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|New York Statistics||Details|
|Density||28,429 people per square mile|
|Average Cost of Car Insurance||$7,415.87|
|Cheapest Insurance Company||Geico|
Look: We know that finding car insurance is difficult. In a perfect world, you’d search for a few hours, get a few quotes, and be done by lunch. But we know that this is often not the case.
Car insurance, by its nature, can be confusing. There are strange acronyms such as GAP and PIP, technical nomenclature such as deductibles and premiums, and rates in a dozen different ways. When researching, you may become frustrated.
We understand. That’s why we’ve put together this guide. It has all you need to know about car insurance in New York City. We’ve got those rates a dozen different ways, a statistical overview of New York itself, factors about driving in NYC, a section for veterans, and much much more.
It’s the essential guide to car insurance in the Big Apple. When you’re finished reading, you’ll have your black belt in car insurance. You’ll be armed with information for when you look for a quote or talk to an agent.
At any point, if you’re ready to compare rates, try out FREE online tool.
Let’s dive in.
The Cost of Car Insurance in New York
Do you hate looking for a quote? If so, you’re in good company. Quote processes, while not difficult inherently, require information that may make you go, “Why are they asking for this?”
- ZIP code
- Commute distances
- Coverage level
- Driving record
In this section, you’ll find answers to that question for all those factors and more. We include rates for all those factors in New York, so you know the average rates for a 60-year-old woman in NYC or someone living in the 10453 ZIP code in the Bronx.
Male vs Female vs Age
Male versus female. Young versus old. Married versus single. All of these factors affect your car insurance rates. Why? Some insurance companies believe that these factors influence how likely you are to file a claim.
Take, for instance, male versus female. Some research, including a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, suggests females are safer drivers than males and less likely to file a claim.
In many states and cities, females, thus, receive lower rates than males. The same logic holds true in New York. Females have an average premium of over $400 lower than males.
- Male: $7,482.13
- Female: $7,049.73
These numbers come from our partner Quadrant, which has the insider track on the insurance industry. All raw numbers about car insurance rates come from it. They are based on actual policies, like yours or mine.
When it comes to age, everyone knows that young drivers might not be the best. They lack the inexperience and are prone to risk-taking behavior. This, especially compared to older drivers. For those reasons, the premiums of young drivers are higher.
In the case of New York, there is a nearly $10,000 difference between the average car insurance rate for a 17-year-old versus a 60-year-old.
|35||60||17||25||Cheapest Rate||Cheapest Age|
Now, there’s married versus single. There’s the perception that married people are more stable in their lives and likely more responsible versus single people. While this may or may not be true, they do receive, generally, lower rates. All mashed up, there’s an $11,500 difference between a 17-year-old single male and a 60-year-old married female.
|Married 35-year old female||$5,144.36|
|Married 35-year old male||$4,988.73|
|Married 60-year old female||$4,681.38|
|Married 60-year old male||$4,722.65|
|Single 17-year old female||$12,988.41|
|Single 17-year old male||$16,247.58|
|Single 25-year old female||$5,384.78|
|Single 25-year old male||$5,699.13|
Females don’t always have the lowest rates, however. In the case of the 35-year-olds, males have better average rates by about $150.
Cheapest ZIP Codes in New York
The Consumer Federation of America found that two neighbors with the exact same demographics and the exact same plan had premiums differing in the hundreds of dollars. Why? It all came down to their ZIP codes.
While this may be unfair, and some people will say discriminatory, insurance companies in almost every state use ZIP codes to help price insurance rates. Their reasons for this stem from the simple premise of the likelihood to file a claim.
In some ZIP codes, there is a higher probability of filing a claim compared to others. Some ZIP codes have higher vehicle theft rates, for instance, or higher incidences of accidents. Insurance companies have data on all of this and price rates accordingly.
In New York, there is a $4,800 difference between the highest-priced ZIP code and the lowest-priced. Search for your ZIP code in the search bar or use the “next” button to move to the next page.
What’s the Best Car Insurance Company in New York?
Wouldn’t it be great if the quote process were simple? If you believe it’s not and become frustrated, we completely understand.
While it seems like the process should be easy as insurance companies want your business, after all, the process can become difficult — especially given the amount of information, some of which technical, that they ask for.
These are just a few of the factors that influence your rates and become essential parts of the quote process. But do you know why they ask for them and what they mean for insurance in New York? We’ve got you covered. Let’s dig a little deeper.
Cheapest Car Insurance Rates by Company
We get it: the price of your car insurance matters.
When searching for car insurance, you might think a company is great. It has great financial ratings, a low number of complaints, and good customer satisfaction. However, if the price is too high, you might go elsewhere.
To this end, we’ve put together this section about the cheapest companies in New York. The difference from top to bottom is about $9,000.
|Group||Married 35-year old female||Married 35-year old male||Married 60-year old female||Married 60-year old male||Single 17-year old female||Single 17-year old male||Single 25-year old female||Single 25-year old male||Average|
It is truly the case where two companies are very disparate from the norm, while most are clustered in the middle.
- The most expensive: Liberty Mutual at $12,600
- In the middle: Allstate, Nationwide, Progressive, State Farm, USAA all between $6,500 and $8,500
- The cheapest: Geico at $3,700
As such, most companies are within 20 percent of the average.
|Group||Average Premiums||Compared to Overall Average (+/-)||Compared to Overall Average (%)|
Liberty Mutual and Geico are, again, the exceptions at 69 percent over and 50 percent under respectively.
Best Car Insurance for Commute Rates
Did you know your commute distance can affect your car insurance rates?
