Preferred Mutual and Sterling calculate prices using different formulas, so each one will most likely offer different rates. The only real way to see which carrier is the lowest for you is by comparing personalized quotes from several different carriers.

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

The only way to find the insurance company that's right for you is by getting quotes from a handful of companies and finding the one best suited for your individual budget. Luckily, sites like make it easy for you to do just that. Just enter your information once and you'll get free quotes from dozens of the best car insurance carriers in your area. That way, you can guarantee you're getting the cheapest premium. And who knows, the best carrier for you might not be Preferred Mutual or Sterling at all!


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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