Chicago, IL Car Insurance 101 [Coverage + Rates]
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UPDATED: Feb 19, 2021
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|City Density||11,960 people per square mile|
|Average Cost of Car Insurance||$3,813.21|
|Cheapest Car Insurance Provider||Liberty Mutual|
|Road Conditions||Poor Share: 28%
Mediocre Share: 35%
Fair Share: 14%
Vehicle Operating Costs: $627
Chicago, Illinois, is known as the Windy City and is located on the southeast corner of Lake Michigan. It is the most populous city in Illinois and the third-most populous city in the U.S.
So if you live here, you will be driving in heavy traffic and passing multiple pedestrians. Before you can start driving in the Windy City, though, you’ll need to have car insurance.
Finding car insurance can be a difficult task, as it requires a significant amount of time and effort. If you find the process of looking for an insurer daunting, this guide is for you.
We cover everything from car insurance rates and providers to city living to prepare you for Chicago’s roads and culture. Let’s jump right into it.
Want to start comparison shopping for rates today? Check out our free tool above.
The Cost of Car Insurance in Chicago
Anyone who’s shopped for car insurance knows how expensive rates can become. Whether you’re on a budget or are just trying to lower your high rates, this section is for you.
You might find yourself asking how does my Chicago, IL stack up against other top metro auto insurance rates? We’ve got your answer below.
To help you find the best rate, this section will cover car insurance providers’ rates and what changes rates. All of our data is from our partnership with Quadrant so that you have the most accurate data possible.
So keep reading to see how much you could save by switching providers.
Male vs. Female vs. Age
Age is a common factor that insurers use to determine rates.
The median age in Chicago is 34.6. This means most drivers will have rates for 35-year-olds.
Take a look at the rates by age below.
|Average Annual Rate||$9,627.05||$3,248.57||$2,721.02||$2,545.51|
These states no longer using gender to calculate your auto insurance rates — Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. But age is still a significant factor because young drivers are often considered high-risk. Illinois does use gender, so check out the average monthly auto insurance rates by age and gender in Chicago, IL.
Sixty-year-old drivers have the cheapest rates, but 35-year-old drivers have the second-cheapest rates. However, gender also plays a role in how much drivers pay.
- Male Average Premium: $4,535
- Female Average Premium: $4,277
In Chicago, male drivers tend to pay more than female drivers. Now that we know this, let’s combine gender and age demographics.
|DEMOGRAPHIC||AVERAGE ANNUAL RATE|
|Single 17-year old female||$8,808.60|
|Single 17-year old male||$10,445.50|
|Single 25-year old female||$3,098.36|
|Single 25-year old male||$3,398.79|
|Married 35-year old female||$2,708.30|
|Married 35-year old male||$2,733.75|
|Married 60-year old female||$2,494.91|
|Married 60-year old male||$2,596.11|
In every age group, males pay more than female drivers. However, the rate difference between genders does grow smaller as drivers age. While 17-year-old males pay $1,600 more than 17-year-old females, 60-year-old males only pay $460 more than 60-year-old females.
Chicago, IL auto insurance rates by company and age is an essential comparison because the top auto insurance company for one age group may not be the best company for another age group.
Cheapest ZIP Codes in Chicago
While age and gender are important factors, where you live also has an impact on your rates. Why?
Check out the monthly Chicago, IL auto insurance rates by ZIP Code below:
Because of factors like crime and natural disasters, if an insurer is covering a car in a neighborhood known for vehicle theft, it is going to charge more for the risk. So let’s take a look at what the cheapest ZIP codes are in Chicago.
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The cheapest ZIP code costs $1,500 less than the most expensive ZIP code. This isn’t bad. In other cities, the difference in rates between ZIP codes can cost drivers thousands of dollars.
What’s the Best Car Insurance Company in Chicago?
To answer this question, we are going to look even deeper into car insurance rates. Keep reading to see which providers have the best rates for your demographic, commute distance, coverage level, and more.
Which Chicago, IL auto insurance company has the cheapest rates? And how do those rates compare against the average Illinois auto insurance company rates? We’ve got the answers below.
Let’s jump right in.
Cheapest Car Insurance Rates by Company
Let’s start by seeing which Chicago companies have the cheapest rates for different ages and genders.
|Group||Single 17-year old male||Single 17-year old female||Single 25-year old female||Single 25-year old male||Married 35-year old female||Married 35-year old male||Married 60-year old female||Married 60-year old male|
It’s important to not just go off of a company’s overall average rate. By looking at what a company charges for your demographic, you can get a more accurate picture of what you’ll be paying. For example, while USAA has the second-cheapest rates, it charges more than State Farm for 17-year-old and 25-year-old females and males.
So while a company may usually have cheaper rates than other companies, it’s prices could hike up for a certain demographic.
Best Car Insurance for Commute Rates
In Illinois, the average driver drives about 12,528 miles a year. Unfortunately, this means the average Illinois driver is charged for long commute distance.
|Group||10 miles commute. 6000 annual mileage.||25 miles commute. 12000 annual mileage.|
Not all insurers have higher rates for a long commute. However, look at the final rate rather than the increased amount. For example, while USAA raises its rates almost $200 for a long commute, it is still the second-cheapest provider for a long commute.
Best Car Insurance for Coverage Level Rates
Since high coverage provides the best protection in an accident, we want to see which providers have the cheapest rates for different coverage levels.
|Group||Low Coverage||Medium Coverage||High Coverage|
Your coverage level will play a major role in your Chicago auto insurance rates. Find the cheapest Chicago, IL auto insurance rates by coverage level below:
Allstate charges the most for high coverage, costing $4,000 more than Liberty Mutual. So make sure to shop around to make sure you can get the best deal possible on high coverage.