Insurance companies believe that the longer your drive, the more likely you are to get into an accident, get a citation, or otherwise have to file a claim.
Some companies vary their rates by commute distance or annual mileage, and some don’t. In New York, five out of eight do.
|Group||10 miles commute. 6,000 annual mileage.||25 miles commute. 12,000 annual mileage.||Average|
Best Car Insurance for Coverage Level Rates
When going through the quote process, you might have been asked which coverage level you prefer. And that might have raised more questions. We’ve got this.
A coverage level is based on a couple of factors.
- How many types of coverage you have: if you have collision coverage on top of liability, that is a higher coverage level than if you didn’t have a collision.
- The limits on those coverage types: if you have a $100,000 limit on your bodily liability policy, that is a higher coverage level than if you have a $50,000 limit.
Sometimes the difference between a high coverage level and a low coverage level is just a few hundred dollars. Sometimes, it’s in the thousands. In New York, the average difference is $1,139.49.
There are four companies above $1,000 for the difference between their high and low coverages and four below.
- Four above: Allstate ($2,331), Travelers ($1,408.03) Liberty Mutual ($1,320.79), and Nationwide ($1,260.32)
- Four below: Progressive ($902.33), State Farm ($830.79), Geico ($576.02), and USAA ($485.90)
Allstate and USAA have the largest and smallest differences respectively.
Best Car Insurance for Credit History Rates
Your credit history does more than just determine your interest rate on a home loan, whether you’ll be able to rent an apartment, or your ability to be approved for a new credit card.
It affects your car insurance rates too. Why?
Some companies believe that your credit history indicates the likelihood of whether you’ll file a claim. They believe this so much that sometimes rates for having a poor credit history are much higher than rates for getting a single DUI.
In New York, rates with a poor credit history are, on average, $5,000 higher than those with a good credit history.
This is not exact, as Consumer Reports notes that insurance companies don’t use your actual credit score, but it can be a barometer on where you’d stand if you get a quote in New York.
- Good score (670-739): $5,428.09
- Fair score (580-669): $6,520.77
- Poor score (300-579): $10,497.52
For more on that Consumer Reports article, we turn to Good Morning America.
Best Car Insurance for Driving Record Rates
One thing you probably know is that your driving record influences your car insurance rates. But, still, you might not know by how much.
|Group||Clean record||With 1 accident||With 1 DUI||With 1 speeding violation||Average|
Rates can spike as high as $10,000 with one DUI, as seen with Liberty Mutual. With the other infractions, rates might not change at all. Five companies don’t raise rates for one accident, for instance. Overall, one DUI is easily the highest-priced infraction. The infraction with the second-highed price per infraction is a little unusual, however.
|Clean record||With 1 accident||With 1 DUI||With 1 speeding violation||Average|
Averaged all out, one DUI is about $3,300 higher than one speeding ticket and about $3,550 more than one accident. The best company for all three infractions is Geico, with a $4,029.49 average.
Car Insurance Factors in New York
Want to know a secret? Your car insurance rates are determined by more than just those eight factors. There are auxiliary factors as well that influence your car insurance rates.
- Whether you’re a homeowner
- Your level of education
- Your occupation
And there are other factors as well. Your median household income. Whether you’re in poverty or not. The growth and prosperity of your city. Let’s get started.
The growth and prosperity of a city can impact car insurance rates. The more growth and prosperity a city has, and if that raises the average annual wage, people can pay less for car insurance out of their income.
We’ll take a look at this a little closer in the median household income section.
Every year, the Brookings Institute does a Metro Monitor, which is a study analyzing the growth, prosperity, and inclusion of major metro areas around the country For this analysis, we looked at a decade of statistics from 2007 to 2017 for growth and prosperity. New York was ranked highly in both categories.
From 2007 to 2017, New York was ranked 19th in growth.
- Percentage change in jobs: +8.1 percent
- Percentage change in Gross Metropolitan Product: +16.8 percent
- Percentage change in jobs at young firms: +4.1 percent
From 2007 to 2017, New York was ranked 39th in prosperity.
- Percentage change in productivity: +8.1 percent
- Percentage change in standard of living: +10.6 percent
- Percentage change in average annual wage: +.7 percent
The one area that might be surprising is the less than one percent rise in the average annual wage. This is less than other major cities such as Los Angeles and Chicago, and given the cost of living in New York, this stagnation can make things difficult for people living there.
Median Household Income
Although we know that what you pay on car insurance probably matters the most when it comes to your policy, we look at another factor that determines the impact of that premium. We call it premium as a percentage of income (PaPI).
It is essentially the percentage of your income that you’re paying on car insurance. In New York, the median income level is $60,879. The average car insurance premium is $7,415.87. By dividing the latter by the former, we get the PaPI.
In New York, the average person is paying 12.18 percent of their paycheck on car insurance. This is on the upper level compared to other major cities in New York State.
The following information comes from Data USA. It’s an organization of a team of data scientists who put together profiles of cities, states, and counties. The rest of the information in all sections up to Driving in New York comes from it.
|City||Median Income Level||Average Car Insurance Premium||Premium as % of Income|
To find out your PaPI, plug your information into the calculator below.
Homeownership in New York
Whether you’re a homeowner can affect your rates as well.
Aside from being a sign of stability and financial responsibility, a homeowner has access to discounts that renters do not. These discounts can lead to 5-10 percent off your premium.
Unfortunately, there are not many homeowners in New York City. In the Big Apple, the median property value is $609,500. This is in the mid-upper level compared to the metro area, Manhattan, and other areas.
