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Best Cheap Car Insurance in Chicago for 2020

Feb. 28, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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No matter where you live in the Windy City, finding cheap auto insurance in Chicago may not be a breeze.

You’re likely to pay $150 to $230 a year more for car insurance in Chicago than if you lived elsewhere in your state, NerdWallet’s 2020 rates analysis shows. And since the Chicago metropolitan area technically spans three states, you won’t even find the same options or requirements in all parts of the metro area.

Whether you live in Illinois, northwest Indiana or the sliver of Wisconsin that’s included in the Chicago metro, we found insurance companies with rates below state averages, often by hundreds of dollars a year. But the cheapest options weren’t the same for all Chicago drivers.

Comparing car insurance quotes is the only way to identify the cheapest coverage for you. To get you started, we checked average rates from a dozen or more of the largest insurers in each state. The results were very different from one state to the next, so we broke out our findings by state.

  • Chicago and Illinois suburbs cover nine counties, including the Evanston, Elgin, Joliet and Naperville areas.
  • The Gary, Indiana, area includes four Indiana counties.
  • Kenosha County, Wisconsin, stands alone.

Here are the five cheapest companies we found in each state for drivers in and around Chicago.

Cheapest for good drivers in Chicago

For drivers with clean driving and credit histories, these are the cheapest insurance companies we found, ranked by their average rates in the Chicago area:

chicago and ILLINOIS SUBURBS

  1. Safeco: $672 per year.
  2. Geico: $875 per year.
  3. Pekin: $918 per year.
  4. Erie: $1,007 per year.
  5. Country Financial: $1,212 per year.

Gary, Indiana

  1. Geico: $710 per year.
  2. Erie: $722 per year.
  3. Indiana Farmers: $942 per year.
  4. Progressive: $1,216 per year.
  5. Travelers: $1,226 per year.

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

  1. Geico: $676 per year.
  2. Erie: $710 per year.
  3. Secura: $887 per year.
  4. American Family: $927 per year.
  5. Auto Club Group: $936 per year.
Drivers with no recent accidents or violations can get cheaper car insurance rates for having good credit. For this calculation, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women with a clean driving record and good credit. In terms of driving and credit history, a large portion of drivers are closest to this profile, which carries standard "full coverage" insurance, including comprehensive and collision, along with state-required coverage. Prices shown include a good driver discount, when available from the insurer.

Cheapest for minimum coverage in Chicago

Chicago-area drivers looking for bare-bones policies may have luck with these companies, listed with their average rates for each state’s minimum required car insurance:

chicago and ILLINOIS SUBURBS

  1. Safeco: $277 per year.
  2. Geico: $371 per year.
  3. Erie: $389 per year.
  4. Pekin: $399 per year.
  5. Country Financial: $468 per year.

Gary, Indiana

  1. Erie: $286 per year.
  2. Geico: $318 per year.
  3. Indiana Farmers: $386 per year.
  4. Auto-Owners: $443 per year.
  5. Progressive: $500 per year.

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

  1. Erie: $243 per year.
  2. Geico: $294 per year.
  3. Wisconsin Farm Bureau: $310 per year.
  4. Secura: $351 per year.
  5. Auto Club Group: $370 per year.
We calculated these numbers by averaging rates for 40-year-old good drivers (earning them a discount if the insurer offers one) who have only the minimum mandatory insurance in their state. Such light coverage isn't typically recommended since it might not cover all the bills resulting from a car accident, but it's better than nothing — especially if you can't afford much more. If you're looking for the cheapest possible insurance you can get, though, you'll still want to get car insurance quotes from at least three auto insurers.

Cheapest for good drivers with poor credit

If you want a full coverage policy and have poor credit but no recent tickets or violations, check out these auto insurers, which had the cheapest average rates we found in the Chicago area:

chicago and ILLINOIS SUBURBS

  1. Safeco: $1,244 per year.
  2. Pekin: $1,719 per year.
  3. Country Financial: $1,772 per year.
  4. Geico: $1,799 per year.
  5. Travelers: $2,068 per year.

Gary, Indiana

  1. Geico: $1,061 per year.
  2. Indiana Farmers: $1,563 per year.
  3. Safe Auto: $1,722 per year.
  4. American Family: $1,956 per year.
  5. Erie: $1,964 per year.