Best Car Insurance for Credit History Rates
Credit scores are as important as driving records. Unfortunately, the increased rates for poor or fair credit scores can make improving one’s credit score even harder.
Your credit score will play a major role in your Chicago auto insurance rates unless you live in these states where discrimination based on credit is not allowed: California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, and North Carolina. Find the cheapest Chicago, IL auto insurance rates by credit score below.
Let’s see what companies charge.
|Group||Good Credit||Fair Credit||Poor Credit|
Once again, Liberty Mutual has the cheapest rate, followed by Travelers. Finding a company with a lower rate for poor credit is vital. Otherwise, you may be paying thousands more than you have to.
Best Car Insurance for Driving Record Rates
Like a credit score, a bad driving record can cost drivers thousands. Let’s take a look.
|Group||Clean record||With 1 accident||With 1 speeding violation||With 1 DUI|
Your driving record will play a major role in your Chicago auto insurance rates. For example, other factors aside, a Chicago, IL DUI may increase your auto insurance rates 40 to 50 percent. Find the cheapest Chicago, IL auto insurance rates by driving record.
Insurers differ in what they charge for different offenses. For example, Allstate charges more for an accident than a DUI, while Nationwide charges more for a DUI than an accident.
So look around and see which provider charges the least if you have a poor driving record, as it could save you a significant sum.
Car Insurance Factors in Chicago
Now that we’ve covered how a driver’s history influences rates, we want to look at factors that are beyond a driver’s control. Mainly, we want to see how the economy is in Chicago.
Factors affecting auto insurance rates in Chicago, IL may include your commute, coverage level, tickets, DUIs, and credit. Controlling these factors will help you maintain cheap Chicago, Illinois auto insurance.
If an economy is poor, insurers will probably raise rates. However, the economy of a city is important to look at to see how likely you are to get a good job.
So let’s jump into everything from growth and prosperity to common job occupations in Chicago.
Metro Report – Growth and Prosperity
Brookings has a metro report on the 100 largest cities that rates the cities on growth and prosperity. Let’s take a look at Chicago’s ranking for prosperity, which is the wealth generated by an economy. Brookings recorded data from 2016 to 2017 and measured if prosperity increased or dropped.
- Overall Prosperity: 18th of 100
- Productivity: +2.0 percent (15th of 100)
- Standard of Living: +3.0 percent (9th of 100)
- Average Annual Income: +1.0 percent (46th of 100)
Chicago ranked well in prosperity, earning high ratings for both productivity and standard of living. Now let’s see what Chicago earned for growth, which measures jobs in a city.
- Overall Growth: 65th of 100
- Jobs: +0.8 percent (72nd of 100)
- Gross Metropolitan Product (GMP): +2.8 percent (38th of 100)
- Jobs at Young Firms: +0.9 percent (74th of 100)
While Chicago didn’t rank as well in overall growth, the good news is that there was an increase in every category, such as jobs and GMP.
Median Household Income
Since the average annual wage increased according to Brookings’ report, we want to look at Data USA’s information on Chicago’s average income.
The median household income in Chicago is $55,295 (2017 value).
Unfortunately, this is lower than the U.S. average income ($60,336) and the average income in Illinois ($62,992). The result is that Chicago residents spend a higher percentage of income on car insurance.
You may recall that the average cost of car insurance in Illinois is $3,813, which means 6.9 percent of Chicago resident’s income is spent on car insurance. Want to know how much of your income you are spending on car insurance? Use our free calculator below to see what percentage of income you are spending.
Homeownership in Chicago
Owning your own home can be a great way to lower your car insurance rates. Why?
For one, there are often home and auto policy bundling discounts. So if you have a home and auto policy at the same insurer, that insurer should give you a discount. Another reason owning a home can save you money is because insurers see homeowners as more financially responsible (similar to credit score).
So let’s see how many homeowners there are in Chicago who are earning discounts.
Data USA found that in 2017, 44.9 percent of residents owned their homes.
This was a slight increase from 2016 when there was 43.7 percent homeownership. However, Chicago’s rate of homeownership is still below the U.S. average (63.8 percent) and the Illinois average (66.1 percent).
However, this lower rate of homeownership isn’t surprising when you look at the median value of a home in Chicago.
The average home in Chicago costs $255,900.
This is high. The median cost of a home in the U.S. is $193,500, and the median cost of a home in Illinois is $179,700. The higher costs of homes in Chicago may be why the rate of homeownership is lower.
Education in Chicago
Want to earn a degree? Take a look at Data USA’s information on Chicago schools below.