- Manhattan: $915,300
- Metro area: $413,200
- New York State: $293,000
- United States: $193,500
However, possibly due to the price of houses and possibly due to the lack of houses in the city, the rent-to-own percentage is 32.7 percent. This means that just 32.7 percent of houses in New York City are being occupied by their owners.
This is on the mid-lower level for those same areas.
- United States: 63.8 percent
- New York State: 54 percent
- Metro area: 51.9 percent
- Manhattan: 24.1 percent
This means that fewer people have access to homeowners discounts, which means that the average premiums in New York are possibly higher are a result.
Education in New York
Your level of education also affects your car insurance rates. Having a bachelor’s degree or higher can lead to discounts that those without a four-year degree don’t have access to. This can lead to a 5-10 percent reduction on rates like the homeowner’s discounts.
In New York, there are numerous universities. The top three account for over 20 percent of the total degrees earned in New York.
- New York University: 16,758 degrees or 11.3 percent
- Columbia University: 12,707 degrees or 8.59 percent
- CUNY Hunter College: 5,465 degrees or 3.69 percent
The top five degrees are spread out between the social sciences, business, healthcare, and criminal justice.
- General psychology: 4,414 degrees or 7.82 percent
- General business administration & management: 2,680 degrees or 4.75 percent
- Accounting: 2,637 degrees or 4.67 percent
- Registered nursing: 2,370 degrees or 4.2 percent
- Criminal justice – law enforcement and administration: 1,896 degrees or 3.36 percent
This means that many people have access to the education discounts offered by many insurance companies. This can lower rates in the city overall.
Wage by Race & Ethnicity in Common Jobs
Your average annual wage helps determine your premium as a percentage of income. And when aggregated, certain races earn more than others. However, this varies according to the occupation.
Because Data USA did not have wage data local to New York City, the data for this section and the next reflect New York State as a whole.
|Race/Ethnicity||Miscellaneous Managers||Premium as a % of Income||Elementary & Middle School Teachers||Premium as a % of Income||Secretaries & Administrative Assistants||Premium as a % of Income|
|Two or More Races||$110,064||6.74%||$79,445||9.33%||$34,295||21.62%|
Asians earn the highest for miscellaneous managers but are lower when it comes to elementary teachers, middle school teachers, secretaries, and administrative assistants.
The differences in wages can lead to differences in PaPI of between 3 and 6 percent. This negatively impacts some races more than others and leads to a heavier burden in paying for car insurance.
Wage by Gender in Common Jobs
The same holds true for genders, where women earn 79 cents to every dollar men, make according to PayScale. This impacts premium as a percentage of interest and means women carry more burden for paying for car insurance than men.
|Job Category||Male Salary||Premium as % of Income||Female Salary||Premium as % of Income|
|Elementary & Middle School Teachers||$74,583||9.94%||$69,458||10.68%|
The differences in PaPIs for those three jobs is between 0.7 and 3 percent.
Poverty by Age and Gender
Whether you’re in poverty can also affect your rates. Poverty doesn’t just make it difficult to pay for insurance, which affects your mobility but can impact your rates through your ZIP code. This, because many poor neighborhoods have higher rates than affluent neighborhoods.
As is typical with many other cities, males outnumber females in poverty below the age of 18. However, for adults, females outnumber men in poverty significantly.
|Age Bracket||Male Poverty Share||Female Poverty Share|
19.6 percent of individuals living in New York City are under the poverty line. Four of the largest categories belong to women. Those are women between 18 and 54 years old.
Poverty by Race and Ethnicity
Poverty can also vary by race and ethnicity.
For these statistics, we looked at the racial profile of New York City, essentially the different races and their percentages in the population.
Then we looked at poverty share to see which ones are represented more in poverty or represented less.
|Race/Ethnicity||Share of Population||Share of Poverty|
|Hispanic or Latino||29%||22%|
|Black or African American Alone||23%||20.0%|
|Two or More Races||6%||9.5%|
|Some Other Race Alone||2%||2.5%|
|American Indian & Alaska Native Alone||1.0%||negligible|
|Native Hawaiian & Other Pacific Islander Alone||negligble||negligible|
Whites, Hispanics, and blacks are underrepresented. Asians, two or more races, or some other race alone are all overrepresented.
Employment by Occupations
Your occupation also affects your rates. Not only does your occupation determine your income, which determines your PaPI, but insurance companies also offer discounts to people in certain occupations.
Geico, for instance, offers discounts to federal workers. Some insurance companies will offer discounts to teachers, according to some sources.
In New York, there were 4.19 million workers in 2017. That is a 1.75 percent growth from 2016, where there were 4.11 million workers.
The top five occupations are spread out between administrative, management, sales, education, and business.
- Office and administrative support: 503,560 workers or 12 percent
- Management: 426,654 workers or 10.2 percent
- Sales and related occupations: 389,845 workers or 9.31 percent
- Education, training, and library: 257,358 workers or 6.15 percent
- Business and financial operations: 247,729 workers or 5.92 percent
This can all affect PaPI, as people in certain occupations might have different salaries. And those different salaries impact how much they pay for car insurance out of their paycheck.
Driving in New York
Let me guess. You’re probably wondering something big. You might say, “Yes, all of these factors about rates are important. But isn’t there more to car insurance than all of this?”
And you’d be right. There’s more to car insurance than just the quotes and discounts you get. Road conditions, your vehicle, traffic congestion, can call affect your car insurance.
They impact not just the rates that you have. They are circumstantial factors like accidents, tickets, potholes, speed traps, commute times, and more. In this section, we cover all of that. Let’s get to it.
