The Empire State is one of the most expensive places to live, so it's no surprise New York drivers pay more for car insurance than most Americans.
New Yorkers pay an average annual premium of $1,789 for car insurance. That’s the ninth highest rate in the country. It’s about $300 more than the national average of $1,457.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can reduce your insurance costs. If you're searching for best car insurance in New York, here's what you need to know about what affects your rate and how you can save.
How New York insurance companies determine rates
New York insurance companies consider your age, driving record, credit history, make and model of your car, and the frequency of claims in your zip code when they determine your premium.
You can expect to pay several hundred dollars to meet the state's minimum car insurance requirement. In New York, drivers must carry minimum bodily injury liability insurance of $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident, minimum property damage liability of $10,000, and personal injury protection of $50,000. This coverage protects you, your passengers, and other authorized drivers of your car in an accident whether you or someone else is at fault. Uninsured motorists are expected to have the same minimum liability coverage amounts.
Getting the minimum coverage in New York will cost you $812 a year, on average. If you increase your liability coverage to $50,000 per person, $100,000 per accident and $50,000 of bodily injury, the average annual rate is $879. For full coverage with a $500 collision deductible, the average is $1,759 a year.
Though you'll save by getting the minimum liability insurance, it's not always the wisest choice, says Brandon Tritten, an independent insurance agent with JBLB Insurance Group.
"If you total your auto, can you afford to replace it? Let's say the blue book value is $3,000. [If] you can afford to write a check for that, then liability-only is probably a good idea," Tritten says. "Now, if your auto has a blue book value of $20,000 and replacing that will either cause serious financial strain or is an impossibility, then you need collision and comprehensive coverage."
Shopping for car insurance
To get the best car insurance, you need to shop around. But before you do any comparison shopping, find out how much insurance you actually need. One way to do that is to use our Car Insurance Coverage Calculator.
Depending on the age and condition of your car, you may be able to skip comprehensive coverage. Generally, if your vehicle is less than 10 years old, it's best to buy collision and comprehensive coverage. If your car is older than this, collision and comprehensive coverage is only worth it if you can't afford to replace it after an accident.
You also can use a car insurance rate calculator to find out average rates in your area and to help you determine what level of coverage is right for you.
Every company has a wide range of rates depending on the type of coverage. Here’s how six insurers compare in New York for three coverage levels:
- State minimum liability requirements
- Liability limits of $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident, and $50,000 property damage
- Liability of $100,000 per person/$300,000 per accident and $100,000 property damage, with comprehensive and collision at $500 deductible
State minimum average annual rate
50/100/50 average annual rate
100/300/100 average annual rate
How to get the best car insurance in New York
Shopping around can help you save, but if you're looking for other ways to find the best car insurance, doing the following things also can reduce your rate:
- Use affiliations to your advantage: Affiliation discounts can save you as much as 25%, so if you're a member of AARP, the military, an alumni association or another membership group, ask about whether insurance discounts are available.
- Increase your deductible: Raising your deductible can lower premium, Tritten says, but he also cautions that you should "make sure you're comfortable with higher deductibles. Don't just increase your deductibles to save money."
- Reevaluate your coverage: If you don't need collision and comprehensive coverage because your car is older or the replacement cost is low, then reduce your coverage.
- Get rewarded for your loyalty: "Bundling your auto with homeowners, renters, umbrella, and/or life insurance can sometimes provide a discount," Tritten says.
- Ask about telematics devices: Tritten says drivers who use these devices, which connect to a car's diagnostics dashboard to track driving habits, may be able to get discounted insurance."Every company seems to have their own version of this. Your agent should be able to provide more details," he says.
- Drive safely: Avoiding accidents and tickets can help you maintain a good driving record that reduces your car insurance by as much as 5% typically. Driving fewer miles a year will also keep your rate down.
- Take a driving course: Find qualifying driver's education or defensive driving courses in your area. Completing a course could save you money on your monthly premium.
When it comes to car insurance, price matters -- but it shouldn't come at the expense of getting the right coverage or the best car insurance for your needs. Shop around, but also make sure you take time to thoroughly compare what you're getting.
"Auto insurance is not one-size-fits-all. When you're comparing auto insurance companies, know there are differences between auto insurance policies," Tritten says. "Insurance policies have limitations and exclusions that vary. It's not the same. I completely understand being price conscious, but insurance educator John Eubank, CPCU, ARM said it best, 'The bitterness of no coverage is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has been forgotten.'"
Remember that and other tips when looking for the best car insurance in New York.