Detroit Tops U.S. In Car Insurance Costs

Detroit isn’t just the car capital of the U.S. — it’s also the king of car-insurance costs. According to, a subsidiary of finance-info provider Bankrate Insurance, the Motor City and its metropolitan area lay claim to the dubious distinction of having the most expensive auto insurance in the nation.

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Detroit-area drivers on average pay 165 percent more than the national average for car insurance, followed by New York, where motorists pay 36 percent more, and Miami, 34 percent more. The least expensive premiums, the website stated, are enjoyed by Charlotte, N.C., where area residents pay 43 percent less than the national average; Cleveland, 31 percent less; and Pittsburgh, 24 percent less.

“One of the main reasons why car insurance is so expensive in the Detroit area is because Michigan is the only state where car insurance includes unlimited personal injury protection,” said Laura Adams, senior analyst for, in a statement. “Also, Detroit has a very high percentage of uninsured motorists — as high as 50 percent by some estimates. That unfortunately raises rates for those who do have car insurance.”

While New York ranks No. 2 among the most expensive car-insurance cities, the nation’s next-largest cities, Los Angeles and Chicago, check in at Nos. 4 and 21, respectively. L.A. motorists pay 25 percent more than the national average, while Windy City-area drivers pay 16 percent less. Dead-center on the list at Nos. 12, 13 and 14 are Boston, Dallas and Portland, Ore., where residents pay 2 percent more, 1 percent more and 1 percent less. States with metro areas appearing most frequently on the list include California (five times), Pennsylvania (four times) and Florida (three times).

Researchers say population density is naturally a major contributor to insurance rates: more people, more cars, more potential for crashes. Other factors include theft rates, state regulations and percentage of uninsured motorists.

Does your area rank among places with the nation’s costliest insurance? Below are the top 25 metropolitan areas in order of most- to least-expensive, followed by the percentage paid compared with the national average:

1. Detroit-Warren-Ann Arbor, Mich., 165 percent
2. New York-Newark, N.Y.- N.J.-Conn.-Pa., 36 percent
3. Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Port St. Lucie, Fla., 34 percent
4. Los Angeles-Long Beach, Calif., 25 percent
5. Atlanta-Athens-Clarke County-Sandy Springs, Ga., 17 percent
6. Sacramento-Roseville, Calif., 16 percent
7. San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, Calif., 10 percent
8. Philadelphia-Reading-Camden, Pa.-N.J.-Del.-Md., 10 percent
9. Houston-The Woodlands, Texas, 10 percent
10. Tampa-St. Peterseburg-Clearwater, Fla., 9 percent
11. San Diego-Carlsbad, Calif., 2 percent
12. Boston-Worcester-Providence, Ma.-R.I.-N.H.-Conn., 2 percent
13. Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas-Okla., 1 percent
14. Portland-Vancouver-Salem, Ore., -1 percent
15. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.-Wis., -5 percent
16. District of Columbia-Baltimore-Arlington, Md.-Va.-W.V.-Pa., -6 percent
17. Seattle-Tacoma, Wash., -10 percent
18. Orlando-Deltona-Daytona Beach, Fla., -10 percent
19. Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz., -10 percent
20. Denver-Aurora, Colo., -12 percent
21. Chicago-Naperville, Ill.-Ind.-Wis., -16 percent
22. St. Louis-St. Charles-Farmington, Mo.-Ill., -18 percent
23. Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton, Pa.-Ohio-W.V., -24 percent
24. Cleveland-Akron-Canton, Ohio, -31 percent
25. Charlotte-Concord, N.C.-S.C., -43 percent

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