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How Much Is Car Insurance?

April 7, 2016
How Much Is Car Insurance?
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Determining how much your auto insurance will, or should, cost is complicated. Insurance companies use your driving history, age, gender, location, how much you drive and other factors when setting car insurance rates, and quotes can swing wildly from one provider to the next. Your rate also hinges on how much coverage you buy.

To give you an idea of how much car insurance costs, NerdWallet sampled rates in 10 states for 30-year-old drivers with clean records. We then averaged the three lowest quotes, shown below, and also listed the range of prices offered in each state from the largest insurers.

How much is car insurance?

StateAverage of three lowest annual quotesRange of annual quotes from 10 large insurers
Arizona$976$842 to $2,392
California$1,204$970 to $1,783
Florida$1,649$1,155 to $6,010
Illinois$1,096$883 to $2,250
Minnesota$1,212$1,141 to $5,368
New Jersey$2,162$1,507 to $4,547
New York$1,958$1,437 to $3,586
Ohio$841$701 to $2,891
Texas$1,320$1,207 to $7,259
Utah$984$695 to $4,458

» COMPARE: NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool

How car insurance companies determine how much you’ll pay

Here are some of the key pricing factors for auto insurance, some of which you can control and some of which you can’t.

Location: Where you live makes a big difference when it comes to auto insurance. If your state is a hot spot for theft of your particular car model, you’ll likely pay more for comprehensive coverage (which covers car theft). Weather also plays a role. Rates often skew higher in places where there tend to be claims due to winter storms and other natural disasters.

You could also face higher rates if your state has a high population density and thus a greater car-accident risk, such as in New York and New Jersey.

Coverage choices and state requirements: Almost every state requires auto insurance, but the minimum amount required varies. Some states mandate only bodily injury and property damage liability insurance. For example, in “no-fault insurance” states like Florida, where drivers make injury claims through their own insurers regardless of who caused the accident, you’ll need personal injury protection. The requirements imposed by your state play a role in how much you pay.

Any additional coverage options you choose will also raise your rate. We looked at rates for drivers with common optional coverages such as uninsured motorist protection, collision and comprehensive. But if you add more protection, such as roadside assistance or rental car reimbursement, or if you increase any of your coverage limits, you’ll trigger a higher car insurance quote.

Vehicle: Just as some cars are more expensive than others, some cost more to insure, especially when you’re buying collision and comprehensive coverage. We sampled rates for drivers with a 2012 Toyota Camry. If you drive a pricier car, the higher vehicle value will mean a higher rate.

Driving history and habits: We sampled rates for good drivers with clean records, but having at-fault accidents or moving violations means you’ll get charged more. Your daily commute length and annual mileage will also play a role in your rate.

Personal profile: Insurance companies consider much more than your driving history when determining your premiums. Sometimes factors outside your control affect your rate. For example, teen drivers are typically charged more because of their higher accident risk. Insurance companies may also take into account factors such as gender, marital status and credit (where permitted).

» MORE: How to save on car insurance

Shop around to find car insurance at a competitive price

If you’re worried about paying too much for car insurance, shop around. Comparing rates from several companies is the best way to see how your rate stacks up, and whether the grass is greener elsewhere.

Try NerdWallet’s comparison tool to view quotes and find the right coverage.

Alex Glenn is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance site. Email:


NerdWallet averaged rates from the largest insurers in each state for 30-year-old men and women in 10 ZIP codes per state. Sample drivers had no accidents or violations and carried $100,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person, $300,000 bodily injury liability per incident and $50,000 property damage liability limits. They also carried $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person and $300,000 uninsured motorist coverage per incident, plus collision and comprehensive with a $1,000 deductible for each. Personal injury protection and underinsured motorist coverage were added where required. We used a 2012 Toyota Camry in all states. These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.