Roads in New York
Imagine this. You’re on your way to I-87, on the way to a major road trip destination near New York. You’re excited, listening to Alicia Keys when suddenly you see a dark shape in the road. You swerve, but it’s too late. Your tire sinks in and pops. Your road trip is going to have to wait.
Road conditions can affect your car insurance rates. The conditions of the roads and highways, how close the road trip destinations are, and whether you get a ticket from a red-light camera can all raise your rates.
These topics are covered here. Let’s keep on fallin’.
There are 13 interstates and state routes running through New York City.
|State Route 27||121|
|State Route 440||13|
|State Route 495||1|
|State Route 878||6|
The tolls are mostly on bridges. Only cash and E-Z Pass are accepted at the toll booths.
Popular Road Trips/Sites
We already know that annual mileage can affect car insurance rates. Fortunately, there are some close road trip destinations, so you don’t have to log in hundreds of miles.
Brandywine Valley, Pa: If you’re into horticulture and into wine, Brandywine Valley might be the perfect trip into the past and something rich that few places have in modern-day society. Drink some wine, check out the amazing mansions, and check out the beautiful gardens. It’s an escape from the claustrophobia of New York City.
Poconos Mountains, N.Y.: If you’re craving something different than the big city and its fast pace, the Poconos Mountains might be the situation you’re needing. It’s a slower pace with outdoor activities like whitewater rafting. There are beautiful mountains, especially during the spring and into the fall.
Atlantic City, N.J.: You like to party. Yes, New York is a great place for that. But then there’s Atlantic City. Complete with casinos, boardwalks, and good, greasy food, Atlantic City is a destination for a weekend or more for some good old-fashioned fun.
Philadelphia: You might ask, “Why visit a big city when I live in a big city?” The answer is that Philadelphia isn’t just any big city. There is history in Philadelphia, as it played a key role in the founding of America. There is great food, good restaurants, and exciting nightlife. The City of Brotherly Love has a different culture and pace than New York City. This can be a good thing.
Road conditions can affect your car insurance rates. While it’s easy to see how much it costs you every year due to maintenance, sometimes more than a popped tire happens. In those cases, you might file a comprehensive insurance claim. And then your rates will rise.
Unfortunately, in New York City, road conditions are considered mediocre. Sixty-nine percent of roads are mediocre are worse, with 46 percent being in poor condition.
|Poor Share||Mediocre Share||Fair Share||Good Share||Vehicle Operating Cost|
This leads to a vehicle operating cost of $719. So, what is a poor condition road? While we may say that we know it when we see it, Edgar Snyder & Associates has some answers.
- Clear zone issues: when there are objects in the middle of the road
- Oil and chip: a temporary resurfacing technique that can become slippery if left too long
- Positive guidance: when the signs are missing or the lines are not drawn correctly
- Shoulder drop-off: when the drop-off to the shoulder is more than two inches
- Wheel ruts: grooves where your tire can get stuck and make it hard to turn
- Work zones: work zones where things like signs and visuals are confusing
- Potholes: holes in the road that can lead to popped tires and accidents
All of these things can lead to accidents or damage to your car, which leads to claims which can raise your rates.
Does New York City Use Speeding or Red-Light Cameras?
For critics of speeding and red-light cameras, the answer is yes to both.
When it comes to speeding cameras, the New York Times reported in July of this year that 2,000 speed cameras were being added to school zones and residential neighborhoods.
The speed cameras operate from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Friday. The initial violation is a $50 fine if the vehicle is going more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.
When it comes to red-light cameras, New York has the second-highest number of red-light cameras of any major city in America (the top is Chicago). An infraction is $50 and doesn’t go on a person’s record.
The NYC Department of Finance has some facts about red light cameras on its website.
- Regardless of who was driving, the owner of the car is responsible for the ticket.
- Once the light turns red, the camera is automatically activated by sensors picking up the vehicle crossing over the crosswalk line.
You can view the evidence against you by logging on to the website printed on the notice of violation.
Proponents of these cameras say that they make the city safer and reduce fatalities. Critics say that these cameras are simply a money grab by the city. The debate rages on.
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Vehicles in New York
You might be wondering, “Why are they including a section about vehicles in a car insurance guide?”
The answer is simple. Your vehicle influences your car insurance rates. How new it is, how many technological features it has, whether you own more than one, how likely it is to be stolen, are all factors in your car insurance rates.
In this section, we cover all that and include sections about not having a car and speed traps. Let’s get rolling.
Most Popular Vehicles Owned
In 2016, YourMechanic did a study analyzing which cars were most popular in major metro areas around the country. They used data from their own repair shops. How many cars that came in were America-made or were hybrids.
NYC was listed in all the categories except for one.
- Percentage of cars serviced that are American-made: 31 percent
- Most unusually popular car: BMW 328i
- Percentage of cars serviced that are hybrids: .7 percent
- Percentage of cars serviced that have V8 engines: 10.3 percent
- Percentage of cars serviced that are Suburus: 1.5 percent
That one was the Porsche index. It’s important to note that some cars in these categories have higher rates than others.
Electric cars, for instance, have components that are more difficult to find. And they require specialized knowledge to repair them. This leads to higher rates. American-made cars or muscle cars maybe not as much.
To learn more, read our article about vehicle make and models and insurance rates.
How Many Cars Per Household
In most cities around the country, the majority of people own two cars, followed by three cars, then one car. New York, however, is different, both in terms of environment and public transportation system. As such, most people own zero or one car.
