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A Guide to Cheap Auto Insurance in Philadelphia, PA

Living and driving in Philadelphia is exciting although pretty expensive compared to other cities in Pennsylvania. While most residents own one car, the cost of parking, driving tolls, car payment, and insurance can really add up.

If you want to know more about auto insurance, Philadelphia, read on. This article will provide you with details about the affordable insurance options in this area.

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Quick Look: Auto Insurance in Philadelphia

  • Best Overall: Erie Insurance Group – Get a quote
  • Cheapest Car Insurance in Philadelphia: USAA – Get a quote
  • Best Full Coverage Insurance: NJM Insurance Co. – Get a quote

Quick Facts: Auto Insurance in Philadelphia

  • Number of vehicles: Less than 1 per household, 2017 average
  • Minimum state insurance requirements
    • $15,000 Bodily Injury Liability, Individual
    • $30,000 Total amount for every person
    • $5,000 Property Damage Liability
    • $5,000 Medical Payments
  • Average annual insurance rate: For those with a clean driving record $2,300, with men having a slightly higher average rate than women.

Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Laws Explained

Pennsylvania law requires each vehicle to have insurance. If law enforcement catches you without an insurance card, you’ll have to pay a $300 fee. On top of that, your Department of Transportation will suspend your driver’s license for three months. You can provide proof of insurance to get your license back earlier.

The minimum liability coverage in the state follows the 15/30/5 rule. This means that your policy needs to have bodily injury liability of $15,000 for one person, while the total bodily injury liability has to be at least $30,000. If you destroy property, your insurer needs to be able to pay compensation of at least $5,000.

You also need to have at least $5,000 to cover medical expenses, which means that the passengers who traveled in your car have their injuries covered to this limit, regardless of who was at fault for the accident.

Pennsylvania Driving Laws

Devices and driving. Pennsylvania’s law against distracted driving prevents you from using your cellphone to text, send and read any messages. If you’re caught while doing this, you’ll have to pay a $50 fine, as well as court expenses and other fees.

This doesn’t apply to using a GPS device or any other device that is fixed to the vehicle, either physically or electronically.

The law is known as Daniel’s Law in memory of motorcyclist Daniel Gallatin, who lost his life while texting and driving in 2016.

Pennsylvania also has a zero tolerance law for under 21 drivers. Young drivers who DUI with .02 blood alcohol concentration face serious repercussions, such as 18 months of suspension, up to six months in prison, and up to $5000 in fines.

It’s important to note that it is against the law for a person under the age of 21 to drink or carry alcohol. If they get caught with alcohol in any context, the state will suspend their driver’s license for 90-days (first offense), 12 months (second offense) and 24 months (third offense). This means that you can lose your driver’s license even if you aren’t driving a car at the time they are caught with alcohol.

BAC limits. Pennsylvania’s BAC limit for drivers over the age of 21 is .08. Like most states there is a tiered BAC system where the more you’ve had to drink before driving the more serious the offense. Getting caught with a blood alcohol level of .08 will result in probation and a $300 fee.  Higher BAC will bring guaranteed jail time, probation and fees closer to $5,000+ not to mention years of paying expensive car insurance.
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Philadelphia Auto Insurance Rates Per Vehicle

All the average rates are based on 30-year-old men and women who drive a 2010 Honda Accord. They also assume a clean driving record and an annual mileage of less than 10,000.

However, the rates may vary depending on the type of your vehicle, your age, credit, and other factors. When it comes to the vehicle type, the most important parameters include:

  • The cost of parts that need replacement or repair, the collision coverage rate will be higher in the case of rare parts
  • Frequency of theft for a particular car type, this impacts the comprehensive insurance rate.
  • Horsepower, increasing the liability risks
  • Safety standards

These factors mean that a newer car with easily replaceable parts and less horsepower will cost less to insure. If you have an older, bigger vehicle with a bigger liability risk and parts that are difficult to replace, your rate will be much higher.

In Philadelphia, the most popular cars are 4-door SUVs. Since family members sharing the car is the standard here, it makes sense to buy a big vehicle even if it brings the insurance rate up.

Ford and Chevrolet are easily the most popular brands not only in Philadelphia but in the whole state of Pennsylvania. As of 2015, these two brands alone made up a quarter of total registered cars in the state. Dodge is another domestic brand popular in Philly, with Honda and Toyota rounding up the top five.

Philadelphia Insurance Rates by Credit Score

Your credit score is another important parameter that determines your insurance fee. Unless you’re in California, Massachusetts, or Hawaii, the insurers are able to check your credit score.

However, Pennsylvania is one of the states that prevent insurance companies to fully use your credit information. The information will be available to the insurers only if you decide to renew your insurance policy or you decide to cancel the insurance.

This table will show you the minimum coverage fees for various types of credit scorers in Philadelphia.