|Sector||University||2016 Degrees Awarded|
|Public, 4-year or above||University of Illinois at Chicago||129|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||DePaul University||63|
|Private for-profit, 4-year or above||DeVry University-Illinois||42|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||University of Chicago||36|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Loyola University Chicago||7525|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Illinois Institute of Technology||155|
|Public, 2-year||City Colleges of Chicago-Olive-Harvey College||129|
|Public, 4-year or above||Northeastern Illinois University||144|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Columbia College Chicago||96|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Roosevelt University||2236|
|Public, 2-year||City Colleges of Chicago-Wilbur Wright College||27|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||National Louis University||0|
|Public, 2-year||City Colleges of Chicago-Richard J Daley College||158|
|Public, 2-year||City Colleges of Chicago-Harold Washington College||53|
|Public, 2-year||City Colleges of Chicago-Harry S Truman College||949|
|Public, 2-year||City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College||151|
|Public, 2-year||City Colleges of Chicago-Malcolm X College||30|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Robert Morris University Illinois||49|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||School of the Art Institute of Chicago||33|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Saint Xavier University||294|
|Public, 4-year or above||Chicago State University||41|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Moody Bible Institute||385|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Rush University||86|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||North Park University||153|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||The Chicago School of Professional Psychology at Chicago||97|
|Private for-profit, 2-year||Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts-Chicago||270|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||The John Marshall Law School||98|
|Private for-profit, 4-year or above||Kendall College||17|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Saint Augustine College||20|
|Private for-profit, 4-year or above||The Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago||22|
|Private for-profit, 2-year||Coyne College||1559|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Resurrection University||2312|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Adler University||1185|
|Private for-profit, 4-year or above||Argosy University-Chicago||1190|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||Soma Institute-The National School of Clinical Massage Therapy||5361|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||Illinois Media School-Chicago Campus||1661|
|Private for-profit, 2-year||Midwestern Career College||1308|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||Cortiva Institute-Chicago||1433|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Illinois College of Optometry||284|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||Aveda Institute-Chicago||2652|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||Paul Mitchell the School-Chicago||64|
|Private for-profit, 4-year or above||Tribeca Flashpoint College||116|
|Private for-profit, 4-year or above||Harrington College of Design||39|
|Private for-profit, 2-year||Northwestern College-Chicago Campus||6038|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||East-West University||4883|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Chicago NW||222|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Catholic Theological Union at Chicago||341|
|Private for-profit, 2-year||SAE Institute of Technology-Chicago||86|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Erikson Institute||44|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||VanderCook College of Music||6428|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||American Academy of Art||362|
|Private for-profit, 4-year or above||Sanford-Brown College-Chicago||81|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||HVAC Technical Institute||1139|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Chicago Theological Seminary||65|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||Rosel School of Cosmetology||1611|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago||262|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||Cannella School of Hair Design-Chicago (143491)||19|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Spertus College||149|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||McCormick Theological Seminary||459|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||Larry's Barber College||772|
|Private not-for-profit, less-than 2-year||National Latino Education Institute||360|
|Private for-profit, 4-year or above||Pacific College of Oriental Medicine-Chicago||861|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||Tricoci University of Beauty Culture-Chicago NE||10|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||Cannella School of Hair Design-Chicago||5|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||Steven Papageorge Hair Academy||1172|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||University of Aesthetics-Chicago||861|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Shimer College||20|
|Private not-for-profit, 2-year||MacCormac College||42|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Meadville Lombard Theological School||51|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Institute for Clinical Social Work||1740|
|Private for-profit, 2-year||Taylor Business Institute||53|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Bexley Hall Seabury Western Theological Seminary Federation, Inc.||89|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Telshe Yeshiva-Chicago||1|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||Toyota Technological Institute at Chicago||0|
|Private not-for-profit, 4-year or above||American Islamic College||1120|
|Private for-profit, less-than 2-year||SOLEX Medical Academy||2033|
There are over 70 schools to choose from in Chicago, from four-year universities to community colleges. The largest university in the city is the University of Illinois, as it gave out over 7,500 degrees in 2017.
As for community colleges, residents have multiple options to pick from.
- Richard J Daley College
- Harold Washington College
- Harry S Truman College
- Kennedy King College
- Malcolm X College
- Olive-Harvey College
- Wilber Wright College
These college campuses are known collectively as the City Colleges of Chicago. Each one focuses on a different area of study. For example, Richard J Daley College focuses on manufacturing and engineering technology, as well as sciences like chemistry and biology.
Some of the courses at these city colleges are also offered online, which makes it easier to get a degree for busy students.
Wage by Race and Ethnicity in Common Jobs
The first aspect of wages we want to look at is Data USA’s information on salaries by race and ethnicity in Illinois. We’ve also included the percentage of income spent on car insurance.
|Ethnicity||Miscellaneous Manager||Percentage of Income||Registered Nurse||Percentage of Income||Driver/sales workers & truck drivers||Percentage of Income||Elementary & Middle School Teachers||Percentage of Income||Cashiers||Percentage of Income|
|Two or More Races||$72,232||5.28%||$69,497||5.49%||$54,642||6.98%||$44,171||8.63%||$33,796||11.28%|
Asians are the highest-paid in the job categories of miscellaneous managers and registered nurses. However, in other job categories, two or more races tend to be the highest-paid.
As you can see, the more a race or ethnicity makes, the more the percentage of income going to car insurance drops.
Wage by Gender in Common Jobs
Let’s also take a look at Data USA’s information on the gender wage gap in common jobs in Illinois.
|Gender||Miscellaneous Manager||Percentage of Income||Registered Nurse||Percentage of Income||Elementary & Middle School Teachers||Percentage of Income||Driver/sales workes & truck drivers||Percentage of Income||Cashiers||Percentage of Income|
In every occupation, males earn more than females.
- Illinois Average Male Employee Salary: $72,886
- Illinois Average Female Employee Salary: $53,388
Because males earn an average of $19,500 more than females, males only spend 5.2 percent of their income on car insurance. In comparison, females spend an average of 7.1 percent of their income on car insurance.
When you look at these numbers, the gender wage gap becomes glaringly obvious, which means car insurance payments are much more inconvenient for females.
Poverty by Age and Gender
Since the gender wage gap is so prominent in Illinois, we want to look at Data USA’s data on poverty levels in Chicago.
|Chicago Percentage of Males and Females Living in Poverty by Age||Male||Female|
|6 - 11 years||5.63%||5.48%|
|12 - 14 years||2.56%||2.57%|
|16 - 17 years||1.55%||1.7%|
|18 - 24 years||6.03%||8.02%|
|25 - 34 years||5.71%||8.9%|
|35 - 44 years||4.37%||6.7%|
|45 - 54 years||4.3%||5.3%|
|55 - 64 years||4.23%||5.09%|
After age 16, there are more females than males living in poverty. In fact, the largest demographics living in poverty are:
- Females ages 25 to 34
- Females ages 18 to 24
- Females ages 35 to 44
As well, 20.6 percent of those living in poverty in Chicago live below the poverty line. This is worse than the national average of those living below the poverty line (13.4 percent).