This, according to Data USA.
|Number of Cars||New York Share||United States Share|
Seventy-nine percent of people own zero or one car. Just 0.6 percent own five or more.
Household Without a Car
Our data shows roughly the same statistics. Fifty-five percent of people don’t own vehicles.
|2015 Households without Vehicles||2016 Households without Vehicles||2015 Vehicles per Household||2016 Vehicles per Household|
The vehicle rate per household is 0.6. While typically not having a vehicle poses mobility challenges, New York has the largest public transportation system in the country. That makes not owning a car not only easier but possibly more profitable.
Speed Traps in Your City
Don’t like those pesky speed traps. We’ve got you covered.
SpeedTrap.org is a website founded at least two decades ago that allows users to submit speed traps they have heard of or encountered personally. The submissions are then upvoted or discredited by fellow users.
While some major cities have over 100 speed traps submitted, New York City has just 42. The most recent is between 2015 and 2017.
- First Ave @23rd Street: Cop will sit in his somewhat unmarked car in the East 23rd St lane and goes after anyone who goes through the upcoming red light arrow turning west onto 23rd St. He makes a u-turn to catch you.
- 66th Street Transverse: Heading westbound through the transverse officers are near the end on the left using Laser (Lidar) on unsuspecting drivers. This happened to me early in the morning before the traffic started to build up.
- Just past Van Dam Street exit on the L.I.E. (I-495) West: On random days, there is a highway car sitting on the right shoulder using perhaps LIDAR. Traffic usually backs up on the L.I.E. going west until the last exit ( Van Dam Street), and since many cars exit at that point, traffic becomes much lighter, and cars tend to pick up speed.
The speed traps are somewhat dated, but often cities don’t change much. And the speed traps don’t change either.
Vehicle Theft in New York
Vehicle theft is stressful, even if you’re not in the car. This information comes from NeighborhoodScout. It uses data from over 18,000 law enforcement agencies around the country to put together crime profiles of cities.
Each borough has different crime statistics. For this study, we looked at Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island, and Queens. We’ll compare those to New York State and the United States as a whole.
For the motor vehicle theft rate, the Bronx is higher than the rest of the boroughs and New York State. All five boroughs and New York State have lower motor vehicle theft rates than the U.S. rate as a whole.
|Area||Motor Vehicle Theft (Total)||Motor Vehicle Theft Rate|
|New York State||13,410||0.68|
Three of the New York City boroughs have higher total crime rates than New York State at-large.
|Area||Violent||Violent Rate||Property||Property Rate||Total||Total Rate|
|Staten Island||2,062||4.30|| |
|New York State||70,799||3.57||300,555||15.14||371,354||18.71|
Murder rates and rape rates are lower in NYC compared to the nationwide rates with the exception of the Bronx. Robbery rates and assault rates are higher.
|Area||Murder (Total)||Murder Rate||Rape (Total)||Rape Rate||Robbery (Total)||Robbery Rate||Assault (Total)||Assault Rate|
|New York State||548||0.03||6,324||0.32||20,108||1.01||43,819||2.21|
The New York City crime rates, while elevated in some boroughs compared to the U.S. rates, are still much lower than the rates in Los Angeles and Chicago, two of the other three most populous cities in the United States.
In addition, if you’re concerned about vehicle theft, there are some tools you that may help prevent it
Picture this. You’re driving on your way to work, enjoying the music of Run D.M.C., thinking you’re going to make it to work on time, but as you pull out onto the first arterial road, you hit the first wall of traffic. Now there’s no way you’re going to make that morning meeting.
You might wonder what traffic has to do with car insurance. But it matters a great deal. Traffic can cause accidents, likely by bad drivers, some of which every city has. We cover those topics in this section, along with commute times, how people get to work, ridesharing, and more.
Let’s jump right in.
New York is known for some of the worst traffic in the country. For this study, we looked at two different traffic indexes called INRIX and TomTom. These are global traffic indexes in that they judge traffic for cities all across the world.
INRIX rated New York’s traffic 40th-worst in the world. It made this decision based on at least these three statistics.
- Driving time spent in congestion (2018): 133 hours per driver
- Inner-city last-mile speed: nine miles per hour
- Cost of congestion per driver: $1,859
TomTom ranked New York’s traffic 42nd-worst in the world. They did this by looking at 8.4 billion kilometers worth of road and came up with statistics like the best day for traffic and evening peak congestion.
- The best day for traffic: December 25
- The worst day for traffic: November 15
- Highway congestion level: 36 percent
- Non-highway congestion level: 36 percent
Morning peak congestion was 55 percent, with 17 minutes added to a regular 30-minute commute. Evening peak congestion was 69 percent, with 21 minutes added to a regular 30-minute commute.
With all the traffic, it’s naturally expected that commute times would be high compared to the rest of the country. In NYC, the average commute time is 40 minutes, much higher than the U.S. average of 25.5.
This data comes from Data USA.
|Commute Time (minutes)||New York Share||United States Share|
Most people get to work by public transit, which is much different than most of the rest of the United States. Compared to national averages, a smaller percentage of New Yorkers drove to work alone and more walked.
- Public transit: 55.8 percent
- Drove alone: 22.3 percent
- Walked: 10.1 percent
- Carpooled: 4.43 percent
- Worked at home: 3.88 percent
This reflects New York’s landscape in terms of geography and density of people.
Still, that doesn’t stop New York from having some of the busiest highways. According to the Federal Highway Administration, New York has three interstates with 12 or more lanes.
- I-95: 14 lanes
- I-287: 13 lanes
- I-78: 12 lanes
These serve the largest metropolitan area in the country, with over 20 million people.
