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Best Cheap Car Insurance in Pennsylvania for 2020

Jan. 2, 2020
Auto Insurance, Insurance
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If you’re looking for cheap car insurance in Pennsylvania, shopping around is key. Rates for the same coverage options can swing dramatically from one insurer to the next, so it pays to compare as many quotes as possible.

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To make things easier, NerdWallet has done the comparing for you. We researched average prices from the state’s eight largest insurers and found the cheapest Pennsylvania car insurance options for several driver types.

Cheapest for good drivers in Pennsylvania

The cheapest companies for Pennsylvania drivers with good credit and a clean driving history, ranked by their average rates for full coverage, are:

  1. Penn National: $789 per year.
  2. Geico: $823 per year.
  3. Erie: $836 per year.
  4. Nationwide: $1,186 per year.
  5. State Farm: $1,313 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 Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania drivers who just want minimum coverage car insurance can get it relatively cheaply. These companies showed the lowest average rates for drivers with good credit and a clean driving history:

  1. Penn National: $232 per year.
  2. Erie: $263 per year.
  3. Geico: $270 per year.
  4. State Farm: $417 per year.
  5. Nationwide: $549 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

For people with a clean driving record and blemished credit, the cheapest companies and their average rates for full coverage in Pennsylvania are:

  1. Geico: $1,301 per year.
  2. Penn National: $1,530 per year.
  3. Nationwide: $1,637 per year.
  4. Erie: $2,004 per year.
  5. State Farm: $2,614 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

Pennsylvanians with a recent at-fault wreck may want to consider these companies, which had the lowest average rates for full coverage:

  1. Penn National: $789 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,063 per year.
  3. Geico: $1,605 per year.
  4. State Farm: $1,693 per year.
  5. Nationwide: $1,863 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 Pennsylvania

For Pennsylvania drivers with a recent DUI on their record, the cheapest companies and their average rates for full coverage are:

  1. Erie: $1,259 per year.
  2. Penn National: $1,512 per year.
  3. Allstate: $1,722 per year.
  4. State Farm: $1,989 per year.
  5. Progressive: $2,096 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.

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Cheapest insurance after a ticket in Pennsylvania

After a speeding ticket, these are the cheapest insurers for Pennsylvania drivers, ranked by their average rates for full coverage:

  1. Erie: $868 per year.
  2. Geico: $1,076 per year.
  3. Penn National: $1,098 per year.
  4. State Farm: $1,363 per year.
  5. Nationwide: $1,608 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 Pennsylvania

The cheapest insurance companies for families are often different from the cheapest ones for a single driver. We checked rates for a married couple in Pennsylvania, with and without a teen driver on the policy, to see which insurers have the lowest prices. Each company sets rates differently, so make sure to shop for insurance quotes after a big change in life like moving, getting married or adding a teen driver.

Cheapest for a married couple in Pennsylvania

For a husband and wife in Pennsylvania, both 50 years old, buying full coverage for two vehicles, these are the cheapest companies and their average rates:

  1. Penn National: $1,000 per year.
  2. Erie: $1,215 per year.
  3. Geico: $1,323 per year.
  4. Nationwide: $1,682 per year.
  5. Progressive: $2,061 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 Pennsylvania

These are the cheapest companies and average rates in Pennsylvania for a 50-year-old couple with an 18-year-old driver added to the policy:

  1. Penn National: $2,108 per year.
  2. Erie: $2,173 per year.
  3. Geico: $2,308 per year.
  4. Nationwide: $2,785 per year.
  5. Progressive: $3,641 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 Pennsylvania

Finding cheap auto insurance can be a challenge for young, inexperienced drivers, but each insurance company considers personal factors like age differently. We checked rates for 25-year-old drivers in Pennsylvania to see which companies return the cheapest prices in a variety of situations.