Poverty by Race and Ethnicity
We now know that more females than males are living in poverty in Chicago, and now we want to take a look at poverty by race and ethnicity.
Below is Data USA’s data for Chicago.
|Race or Ethnicity||Number of People Living in Poverty (2017)|
|Two or More||13,506|
Blacks have the most people living in poverty, followed by whites and Hispanics.
Employment by Occupations
Data USA found that the following occupations are the most common in Chicago.
- Office and Administrative Support Occupations (157,795 people)
- Management Occupations (140,354 people)
- Sales and Related Occupations (135,431 people)
As well, the employment rate in Chicago grew 0.413 percent from 2016 to 2017. This is only a small growth, but it is encouraging. The last thing you want is a decrease in employment.
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Driving in Chicago
City driving can be stressful due to higher volumes of traffics, dicey road conditions, and more pedestrians and cyclists near the roadway — not to mention the confusing exits and intersections.
If the thought of driving in a city stresses you out, and even if it doesn’t, this section will cover what you need to know about driving in Chicago.
So keep scrolling to learn about Chicago’s roads, vehicles, and traffic conditions.
Roads in Chicago
The last thing you need is to blow a tire on your first day driving around Chicago or miss a vital highway exit. Stick with us to see what highways run through Chicago and what the road conditions are like.
In the state of Illinois, there are 24 active routes that contribute 2,203 miles of roadway to the state’s roads. If you want to hop on one of the major highways to quickly get around Illinois, three of them run through Chicago: I-57, I-90, and I-94.
However, easy access to these highways also means that you’ll have to deal with traffic coming through the city. If there’s an accident, high volumes of traffic will be rerouted through your streets.
As well, you’ll have to deal with tolls on major highways.
- Jane Addams Memorial Tollway on I-90
- Tri-State Tollway on I-94, I-294, and I-80
- Reagan Memorial Tollway on I-88
- Veterans Memorial Tollway on I-355
- Illinois Route 390 Tollway
As you can see, a few of the major highways that pass through Chicago have tollways. If you end up passing through Illinois’s tolls often, it may be worth it to invest in an I-Pass (which also works in E-ZPass tolls).
It costs around $30 to buy an I-Pass, but users get up to 50 percent off of tolls. This means that in the long run, an I-Pass will save users money.
An I-Pass is also convenient in reducing time spent at tollways and eliminating the need for fumbling for change and paper tickets. So if you go through tolls frequently, an I-Pass may be for you.
Popular Road Trips and Sites
There is plenty to do in the Windy City.
If you aren’t sure where to start your exploration of the city, though, check out the lists below for ideas.
- 10 Best Downtown Attractions: Museums, theatre districts, historic landmarks, and more are covered on this list.
- Best Human-Made Attractions: From Union Station to the Chicago River, this list will take you to the prettiest human-made places in the city.
- Historical Landmarks: If you love history and want to learn more about the city you live in, this list is for you.
- Nature Attractions: Even within Chicago’s bustling city, you can find quiet nature spots to unwind.
These are just a few ideas to get you started, but they should give you an idea of just how much there is to in the Windy City. As well, if you want to leave the city for a little bit, there are multiple road trips that pass near or through Chicago.
- Abandoned Places Road Trip: Like to feel creeped out by abandoned places? This trip takes you to hospitals, slave plantations, and more.
- Christmas Lights Road Trip: One of the attractions on this list is Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo’s light display.
- Fall Foliage Road Trip: Love apple cider and cozy sweaters? This trip takes you to see the prettiest fall scenes.
- Quirkiest Attractions Road Trip: This trip is for people who like to take a detour to see weird, local attractions.
- Restaurant Road Trip: This trip is for food lovers, taking travelers to the best restaurants in Illinois.
- Terrifying Road Trip: Like creepy sites and haunted graveyards? This trip will take you to insane asylums, cemeteries, and mansions.
There is plenty to do both within and around the city. If you live in Chicago, you should never be too bored.
TRIP, an independent research group, found that Chicago’s roads were in the following conditions:
- Poor Share: 28 percent
- Mediocre Share: 35 percent
- Fair Share: 14 percent
- Good Share: 22 percent
The worse a city’s roads are, the higher a driver’s vehicle operating costs will be.
In Chicago, the vehicle operating cost is $627.
This is an extra $627 drivers have to pay to maintain their vehicles every year.
Chicago needs to work on its road conditions, as 63 percent of Chicago’s roads are in poor condition.
Does Chicago use Speeding or Red-Light Cameras?
Even if you aren’t pulled over by a cop, this doesn’t mean you won’t get a ticket for speeding or running a red-light. Some states use speeding and red-light cameras to capture lawbreaking.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says that the state of Illinois uses both red-light and speeding cameras.
As for Chicago, it has the most red-light cameras out of all U.S. cities. There are about 300 red-light cameras in the city, which means you have a high chance of ending up with a ticket if you go through a red-light.
Add into the mix speed cameras, and drivers run the risk of earning a speeding ticket too. So don’t speed or run red-lights in Chicago, as there is usually a camera watching.
Vehicles in Chicago
Do you know what the car culture in Chicago is? Or what risks you run by owning a car in the city? To learn what to watch out for, keep reading to learn about vehicles and vehicle risks in the Windy City.
Let’s dive right in.
