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Car insurance rates have been on the rise nationwide, and this has also held true for the state of Pennsylvania. Since 2011, some parts of Pennsylvania have seen auto insurance rates increase by as much as 41%. That said, rates vary widely based on the insurer, city/county, age, driving history, type of vehicle, and even credit score. 

Pennsylvania auto insurance
Guide to Pennsylvania Auto Insurance. Photo by JESHOOTS.com from Pexels

To get a clearer idea of how auto insurance works and how to find the most affordable rates in the state, let’s first take a look at how Pennsylvania laws regulate drivers, their insurance, and their vehicles.

Auto Insurance Laws in Pennsylvania

According to the Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Guide, drivers must abide by the following regulations:

  • Drivers are required to purchase and maintain auto insurance in order to own and operate a vehicle in Pennsylvania.
  • If the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation determines that a driver’s insurance has lapsed, and the vehicle was driven during this period, the driver’s license may be suspended for three months.
  • The state of Pennsylvania requires a minimum of $5,000 coverage for medical benefits. This pays for medical expenses for yourself and anyone else covered under your policy.
  • For bodily injury liability, Pennsylvania requires a minimum of $15,000 per person or $30,000 per accident. This pays for any injuries caused to another person in the event of a collision.
  • For property damage liability, Pennsylvania requires a minimum of $5,000 coverage. This pays for damage to other people’s property.
  • Pennsylvania also requires drivers to obtain at least limited tort coverage. This helps save you money on your premiums and ensures that you are able to recover all out-of-pocket expenses, with some exceptions.

How Auto Insurance Rates are Determined in Pennsylvania

As of the latest data, good drivers in Pennsylvania pay an average of $1,204 annually for auto insurance or about $83 per month. Rates vary by the insurance provider, location, insurance type, and the level of coverage. However, these rates are also highly dependent on drivers.

When an insurance provider is calculating your rates, they will look at the following factors:

  • Location – Generally, if you live, commute, or work in an urban area (like Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, or Allentown), your rates will be higher, as accidents are more prevalent in densely-populated regions. However, other location-based factors are important, too, like adverse weather conditions and reports of vandalism.
  • Age – Statistically, younger drivers get in more accidents. This means that the younger you are, the more you will need to pay in insurance premiums. The average age in Pennsylvania is 40, which is higher than the national average.
  • Gender – Men are more likely than women to get in accidents, so your gender could impact your auto rates as well.
  • Marital Status – Typically, married couples take fewer risks than their single counterparts, and this holds true for driving. Married couples get in fewer accidents, and therefore pose a smaller risk for insurance providers.
  • Driving Experience – While this metric is similar to age, it is still slightly different. Usually, the older you are, the longer you have been driving, but that is not always true. Nonetheless, people who have held a driver’s license for longer are more experienced, and therefore pay lower premiums.
  • Driving Record – A driver’s record is one of the most important factors that insurance providers consider. If you have a history of frequent speeding tickets, DUIs, or other infractions, you will have to pay more. Pennsylvania’s rate of traffic incidents is significantly lower than the national average, which is one of the primary reasons that auto insurance rates are relatively low.
  • Claims Record – It is also important to consider how many claims you have made to insurance providers in the past (if any). At-fault claims will cause your premiums to rise, while not-at-fault collisions will generally have no impact on your rates.
  • Credit History – Your credit is a good indicator of how financially responsible you are, but the research also shows that people with low credit tend to file more claims, making them a greater risk for insurance providers.
  • Previous Insurance Coverage – If you have maintained auto insurance without any gaps, your new insurance provider will see this as a good sign. However, if you went for several years, months, or even days without any insurance, you will be seen as high-risk.
  • Vehicle Type – Certain cars are driven differently, which means that certain cars are more prone to accidents. Some cars are also more prone to theft or vandalism.
  • Use of Vehicle – When you exclusively use your vehicle for personal use, you are less likely to get in an accident. However, if you take long business trips or frequently drive for your work, you increase your chances of a collision. 
  • Annual Mileage – How much you drive directly impacts your chances of getting in an accident. No matter how you use your vehicle (personal or business use), if you put a lot of mileage on your car, you are more likely to file a claim with your insurance provider.
  • Number of Policies – Finally, the type of insurance you want/need will help determine your rates. The more policies you have (liability, comprehensive, uninsured motorist, etc.), the more you will need to pay.

Best Auto Insurance Rates in Pennsylvania (by Provider)

When looking at rates across the entire state, there are 6 major insurance providers that consistently provide low rates for good drivers. Additionally, there are several other companies that provide low rates in certain cities and counties but do not consistently provide low rates statewide.