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

  1. Geico: $1,030 per year.
  2. West Bend: $1,252 per year.
  3. Secura: $1,286 per year.
  4. American Family: $1,576 per year.
  5. Wisconsin Farm Bureau: $1,954 per year.
If you have a spotty credit history, it's important to shop around to find the cheapest auto insurance rates you can. Poor credit can have a bigger effect on car insurance premiums than even a DUI conviction or a recent at-fault crash, but prices vary by insurer. To calculate these figures, NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-olds with a clean driving record and associated good driver discount, if the insurer offered one. They had poor credit as reported to their insurer, and standard "full coverage" car insurance.

Cheapest for drivers with one at-fault crash

After an at-fault accident, these companies showed the lowest average rates in metro Chicago for full coverage auto insurance:

chicago and ILLINOIS SUBURBS

  1. Safeco: $894 per year.
  2. Pekin: $1,234 per year.
  3. Erie: $1,322 per year.
  4. Geico: $1,574 per year.
  5. Country Financial: $1,614 per year.

Gary, Indiana

  1. Erie: $952 per year.
  2. Indiana Farmers: $1,118 per year.
  3. American Family: $1,336 per year.
  4. Geico: $1,341 per year.
  5. State Farm: $1,698 per year.

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

  1. Erie: $880 per year.
  2. American Family: $973 per year.
  3. Geico: $1,282 per year.
  4. State Farm: $1,321 per year.
  5. West Bend: $1,360 per year.
After a relatively minor crash, some auto insurers will charge a lot more than others for coverage. To get these figures, we averaged rates for 40-year-olds with typical "full coverage" insurance and one recent at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage. Your rates will remain high for three to five years after you cause an accident or have a moving violation — and you still may be rejected for coverage from certain companies, including those above. If you fall into this category, be sure to shop for new insurance rates just after the three-year and five-year anniversaries of your infraction.

Cheapest insurance after a DUI in Chicago

Here are the cheapest car insurance companies we found for Chicago-area drivers with a recent DUI, ranked by lowest average rate for full coverage:

chicago and ILLINOIS SUBURBS

  1. Safeco: $953 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,587 per year.
  3. Country Financial: $1,735 per year.
  4. State Farm: $1,916 per year.
  5. Progressive: $1,951 per year.

Gary, Indiana

  1. Indiana Farmers: $942 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,125 per year.
  3. American Family: $1,336 per year.
  4. Progressive: $1,503 per year.
  5. Geico: $1,648 per year.

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

  1. American Family: $973 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,050 per year.
  3. State Farm: $1,539 per year.
  4. Progressive: $1,703 per year.
  5. Geico: $1,712 per year.
A conviction for driving under the influence, or DUI, generally results in higher auto insurance premiums than before. NerdWallet analyzed rates for 40-year-old drivers and standard “full coverage” car insurance with a recent DUI conviction to see which companies were cheapest. Be warned that you may be rejected for coverage, including from the companies listed above. Rates can vary by hundreds between carriers after a DUI, and some penalize for longer than others, so it’s important to shop around for the best available price right after you see a price hike and each year after that.

Cheapest insurance after a ticket in Chicago

For Chicago-area drivers with a recent speeding ticket seeking full coverage auto insurance, the cheapest companies and their average rates are:

chicago and ILLINOIS SUBURBS

  1. Safeco: $871 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,057 per year.
  3. Geico: $1,132 per year.
  4. Pekin: $1,155 per year.
  5. State Farm: $1,476 per year.

Gary, Indiana

  1. Erie: $778 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,036 per year.
  3. Indiana Farmers: $1,118 per year.
  4. American Family: $1,336 per year.
  5. State Farm: $1,526 per year.

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

  1. Erie: $710 per year.
  2. Secura: $887 per year.
  3. Geico: $897 per year.
  4. American Family: $973 per year.
  5. Auto-Owners: $1,096 per year.
Getting a speeding ticket will result in higher car insurance rates from most companies for three to five years. To see who has the cheapest rates, we calculated average car insurance rates for 40-year-old drivers with “full coverage” insurance and a recent ticket for speeding 16 mph over the limit. Though these larger companies were the cheapest we found on average, others may be cheaper for you, so be sure to get at least three quotes before deciding on a carrier.

Cheapest for couples and families in Chicago

With multiple cars and more than one driver to insure, couples can often save on car insurance by nabbing multi-car and and multi-driver discounts. Adding a teen driver to a policy can be expensive, but it also creates opportunities for additional discounts. This is why it’s smart to shop around for insurance quotes whenever something big happens in life, such as a move, marriage or a new driver in the household. NerdWallet analyzed rates for couples with and without a teen driver to see which companies are cheapest for them in the Chicago metro area.