Most Popular Vehicles Owned
According to YourMechanic, it services the following types of vehicles in Chicago.
|Car Type||Percentage Serviced by YourMechanic in Chicago|
|Muscle Cars with V8 Engines||10.8%|
The majority of vehicle types in Chicago are American-made or muscle cars.
The most unusually popular car in Chicago is the Chevrolet Monte Carlo.
The Chevrolet Monte Carlo is a sturdy car, but it will cost you more in gas per mile. However, insurers only care about the safety rating of a vehicle and how much parts cost when they assign rates.
So if a car is rated highly for safety, the discount may help justify the higher gas prices.
Cars Per Household
Whenever people live in a city, the number of cars owned per household tends to dwindle. This is because there is easy access to public transport.
So let’s see what data Data USA recorded for car ownership in Chicago.
|Number of Cars||Chicago Household Percentage|
The majority of residents in Chicago own just one car.
Households Without a Car
Now that we know how many residents own cars, let’s see how many households don’t have cars and depend on public transit.
The number of households without vehicles went up one percent in 2016. This means that a number of households got rid of their cars, or a number of households without vehicles moved into the city.
Either way, there were more households without vehicles in 2016 than in 2015.
Speed Traps in Chicago
While Chicago has multiple red-light and speeding cameras around the city, the good news is that Chicago isn’t on the list of the 10 worst cities for speed traps in Illinois.
This could be due to the multiple cameras — there isn’t as much of a need for cops to sit behind corners with radar guns. Still, just because Chicago isn’t on the list doesn’t mean there are zero speed traps. There will still be speed traps around the city in addition to speed cameras.
So to avoid a ticket, follow posted speed limits.
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– Vehicle Theft in Chicago
The FBI recorded 10,132 stolen Chicago vehicles in 2017. This makes Chicago the worst city for vehicle theft in Illinois.
To keep your vehicle as safe as possible, consider living in one of Chicago’s safer neighborhoods. Living in a safe area can also help lower your insurance rates, which is a nice bonus.
According to Neighborhood Scout’s collected data, the safest Chicago Neighborhood is N Ozanam Ave / N Avondale Ave.
Not where you wanted to live in the city? Other safe neighborhoods are:
- W Devon Ave / N Central Ave
- N Caldwell Ave / N Lehigh Ave
- W Foster Ave / N Harlem Ave
- N Lake Shore Dr / W Diversey Ave
- N Canfield Ave / W Talcott Ave
- W Howard St / N Oketo Dr
- Irving Park Rd / N Cumberland Rd
- W North Ave / N Larrabee St
There are other reasons besides vehicle theft that makes a living in one of these neighborhoods a good idea.
Your chance of being the victim of a violent crime in Chicago is one in 98, which is considerably worse than Illinois’s chance of one in 228.
Take a look at the table below to see just how many violent crimes occur in Chicago.
|Chicago Violent Crimes||Murder||Rape||Robbery||Assault|
|Rate per 1,000||0.24||0.65||4.38||5.69|
In addition to violent crimes, there are property crimes.
|Chicago Annual Crimes||Violent||Property||Total|
|Number of Crimes||29,766||89,294||119,060|
|Crimes (per 1,000 residents)||10.96||32.87||43.83|
These numbers aren’t looking good. The total number of crimes in Chicago means that the crime rate per 1,000 residents is over 40 percent.
In fact, the overall crime index rating for Chicago is only eight, which means Chicago is safer than only eight percent of all U.S. cities. Based on these statistics, it is smart to splurge on living a safer neighborhood.
Traffic in cities can be a drag. To prepare you for how long you’ll be sitting in traffic and what traffic risks you’ll face, we will cover multiple traffic conditions in Chicago.
Stick with us to learn about traffic congestion, transportation, road risks, and more.
Traffic Congestion in Chicago
Chicago made it onto Inrix’s traffic scorecard of the most congested cities in the world. Let’s take a look at Chicago’s scores.
|2018 Impact Rank (2017)||Hours Lost in Congestion||Year Over Year Change||Cost of Congestion (Per Driver)||Inner City Travel Time (Minutes)||Inner City Last Mile Speed (mph)|
|23 (24)||138 (64)||4%||$1,920||5||12|
Unfortunately, Chicago residents spend an average of 138 hours sitting in traffic each year, costing them $1,920.
As well, Chicago’s traffic has increased by four percent. This isn’t good news for commuters. Expect to leave earlier than you’re used to in order to arrive at work on time.
Now that we’ve covered Chicago’s traffic levels, let’s see how long it takes Chicago residents to drive through this traffic to get to work.
Data USA found the average commute time in Chicago is 33.1 minutes or an hour and 6.2 minutes a day.
This is a longer than average commute time (the U.S. average commute time is 25.5 minutes). So the traffic in Chicago costs commuters over an hour a day, time that could be better spent doing something other than sitting in traffic.
As well, 3.27 percent of Chicago’s residents have an extremely long commute of 90+ minutes a day or three hours. Hopefully, you aren’t part of this 3.27 percent.
So how are Chicago’s residents traveling for their hour-long commute each day?
- Drove Alone: 48.6 percent
- Public Transit: 28.3 percent
- Carpool: 7.58 percent
Other commute methods include working from home, riding a bike, taking a taxi, walking, or riding a motorcycle. However, the majority of residents drive alone to work or take public transit (which is popular in large cities).
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s report found that the following highways were the busiest in Chicago.
- Highway 53 (12 lanes)
- Interstate 90 (12 lanes)
The large amount of lanes on both these highways equips them to handle high volumes of traffic. So if you drive on either of these highways, expect to be driving in a lot of traffic.
How safe are Chicago’s Streets and Roads?
