Cheap Car insurance in Chicago for 2020

The average cost of car insurance in Chicago, Illinois is $1,126.59 per year. That’s a pretty good wallet hoovering compared to the rest of Illinois, which averages $803.64. Of course, insurance coverage is more complicated than just price. It’s also about coverage type and needs. Rates will vary if you’re looking at straight liability, some added collision upgrades, or even full comprehensive coverage. You can expect to pay more as your coverages increase. You’ll also learn that gender may play a role in your coverage costs. It’s also worth noting that car insurance rates in Chicago have risen by about 10 percent per year for the past six years, so it’s worth locking in a good rate now rather than later.

Who has the cheapest car insurance in Chicago?

  • Safeco
  • Pekin
  • Country Financial
  • GEICO
  • Erie

We averaged data for car insurance on a number of mainstream vehicles in common categories (midsize sedan, midsize SUV, minivan, full-sized pickup truck) and in five postal ZIP codes in Chicago. We received quotes from most of the insurers in the Chicago area and had them quote for each vehicle with a driver with a clean record, aged about 40 years, and with an average credit rating. We sourced for both a male and a female driver. We then averaged those quotes received to rank for best rates and for the rates listed below.

DISCLAIMER: There are numerous other factors that are going to impact the cost of insurance on your car, crossover, or truck. We’ll provide info on some of those variables, but your best bet is to read our deep dive on Cheap Car Insurance for 2020 to get a better idea.

Who has the best cheap car insurance in Chicago?

  • Best Large Insurance Carrier: State Farm - For every quote given, State Farm was the lowest price given.
  • Cheapest Insurance from a Smaller Carrier: Country Financial - Based in Illinois, this company was originally started as an insurance cooperative for farmers and grew into a general insurer for automotive, real estate, and more.
  • Cheapest Insurance with One Accident: Safeco - Although only marginally lower than runner-up Pekin, Safeco also offers accident forgiveness for customers who’ve remained accident- and violation-free in Illinois.
  • Cheapest Insurance for Poor Credit: Safeco - For those with poor or no credit, Safeco also offers a minimum coverage program that has rates that can be far cheaper than others quoted.

How much does car insurance cost in Chicago?

The national average for auto insurance is about $1,341. In cities like Chicago, however, you can expect to pay more. Crime rates, accident rates, and so forth are all higher as populations get more dense. Chicago is a big city with a lot of vehicles sharing its roadways. Dings, fender benders, and so on are common. So are break ins, thefts, and other incidents. It does pay to shop around and insurance offerings in Chicago are competitive. Just look at the average given above versus the national average here.

Rates we found reported as “typical” or “average” (annual) onlineAverage (annual)Adjusted average* (annual)
Safeco$248 - $1,180$714$728.09
Pekin$248 - $1,203$725.50$726.71
Country Financial$365 - $1,634$999.50$997.24
GEICO$292 - $1,503$1,462$1,196.12
Erie$304 - $1,336$820$1,249.20

(*) The “adjusted average” is computed by eliminating the highest and lowest values and averaging the remaining values.

What causes rate increases in Chicago?

Where you live in Chicago or its surrounds can make a big difference in your rates. For example, living in the 03 Chicago Loop is not only expensive in real estate, but also expensive in auto insurance. By comparison, West Town or Avondale have lower rates. Often the difference is $100s per year.

Other things that have an effect on your car insurance rates are similar to those which effect rates everywhere else. Your driving record, for example, can impact your rate. As can your accident history, age, credit rating, and more. Our main story on auto insurance covers more of these items in detail. In Chicago specifically, however, the item creating the greatest change to insurance cost is a record of a DUI (drunk or impaired driving) conviction.

How do accidents affect rates in Chicago?

An accident in Chicago can mean an insurance rate of up to 90 percent. The amount of increase depends heavily on the insurer, the type of claim, and the amount of the claim. Some insurers offer at-fault or no-fault accident forgiveness if you’ve carried a policy with them with no claims for a given period of time. Usually 2-5 years.

Some automotive technologies such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking can greatly reduce your chances of an at-fault accident. Other gadgets like semi-automated parking systems (think “Smaat Paak”) can help as well.

