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A Guide to Cheap Car Insurance in Chicago

To legally drive a car in any U.S. state, you need to have at the very least liability auto insurance. This insurance is used to pay for the costs of personal injury and vehicle repair for the non-at-fault party in an accident.

Uninsured drivers made up 13.7% of all drivers in Illinois in 2015, which is about average for all states. What is more, in 2017, Illinois was among the top 10 states in terms of the most vehicle thefts, which amounted to 20,881, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Good car insurance protects you not only from road incidents but also from theft and that’s one more reason not to skip auto insurance.

To better understand all your options and find the right insurance for your needs, read on. In this guide to Chicago car insurance, you’ll discover some of the best deals currently available.

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Overview: Car Insurance in Chicago, Illinois

  • Average number of vehicles: 1 per household
  • Minimum state insurance requirements:  
    • $25,000 per injured person in bodily injury coverage
    • $50,000 total per accident in bodily injury coverage
    • $20,000 per accident in property damage coverage
  • Average annual insurance rate: $1,296

What You Need to Know Before You Get a Quote

Even the best drivers may get confused by auto insurance So, before you jump in and get a quote, make sure you understand how car insurance works in Chicago, along with any special driving laws you’ll have to abide by.

Chicago’s Insurance Minimum Explained 

You are in compliance with the mandatory insurance law of Illinois if you have vehicle liability insurance. The minimal amount for death or injury of a single person as a result of an accident is $25,000, or $50,000 for more than one person. As for property damage, the minimum insured amount is $20,000.

You should always keep your insurance card in the car as proof of insurance. Otherwise, if you fail to show proof of insurance at the scene of an accident or when pulled over for a traffic violation, a police officer can issue a traffic citation. This can result in license plate suspension and additional fines.

Tips For Driving in Chicago

Traffic. Chicago is among the worst in the entire country. According to USA Today, the average driver spends over 80 hours each year in traffic. The South Side 6-way intersection at Stony Island with its 60+ accidents a year is said to be the most dangerous intersection in Chicago. Major car accidents result in over 100 fatalities each year.

Smog Inspection. You will need to have a smog inspection after you register a vehicle in Chicago. This also applies to every registration renewal. 

Winter Driving. Driving in Chicago during the winter can be particularly hectic. You would want to be cautious and drive slowly at this time of the year. Remember to carry a winter emergency kit in your trunk.

Chicago Wheel Tax. If your vehicle is registered in Chicago proper you are required to pay the Chicago Wheel tax which varies depending on the size of your vehicle. This tax is for all motor vehicles including motorcycles. This tax is used to make repairs to the roads in Chicago. 

Cellphones. In Illinois, you are not allowed to use a handheld device while driving. Using BlueTooth, talk-to-text, or hands-free mode is allowed for drivers 19 and older. A cellphone violation will set you back $75-$125 depending on the severity and the number of prior offenses.  

Construction Zones. While driving in Chicago you will run into lots of construction areas. Drivers must slow down when approaching these areas 24 hours a day, 7 days a week regardless if there are workers present or not. A first-time offense can result in a $375 ticket, subsequent offenses will increase the ticket to $1,000 and a 90-day license suspension.

DUI Laws. The legal BAC in Chicago is .08 for adults, .00 for minors, and .04 for commercial drivers. Officers can also make arrests for those they feel are driving while under the influence of other substances including marijuana. Because Illinois is a zero-tolerance state, a first-time offender will lose their license for up to a year, serve up to a year in jail time, and pay $2,500 in fines, plus the cost of legal fees. 

How Much You’ll Pay for Auto Insurance in Chicago

Your rate will largely depend on your vehicle’s make and model, your credit score and your driving history, among other things. While we can’t predict what rate you’ll get before you actually go in and get a quote yourself, we can tell you what you can expect to pay.

Insurance Rates Per Vehicle

The type of vehicle you drive has a great impact on the insurance rate. Standard four-door sedans are generally cheapest vehicles to insure. Newer cars are favored by insurance companies since they have all of the latest safety and anti-theft features. Some insurers will even give a new car discount.

The Toyota Camry is the most popular car in Chicago which is a great choice since it is a reliable vehicle that typically has moderate insurance rates. 

SUV, Foreign cars and sports cars are typically more expensive to insure since they are costly to repair and can require special parts. 

Insurance Rates by Credit Score

Insurance companies are allowed to use your credit score to set insurance rates in 47 states, including Illinois. If you have a bad credit history, you might have to pay as much as double the regular rate. Rest assured, some insurance companies offer good rates even for people whose credit is not perfect. If you are looking to raise your credit score to avoid these higher rates, you can make sure you are paying your monthly bills on time, paying down credit card debt, and monitoring your credit for any misinformation.

You can get a quote and decide which company is your best choice. 