Do you know how many crashes have happened on the roads you drive every day? Or do you avoid a certain intersection or blind spot because you’ve seen crashes happen?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collects data on crashes, how they happen, and who is killed. Let’s first look at how many crashes have occurred overall in Chicago (Cook County).
|Cook County All Crashes||2014||2015||2016||2017||2018|
The number of fatalities has increased over the years in Cook County. We want to understand why, so let’s break down crashes by cause.
|Cook County Fatalities by Crash Type||2014||2015||2016||2017||2018|
|Involving an Alcohol-Impaired Driver (BAC = .08+)||85||66||82||117||82|
|Single Vehicle Crash||149||159||155||162||141|
|Involving a Roadway Departure||95||91||85||101||88|
|Involving an Intersection (or Intersection-Related)||80||97||115||110||101|
In 2018, single-vehicle crashes, speeding crashes, and intersection crashes were the leading causes of crashes in Chicago. Despite the speeding cameras in Chicago, the number of speeding crashes hasn’t dramatically decreased.
We now know what causes crashes in Chicago, and now we want to look at what types of people are killed in these crashes.
|Cook County Fatalities by Person Type||2014||2015||2016||2017||2018|
|Passenger Car Occupant||93||76||98||120||110|
The number of pedestrian deaths in Chicago is high. With so many cars and pedestrians in close proximity, fatalities are bound to happen. However, you can reduce your risk of being hit, or hitting someone, by staying alert to your surroundings and using pedestrian crosswalks.
Now that we know how many fatalities happen in Chicago, let’s see what the most dangerous road types are in Illinois.
|Road Type||Fatal Crashes|
|Freeway and Expressway||10|
|Total Fatal Crashes||1,005|
The NHTSA found that most fatal crashes occur on arterial, minor arterial, and collector arterial roads.
An arterial road is a high traffic road, such as highways and interstates. This means a minor arterial road is high traffic, but not as busy as a highway. As for collector arterial roads, these roads take local traffic to arterial and minor arterial roads.
Arterial roads, with their high amounts of traffic, are risky to drive on. We want to dig deeper into arterial road risks by looking at the US Department of Transportation’s data on highway and railroad crashes.
|Highway User Speed||Calendar Year||County||Highway||Highway User Type||Rail Equipment Type||Non Suicide Fatality||Non Suicide Fatality|
|15||2012||COOK||103RD ST||Automobile||Freight Train||0||1|
|10||2012||COOK||PRIVATE||Truck-trailer||Cut of Cars||0||1|
|2||2012||COOK||PRIVATE YARD||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||1|
|20||2012||COOK||55TH AND KENTON||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|15||2013||COOK||FAU1592/E 130TH ST||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|16||2013||COOK||5345 S. LONG AVE.||Automobile||Freight Train||0||1|
|0||2013||COOK||SOUTHWEST HWY||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|2013||COOK||STATE STREET||Pedestrian||Light Loco(s)||1||0|
|10||2013||COOK||95TH STREET||Automobile||Psgr Train||0||0|
|5||2013||COOK||PRIVATE RD||Truck-trailer||Light Loco(s)||0||0|
|5||2013||COOK||105TH STREET||Automobile||Special MOW Eq||0||0|
|0||2013||COOK||FAU1592/E 130TH ST||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2013||COOK||RACINE AVE||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|0||2014||COOK||99TH ST||Pick-up truck||Freight Train||0||1|
|0||2014||COOK||RACINE AVE||Automobile||Light Loco(s)||0||0|
|0||2014||COOK||97TH STREET||Automobile||Freight Train||0||2|
|2014||COOK||BRYN MAWR AVENUE||Pedestrian||Commuter||1||0|
|10||2014||COOK||95TH STREET||Automobile||Light Loco(s)||0||0|
|0||2014||COOK||W 104TH ST||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|30||2015||COOK||KILBOURNE AVENUE||Automobile||Light Loco(s)||0||1|
|5||2015||COOK||CITY ST/STONEY ISLAN||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||0|
|2015||COOK||FAU2867/RACINE AVE||Pedestrian||Freight Train||0||1|
|0||2016||COOK||87TH AND PULASKI||Automobile||C||0||0|
|0||2016||COOK||WENTWORTH AVENUE||Automobile||Freight Train||0||0|
|20||2016||COOK||119TH ST||Automobile||Psgr Train||1||1|
|15||2016||COOK||59TH ST||Automobile||Freight Train||0||1|
|0||2016||COOK||; CALDWELL AVE||Automobile||B||0||0|
|1||2016||COOK||RACINE AVE.||Automobile||Cut of Cars||0||0|
Check the table above to see if any of the roads you drive on are on the list (a number of crashes occurred on Private in Cook County).
Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report
Through its driving app, Allstate records drivers’ habits and creates a report on the best drivers in the 200 largest U.S. cities. Because of its size, Chicago is included in this report. Let’s take a look at its 2019 ranking.
Chicago’s 2019 ranking was a drop from 2018 when it ranked 129 out of 200. However, there is still an average of eight years passing between claims.
While the number of hard braking events is somewhat high, there is more traffic in the city. This means that drivers may be braking hard because of other drivers’ mistakes, not because they are inattentive.
Want to skip the bus? According to RideGuru, the following rideshare services are offered in the city.
- Lyft: This will be one of your cheaper options, as it is in competition with Uber’s prices.
- Uber: This rideshare service is priced similarly to Lyft.
- Carmel: More expensive than Lyft and Uber.
- Arro: Traditional taxi cab service.
- Taxi: Similiar in price to Arro.
- Curb: Taxi service that costs more than Arro or a traditional taxi.
- Zum: Prices aren’t listed, as this is a rideshare service for children, and customers need to get a quote.