How safe are New York’s streets and roads?
Although this is a grim topic, it is an important topic in car insurance. Fatal and serious accidents, while tragic, can raise car insurance rates. There are some states that have sky-high insurance premiums because of issues related to serious accidents.
This information comes from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s State Crash Report. In it, all five boroughs of New York City are covered for nine topics.
For total fatalities over a period of 2013 to 2017, Queens and Brooklyn have the most fatalities. This starts a general trend where those are one and two overall for all categories.
|Total Fatalities |
Total fatalities for all five boroughs is 1,123. When it comes to alcohol-impaired fatalities, the fatality count year-by-year is consistent for all five boroughs.
Staten Island has the lowest fatalities of any borough, which starts a trend where it has the lowest fatalities in all but two categories.
Single-vehicle fatalities decreased for the five year period overall for all five boroughs.
|Single Vehicle Fatalities||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017||Total|
Speeding fatalities decreased as well, from 60 fatalities to 33 fatalities.
Queens has over 40 percent of all roadway-departure fatalities.
|Roadway Departure Fatalities||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017||Total|
While four out of the five boroughs decreased in terms of intersection-related fatalities, Queens had an increase in fatalities. Still, it was only second overall, with Brooklyn having 10 more over the five-year period.
Passenger car fatalities decreased by over 50 percent in the five-year period.
|Passenger Car Related Fatalities||2013||2014||2015||2016||2017||Total|
There are more pedestrian fatalities than for alcohol-impaired, speeding, roadway departures, and passenger car categories.
Pedal-cyclist fatalities decreased like all of the categories.
In New York State, like many other states, most motor vehicle accidents happen on arterial roads rather than highways. Arterial roads are streets that move large numbers of people from different places in the city, usually at a fast pace.
They tend to involve numerous driving demands such as drivers merging into the street, right-hand turns, left-hand turns, and intersections. This information comes from the NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
There were just three railway incidents in New York City from 2012 to 2016. Two were in Queens and one was in the Bronx. This information comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
|Highway User Speed||Calendar Year||County||Highway||Highway User Type||Rail Equipment Type||Non-Suicide Fatality||Non-Suicide Injury|
|0||2012||QUEENS||LITTLE NECK PARKWAY||Pedestrian||D||1||0|
|10||2015||QUEENS||MASPETH AVENUE||Truck-trailer||Freight Train||0||1|
|10||2016||BRONX||AVENUE C||Pick-up truck||Light Loco(s)||0||0|
Traffic fatalities in New York City reflect the unique landscape of the Big Apple. There are more pedestrian fatalities than a few of the categories, which makes sense, as most New Yorkers don’t use a car and are on foot to and from work.
Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report
Bad drivers can impact your car insurance rates. They cause accidents, traffic jams, and sometimes lead to difficulties on the road. How can someone measure this, however?
Every year, Allstate does a Best Drivers Report that analyzes drivers in 200 cities across the country. It does this by looking at how many claims the residents of a city file and the number of hard-braking incidents the drivers have, among other factors.
New York is ranked 111th in the country in 2019, down from 107th in 2018.
|Average Years Between Claims||2019 Best Drivers Report Ranking||Change in|
2018 to 2019
|Hard-Braking Incidents per 1,000 miles|
New Yorkers file claims about 1.5 years quicker than the average American and about 12 more hard-braking incidents per 1,000 miles.
If you’re in New York and don’t want to drive and need to get somewhere quickly, you might try ridesharing services.
While they are controversial in New York as they threaten the taxicab industry, they are still a good way to get around and sometimes cheaper than a taxi.
To determine which ridesharing services are active in New York and how much they cost, we turned to Ride Guru. We took a hypothetical trip from JFK to Yankee Stadium. It’s 20.9 miles and took 50 minutes. There are numerous ridesharing options.
- Carmel: Regular $50 | DX $65 | LX $65
- Arro: $65
- Taxi: $67
- Curb: $69
- Lyft: Regular $70 | Lux $115
- Uber: X $70 | Black $114
All are very expensive. However, it is a long-distance and takes a little bit of time.
E-star Repair Shops
If you get into an accident, one of the questions you’ll have is, “Where can I get my car repaired?” After all, different insurance companies often have partner repair shops.
If you purchased insurance through Esurance, you have the option of using its E-star repair program. This pairs you with high-quality facilities that are environmentally friendly and adhere to EPA standards.
There are 70 within 50 miles of New York City.
|Name of Facility||Address||Contact Information|
|AUTO CARE EAST INC.||243 E 94TH ST|
NEW YORK NY 10128
P: (212) 988-1515
F: (212) 369-4657
|RAY MEES AUTO COACH, INC.||7718 TONNELLE AVE|
NORTH BERGEN NJ 07047
P: (201) 869-2286
F: (201) 869-1072
|FORT LEE ROAD AUTO BODY||237 FORT LEE RD|
TEANECK NJ 07666
P: (201) 836-0752
F: (201) 692-0415
|SERNIO'S AUTO BODY INC.||896 COMMUNIPAW AVE|
JERSEY CITY NJ 07304
P: (201) 795-1673
F: (201) 795-4093
|LYNDHURST AUTO BODY LLC||111 PARK AVE|
LYNDHURST NJ 07071
P: (201) 939-2133
F: (201) 935-4179
|S.O.S. AUTO BODY, INC.||95-20 98TH STREET|
OZONE PARK NY 11416
P: (718) 641-5909
F: (718) 641-3699
|BERGEN BROOKSIDE AUTO BODY,INC.||83 ZABRISKIE ST|
HACKENSACK NJ 07601
P: (201) 342-8253
F: (201) 342-7022
|DELTA COLLISION||529 EAST 84TH STREET|
BROOKLYN NY 11236
P: (718) 444-7266
F: (718) 209-1742
|MAIN AUTO BODY||650 OUTWATER LN|
LODI NJ 07644
P: (973) 340-9884
F: (973) 340-2343
|NEWARK AUTOBODY & SERVICE||589 FERRY ST|
NEWARK NJ 07105
P: (973) 589-3135
F: (973) 589-0167
While New York is in the northern portion of the country, it has a humid subtropical with the winds of the Atlantic Ocean buffering the cold air from the Appalachian mountains.