In any case, let’s take a look at some of the lowest auto insurance rates available in the state of Pennsylvania:

ProviderAnnual RateMonthly Rate
Geico$703$58
Nationwide$711$59
Erie Insurance$721$60
Travelers$915$76
State Farm$1,041$86
USAA* (only for active military/veterans/families)$225$18

 

It is important to note that the table above shows the average rates for the minimum coverage required by the state of Pennsylvania. For standard or “full coverage,” the rates are significantly higher:

ProviderAnnual RateMonthly Rate
Travelers$1,667$139
State Farm$1,716$143
Erie Insurance$1,723$143
Geico$2,078$173
Nationwide$2,329$194
USAA* (only for active military/veterans/families)$1,184$98

 

These are approximate rates based on statewide polling for 40-year-old men and women with good driving records. Naturally, individual rates will vary. Additionally, insurers like Progressive and Allstate provide low rates for certain areas.

So, in order to get a better picture of auto insurance rates around the state, let’s look at how rates vary by city.

Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Rates by City

Aside from your driving history, your location is one of the most important factors when calculating the cost of your auto insurance. Population, crime rates, weather conditions, and cost of living can all affect the amount you pay each year.

Individuals who live and work in rural areas typically have the lowest rates. However, the majority of Pennsylvania residents live in urban or suburban areas, where rates tend to increase. 

The table below shows the average yearly auto insurance rates for 49 of the most populated cities in Pennsylvania, in alphabetical order. The best car insurance in Philadephia may not work for a more suburban area and vice versa.

These are approximate rates based on statewide polling for 40-year-old men and women with good driving records. Here is what the data shows:

CityAverage Yearly Rate
Aliquippa $1,492
Allentown$1,677
Altoona$1,407
Baldwin$1,353
Berwick$1,217
Bethel Park$1,282
Bethlehem$1,470
Bloomsburg$1,265
Bristol$2,001
Butler$1,415
Carlisle$1,143
Chambersburg$1,210
Chester$2,292
Columbia$1,289
Dunmore$1,561
East Stroudsburg$1,868
Easton$1,451
Elizabethtown$1,269
Emmaus$1,411
Erie$1,608
Franklin Park$1,442
Hanover$1,275
Harrisburg$1,512
Hazleton$1,582
Indiana$1,582
Jeannette$1,375
Johnstown$1,268
Lancaster$1,293
Lebanon$1,274
McKeesport$1,415
Mechanicsburg$1,235
Middletown$1,162
Monroeville$1,557
Murrysville$1,413
Nanticoke$1,526
New Castle$1,405
Norristown$1,916
Northampton$1,391
Philadelphia$1,516
Pittsburgh$1,514
Plum$1,391
Reading$1,701
Scranton$1,543
Sharon$1,324
St. Marys$1,380
Sunbury$1,208
West Chester$1,594
West Mifflin$1,380
Wilkes-Barre$1,498

 

Now, let’s take a closer look at the top-5 largest cities in Pennsylvania and compare their respective auto insurance rates:

Philadelphia

In Philadelphia, the average annual cost is $875 for minimum liability insurance and $1,516 for full auto coverage. However, as with most large cities, these prices can vary by district or neighborhood.

For example, residents in the City Center will pay significantly more than those living in South or West Philadelphia. Unfortunately, Philadelphia is one of the worst cities in the country for traffic accidents, which contributes to higher auto insurance premiums. 

Learn more about the best car insurance rates for Philadelphia drivers.

Pittsburgh

In Pittsburgh, the average annual cost is $878 for minimum liability insurance and $1,514 for full auto coverage. Almost a quarter of the major roads and highways in Pittsburgh are in poor condition, with frequent potholes and construction. Wear and tear on vehicles is common, as are minor collisions.

Traffic congestion is generally not as bad as Pennsylvania, but frequent accidents and low-quality roads both contribute to higher rates.

Allentown

In Allentown, the average annual cost is $878 for minimum liability insurance and $1,677 for full auto coverage. Due to its proximity to the city center, Sacred Heart has much higher insurance rates than neighborhoods on the outskirts of the city, like Rittersville or Midway Manor.

Allentown auto insurance is relatively expensive compared to other major cities in the state, due in part to snowy winters and poor road conditions.

Erie

In Erie, the average annual cost is $878 for minimum liability insurance and $1,608 for full auto coverage. Erie is much more compact than other cities on this list, so auto insurance rates do not vary as much by neighborhood.

That said, winters can be very harsh in Erie, and drivers are prone to frequent accidents during the colder seasons. Tourism also contributes to high traffic during peak vacation months.

Reading

In Reading, the average annual cost is $878 for minimum liability insurance and $1,701 for full auto coverage. Reading is not as densely populated as some of the largest cities in Pennsylvania, so traffic congestion is not a major problem. Additionally, the weather is generally clear and mild throughout much of the year.

However, over 75% of the roads in Reading are either in poor or mediocre condition.

Pennsylvania Auto Insurance

As you can see, there are a lot of variables that affect the cost of auto insurance in Pennsylvania. Additionally, the figures provided above are averages based on adults with good driving records, so the exact rates you pay may differ. Nonetheless, we hope that this information helps you when you’re ready to obtain a new policy or upgrade your current one in the state of Pennsylvania.

If you’d like to learn more about acquiring auto insurance in your state, consult some of our other car insurance guides and resources. If you’re looking for more information about Pennsylvania auto insurance, consult the Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Guide today!

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