Best car insurance companies in Pennsylvania

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    Article Highlights

    Shopping for car insurance in the Keystone State can take time and effort, but it’s well worth it to find the best car insurance in Pennsylvania. The average cost for a car insurance policy in this state is $1,787 a year for full coverage, which is above the national average of $1,555 a year. But by taking the time to explore your options with a variety of companies, you can save money and find the best policy for your circumstances.

    Several factors contribute to Pennsylvania’s insurance rates.

    • The percentage of uninsured drivers is low: 7.6%, as opposed to a national average of 13%. More uninsured drivers tends to lead to higher premium rates.
    • Pennsylvania is one of 12 no-fault states, which means that drivers are required to purchase personal injury protection (PIP) coverage in addition to liability. 
    • The state’s adverse weather conditions contributed to roughly 18% of the 125,000+ accidents that happened in 2019 alone.

    Auto insurance rates in Pennsylvania depend on multiple factors, including the type and year of your car, and personal characteristics such as your age, gender and marital status. Your driving record has a large impact on your rate, as well. Traffic infractions, such as speeding tickets and accidents — whether you’re at-fault or not — are likely to increase your premium:

    Clean record1 speeding ticket1 accident
    Full coverage$1,787$1,973$2,256
    Minimum coverage$858$988$1,203

    Quadrant Information Services, 2020

    Top 5 insurance providers in Pennsylvania

    • Allstate — best for discounts
    • Geico — best for low rates
    • Erie — best for customer service
    • State Farm — best for Financial Strength
    • USAA — best for military personnel
    CompanyJ.D. Power ScoreAM BestDiscounts offeredAverage rate
    Allstate3/5A- (Excellent)Early signing, smart student$1,628
    GEICO3/5A++ (Superior)Federal employee, military$770
    Erie3/5A+ (Superior)Multi-policy, safety features$1,179
    State Farm3/5A++ (Superior)Defensive driving course, anti-theft device$1,362
    USAA5/5A++ (Superior)Family discount, military garaging$1,191

    Quadrant information Services, 2020

    Allstate — Best for discounts

    Allstate gave us one of the highest rates of the companies we looked at, but it also offers a great range of discounts that can get your premium back to a competitive range. Allstate includes a new car discount and one specifically for young buyers. Allstate’s Drivewise Telematics program can also save you up to 40% if you’re a good driver.

    Geico — Best for low rates

    Geico’s rate for Pennsylvania was an impressive $1,107 below the state average for annual full coverage. No other provider came close to that rate. Geico’s numerous discounts may bring your rate down even more. But there’s more to Geico than just low rates: the company scores well for customer service with J.D. Power and its financial strength is rock-solid, by AM Best ratings. 

    Erie — Best for customer service

    Erie’s customer feedback led to an outstanding rating in the 2020 J.D. Power claims satisfaction study. Erie has some nice features that other providers don’t offer, such a rate lock feature that ensures you’ll pay the same even if you file a claim following an accident.

    State Farm — Best for financial strength

    State Farm is the largest writer of auto insurance policies in the U.S., and it operates from a position of exceptional financial strength. That means, if your car was damaged in a regional disaster, the company has the cash reserves available for multiple payouts. State Farm also scores high for overall customer service, and offers a good assortment of discounts.

    USAA — Best for military personnel

    USAA routinely scores at the top of just about any “best of” listing you can find for insurance companies. The only drawback is that it only offers policies to military personnel, their families, and veterans and their families. If you fit that demographic, USAA should be your first stop when looking for the best insurance companies in Pennsylvania.

    Car insurance in Pennsylvania by city

    The best auto insurance in Pennsylvania varies significantly by location. City dwellers tend to pay more than those in rural areas, and cities themselves can differ greatly in premium rates depending on factors such as the number of accidents in the area and local property crime rates, among other factors. 

    CityFull coverage annual rateMinimum coverage annual rate
    Philadelphia$2,443$637
    Pittsburgh$1,291$349
    Allentown$1,305$374
    Erie$1,237$359
    Reading$1,280$351

    Quadrant Information Services, 2020

    Philadelphia

    Philadelphia’s auto insurance rates are the highest of any region in the state, with an average of $2,443 a year for full coverage — $656 higher than the state average. Why are rates so high? Philadelphia’s large population and crowded city streets mean more risk of accidents — which leads to higher rates. Philadelphia’s crime rates are also high, increasing the likelihood of claims related to theft and vandalism.

    Pittsburgh

    Pittsburgh’s annual rate for full coverage is $1,291, which is well below the state average of $1,787. The city is predominantly white-collar with a large population of college students, and property crime rates are about average for a city of its size. Many commuters use public transportation, reducing overall crowding of city streets during busy times.

