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Comparing Auto Insurance in the Worst Cities for Drivers

June 4, 2015
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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There are lots of ways to figure out whether a city is bad for drivers. Comparing auto insurance quotes is a big factor for many people.

NerdWallet recently released a study that showed the worst cities for car drivers. It considered traffic, number of commuters, days of precipitation, parking, accident likelihood and, of course, car insurance costs.

The numbers

Boston is the worst city for drivers, according to the NerdWallet report. But Beantown residents can console themselves with the fact that, going solely by car insurance rates, it’s only 15th-worst (at least among the worst 25 in the overall ranking), averaging $1,174.50 a year.

Drivers in Detroit shell out an average of $4,924.99, which is nearly two and a half times the cost in second-place Providence, Rhode Island. Louisville, Kentucky, which is the least-worst of the cities in the overall ranking, had the third-highest average insurance cost, $1,783.94 a year.

Cincinnati’s average quote of $744.90 is by far the lowest on the list, 20% lower than the next-best city, Nashville, Tennessee.

Why rates vary between cities

When it comes to car insurance quotes, people generally will pay more when they live in places with more accidents, theft, vandalism, foul weather, lawsuits and insurance fraud, and higher car repair and medical costs. State regulations also impact rates, often by requiring certain coverages and sometimes dictating what insurers can charge.

Accident rates apparently aren’t what’s driving up auto insurance costs in Detroit. It has just 10.6% greater accident likelihood than the nation as a whole. Low-cost Cincinnati, on the other hand, has a 35.8% greater chance of accidents. The worst for accidents is Boston, with a 129.9% greater likelihood than the national average.

Your own auto insurance quotes also depend on your age, gender, marital status, education and credit, the car you drive, what you drive it for (business, commute, pleasure) and how many miles you put on it each year. These factors were held steady in the NerdWallet study.

So, even if you live in a city that combines bad traffic and lots of accidents, you might be better off than your fellow sufferers if your driving record is decent.

NerdWallet’s car insurance estimator tool can show you the best quotes.

Aubrey Cohen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @aubreycohen.

Image of Boston via iStock.