While Lyft and Uber are the cheapest options on the list, it will cost significantly more if customers upgrade to luxury rides. So if you pick Uber Black or Lyft Lux, it will cost much more than a taxi.
EStar Repair Shops
If you aren’t taking public transit or rideshare service, there’s always the chance that someone might bump into your car (or perhaps you hit a nasty pothole).
Whatever the case, if you need a repair shop, Esurance has a great program called EStar. This repair shop program lists out reputable shops in your area, making it easy to find a shop fast.
Let’s take a look at some of the top repair shops in Chicago.
|SHOP NAME||ADDRESS||CONTACT INFO|
|PAUL RIES & SONS||3940 W ARMITAGE AVE|
CHICAGO IL 60647
P: (773) 227-8300
F: (773) 227-8544
|B&L AUTOMOTIVE REPAIR, INC._CF||3830 N KEDZIE AVE|
CHICAGO IL 60618
P: (773) 463-1622
F: (773) 463-0920
|PAUL RIES AND SONS - II||2233 WEST GRAND|
CHICAGO IL 60612
|P: (312) 637-6740|
|ERIE - LASALLE BODY SHOP - ERIE|
|1005 W HURON |
CHICAGO IL 606
P: (312) 337-3903
F: (312) 337-7486
|GERBER - CHICAGO/ELSTON AVE.||4545 N ELSTON AVE|
CHICAGO IL 60630
P: (773) 725-7200
F: (773) 725-4829
|ERIE - LASALLE BODY SHOP - KEDZIE||2440 S. KEDZIE|
CHICAGO IL 60623
|P: (773) 762-5571|
|TOM AND JERRY'S AUTOBODY_CF||5644 N NORTHWEST HWY|
CHICAGO IL 60646
P: (773) 775-6767
F: (773) 775-5901
|FIX AUTO SKOKIE||8015 N LAWNDALE|
SKOKIE IL 60076
P: (847) 676-0420
|SERVICE KING MORTON GROVE||5940 OAKTON STREET|
MORTON GROVE IL 60053
P: (847) 965-2205
|CARSTAR SCOLAS COLLISION CENTER||9110 OGDEN AVE|
BROOKFIELD IL 60513
P: (708) 485-7600
There are plenty of shops to choose from in Chicago. Make sure to have a repair shop picked out before you need repairs, so you aren’t frantically researching reviews when your bumper is falling off.
In a city nicknamed the Windy City, you can expect some brisk days. Below are the temperatures you can expect in the city, from US Climate Data’s information on Chicago’s weather.
- Annual high temperature: 56.8°F
- Annual low temperature: 42.5°F
- Average temperature: 49.65°F
- Average sunshine: 2,611 hours
- Average annual precipitation (rainfall): 33.2 inches
- Days per year with rainfall: 120 days
Due to its cooler temperatures, Chicago also experiences heavy snowfall each year.
As a result, there have been a number of natural disasters in Cook County that are winter-related.
Cook County has had 19 natural disasters, including floods, storms, tornadoes, snowstorms, blizzards, winter storms, snow, hurricanes, and wind.
Chicago has a higher number than the U.S. average of natural disasters (13). It is prudent to consider comprehensive coverage on a car when living in such a windy and snowy city.
Comprehensive coverage will cover drivers from collisions other than with another vehicle, such as animal collisions. It also protects from damages from natural disasters, theft, and vandalism.
There are multiple different passes you can get, from one-day passes ($10) to 30-day passes ($105). To get an idea of the basic rates, though, take a look at the cost of fares for one ride.
|'L' Train Fare||$2.50||$1.25||$.75|
|Transfer (up to two additional rides within two hours)||$0.25||$0.15||$0.15|
The CTA offers reduced prices for children ages 7-11 (under seven ride free) and students. There are also free ride programs for military, seniors, and people with disabilities.
Chicago also has electric scooters and bikes to rent. One popular option is the public rent-a-bike and rent-a-scooter company Lime.
Simply download the Lime app on your smartphone to unlock a bike or scooter near you. However, Lime is pay-by-the-minute, so your ride can add up if you use it for a while.
Another alternate transportation method is Bird, a rent-a-scooter company. Like Lime, you download the mobile app to unlock your ride and pay per minute.
Parking in Metro Areas
Are you worried about finding a street parking spot? Chicago’s ParkChicago has a mobile app that lets you see how likely it is for you to find a spot. The app also allows you to pay from your smartphone, instead of walking to find a parking kiosk.
All you have to do is enter your license plate number and pay, which means you don’t have to print a receipt and place it on your dashboard. The basic rates vary from area to area, from $2 to $6.50. However, you can purchase a monthly parking pass to park on the street if you are a local resident.
Parking hours also vary (if you aren’t a resident).
- Chicago neighborhoods (outside downtown area): 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
- Central Business District (outside Chicago loop): 8:00 a.m. to midnight
- Chicago loop: 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. (also available from 9:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. with reduced rates)
If you are having trouble finding street parking even with the app, you may want to pick a parking garage instead. Tools like parking maps can help you find the best garage and rate near your destination.
As well, if you need somewhere to leave your car, there is also satellite parking available at airports, hotels, and schools.
Finally, if you need somewhere to charge your electric vehicle when you park, Chicago Area Clean Cities has a great search tool that lets you look for electric charging stations in your area.
Air Quality in Chicago
The air quality in cities can be dicey. Due to more vehicles on the streets, there are higher levels of pollution. This degradation in air quality can be harmful to people’s health, which is why cities are not the best places for people with health issues.
