Who's Cheaper?: Boston vs. New York Car Insurance Quotes

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Boston and New York have a lot of heated rivalries: Red Sox vs. Yankees, Harvard vs. Columbia, New England clam chowder vs. the Manhattan variety. But when it comes to Boston vs. New York car insurance quotes, Beantown wins handily. That’s unlikely to please New Yorkers who own a car in the city.

The smackdown

NerdWallet examined annual rate quotes for a variety of cars across 10 ZIP codes in both cities. We assumed that people living in each city would drive a modest 5,000 miles a year, thanks to convenient public transit.

On average, Boston car insurance rates were 60% lower than rates for the same cars in New York City. The price difference was relatively consistent, ranging from 58% for a Mercedes S550 to 64% for a Honda CR-V.

Annual car insurance rates in New York and Boston
2015 vehicle New York Boston Boston savings
Honda CR-V $4,079 $1,473 64%
Hyundai Elantra $4,831 $1,872 61%
Mercedes S550 $9,481 $4,014 58%
Nissan Altima $4,966 $2,010 60%
Smart Fortwo $4,076 $1,489 63%
Toyota Camry $3,951 $1,575 60%
Average $5,231 $2,072 60%
Methodology: We compiled rate averages of large insurers in 10 ZIP codes in each city. Rates are for 30-year-old single people with clean records in 10 ZIP codes in each city, driving 5,000 miles a year. Coverage includes liability limits of $100,000 in injuries per person and $300,000 per accident, and $50,000 in property damage, plus comprehensive and collision with a $500 deductible, personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage. Your annual rates will differ.

Why Boston trumps New York

Insurance companies use their claims experience in different locations, among other factors, to help set prices. This includes claims for accidents or other incidents such as vandalism and theft, higher repair costs and bigger court judgments.

Michael Conte, a partner at the Honig Conte Porrino Insurance Agency in New York, says large payouts after accidents drive up rates in that city. He says some courts in New York City are notorious for awarding excessive payouts after accidents.

State insurance laws can also affect rates. These include requiring minimum coverage levels (although we held those constant in our rate comparison) and dictating what factors companies may consider when setting rates. Massachusetts, for instance, prohibits insurers from basing rates on factors such as gender, marital status, age (except for a senior discount), occupation, income, education and credit.

So if the Giants beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl again, at least Bostonians can take solace in their lower car insurance bills.

The bottom line

No matter where you live or what you drive, it’s important to shop around for the best car insurance quotes, because rates vary quite a bit among companies. For example, while the lowest three of the six quotes we got for the Mercedes S550 in New York were within $1,539 of one another other, rates jumped by $3,336 for the fourth-lowest company.

Wherever you live, you can comparison shop for car insurance quotes using NerdWallet’s rate tool.

Aubrey Cohen is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: [email protected]. Twitter: @aubreycohen.

Image via iStock.

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