How Much Should Your Car Insurance Cost?

It’s hard to think of anything more loathsome than overpaying for something you need. Imagine accidentally discovering your neighbor shells out half of what you do for internet that’s twice as fast. Pretty irksome, right?

red car passing in front of brown and white concrete building

How Much Should Your Car Insurance Cost?

If casually discussing your monthly bills with friends and acquaintances isn’t your style, then the best way to ensure you’re paying the appropriate amount for necessary goods and services is to do some research and stick to companies you trust. Case in point: Metromile, a company that believes customers should pay a fair and affordable rate for what they use (what a concept, right?). When you switch to Metromile for car insurance, you can rest assured you’re getting exactly what you pay for and never being taken for a ride.

The Average Cost of Car Insurance in 2018

While it’s totally possible to get a general sense of what car insurance costs around the country, it’s important to keep in mind that rates can vary quite a bit based on numerous factors like location, age, gender, vehicle type, etc. But all that said, you can still look at the big picture and figure out where you stand.

Our friends over at The Zebra did some analysis across the country and found that in 2018, the typical rate for Americans paying car insurance was $1,426/year or $118.63/month. Shocked? Surprised? Pleasantly at peace with what you’re paying? It’s worth understanding the methodology behind The Zebra’s findings before you freak out or celebrate. The researchers came to those numbers after examining nearly 53 million rates between September and December 2017 across all United States zip codes, including Washington, DC.

The team devised a consistent base profile for the insured driver to come to their conclusions: Analysis used a consistent base profile for the insured driver. This fictional driver:

  • Was a 30-year-old single male
  • Drove a 2013 Honda Accord EX
  • Had a good driving history
  • Had coverage limits of $50,000 bodily injury liability per person/$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident/$50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • Had a $500 deductible for comprehensive and collision

Taking all that and more into consideration, The Zebra team settled on the average rate of $1,426/year or $118.63/month. But to fully grasp all that went into those numbers, it’s helpful to break down the factors one by one.

What Factors Impact Your Rate

If you’ve been reading the Metromile blog for a while, then you probably know a bit about how car insurance is calculated. But here’s a refresher on the most common factors that make up car insurance rates across carriers:

  1. Age:

    According to research, age reliably correlates with risky driving behavior, and those at the lower and higher ends of the spectrum are generally considered to be greater risks on the road. Typically teens, people under the age of 30, and adults older than 70 have higher rates.

  2. Location:

    Where you live in the country may have the biggest influence over how much you pay since car insurance is regulated at the state level and priced by zip code. That means wherever your car is usually parked could heavily influence whether your monthly bill is high or low.

  3. Vehicle type:

    Just like you, your car is unique, and it has a specific identifier that no other car has: its vehicle identification number (VIN). The 17-character code is used for tracking recalls, registrations, warranty claims, thefts, and, yes, insurance coverage. When you provide your VIN to an insurance carrier, that company is able to take a peek into your vehicle’s mileage, accident history, model, etc. All those attributes are factored into your premium cost.

  4. Driving History:

    It really does pay to be safe. The more tickets, accidents, and violations you rack up, the higher your rates will be.

  5. Coverage:

    Your coverage limits and deductible amount affect your overall rate. In short: higher limits equal high rates and lower deductibles result in higher rates. The higher your deductible, the more likely you’ll have a lower rate (but, of course, it’s crucial to select a deductible amount you can actually afford).

The Car Insurance Carrier You Choose Matters

When you’re analyzing average rates between carriers, it’s important to know you’re not exactly comparing apples to apples. Each car insurance company relies on slightly different calculations to formulate rates, and, as mentioned above, each state operates differently on top of that. So while The Zebra’s national averages might be a helpful starting point when taking stock of your own rate, understanding the personal factors that are contributing to your costs will better equip you to make necessary changes.

So, what’s the bottom line, you ask? How much should car insurance actually cost? As you probably guessed by now, there’s no single clear-cut answer, and how that question is answered depends heavily on who’s asking it. But while there are no black or white answers in the world of car insurance costs, there are a few general, overarching rules of thumb worth following.

Know that you can expect small decreases in your bill as you age (until you turn 70, usually). And if you really want to guarantee you’re on track to score the best deal and truly getting what you’re paying for, then it’s time to make the switch to Metromile. Not only is Metromile the kind of company that will only ever charge you for the miles you drive, but it’s a comprehensive carrier that will help you save money on everything from street sweeping tickets to mechanic shop visits — seriously.

Ready to make the switch? Call 1.888.242.5204 or visit metromile.com to get your free quote. And if you’re already a member, consider a chat with one of Metromile’s qualified agents to find out how you could be saving even more money. Still have questions? Reach out to us on Twitter, FB, or Instagram or visit the help center.