To see how clean the air is in Chicago, we are going to look at the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) data on Chicago’s air quality.
|Days Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups||23||23||20|
|Days Very Unhealthy||1||0||0|
The number of good days in Chicago has decreased, which isn’t good. However, the good news is that there was only one very unhealthy day in three years.
Still, Chicago needs to work on cleaning up its air.
Military and Veterans
Are you a military member or a veteran? If so, you are eligible for a discount at certain providers. However, it can be hard to know if switching providers is worth the discount amount.
It’s also hard to know which providers actually have military discounts. To help you find an insurer that offers discounts, we are going to go through military discounts in Illinois.
As well, we are going to cover what the military culture is in Chicago, from veterans to nearby military bases. Let’s begin.
Veterans by Service Period
Data USA collected data on veteran’s service periods in 2017. Let’s take a look.
- Vietnam: 24,123 veterans
- Gulf War (2001): 12,295 veterans
- Gulf War (1990s): 7,920 veterans
- Korea: 3,988 veterans
- World War II: 1,891 veterans
The most common service period in Chicago is Vietnam veterans, while WWII veterans are the least common service period.
Military Bases Within an Hour
“Since World War I through today, it has trained and sent to the Fleet more than two million new Sailors through the Recruit Training Command, and nearly an equal number from its technical schools.”
The base has been around for almost a century, and as the largest Navy training base, this is a great place to work if you want to join the Navy.
Military Discounts by Providers
So which providers offer military discounts? Check the list below to see which Illinois providers honor service members, and what percentage is saved.
- Geico: 15 percent
- Liberty Mutual: 4 percent
- MetLife: 15 percent
*USAA also offers a military garaging discount.
Discount savings vary from provider to provider. If an insurer does offer a discount, make sure that you check how much you will save off your overall rate.
As a provider for just military members and their families, USAA tries to keep its rates low. Let’s see how much USAA costs in Illinois, and how much major competitors charge.
|Company||Average Annual Premium||Compared to State Average (+/-)||Compared to State Average (%)|
USAA is actually not the cheapest company in Illinois. However, its rates are still cheaper than the state average, which is good. Make sure to get quotes from the cheapest companies to see which have the best rates for your demographic and driving record.
Unique Chicago City Laws
Are you familiar with all of Chicago’s local laws? If you aren’t, you could wind up with a pricy ticket. To help you avoid even more expenses on your monthly car insurance budget, we are going to cover unique laws in this section.
From cellphone use laws to parking laws, it is all covered here. Keep reading to see what to avoid doing in Chicago.
Let’s take a look at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) details on cellphone laws in Illinois.
- Hand-held ban: applies to all drivers
- Young drivers all cellphone ban: applies to drivers and learner’s permit holders younger than 19
- Texting ban: applies to all drivers
Enforcement of these bans is primary. This means that officers can pull over and ticket any driver they see breaking these bans.
Why are these so bans so important?
They help limit distracted driving. All it takes is a few seconds checking a text for a driver to lose control of a vehicle and crash. So put the phone down when driving.
In fact, some insurers have apps that offer discounts for safe driving. So if you leave your phone off in the car, you’ll earn a discount on car insurance.
Want to operate a food truck in Chicago?
- Submit a license application to the Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP)
- Complete a health consultation and get a fire safety permit
- On-site health inspection (and fire inspection if needed)
- License is issued
To keep a mobile food truck license, owners must continue to pass regular health and safety inspections. There are also some strict laws to follow once food truck owners hit the streets.
While these laws have been contested, they still stand. Food truck owners must:
- Not sell food within 200 feet of “a brick-and-mortar food establishment”
- Install a GPS in the food truck to track the location
As you can expect, Chicago food truck owners are not too happy with these restrictions. Basically, the law allows non-mobile restaurants to defeat the competition of mobile food trucks easily.
Hopefully, these regulations will ease in the future with continued protests, so that owning a food truck in Chicago is a more lucrative business.
If you want a tiny house in Chicago, unfortunately, Chicago doesn’t allow tiny homes. Zoning regulations and other practicalities make it nearly impossible to build and live in a tiny home in the city.
This is typical in most major cities. If you move out of the city, it is easy to own and live in a tiny home legally.
Have you ever had someone on the other side of the road swerve in front of you to grab a parking spot on your side of the street? Doing this is known as wrong direction parking, and it is illegal.
On all streets, the passenger side of a vehicle must be curbside when parallel parking. If it isn’t curbside, a passing officer will ticket the driver.
If you want to avoid a ticket but need a parking spot, consider reserving a parking spot at a local garage.
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Chicago Car Insurance FAQs
We’ve covered a lot, but you probably still have questions. If so, this section is for you.
Keep reading to see what others are asking about Chicago car insurance and city life. Let’s jump in.
What Happens if I’m in a Car Accident in Chicago?
If you caused the accident, you would be liable for the other driver’s accident costs (Illinois is an at-fault state). This is why it’s important to have good insurance on your car if you live in Illinois. Otherwise, you may be forced to cover some of the bills out of pocket.
Is Chicago Safe?
Whenever you live in a city, there will be more crime and vehicle theft. Chicago has a crime index rating of four. What does this mean? It means Chicago is only safer than eight percent of U.S. cities.
Where is Chicago City?
Wondering what you’re near if you live in Chicago? The windy city is within driving distance of a number of small towns, such as Oak Park, Illinois or Elmwood Park, Illinois.
What School District is in Chicago?
There are hundreds of schools in Chicago, run by the Chicago Public School Schools.
What Library District Serves Chicago?
Need a steady supply of books? The Chicago Public Library has dozens of locations across the city, making it easy to pick up and drop off books. Ready for your move to Chicago? We hope we answered all your questions about living and driving in the Windy City.
If you’re ready to start comparing rates, enter your zip code in our free online tool below.