Cheapest for a married couple in Chicago

For a husband and wife in the Chicago metro area, both 50 years old, here are the cheapest insurers we found and their average rates for full coverage insurance on two vehicles:

chicago and ILLINOIS SUBURBS

  1. Safeco: $844 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,059 per year.
  3. Pekin: $1,170 per year.
  4. Erie: $1,409 per year.
  5. Country Financial: $1,721 per year.

Gary, Indiana

  1. Geico: $1,033 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,158 per year.
  3. Indiana Farmers: $1,458 per year.
  4. American Family: $1,602 per year.
  5. Safe Auto: $1,625 per year.

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

  1. Geico: $802 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,087 per year.
  3. American Family: $1,141 per year.
  4. Secura: $1,319 per year.
  5. Auto Club Group: $1,427 per year.
Couples who live together can save on auto insurance by combining policies, whether they are married or not, because they can earn multi-car and multi-driver discounts. Once they tie the knot, rates can dip further, but not because of discounts — insurers see married people as less risky and so charge them lower rates. Our hypothetical 50-year-old couple’s clean driving record also earns them both a good driver discount.

Cheapest for families with a teen in Chicago

Here are the lowest rates we found for a 50-year-old husband and wife plus an 18-year-old driver on a full coverage policy insuring two vehicles in the Chicago area:

chicago and ILLINOIS SUBURBS

  1. Safeco: $1,676 per year.
  2. Pekin: $2,181 per year.
  3. Geico: $2,525 per year.
  4. Erie: $2,637 per year.
  5. Country Financial: $3,167 per year.

Gary, Indiana

  1. Geico: $1,918 per year.
  2. Erie: $2,130 per year.
  3. Indiana Farmers: $2,896 per year.
  4. Progressive: $3,164 per year.
  5. Safe Auto: $3,172 per year.

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

  1. Geico: $1,548 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,798 per year.
  3. Secura: $2,147 per year.
  4. American Family: $2,247 per year.
  5. Wisconsin Farm Bureau: $2,367 per year.
Adding a teen with two years’ driving experience to a married couple's policy is sure to cause a big jump in rates. Since different insurers tend to see a teen’s inexperience in different ways, we analyzed rates to see which companies had the cheapest car insurance for teens. These rates are averaged for 50-year-old couples with male and female 18-year-old drivers.

Cheapest for young drivers in Chicago

Car insurance can be expensive for drivers in their 20s, so NerdWallet looked at average rates in the Chicago metro area for 25-year-olds. Although young drivers may face higher auto insurance rates due to their limited experience on the road, companies differ in how they consider factors like age and driving background. That’s why all drivers, including 20-somethings, should shop for insurance quotes regularly to get the best rates. Here’s what we found for young drivers in the Chicago area.

Cheapest full coverage for young good drivers

For 25-year-old Chicago-area drivers with clean credit and driving histories, here are the cheapest companies and average rates we found for full coverage policies:

chicago and ILLINOIS SUBURBS

  1. Safeco: $818 per year.
  2. Pekin: $1,044 per year.
  3. Geico: $1,057 per year.
  4. Erie: $1,208 per year.
  5. Travelers: $1,492 per year.

Gary, Indiana

  1. Geico: $787 per year.
  2. Erie: $862 per year.
  3. Indiana Farmers: $1,267 per year.
  4. Progressive: $1,405 per year.
  5. Indiana Farm Bureau: $1,416 per year.

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

  1. Geico: $671 per year.
  2. Erie: $861 per year.
  3. Secura: $1,011 per year.
  4. American Family: $1,065 per year.
  5. West Bend: $1,103 per year.
Drivers in their 20s can have a hard time finding cheap car insurance, and that's even truer when they need full coverage. The rates above are averages for 25-year-old male and female drivers with comprehensive and collision coverages, which are often required for drivers with active auto loans or leases. These rates reflect a good driver discount. Young drivers, like all drivers, should check several quotes to find the cheapest for the coverage levels they need.

Cheapest minimum coverage for young good drivers

Young drivers in the Chicago metro area who are looking for the lowest possible coverage limits might want to check out these companies, which returned the cheapest average rates for minimum required coverage:

chicago and ILLINOIS SUBURBS

  1. Safeco: $330 per year.
  2. Geico: $439 per year.
  3. Pekin: $456 per year.
  4. Erie: $465 per year.
  5. State Farm: $600 per year.

Gary, Indiana

  1. Geico: $337 per year.
  2. Erie: $341 per year.
  3. Indiana Farmers: $532 per year.
  4. Progressive: $548 per year.
  5. Indiana Farm Bureau: $561 per year.