This makes winters cold but damp with springs and summers ranging from chilly to cold. The temperature facts reflect this. New York has an average temperature of 55 degrees, with highs and lows just seven temperature degrees from that.
This data comes from U.S. Climate Data.
There are around 224 days of sunshine, which is a little above the U.S. average of 205.
|Average Days with Sunshine||224 days|
|Average Annual Rainfall||46.23 inch|
|Days per Year with Rainfall||121 days|
There are 46 inches of rainfall each year, with snowfall varying considerably year to year.
New York is a very large city, and not many people drive to get around. Therefore, New York must be one of the largest and most comprehensive public transit networks in the world.
And although this is just a supposition, it bears true. The New York public transit system moves millions of people around each day throughout each of the five boroughs. It is made up of four key parts, although there are others like helicopters and trams.
Those are the subway, bus, commuter rail, and ferry.
New York’s subway system is iconic, and perhaps it should be so. It is one of the largest subway systems in the world, with 472 subway stations spread across 36 lines. It is also one of the busiest, serving 1.68 billion passenger rides every year.
The subway system is also open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which is different compared to some other subway systems around the world.
You can use cash, credit, or MetroCards for the New York subway system. MetroCards are a reloadable card that is for use across different public transit networks in New York City.
The base pay-per-ride fare is $2.75 with options for seven-day passes at $33 and 30-day passes at $127.
There are around 6,000 buses in New York City spread across 322 routes.
Like the subway service, the bus system reaches all five boroughs, and offers both regular buses and express buses, the later for passengers wanting to reach their destination quicker.
Also, like the subway system, single-ride fares are $2.75. Express buses are $6.75 for a single ride, with seven-day passes for $62.
The bus system accepts MetroCard and cash. The cash needs to be exact change and in coins.
By Commuter Rail
New York has one of the largest passenger rail systems in North America and serves the outer suburbs and other hard to reach places like Staten Island. Tickets can be purchased at train stations and beforehand at online ticket sites like eTix.
New York is a waterfront city, and as such different boroughs and islands are separated from each other by water. Therefore, New York, in addition to subways and buses, has ferries to move people from borough to borough or to islands.
The ferry costs for NYC Ferry are $2.75 for a one-way trip and $121 for a 30-day pass. It is free to ride the Staten Island Ferry, and the fares for the NY Waterway vary, including $83 for a 10-trip pass.
Earlier this summer, NYC finally allowed companies like Bird and Lime to operate in the city. One of the largest concerns was that electric scooters would cause increased congestion in one of the already most-crowded cities in the world.
As such, scooters are allowed in four of the five boroughs in New York City but not in Manhattan.
Although there is not a clear view of rates, generally, electric scooter companies charge $1 to unlock a scooter and a certain amount for a certain amount of distance that the scooter is ridden.
Parking in Metro Areas
As the NYC Parking Authority writes, “Parking in Downtown Manhattan can be quite a difficult task. The crowded narrow streets were not designed for cars and now the dense population makes for limited spots.”
However, it can be done. Generally, the perimeter of the island is better for street parking, as there are fewer restrictions. The NYC Parking Authority also has a couple of notes on metered parking in NYC.
Metered parking is $3.50 or 50 cents per 10 minutes Monday through Saturday. Generally, meters are free on Sunday, but pay attention to all signs and restrictions.
Meters generally end at 7 p.m. but, again, pay attention to signs and restrictions.
Air Quality in New York
Every year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) does an Air Quality Index Report analyzing the air quality in major metro areas across the country. The EPA lists six contaminants on its website that can be found in the air.
- Particulate matter
- Ground-level ozone
- Carbon monoxide
- Sulfur dioxide
- Nitrogen dioxide
Most days in New York are in the moderate category with 20 to 30 days in the unhealthy categories.
|YEAR||DAYS WITH AQI||GOOD DAYS||MODERATE DAYS||UNHEALTHY DAYS FOR SENSITIVE GROUPS||UNHEALTHY DAYS||VERY UNHEALTHY DAYS|
There are around 150 days each year.
New York is all committed to reducing emissions, with Mayor de Blasio signing a bill to reduce greenhouse emissions by 30 percent by 2030. This includes retrofitting buildings and expanding renewable energy.
Listen: We know that being a service member is difficult. The long hours, the possibility of deployment, being moved around, even year to year, is draining emotionally. Do you know what shouldn’t be difficult? Finding car insurance.
That’s why we’ve put together this section, to cover all things military in New York City. We’ve got veterans by service period, the closest military base, military discounts by major providers, and USAA rates compared to other companies in New York State.
Let’s fire away.
Veterans by Service Period
This data comes from Data USA. There are a higher number of World War II and Korean War veterans in New York City than the nationwide averages.
|Service Period||New York Share||United States Share|
|World War II||9%||4%|
|First Gulf War||13.5%||19%|
|Second Gulf War||24%||25%|
There is a lower percentage of Vietnam and Gulf War veterans.
