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

You've probably seen ads offering big savings on insurance, but are State Farm or Sterling right for you? Which company offers the cheapest prices, or the most discounts? Read on to see how State Farm and Sterling compare, and to find out which carrier is the best one for you, your vehicle, and your budget.
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Quick Facts

  • Based on national averages for car insurance, State Farm offers significantly cheaper premiums than Sterling
  • State Farm offers less expensive average rates for drivers who have an at-fault accident on their record
  • Sterling offers more affordable prices for residents in New York

State Farm vs. Sterling: Which Company has the Cheapest Car Insurance?

Are you in the market for a new insurance policy? With so many ads from all sorts of companies offering huge discounts, you're probably wondering exactly how much you might be able to save.

You might be considering State Farm or Sterling as potential options, but between the two, which company will save you the most?

State Farm Sterling

As you can see, State Farm has average rates that are about 50% per month more affordable than those from Sterling when looking at the national average rates for auto insurance.

However, that doesn't necessarily mean State Farm will be the less expensive option for every driver. After all, car insurance companies can offer drastically different rates to each driver depending on rating factors like your driving record, your credit score, your age, or even where you call home (among other things). So, at the end of the day, rates from every company will differ quite a bit from person to person.

So, if you want to find out which of State Farm or Sterling is really the best for you, keep reading to see average premiums for each carrier broken down by several different rate factors.

State Farm or Sterling: Average Car Insurance Rates by State

State State Farm Sterling

State Farm and Sterling only compete against each other in New York, where Sterling offers the cheaper average prices. For New York residents, Sterling offers insurance for $301 per month on average. State Farm's average rates come out to be over 30% more expensive, at $393 monthly.

There are plenty of other factors that go into your auto insurance bill than just the state you live in. Keep reading to learn more.

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Which is the Best Company For Young Drivers?

State Farm Sterling
18-year-old drivers$353$539
25-year-old drivers$142$284

Young drivers -- especially teens -- normally pay a lot for car insurance compared to older drivers. It's usually because young, inexperienced drivers are statistically much more likely to get into accidents since they have less experience on the roads.

But still, even with seemingly sky-high premiums, teen drivers can still find ways to save money. As you can see above, teens who use State Farm save nearly $200 a month compared to those who use Sterling. It's worth noting that State Farm offers insurance in 51 different states compared to Sterling's one, which can skew the average rates a bit, but the difference here is still considerable.

But both carriers will offer you dramatically lower prices once you turn 25. For example, average premiums for State Farm policyholders lower more than $200 and Sterling's prices drop around $250 over that time.

Which is the Best Company for Retired Drivers?

State Farm Sterling
65+-year-old drivers$111$227

When it comes to auto insurance, patience and experience pay off, with drivers around retirement age paying some of the most affordable rates you'll ever see.

But who has the best premiums for retired drivers between State Farm and Sterling? State Farm gets the edge, with rates for drivers 65 and older over 50% more affordable than the national average for Sterling.

Which is the Best Company for Married Drivers?

State Farm Sterling

Single drivers tend to get offered slightly more expensive insurance prices than married drivers. That's because policies for married policyholders typically cover more than one car, which several companies will offer you a discount for.

When it comes to relationship status, State Farm is the clear winner for single policyholders, with premiums about $151 per month cheaper than Sterling, on average. For married couples, the advantage is clear again - State Farm has the edge when it comes to average rates.

State Farm vs. Sterling: Average Rates by Gender

State Farm Sterling

Did you know women tend to pay less for auto insurance than men? This is because women are less likely to get speeding tickets and get into collisions, which lowers the chances of an insurance claim.

On average, men see prices around 7% a month higher with State Farm, while with Sterling, the difference is closer to 8% per month.

When it comes to the lowest premiums for each gender, State Farm comes out as the most affordable option for both genders, with average prices $150 less for men and $137 cheaper for women.

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State Farm or Sterling: Compare State Minimum vs. Full Coverage Rates

State Farm Sterling
State Minimum*$99$150
Full Coverage**$216$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.

Car insurance can be a complicated subject for most people. Everyone needs insurance, but there are so many different limits and terms that it can be hard to find the right policy.

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

If you're looking for state minimum limits for liability insurance, State Farm generally offers significantly less expensive rates of $99 compared to Sterling's $150. When it comes to full coverage policies with similar limits, State Farm again has the edge, with policies about $250 a month cheaper than Sterling, on average.

Is State Farm or Sterling Better for Drivers with Spotty Records?

It's no big secret that drivers who are accident-free get better deals on their car insurance. But even if you have a spotty record, you can still find plenty of ways to save some cash on your monthly bill.

You'll probably end up paying more with tickets and accidents 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?

State Farm Sterling
Clean Record$134$247
1 Speeding Ticket$155$247

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

That being said, State Farm has more affordable prices for drivers in both categories -- their rates are around 46% less expensive for drivers with clean records and 37% cheaper for those with a ticket.

Which Company is Best for Drivers After an Accident?

State Farm Sterling
Clean Record$134$247
1 At-Fault Accident$163$289

State Farm policyholders who get in a collision can expect to see their premiums climb by just under $30, while those who have insurance through Sterling will see around a $40 increase.

Overall, State Farm offers the lowest rates for drivers with an at-fault collision on their records, with monthly prices averaging $163 compared to Sterling Insurance's $289.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with a DUI?

State Farm Sterling
Clean Record$134$247
1 DUI$179$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. On average, Sterling will increase your premiums about 42% after a DUI, while State Farm's average prices increase by over 25%.

