Connecticut’s Worst Commutes: More Gas, Higher Insurance and Wasted Time

Auto Insurance, Insurance
Worst Commutes in Connecticut

Commuting can be a pain. And like many other drivers, Connecticut workers are finding themselves spending time in traffic. According to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, drivers in Bridgeport and New Haven waste 42 and 35 hours in traffic delays each year, respectively. But the reality is much worse: Connecticut drivers are losing more than precious time during their commutes. Long distance commutes often result in higher car insurance premiums. In our research, NerdWallet found that the average Connecticut driver pays over $800 more on car insurance than the average American.

NerdWallet examined 50 locations in Connecticut and found that Ridgefield and Westport have the costliest commutes — in terms of time and money — in the state.

Financial costs

Insurance and gas costs can leave a big hole in a driver’s wallet. Those in Newington, West Hartford, Wethersfield and Hartford pay the most for car insurance at an average rate of $2,483 each year, over twice the national average of $1,100. On the other hand, Groton residents enjoy the cheapest average price in Connecticut, at $1,537, or $946 cheaper than the highest rates in the state.

Where you fill up your tank can also have a big impact on your pocketbook. Greenwich drivers pay Connecticut’s highest gas prices at $4.02 a gallon. Those in Bristol enjoy the state’s cheapest prices for gas at $3.57 a gallon, 45 cents less than in Greenwich.

Minimizing car insurance costs

Commuting can be costly, but comparing car insurance premiums can help lower your expenses. You can also save by asking your agent whether you’re getting all the car insurance discounts possible.

The car you drive will also have a big impact on your yearly rate. Premiums for the most popular car models can range in price by a few hundred dollars. Overall, having a small SUV or minivan is the cheapest way to go. Driving a sports car may make your commute more enjoyable, but it will pump up your insurance bill.

For more information on how to save, check out NerdWallet’s listing of companies that offer the cheapest car insurance in Connecticut.

Key findings

The average annual premium for auto insurance in Connecticut differs by up to $946. Locations with higher population density and more traffic congestion often have higher premiums.

The costs of driving can be painful. On average, Connecticut residents pay $1,902 for car insurance, over $800 more than the rest of the nation, and $3.71 per gallon for gas, or 29 cents more than the national average.

Fairfield County workers have the worst commutes. Four of Connecticut’s top five worst commutes are in Fairfield County. Residents spend the longest time getting to work — nearly half an hour on average.

The 10 worst Connecticut commutes

1. Ridgefield

Average car insurance premium: $1,771
Average gas price: $3.92
Average one-way commute time: 32 minutes
Percentage of workers traveling by car: 84.9%
Percentage of commuters using public transportation: 3.5%

2. Westport

Average car insurance premium: $1,711
Average gas price: $3.81
Average one-way commute time: 41 minutes
Percentage of workers traveling by car: 61.1%
Percentage of commuters using public transportation: 21.6%

3. Trumbull

Average car insurance premium: $2,394
Average gas price: $3.77
Average one-way commute time: 28.9 minutes
Percentage of workers traveling by car: 89.9%
Percentage of commuters using public transportation: 3.2%

4. Colchester

Average car insurance premium: $1,646
Average gas price: $3.71
Average one-way commute time: 30.4 minutes
Percentage of workers traveling by car: 92.5%
Percentage of commuters using public transportation: 1.9%

5. Bethel

Average car insurance premium: $1,694
Average gas price: $3.67
Average one-way commute time:  31.4 minutes
Percentage of workers traveling by car: 84.4%
Percentage of commuters using public transportation: 6.6%

6. New Milford

Average car insurance premium: $1,770
Average gas price: $3.64
Average one-way commute time: 29.0 minutes
Percentage of workers traveling by car: 93.4%
Percentage of commuters using public transportation: 2.5%

7. Stratford

Average car insurance premium: $2,394
Average gas price: $3.65
Average one-way commute time: 27.4 minutes
Percentage of workers traveling by car: 88%
Percentage of commuters using public transportation: 6.3%

8. Naugatuck

Average car insurance premium: $1,900
Average gas price: $3.68
Average one-way commute time: 26.7 minutes
Percentage of workers traveling by car: 94.9%
Percentage of commuters using public transportation: 0.7

9. Winsted

Average car insurance premium: $1,712
Average gas price: $3.70
Average one-way commute time: 27.3 minutes
Percentage of workers traveling by car: 94.4%
Percentage of commuters using public transportation: 0.8%

10. Terryville

Average car insurance premium: $1,740
Average gas price: $3.63
Average one-way commute time: 27.2 minutes
Percentage of workers traveling by car: 94.5%
Percentage of commuters using public transportation: 0.8%

Connecticut’s better commutes

Not all Connecticut commutes are headaches. Groton commuters enjoy the second-shortest commute time in the state — 19.2 minutes — and cheapest average annual premium for Connecticut at $1,537.

Residents of Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut’s second- and third-largest cities, also benefit from a better commuting environment. Residents can escape expensive insurance premiums by taking advantage of public transit. Both areas have a high percentage of people who commute via public transportation and lower-than-average commute times for the state.