Military Bases Within One Hour
New York City has just one military base, and it’s nestled in a suburban neighborhood in Brooklyn. Fort Hamiton has been around since the 18th century when it fired cannons at an approaching British naval convoy in 1776 during the American Revolutionary War.
Today, it provides support for the Army National Guard and the United States Army Reserve.
Military Discounts by Provider
Some of the major insurance providers offer military discounts. In New York, four of them do, with one company hoping to have one soon.
- Allstate: No additional details
- Geico: Must be active or retired
- Liberty Mutual: Must be active
- Nationwide: Hoping to have one soon
- State Farm: Only in select states
Then, of course, there is USAA.
USAA is one of the strongest insurance companies out of the top 10.
It’s listed number five in overall premiums written, even though it has a limited customer base. It has strong financial ratings, good customer satisfaction, and generally the lowest rates.
How does USAA stack against the other top companies in New York?
|Group||Average Premium||Difference (+/-)||Difference (%)|
It has the second-lowest rates overall compared to the other top companies, a full 12 percent and $520 below the average. It is $2,800 below the most expensive competitor in Liberty Mutual.
Unique City Laws
Every city has unique laws. Here are four categories that affect nearly everyone in New York.
In New York, it is illegal to use a handheld electronic device while driving. This includes cell phones, laptops, and gaming devices. The specific law has specific language relating to specific activities.
- Talking on a handheld mobile device, such as a cell phone
- Composing, sending, reading, accessing, browsing, transmitting, saving, or retrieving electronic data such as emails, text messages, or websites
- Viewing, taking, or transmitting images
- Playing games
All of this, according to the New York State’s Department of Motor Vehicles.
The government of New York City has two full guides for people looking to become mobile food vendors, whether pushcart or in food trucks.
Some regulations include parts about food, solid and liquid waste, and hot and cold food storage.
- Food shall be obtained from approved sources operating pursuant to licenses or permits issued by federal, state or local regulatory agencies.
- Solid and liquid waste shall not be discarded on public streets or sidewalks or in a public litter basket placed on the streets by the Department of Sanitation, or any other person or entity.
- Sufficient hot and cold storage facilities shall be provided and used to maintain potentially hazardous foods
According to Tiny House Society, New York, as a state, is not particularly tiny house friendly.
It is possible to make a tiny house on wheels, but there are issues with finding a legal place to park it. You’ll have better luck getting away from the bigger cities to use it under the radar.
The New York City Department of Transportation has a full page devoted to parking regulations, including an interactive map that shows all the different parking signs in one area.
New York Car Insurance FAQs
Every city has frequently asked questions about car insurance. Here are nine for the Big Apple.
What are the minimum car insurance requirements in New York City?
New York has unusual car insurance requirements. It might be written as 25/50/10 but with doubled amounts for death instead of injury.
That is $25,000 for the injuries of one person, $50,000 for the death of one person, $50,000 for the injuries of more than one person, $100,000 for the injuries or death of more than one person, and $10,000 for property damage. You’ll also need personal injury protection and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverages.
What happens if I get into an accident in New York City?
New York is considered a no-fault state. This means that if you get into an accident, you’ll seek damages from your own insurance company, even if you were not at fault.
This includes lost wages and reimbursement for medical bills, depending on what kind of insurance you have. You can sue the other driver only if you were not at fault and if you cross the “no-fault threshold,” which means you have a serious injury.
What do I do if I’m a high-risk driver in New York City?
If you’ve gotten a DUI, received too many serious speeding tickets, or been caught driving without insurance, you might be labeled a high-risk driver. If you have been, you might be required to get an SR-22. An SR-22 is a certificate of insurance purchased through an insurance company that basically states you have insurance.
If you’re denied by insurance companies, you can always try the New York Automobile Insurance Plan. It’s a last-ditch market for high-risk drivers.
I don’t drive. Do I need insurance in New York City?
The quick answer would be no. After all, there’s a massive transportation network in which you can get around almost anywhere. However, if you’re ever planning to drive, you will need to be insured. One insurance type you can get is called non-owner car insurance.
This insurance works when you drive another person’s car. Generally, it’s much cheaper than regular insurance and is only used as a supplement to the insurance of the car’s owner in an accident.
In New York City, rideshare companies are regulated by the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC). The TLC has stated that rideshare drivers must have more than personal insurance or rideshare insurance. They need commercial insurance with minimum insurance requirements of $100,000 per person, $300,000 per accident, and $200,000 for personal injury protection.
My rates are too high in New York City. What can I do to lower them?
There are two ways to lower rates quickly and relatively painlessly. The first is to talk to your insurance company about discounts. Generally, top insurance companies offer at least 30 to 35 discounts, sometimes up to 10 or more percent of your premium.
The other possibility is to sign up for a telematics program. Most top insurance companies offer an app that can monitor your driving behavior and lower rates depending on how safely you drive. Those are two quick avenues to lower your rates.
How do I file a complaint against a car insurance company in New York City?
In New York, if you want to file a complaint against an insurance company, you can do so through the New York State Department of Financial Services. It goes through an online system, which allows you to check the statuses of your prior complaints or to add information to prior complaints as well if you need to.
Which car insurance companies are the financially strongest in New York City?
The three financially strongest companies in car insurance are Geico, State Farm, and USAA. Each receives some of the highest ratings for A.M. Best, Moody’s, Standard & Poor’s, and Fitch Ratings. This means that they are unlikely to default on loans, have a good asset to debt ratio, and a good income stream from premiums.
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