State Farm has the overall cheapest premiums for drivers with a DUI on their records at $179 a month, but it's worth noting that State Farm's average rates come from 51 states compared to just one for Sterling, so the data may be skewed slightly.

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How does Credit Score Impact State Farm and Sterling Rates?

Did you know that many insurance companies take your credit score into account when calculating rates? This isn't always the case (California, for example, has banned the use of credit score as a rating factor) but it might come into play for a lot of drivers.

Car insurance carriers 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.

Looking specifically at Sterling and State Farm, which carrier has the most affordable prices for policyholders at different credit levels?

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Good Credit?

State Farm Sterling
Excellent Credit Score$80$223
Good Credit Score$105$268

If you have solid credit, you'll usually find a better deal with State Farm. Drivers with "excellent" credit can save just under 65% compared to Sterling, and those with "good" scores can also expect to see savings -- around $163 or 61% more affordable every month.

Which Company is Best for Drivers with Bad Credit?

State Farm Sterling
Fair Credit Score$148$298
Poor Credit Score$300$417

State Farm typically offers lower rates than Sterling when it comes to drivers with a below average credit score. Drivers with "fair" credit pay about $150 per month less with State Farm compared to Sterling, and those with "poor" scores usually save an average of around $117 monthly.

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

State Farm Sterling
6,000 Annual Miles$151$301
12,000 Annual Miles$164$301

How much you drive can have a sizable impact on your monthly auto insurance cost. That's because the fewer miles you drive, the less likely you are to get into a collision and cause 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 premiums for State Farm, with policyholders who drive the least paying about $13 less each month compared to those who drive 12,000 miles yearly. Still, State Farm is the cheaper option for drivers in both categories.

State Farm vs. Sterling: Compare Rates for Urban, Suburban, and Rural Drivers

Where you park your car can have a pretty big impact on your monthly car insurance payment. Generally, if you live in an urban area with more cars on the road, you'll pay a little more for insurance, while the opposite is true for people in rural areas.

State Farm Sterling
Urban Areas$185$438
Suburban Areas$161$256
Rural Areas$127$210

When comparing these two companies side-by-side, State Farm normally comes out as the lowest option for drivers in all areas, regardless of if they're urban, suburban, or rural.

For policyholders in urban ZIP codes, State Farm offers prices around $185 a month compared to Sterling's $438. People who live in suburban ZIP codes can expect to pay about $161 a month for State Farm and $256 for Sterling. Lastly, those in rural areas tend to get the cheapest rates from both carriers, with average monthly premiums coming in at $127 and $210 for State Farm and Sterling respectively.

State Farm vs. Sterling Discounts

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

But where do you even start? With what seems like a million different discounts out there, it may be challenging to find all the ones you're eligible for.

In the section below, we've compared all of the different discounts offered by State Farm and Sterling so that you can easily see which company offers the most discounts and, therefore, the biggest savings.

State Farm Sterling
ABS Discount
Annual Mileage Discount 
Anti-Theft Discount
Defensive Driver Discount
Distant Student Discount 
Drive Safe & Save Discount 
Driver Training Discount
DRL Discount
Farm Discount 
Good Driving Discount 
Good Student Discount
Goverment Employee Discount 
Homeowner Discount 
Low Income Discount 
Mature Driver Discount 
Military Discount 
Multi-Car Discount 
Multi-Policy Discount
Passive Restraint Discount
Renewal Discount 

State Farm knocks Sterling out of the park when it comes to the sheer number of discounts available, offering 23 different discounts to Sterling's eight.

A couple of those are overlapping for things like discounts for being a defensive driver, discounts for getting driver training, and multi-policy discounts. State Farm also offers annual mileage discounts, distant student discounts, drive safe & save discounts, and more that Sterling does not.

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

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Final Thoughts: Is State Farm or Sterling Best for You?

So, we've broken down the average rates for many of the factors insurance companies look at, and we've shown you all the discounts each company offers. But, at the end of the day, which carrier is the best one for you and your specific profile and needs?

State Farm might be best for you if....

  • You want to save money on your car insurance after an accident.
  • You live in an urban area.
  • You are purchasing your auto insurance with a spouse.

Sterling might be best for you if...

  • You like the personalized touch of a small, local company.

We hope this guide has ben a valuable resource as you compare State Farm 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 State Farm and Sterling. Luckily, does all the hard work for you. Simply enter your ZIP codes below and get free quotes from dozens of top auto insurance companies in your area, all in just a few minutes.

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State Farm vs. Sterling FAQs

Is State Farm or Sterling cheaper?

Looking just at the national average prices, State Farm is the less expensive of the two carriers, offering average rates of $158 per month compared to $301 for Sterling. Even so, State Farm won't necessarily be the most affordable carrier for everyone, since there are a range of different variables (things like driving record, age, gender, etc.) that play a role in how much you pay.

Who is better, State Farm or Sterling?

Sadly, the real answer is "it depends.". One company is not "better" for every driver -- it all depends on what your unique car insurance profile looks like.

Why do State Farm and Sterling offer me different rates?

Insurance companies take a look at many different factors when determining the premiums they charge drivers. Things like age, where you live, gender, your driving record, and sometimes even things like your credit score can all be used. Both State Farm 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 a variety of different carriers.

How do I know if State Farm 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 several 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 insurance carriers in your area. That way, you can guarantee you're getting the most affordable price. And who knows, the best carrier for you might not be State Farm 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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