Cheapest full coverage for young good drivers

For a 25-year-old with a clean driving history and good credit, the cheapest companies and their average rates for full coverage in Pennsylvania are:

  1. Geico: $991 per year.
  2. Penn National: $1,000 per year.
  3. Erie: $1,034 per year.
  4. Nationwide: $1,186 per year.
  5. State Farm: $1,451 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

For Pennsylvania’s minimum required auto insurance, these are the cheapest companies and average rates for a 25-year-old with good credit and a clean driving record:

  1. Penn National: $303 per year.
  2. Geico: $319 per year.
  3. Erie: $326 per year.
  4. State Farm: $465 per year.
  5. Nationwide: $549 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

Here are the cheapest insurers we found for young drivers with poor credit and minimum coverage policies, ranked by average rate in Pennsylvania:

  1. Geico: $490 per year.
  2. Penn National: $587 per year.
  3. Nationwide: $758 per year.
  4. Erie: $805 per year.
  5. State Farm: $933 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 25-year-old drivers in Pennsylvania with a recent at-fault wreck on their record, these companies showed the cheapest average rates for minimum required insurance:

  1. Penn National: $303 per year.
  2. Erie: $434 per year.
  3. Geico: $551 per year.
  4. State Farm: $614 per year.
  5. Nationwide: $943 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

These are the cheapest companies for a young driver in Pennsylvania with a recent on-record DUI, ranked by average rate for minimum required coverage:

  1. Erie: $528 per year.
  2. Penn National: $640 per year.
  3. Allstate: $717 per year.
  4. State Farm: $737 per year.
  5. Geico: $741 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.

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Cheapest for minimum coverage and a ticket

After a speeding ticket, the cheapest insurers and average rates for a young driver buying Pennsylvania’s minimum required coverage are:

  1. Erie: $340 per year.
  2. Geico: $389 per year.
  3. Penn National: $421 per year.
  4. State Farm: $486 per year.
  5. Progressive: $698 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 member of the military or a veteran — or have an immediate family member who is — chances are high you’ll get a good rate with USAA, an option that isn’t available to the general public. In our analysis, USAA was among the cheapest three options in Pennsylvania for every driver type listed above.

» MORE: Best car insurance for veterans and military personnel

Recap: Cheapest car insurance in Pennsylvania

Here are the cheapest average rates in Pennsylvania for each category listed above:

  • Good drivers: Penn National, $789 per year.
  • Minimum coverage: Penn National, $232 per year.
  • Poor credit: Geico, $1,031 per year.
  • After an at-fault crash: Penn National, $789 per year.
  • After a DUI: Erie, $1,259 per year.
  • After a speeding ticket: Erie, $868 per year.
  • Married couples: Penn National, $1,000 per year.
  • Families with a teen: Penn National, $2,108 per year.
  • Young good drivers: Geico, $991 per year.
  • Minimum coverage for young good drivers: Penn National, $303 per year.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers with poor credit: Geico, $490 per year.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a crash: Penn National, $303 per year.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a DUI: Erie, $528 per year.
  • Minimum coverage for young drivers after a ticket: Erie, $340 per year.

» MORE: Compare car insurance

Minimum auto insurance limits required in Pennsylvania

Drivers in the Keystone State are required to carry at least liability insurance and medical payments coverage in the following amounts:

  • $15,000 of bodily injury liability per person.
  • $30,000 of bodily injury liability per accident.
  • $5,000 of property damage liability per accident.
  • $5,000 of medical payments coverage.

Although this will be enough to drive legally, experts suggest getting more than the bare minimum. You might also want added protection with supplementary options, such as collision, comprehensive and uninsured motorist coverage.

Check out NerdWallet’s guide to state car insurance requirements for more information on coverage you might want on your Pennsylvania auto insurance policy.

Alternative car insurance in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvanians with checkered driving histories, extremely poor credit or other factors preventing them from buying traditional car insurance might qualify for coverage through the Pennsylvania Assigned Risk Automobile Insurance Plan.

Or, instead of buying auto insurance, residents can pay a cash deposit of $35,000 to the state. Because going this route would leave drivers vulnerable to future car accidents and crash-related lawsuits, most will find it simpler and less costly to purchase car insurance.

NerdWallet can help make it easy to find coverage at the most competitive price. Use our car insurance comparison tool to view estimates from top Pennsylvania auto insurance companies.

Methodology

For our “good driver” profile, NerdWallet averaged rates from the largest insurers in the state for 40-year-old men and women in all ZIP codes with 12,000 annual miles driven. 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 and "good driver" discounts were automatically applied. Our “young driver” had all the same characteristics, but average rates were for 25-year-old men and women. We used a 2016 Toyota Camry LE for all single drivers. 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.
Couples in our analyses were 50-year-old men and women with good credit and clean driving histories, averaged across all ZIP codes 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.

In all cases, a paperless discount, e-signature discount and electronic funds transfer discount were automatically applied. These are rates provided by Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.