Credit ScoreCheapest ProviderRate for Reccomended Coverage
Poor 300-579Country Financial $2,966
Fair 580-669State Farm$2,142
Good 670-739State Farm$1,584
Excellent 740+Erie Insurance$1,430

Insurance Rates for Drivers with a Clean Record

Having a clean driving record is critical when it comes to insurance. Overall, it is in your best interest to pay attention while driving and to avoid texting and driving and to respect speed limits at all times. 

Not only will you save money on tickets and keep your record clean, but you will also save on insurance. There are many categories of insurance premiums, but all of them will be cheaper if you have a clean driving record.

First, there are the bare minimum auto insurance coverages that are determined by the state. Drivers need to have a valid liability insurance policy at all times. Full coverage insurance is a combination of different types of coverages. Liability insurance covers the damage caused to other parties (assuming the policyholder is at fault), including their car repairs and personal injuries. The comprehensive type is for repairs which are not a result of an accident. Collision covers the damage to your own vehicle.

This table shows the best deals in Chicago which reward drivers with a clean record. 

Insurance AgencyState Minimum InsuranceStandard CoverageFull Coverage
State Farm$1,215$1,348$1,771
Travelers$1,343$1,497$1,960
USAA$1,286$1,468$1,757
GEICO$1,542$1,772$2,024
Progressive$1,248$1,523$1,839

Insurance Rates with Driving Infractions

Driving infractions have a negative impact on car insurance rates. Depending on their severity, they can lead to a considerable increase.

Driving without a valid license, running a red light, speeding, and any form of distracted driving fall into the traffic infraction category and are reported to your insurance agency. These types of offenses will raise your insurance premium slightly. 

Repeated offenses, leaving the scene of an accident that results in major trauma and DUI can all lead to felony charges. Your license may be revoked and you will not be able to drive for an extended period of time.

Drivers who respect the law enjoy the benefits of cheaper insurance. You can see the effects of various offenses in the table below.

Insurance Agency At-Fault Accident Speed Violation DUI
GEICO$2,809$2,443$3,879
Nationwide$3,162$2,806$3,718
American Family$3,981$3,182$5,293
Farmers$3,013$2,630$4,888
Allstate$4,324$3,890$5,877

The Best Insurance Providers in Chicago

As you might guess, some insurance providers in Chicago are better than others. Here are some of the worthy mentions: USAA, GEICO, State Farm, and Progressive. All of them are a great choice; it just comes down to personal preference. 

Let’s go over the best car insurance companies in Chicago. The choice was made based on service quality, price, and reputation.

Best Overall: State Farm

State Farm came out on top overall. What is great about this company is that it rewards people with clean driving records and average credit scores. 

Respecting traffic laws and regulations is something everyone should do. State Farm encourages this by decreasing the rates for law-abiding citizens. With many families sharing a vehicle in Chicago, State Farm offers discounts for new drivers, driver training discount, and even good student discounts. 

With State Farm, it’s easy to bundle your home, renters, business, auto and more. 

Cheapest Car Insurance in Chicago: State Farm

You can see that State Farm’s prices are low all around. The average state minimum annual rate of $1,215 for those with a clean driving record making it less than what other insurance providers have to offer.

If you have a clean driving record with no repeated tickets or vehicle felony charges in recent years, you might be able to get a full coverage policy at a very affordable price.

With a little more than the standard coverage, State Farms offers the most affordable full coverage auto insurance for the average driver. The average full coverage policy is just a few hundred more and most may consider it money well spent.

Car Insurance in Chicago For Multiple Cars: GEICO

GEICO offers some great discounts for multi-car insurance. You can save up to 25% off if you choose to insure more than one vehicle with GEICO. Besides your cars, this is applicable to motorcycles, RVs, and boats, as GEICO insures pretty much everything under the Department of Motor Vehicles.

What’s more, you do not have to be the owner or driver of all these vehicles, as GEICO counts everyone under the same address toward the multi-vehicle discount.  

Read Benzinga’s full GEICO Auto Insurance Review

Best Premium Car Insurance in Chicago: Progressive

Progressive offers some interesting features, such as Name Your Price. It lets you name a price that you are willing to pay and it will tell you which coverage option you can afford.

If you own a premium or luxury car, you might find that Progressive offers the best deal and protection including accidents, hail, glass damage, and theft.

Read Benzinga’s full Progressive Auto Insurance Review

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Drive Safe and Insured in Chicago

Chicago is the third-most populous city in the U.S. Because traffic jams and long commutes are inevitable you drive carefully and avoid distractions and carry reliable car insurance policy. 

There are many affordable options to choose from. These options are well-suited for everyone, even for people with a bad credit score or people who have some recent driving infractions.

Want to learn more about the best insurance providers? Check out our guide to home insurance in Illinois, the best tornado insurance providers and the best health insurance companies.