Connecticut commutes

Rank Location Average car insurance premium Average gas price Average one-way commute time in minutes Percentage of commuters traveling by car Percentage of commuters using public transportation Overall score
1 Ridgefield $1,771 $3.92 32.0 84.9% 3.5% 35.39
2 Westport $1,711 $3.81 41.0 61.1% 21.6% 35.74
3 Trumbull $2,394 $3.77 28.9 89.9% 3.2% 37.86
4 Colchester $1,646 $3.71 30.4 92.5% 1.9% 42.09
5 Bethel $1,694 $3.67 31.4 84.4% 6.6% 45.28
6 New Milford $1,770 $3.64 29.0 93.4% 2.5% 45.80
7 Stratford $2,394 $3.65 27.4 88.0% 6.3% 46.35
8 Naugatuck $1,900 $3.68 26.7 94.9% 0.7% 47.17
9 Winsted $1,712 $3.70 27.3 94.4% 0.8% 47.60
10 Terryville $1,740 $3.63 27.2 94.5% 0.8% 49.01
11 Stafford Springs $1,616 $3.71 27.0 91.6% 0.0% 49.25
12 Riverside $1,841 $3.96 32.4 65.3% 22.1% 49.88
13 Cos Cob $1,904 $3.93 31.5 70.9% 21.3% 50.03
14 Darien $1,690 $3.88 35.1 61.5% 26.2% 50.91
15 Cheshire $1,769 $3.67 26.5 88.5% 0.9% 50.97
16 Shelton $1,904 $3.70 25.0 94.5% 1.6% 51.23
17 Old Greenwich $1,841 $3.84 36.3 55.9% 30.4% 51.44
18 Bridgeport $2,394 $3.71 26.6 80.9% 11.4% 51.90
19 Waterbury $2,312 $3.69 23.5 91.3% 3.6% 52.71
20 East Haven $2,103 $3.72 22.9 95.0% 1.8% 53.51
21 Milford $1,875 $3.67 25.0 89.8% 4.3% 55.06
22 Greenwich $1,881 $4.02 26.9 69.5% 15.4% 55.23
23 Torrington $1,676 $3.66 24.3 92.5% 1.1% 56.41
24 Orange $1,832 $3.67 24.5 88.4% 3.7% 56.63
25 Ansonia $1,842 $3.67 23.8 92.3% 3.0% 56.74
26 Danbury $1,737 $3.66 25.1 88.1% 4.0% 56.78
27 Newington $2,483 $3.61 20.6 94.7% 1.7% 57.08
28 West Hartford $2,483 $3.73 19.8 91.3% 1.9% 57.20
29 Stamford $1,938 $3.88 24.8 77.9% 11.9% 58.27
30 North Haven $1,970 $3.70 22.2 92.0% 2.8% 58.32
31 West Haven $2,103 $3.69 22.6 88.9% 5.2% 58.55
32 Derby $1,860 $3.71 23.4 89.3% 4.8% 58.63
33 Norwalk $1,782 $3.80 24.4 84.2% 9.2% 59.20
34 Broad Brook $1,629 $3.64 22.6 96.7% 0.0% 59.40
35 Bristol $1,738 $3.57 23.0 93.9% 0.9% 60.13
36 Meriden $1,825 $3.63 22.2 91.1% 1.6% 60.90
37 Wethersfield $2,483 $3.58 19.3 94.2% 2.2% 61.20
38 Windsor Locks $1,650 $3.61 22.1 97.0% 0.7% 61.41
39 Manchester $1,736 $3.66 22.2 90.3% 3.6% 62.59
40 Wallingford $1,801 $3.63 21.3 91.8% 1.6% 62.96
41 Middletown $1,712 $3.64 22.5 86.4% 3.1% 63.29
42 Norwich $1,640 $3.68 22.3 90.0% 5.2% 64.05
43 Portland $1,634 $3.58 22.0 92.2% 1.8% 64.31
44 East Hartford $1,949 $3.69 21.5 87.8% 7.7% 64.56
45 Oakville $1,801 $3.71 19.2 92.6% 0.0% 64.67
46 Pawcatuck $1,635 $3.77 19.0 94.0% 0.0% 65.31
47 New Britain $1,994 $3.65 20.1 87.2% 3.5% 65.59
48 New Haven $2,299 $3.75 21.7 67.0% 12.3% 67.25
49 Hartford $2,483 $3.71 21.6 69.6% 17.8% 69.47
50 Groton $1,537 $3.67 19.2 80.7% 6.3% 75.40

NerdWallet’s analysis

NerdWallet analyzed the following factors to determine the worst cities for commuters in Connecticut:

  1. How expensive is gas? We looked Gas Buddy data from January to November 2014 for average gas prices in each ZIP code for 10% of the score.
  1. How much does auto insurance cost? To determine the average insurance premium, we retrieved quotes for four different driver profiles: 27-year-old single men and women and 40-year-old married men and women, each driving a Toyota Camry and a Ford Escape. The 27-year-old profiles have a liability coverage limit of 30/60/10 and uninsured motorist coverage for the same amount. The 40-year-old driver profiles have liability coverage limit of 100/300/100 and uninsured motorist coverage for the same amount. All profiles have a comprehensive and collision deductible of $500. This premium is 10% of the score.
  1. How long are workers’ commutes? We used data from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine how long it takes residents to make a one-way trip to work. This is 50% of the score.
  1. How many workers are commuting by car? We used data from the census bureau to determine the percentage of workers who get to work by car. Higher percentages of commuters traveling to work by car mean more traffic congestion and longer commutes. This is 10% of our score.
  1. Is public transit available? We used data from the census bureau to determine the percentage of workers who commute on public transportation. Higher percentages suggest more availability of public transit. This is 20% of the score.

Car insurance premium data are from NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool.


New Haven, Connecticut, image via iStock.