    Allentown

    The third largest city in Pennsylvania, after Philly and Pittsburgh, Allentown’s car insurance rate for full coverage is $1,305 a year, which is still decent relative to national and state averages. Property crime has dropped consistently over the last decade, in the city, which likely has a positive impact on insurance premium rates.

    Erie

    The city of Erie (not to be confused with the provider) has annual car insurance rates of $1,237 for full coverage, the lowest of the state’s five biggest cities, and well below the state average of $1,787 a year. Positioned as it is on the shore of Lake Erie, the city bears the brunt of bad weather in the winter drifting down from Canada. This means winter traffic accidents are common, which often result in costly insurance claims.

    Reading

    Reading’s insurance rate is fairly competitive for the state, at $1,280 a year for full coverage. This may be partly thanks to Reading’s property crime rate, which has dropped significantly over the past decade. Since Reading is in the southern part of the state, it is also not subject to winter storms quite as bad as those that hit northern Pennsylvania.

    Pennsylvania car insurance considerations

    Pennsylvania is a state with a higher risk of weather-related incidents. Northern portions of the state are prone to winter storms that increase traffic and cause a higher-than-average rate of accidents, especially in urban areas.

    As a no-fault state, Pennsylvania drivers are also required to carry PIP coverage, which will help pay for your injuries after an accident, regardless of who’s at fault. This means that in general, your premium will be higher than a comparable policy in a state that’s not a no-fault state.

    On the plus side, Pennsylvania’s low rate of uninsured drivers may help keep rates lower than they might otherwise be if the state was frequented by drivers with no or little insurance. 

    Pennsylvania minimum liability requirements

    Most states require a minimum amount of liability insurance in order for you to be registered to drive in the state. In Pennsylvania, the legal minimums are 15/30/5, which means:

    • $15,000 bodily injury liability per person
    • $30,000 bodily injury liability per accident
    • $5,000 property damage liability per accident

    Note that these are the minimums required. To be adequately covered, it’s a smart idea to buy more than the minimum if you are able, since costs can add up quickly after an accident.

    How we chose the best car insurance providers in Pennsylvania

    To find the best Pennsylvania auto insurance companies, we looked for the most competitive rates, as well as discounts that can further bring rates down. We also checked organizations such as J.D. Power and AM Best that assess providers’ customer service and financial strength profiles. Finally, we looked at each company’s website to see who made the online experience easy and enjoyable for policyholders. 

    Other car insurance providers in Pennsylvania to consider

    Although these carriers did not make our listing of the best auto insurance providers in Pennsylvania, they are also worth including in your comparison-shopping. Both offer competitive rates and comprehensive coverage options, and may turn out to be the perfect choice for your own unique circumstances.

    CompanyJ.D. Power ScoreAM BestDiscounts offeredAverage rate
    Progressive3/5A+ (Superior)Teen driver, online quote$1,633
    Donegal Insurance GroupNAA (Excellent)Carpooling, multi-vehicle$1,519

    Quadrant Information Services, 2020

    Donegal Insurance Group

    Donegal Insurance Group is a regional provider whose average rate in Pennsylvania comes in $268 less than the state average. Since its focus is on a few select states, rather than national, you can expect its agents to have a good understanding and local knowledge of the needs of Pennsylvania drivers.

    Progressive

    Progressive’s average Pennsylvania quotes were the highest of the seven top providers we reviewed, but the company is well-regarded for its abundance of discounts, has solid customer service ratings and offers an excellent website. The site features a Name Your Price Tool, which lets you type in the amount you want to pay and adjust coverage until your quote is exactly right for your budget — a handy feature for comparison-shopping.

    Methodology

    Coverage utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze quoted rates from thousands of ZIP codes across all 50 states and Washington D.C., using the top 15 carriers by premiums written by state. Quoted rates are based around the profiles of a 30-year-old male and female with clean driving records, good credit and the following full coverage details:

    • $100k bodily injury liability per person
    • $300k bodily injury liability coverage per crash
    • $100k property damage liability coverage per crash
    • $500 collision coverage deductible
    • $500 comprehensive coverage deductible

    Minimum coverages were applied to match state requirements. Both drivers used a new, financed 2018 Toyota Camry, commuting 5 days a week and driving 12,000 miles per year.

    Mary Van Keuren

    After 30 years as a writer and editor in academia, Mary now writes full-time for the insurance and finance industries. Her work has appeared on Reviews.com, TheSimpleDollar.com and Bankrate.com, as well as other consumer-focused websites.

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