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

  1. Erie: $292 per year.
  2. Geico: $294 per year.
  3. Wisconsin Farm Bureau: $338 per year.
  4. Secura: $405 per year.
  5. West Bend: $448 per year.
Since young people often have fewer assets to protect with liability insurance, they can usually get away with lower coverage limits. For an age group with relatively high insurance rates on average, that's good news, keeping rates as low as possible. For this price set, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers who have clean driving records, good credit and bare-bones insurance coverage.

Cheapest for poor credit and minimum coverage

For 25-year-old Chicago-area drivers with blemished credit and clean driving histories, here are the cheapest insurers we found, ranked by their average rates for minimum required coverage:

chicago and ILLINOIS SUBURBS

  1. Safeco: $568 per year.
  2. Pekin: $838 per year.
  3. Geico: $840 per year.
  4. Country Financial: $882 per year.
  5. Allstate: $1,135 per year.

Gary, Indiana

  1. Geico: $475 per year.
  2. Allstate: $871 per year.
  3. Indiana Farmers: $901 per year.
  4. Progressive: $905 per year.
  5. Safe Auto: $961 per year.

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

  1. Geico: $418 per year.
  2. Wisconsin Farm Bureau: $567 per year.
  3. Secura: $578 per year.
  4. West Bend: $584 per year.
  5. Acuity: $852 per year.
Poor credit is common for younger folks just starting out, who may still be building their credit files. That can increase rates further, so it's extra important to shop around and compare as many insurance quotes as possible to find the cheapest you can get. For these prices, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with no recent accidents or violations (earning them a good driver discount), minimum coverage car insurance, and credit in the "poor" tier as reported to an insurer.

Cheapest for minimum coverage after a crash

For young drivers in the Chicago area with a recent at-fault accident on their records, these are the cheapest companies we found and their average rates for minimum coverage policies:

chicago and ILLINOIS SUBURBS

  1. Safeco: $424 per year.
  2. Pekin: $615 per year.
  3. Erie: $628 per year.
  4. Geico: $726 per year.
  5. State Farm: $780 per year.

Gary, Indiana

  1. Erie: $464 per year.
  2. Geico: $598 per year.
  3. Indiana Farmers: $632 per year.
  4. American Family: $792 per year.
  5. State Farm: $793 per year.

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

  1. Erie: $370 per year.
  2. Wisconsin Farm Bureau: $443 per year.
  3. Geico: $494 per year.
  4. West Bend: $610 per year.
  5. State Farm: $662 per year.
To get prices for this group, we averaged rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with good credit and a recent at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage. Since car insurance is often pricier after a crash, and especially so for young drivers, we assumed minimum required insurance in the state to contain costs for our hypothetical driver. Depending on your situation, you may still be rejected for coverage, including from the companies listed above. If you've caused a crash, no matter your age, be sure to check auto insurance quotes just after the third and fifth anniversaries of your incident, when insurers often adjust rates downward.

Cheapest for minimum coverage after a DUI

Here are the cheapest auto insurers and their average rates for minimum coverage policies after a recent DUI for young drivers in the Chicago area:

chicago and ILLINOIS SUBURBS

  1. Safeco: $445 per year.
  2. Erie: $768 per year.
  3. Progressive: $812 per year.
  4. Country Financial: $884 per year.
  5. State Farm: $919 per year.

Gary, Indiana

  1. Indiana Farmers: $532 per year.
  2. Erie: $561 per year.
  3. Progressive: $667 per year.
  4. Geico: $714 per year.
  5. American Family: $792 per year.

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

  1. Erie: $447 per year.
  2. Geico: $641 per year.
  3. American Family: $732 per year.
  4. Progressive: $772 per year.
  5. State Farm: $774 per year.
Young drivers with a recent DUI on their records will need to be diligent to find the lowest car insurance rates they can get — it's likely that many companies' rates will be quite expensive. Depending on the circumstances, you may be rejected for coverage, including from the companies listed above. But spending the time to shop around for quotes can help you find the lowest price from a company available to you. For this analysis, we averaged rates for male and female 25-year-old drivers with a recent DUI conviction. They had good credit and minimum required car insurance, which helps keep rates down.

Cheapest for minimum coverage and a ticket

For young Chicago-area drivers with a recent speeding ticket, here are the cheapest insurers we found and their average rates for minimum coverage policies:

chicago and ILLINOIS SUBURBS

  1. Safeco: $412 per year.
  2. Erie: $488 per year.
  3. Geico: $532 per year.
  4. Pekin: $593 per year.
  5. State Farm: $696 per year.

