If you’re a new driver in Chicago, you’ll need to take a little time getting used to certain things. For example, there’s the constant traffic around O’Hare International Airport, crazy weather coming off the Great Lakes, and yes, some fairly expensive rates for cheap car insurance. Like most major cities, Chicago is home to some of the highest insurance rates in the entire state of Illinois. Shopping around for the best policy is a must if you live in the Windy City. Here’s your guide to cheap car insurance in Chicago, Illinois.
Guide to Cheap Car Insurance in Chicago
Thankfully, Illinois drivers pay much less than most Americans for car insurance on average.
However, $1300 for insurance in a major US city isn’t too shabby – especially compared to what drivers of similar stature face in New York City ($1700 annually) and Los Angeles ($2400). But despite the relatively low costs, Chicago drivers shouldn’t be shy about shopping around for hidden savings.
Illinois State Insurance Laws and Minimums
Illinois is an “at fault” state, which means that drivers who cause accidents are responsible for compensating victims. In “no-fault” states like New York, drivers must go through their own insurance policy first to pay for damages. If medical care or damages exceed a certain limit, victims in no-fault states may file a claim against the responsible drivers’ insurance.
The Illinois system is known specifically as “modified comparative negligence”, which means if a driver is found to be 70% responsible for an accident, they’ll be on the hook for 70% of the medical bills and damages.
Accident victims have three courses of action in at-fault states:
- File a claim with their own insurance provider
- File a claim with the at-fault driver’s insurance provider
- Sue the at-fault driver in a personal injury lawsuit
Drivers in at-fault states have significantly more options for pursuing damages than no-fault states. Illinois also has fairly high insurance minimums. State minimum is the least amount of insurance you can purchase and legally be allowed on the road. Illinois sets insurance minimums at 25/50/20. What does this mean?
- $25,000 in bodily injury liability per person
- $50,000 in bodily injury liability per accident
- $20,000 in property damage liability
Additionally, Illinois drivers must purchase $25,000/$50,000 in liability for uninsured and underinsured motorists, plus $15,000 for uninsured motorist property damage. These protections are pre-built into most policies. Fines for driving without insurance in Illinois start at $500, which is nearly half the cost of the average insurance premium.
Driving without insurance is NOT worth it!
But also remember, these are the state minimums – the least amount of coverage necessary to get on the road. If you cause a serious accident, minimum coverage might not provide any funds for your own medical care or property damage. It is recommended to purchase 100/300/100 full coverage policies with comprehensive and collision coverage.
What Determines Chicago Auto Insurance Premiums?
Not every state uses the same standards when calculating insurance premiums. For example, California has banned gender and credit scores from being factored into auto insurance premiums. Knowing what determines insurance premiums can help you find the best cheap car insurance in Chicago.
Here are the main factors that determine your auto insurance rates in Illinois.
- Age – One of the most universal factors when determining insurance policy rates. The youngest drivers are the most expensive to insure, 16 – 18-year-olds pay the highest car insurance rates. Drivers will see their premiums go down drastically as they get older, but rates creep back up after hitting age 60.
- Gender – Illinois still allows gender to be factored into the rate calculation. On average, men pay slightly more than women for car insurance.
- Marital Status – Married couples get the best insurance rates. Single, divorced, or widowed drivers pay about $75 more annually than married drivers on average in Illinois.
- Credit Score – Unfortunately, poor credit means more costly insurance products.
- Driving History – Nothing sends your insurance premiums through the roof like speeding tickets, accidents, or DWI offenses. Especially that last one – a DWI conviction could result in your rates doubling.
Other factors include the type of vehicle you drive, how many miles you log annually, and wherein Illinois you live. Insurance premiums vary depending on your zip code; check below to see the most and least expensive areas in Chicago.
Most and Least Expensive Zip Codes for Auto Insurance in Chicago
- 60636, West Englewood
- 60624. West Garfield Park
- 60621, Englewood
- 60644, Austin
- 60623, South Lawndale
- 60657, Lakeview
- 60614, Depaul
- 60611, Streeterville
- 60018, Rosemont
- 60601, Loop
Best Auto Insurance Companies for Chicago Residents
Best Overall: STATE FARM – In addition to reasonable rates and great customer service, State Farm is one of the top-ranked insurance providers in the Midwest according to JD Power. Based just a state away in Bloomington, Indiana, State Farm offers Chicago residents a dozen discounts for responsible driving.
Most Affordable: GEICO – In Chicago, no one offers more affordable insurance rates than Geico. Geico has the best prices for all levels of coverage, plus cheaper rates for drivers with a history of accidents, tickets, or DWIs.
Best Customer Experience: COUNTRY FINANCIAL – Despite being much smaller than Geico or State Farm, Country Financial has received top marks from JD Power for their policy offerings and customer service, plus the offer nearly as many discounts as State Farm.
Choosing the Best Cheap Car Insurance in Chicago
Buying car insurance might be the law of the land, but the type of policy you purchase is a personal choice. A single 35-year old male living in South Lawndale will want different things from his auto policy than a 50-year old father of four from Lakeview.
Every driver has a different situation, which is why shopping around is so crucial. Don’t just call the first company on our list – get quotes from at least 3-5 different firms and compare the offerings.