Range of Rate Increases for One AccidentAverage of Rate IncreasesAdjusted Average of Rate Increases
0%, 27%, 90%39%27%

Remember that this is a guide and that one of the rate increases includes no increase at all due to accident forgiveness. Some insurers also do not count a “claim” unless there was a payout on that claim. This means that you may have been in an accident, informed your insurer, but the other driver’s insurance covered all costs. Hence you had no claim filed with your own insurer, so nothing counts against you. This is common in at-fault states like Illinois.

How do tickets affect rates in Chicago?

Because an insurer sees traffic infractions and moving violations as indicators of increased risk of accident, these tickets can negatively impact more than just your driving record. Many insurers do annual checks for new infractions on a driver’s record and adjust rates accordingly. So that ticket could cost you more than just the fines levied by the court.

Range of Rate Increases for One Speeding ViolationAverage of Rate IncreasesAdjusted Average of Rate Increases
5%, 12%, 22%, 35%, 41%23%23%

How can you get car insurance discounts in Chicago?

There are literally tens of thousands of discount programs for insurance around the country. Many are available to those living in Chicago. Some are tied to memberships, military service, or even chosen career.

In Illinois, for example, there is a Driver Education program for older adults. Those over age 50 who take this state-approved defensive driving class can request a discount of up to 10 percent on their insurance rates.

What’s the minimum coverage that is allowed in Chicago?

The penalties for having no insurance coverage while driving in Illinois are steep. Your driver’s license can be suspended and fines as high as $5,000 can be levied. The minimum coverage requirements in Chicago, Illinois are relatively low compared to national averages. These include a $25,000 bodily injury liability covering up to $50,000 per accident. You must also have $20,000 in property damage liability coverage.

FAQ

Who has the cheapest car insurance in Chicago?

While insurance costs vary widely according to several variables, we found that Safeco and Pekin generally offer the lowest rates in the Chicago area.

How can I get super cheap car insurance?

Beyond changing ZIP codes to a more rural area of Illinois, the best way to keep insurance costs low is to avoid making claims, maintain a perfect driving record, and keep an excellent credit rating.

What is the cheapest online car insurance in Chicago?

In Chicago, the cheapest option online is usually Safeco or GEICO.

What’s important in a car insurance company besides the rates?

Customer service, fast response times, and fair payouts are the things most likely to have a positive impact on your experience if there comes a time for you to make a claim. There’s an adage that says that cheap insurance often has cheap payouts and that is not entirely wrong.

Does credit score affect car insurance?

Yes, though not as much as some might think. Although Illinois allows the use of credit scores when assessing insurance rates, it’s a smaller factor in overall costs than are other, better indicators of risk-taking such as a poor driving record or sketchy coverage history.

Is there low income car insurance?

No, Illinois does not offer a special program for low income residents to get car insurance. It’s worth noting, however, that most parts of Chicago have lower average insurance rates than do the country as a whole due to the low coverage requirements that Illinois has set.

Can I buy one day car insurance in Chicago?

It is possible to buy temporary insurance coverage to, for example, transport a vehicle from one storage location to another. These types of policies will require some footwork to secure and, often, adding the vehicle to an existing policy for a month may be a more economic option.

How can I get my insurance quote cheaper?

Shop around and ask directly what discounts might be available. Some auto insurers, for example, give discounts to active duty military or civil service veterans, for memberships in clubs like AAA, and so forth.

Why is my insurance so high, even with no accidents?

There could be several things negatively affecting your rates. Call your insurer and ask. It cannot hurt and quite often a re-evaluation by an insurance agent can find deductions and discounts to lower your rate.

Is an older car cheaper to insure?

In general, yes. This does not apply to antique or classic vehicles, however, which are more than just “old.” Collectibles often cost more to insure if they’re driven regularly. Older cars, however, are generally cheaper to insure as they have a lower value. They may not, however, have lower costs associated with the minimum coverages required by Illinois as the age of the car does not change its external liability to other vehicles and property.

Why does car insurance cost so much?

There can be many reasons for high insurance costs. Most of them are due to factors under the insured’s control, however, such as accident history, claims history, and so forth. Some of them, such as the higher rates associated with certain neighborhoods in Chicago, may not be under your control.

Editor's note and disclaimer: Car Talk is supported by our fans, readers and listeners. When you click on some of the links on our website, we may receive referral compensation. However, you should know that the recommendations we make are based on our independent editorial review and analyses.