Gary, Indiana

  1. Erie: $368 per year.
  2. Geico: $470 per year.
  3. Indiana Farmers: $632 per year.
  4. State Farm: $707 per year.
  5. Progressive: $757 per year.

Kenosha County, Wisconsin

  1. Erie: $292 per year.
  2. Geico: $355 per year.
  3. Wisconsin Farm Bureau: $368 per year.
  4. Secura: $405 per year.
  5. West Bend: $572 per year.
Getting a speeding ticket is never fun, and neither is the higher car insurance bill you may receive months later. At that point, it's time to shop around for better rates, and it wouldn't hurt to repeat on your third and fifth ticket anniversaries, when insurers may adjust rates downward. We analyzed rates for 25-year-old male and female drivers with a recent speeding violation for going 16 mph over the speed limit to see prices for this group.

Cheap for military families

If you’re an active military member or a veteran — or have an immediate family member who is — USAA might be a good bet for finding cheap car insurance in Chicago. The company is not available to the general public, so we don’t rank it against the others, and we didn’t have rates for USAA in Illinois. However, in the Indiana and Wisconsin suburbs of Chicago, USAA was consistently among the three cheapest options for every type of driver listed above.

» MORE: Best car insurance for military and veterans

Minimum required auto insurance in Chicago

Minimum car insurance requirements are set by each state, so the coverage you need depends on which part of the Chicago metro area you call home.

States typically require liability insurance, which covers damage to other people’s property and treatment of their injuries if you cause an accident. Some also require uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (UMBI), which covers injuries to you and your passengers if you’re hit by a driver who lacks car insurance.

If you live in Illinois, you’re required to carry liability insurance and UMBI coverage in the following amounts:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per incident.
  • $20,000 property damage liability per incident.
  • $25,000 UMBI per person.
  • $50,000 UMBI per incident.

» MORE: Best cheap car insurance in Illinois

If you’re a resident of Indiana, you need liability insurance, but UMBI is not required. The minimum liability limits you must select are:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $25,000 property damage liability per accident.

» MORE: Best cheap car insurance in Indiana

If your home is in Wisconsin, you’re required to have liability insurance and UMBI coverage in these amounts:

  • $25,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $50,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $10,000 property damage liability per accident.
  • $25,000 uninsured motorist per person for injuries.
  • $50,000 uninsured motorist per accident for injuries.

» MORE: Best cheap car insurance in Wisconsin

While these limits will satisfy state laws, you may want more than the minimum requirements. Damage from a single accident could easily add up to more than the minimum property damage limits, for example. The remaining balance would have to come out of your pocket.

Check out our guide to car insurance requirements by state for more details on choosing your liability limits, plus optional coverages you might want, such as comprehensive and collision insurance.

Alternative car insurance in Chicago

If you’re unable to purchase auto insurance on the voluntary market because of DUIs, at-fault accidents, poor credit or other situations, you can apply for coverage through the high-risk auto insurance pool for your state:

For more help finding the most competitive car insurance rates in Chicago, try NerdWallet’s auto insurance comparison tool.

METHODOLOGY

For our “good driver” profile, NerdWallet averaged rates from the largest insurers in each state for 40-year-old men and women in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metropolitan statistical area as defined by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. The MSA encompasses 14 counties across three states:

  • Illinois: Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry and Will counties.
  • Indiana: Jasper, Lake, Newton and Porter counties.
  • Wisconsin: Kenosha County.

The policy includes:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person.
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident.
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist coverage per person.
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist coverage per accident.
  • Collision coverage with a $1,000 deductible.
  • Comprehensive coverage with a $1,000 deductible.

If required, minimum additional coverages were added. Our “young driver” had all the same characteristics, but average rates were for 25-year-old men and women. We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect minimum required coverage by law in the state.
  • We changed the credit tier from “good” to “poor” as reported to the insurer to see rates for drivers with poor credit.
  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage.
  • For drivers with a ticket, we added a single speeding violation for driving 16 mph over the speed limit.
  • For drivers with a DUI, we added a single drunken driving violation.

We used a 2016 Toyota Camry LE for all single drivers. Couples in our analyses were 50-year-old men and women with good credit and clean driving histories, averaged across the Chicago MSA with the same policy outlined above. To see rates for families with a teen, we added an 18-year-old licensed two years ago, averaging rates for male and female teens. For couples and families we added a 2016 Nissan Rogue S to create a two-car household. Rates for each vehicle assumed 12,000 annual miles driven.

These are rates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.

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