Credit ScoreCheapest ProviderRate For State Minimum Coverage
Poor 300-579Safe Auto $4,786
Fair 580-669GEICO$1,664
Good 670-739USAA $1,474
Excellent 740+Allstate$1,465

Philadelphia Auto Insurance for Drivers with a Clean Record

Having a clean driving record is one of the most important factors for a good insurance rate. Insurance companies will look into your previous driving history and check if you have any delinquencies.

With a clean record, you have the best chances of obtaining cheap liability insurance. This is the minimum required insurance and the bare necessity for any driver. Driving an uninsured car also counts as an infraction. If you’re caught, it will add points to your record, making it even more expensive to get insured.

In Philadelphia, minimum liability insurance includes $15,000 for injuries that you’ve caused, $30,000 per accident for you, and $5000 for car and property damage to others.

Full coverage includes other types of insurance besides liability. Comprehensive insurance will cover car theft and it will also make up for damage to your vehicle from environmental accidents or acts of vandalism.

The following table will show you some of the best minimum insurance rates for drivers with a clean record.

Insurance AgencyState Minimum InsuranceStandard CoverageFull Coverage
Erie$1417$1,542$1,921
State Farm$1,346$1,545$1,863
NJM Insurance Co.$1373$1,409$1,757
The Hartford$1,798$1,943$2,100
Nationwide$1,593$1,760$2,136

Philadelphia Auto Insurance Rates With Driving Infractions

Driving infractions will greatly influence your insurance rates.

If you’ve committed a violation while driving, there is a risk that you’ll do it again. When insurers regard you as an unreliable driver, you may have trouble getting an affordable premium, or even receiving insurance in general.

If you are already insured, these offenses will increase your annual insurance rate. With a minor offense like speeding or making an illegal pass, the annual increase in the rate is around $184. But in the case of serious infractions, such as driving under the influence or street racing, the annual insurance rate can increase by up to $1600 a year.

If you had any driving infractions before you got your insurance, the starting rates will be much higher. In the table below, you can see how these offenses can influence your insurance rate.

Insurance Agency At Fault Accident Speed Violation DUI
USAA $1,992$1,612$2,126
GEICO$2,653$2,653$2,569
Nationwide$2,703$2,707$3,769
State Farm$2,976$2,744$2,900
Allstate$4,497$3,813$3,813

Best Auto Insurance Providers in Philadelphia

The information from the tables in previous sections helped us determine some of the best insurance companies in Philly.

Best Overall: Erie Insurance Group

Erie Insurance Group is our top pick. Despite not topping all the tables, this insurance company has the lowest rate for the state minimum insurance. However, affordability is not the only parameter in favor of Erie.

According to the reliable J.D. Power research company, Erie Insurance is the top-ranked insurance brand for the whole mid-Atlantic. The company offers great discounts for young drivers, multi-car households, multi-policies, reduced usage, etc.

Their client-friendly approach earned them a Consumer Reports rating of 94 out of 100.

Cheapest Car Insurance in Philadelphia: USAA

USAA is without a doubt the cheapest car insurance in Philadelphia, and it has the lowest rates for all credit scores and driving infractions.

This insurance company is still finding its space in Philadelphia, insuring just a little bit over 3% of the vehicles. However, it has stunning reviews in the J.D. Power 2018 US auto insurance studies.

It rates the highest in the financial ranking with a score of A++, and it also tops the customer satisfaction ranking. All this makes it likely that USAA will become a reliable and affordable car insurance provider in the future. However, it is only available to drivers who have served in the military or who had a family member who served.

Read Benzinga’s full USAA Auto Insurance Review

Best Full Coverage Insurance: NJM Insurance Co.

NJM Insurance Co. is an insurance company founded in New Jersey over 100 years ago. While delivering superb auto coverage the company also offer home, renters, commercial auto, and more. Awarded in 2018 by J.D Power for outstanding auto claims service you can be sure to get the personal touch from NJM Insurance co.

NJM exclusively services the Mid-Atlantic and know the conditions it’s residents face year round. With the company’s emphasis on customer’s first and multiple plans to bundle all your insurance needs, you can get your vehicle fully covered for less when combining your plans with one of their many products.

Choosing the Right Insurance in Philadelphia

When getting insurance in Philadelphia, don’t opt for minimum insurance if you can avoid it.

With minimum coverage, if you cause a car accident, you will need to cover the damage yourself, except for the $5,000 medical coverage.

It is usually best to get at least $100,000 individual bodily injury liability, $300,000 total bodily injury liability, and $100,000 for property damage. This way, you will be covered for almost any type of damage or injury.

Make sure to always drive safely and avoid any infractions. A clean record can drastically decrease your rates if you’re looking for full coverage. Companies such as Erie and USAA offer great deals, so make sure to get a quote and check all these offers yourself.

To find more ways to save on your insurance, check out our guides on how to lower your auto insurance premium and to the best cheap car insurance.

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