Updated on 06.20.16

Car Insurance in Connecticut

Kailey Fralick

I saved $1,400 on my premium in less than 30 minutes.

Are you happy with your car insurance premium? Odds are, you’re not overly excited about it.Connecticut’s high population density and affluent residents drive the state’s auto insurance premiums up nearly 16 percent above the national average. Here’s the thing: You don’t have to settle for higher-than-average rates. There’s a chance you can save hundreds of dollars every year, and all it takes is a little bit of research.

Take me for instance: I got quotes for the state’s minimum coverage from five top insurers and found out I could save nearly $1,400 a year by choosing the right company. GEICO offered the best car insurance rate for my lifestyle at $291 a year, while Progressive, Amica, and the rest almost quadrupled that rate. Don’t go signing up for a new policy based on my results, Rates are determined on a ton of personal information. And on top of that. every insurer weighs these factors slightly differently. So the only way to find the right policy for you is to hit the dirt and get some quotes — and I’d recommend at least five.

You’ll be able to get most quotes online and those should take five minutes or less. If you have to call for a quote, expect that to add 10 minutes to the process (unless you get put on hold, of course). Most of the information you’ll need will already be committed to memory, but if you don’t know your average annual mileage or the details of any accidents from the past five years, look that up before getting started.

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The Simple Dollar’s 5 Picks for Connecticut Car Insurance

I got quotes from these five companies because they all earned “excellent” or “superior” ratings from A.M. Best, a top financial strength rating agency, which tells you they’ll have the money to pay out when you need them to. They also earned high marks in the latest J.D. Power auto insurance customer satisfaction survey for the New England region. Trust me: In the event of an accident, you’ll appreciate a company that makes the claims process as simple as possible. Otherwise, your headache is going to get a whole lot worse.

Insurer My quote
GEICO $291
Allstate $528
Progressive $638
Amica $1,047
Liberty Mutual $1,678

Upon comparing my options, GEICO was the cheapest at $291. My next closest quote was Allstate at $528 — a $237 difference! And even Allstate’s rate was much more affordable than what Liberty Mutual wanted to charge me for minimum coverage. For that price, I could purchase significantly higher coverage limits with GEICO, plus optional coverages like collision and comprehensive protection.

And by the way, I’d highly recommend opting for better coverage. It can seriously pay off in the long run.

It’s best to shop for a new policy every couple of years

Think that car insurance companies only care about your “risk” factor? Think again. Nowadays, insurance providers analyze a whole bunch of personal data (like your credit score, online shopping habits, and even your social media activity) to estimate your tolerance for price changes. This practice is called price optimization, and it could be costing you a great deal of money.

According to Earnix, 45 percent of large insurance companies use this information to predict how likely you are to leave if they raise your rates. If they feel like you’re complacent, well, expect them to take advantage of you. That’s why it’s best to shop for a new policy every year or two. Not only will it help you make sure you have the best deal possible; it will prevent you from being gouged. When insurance companies know you’ll jump ship if you get a better offer, they’re much more likely to offer you a competitive rate.

Fortunately, Connecticut banned this controversial practice in December 2015, stating that it was in violation of state law and unfairly discriminated against certain consumers. Insurance companies had 60 days to revise their pricing models to exclude non-risk-related factors or risk disciplinary action. If you purchased your current insurance before February 2016, it may be worth getting some new quotes to see if you can find a better rate. And if you’ve noticed a mysterious increase to your bill, take it up with you agent. Demand an explanation. If it sounds fishy, threaten to leave. It’s your money, and there are plenty of other companies who would love your business.

Connecticut’s Minimum Coverage

The Bare Minimum

Connecticut requires its residents to carry $20,000 of bodily injury coverage per person and $40,000 per accident, plus $10,000 of property damage coverage. Connecticut is one of the few states that requires uninsured motorist coverage as well. This coverage pay for medical bills and property damages when you’re hit by an uninsured driver. It carries the same $20,000/$40,000 minimums as the liability coverage.

It’s Worth It to Get Additional Coverage

Minimum coverage seems cheaper, but is it really? Consider this:

  • The average driver will get into an accident every 17.9 years.
  • The average cost of a disabling, nonfatal injury is $80,700.

If I have the minimum coverage and I cause an accident that leads to an $80,000 injury, my insurance will pay their $20,000 and leave me to cover the rest. I’ll have to drain my savings account and even that won’t be enough to pay for the full cost of the damages. That’s a situation I’d rather not end up in, so I’d purchase more coverage up front.

Raising my coverage limits to $100,000/$200,000/$50,000 would cost $97 more per year with GEICO. That seems like a lot, but it only comes out to an extra $8 a month. It’s worth it to me because then, in the accident scenario above, my insurance would cover the whole thing.

You may also want to think about adding vehicle protection. If you have a lease or loan on your vehicle, your lender will likely require collision and comprehensive coverage to ensure they’ll get their money back even if something happens to your car. Collision coverage pays for auto repairs following an accident with another vehicle while comprehensive coverage takes care of damages due to natural disasters, theft, or vandalism. Even if you’re not required to have this coverage, it’s often a worthwhile investment, particularly if you have a newer car. Auto repairs can get expensive quickly and it’s easier to budget a few extra dollars a month for your insurance premium than it is to save thousands of dollars to cover unforeseen damages.

If You Skip Coverage, It’ll Cost You

Driving without insurance will cost you at least $200, plus possible suspension of your vehicle registration. You won’t be able to renew your vehicle registration until you pay the fine and provide proof of current insurance.

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Beat the Average Cost

There are dozens of factors influencing your rates, but there’s also a lot you can do to lower them. Moving to a cheaper area is one way (check out the average premiums in 12 major cities below). Most people aren’t going to do anything that extreme, however. But little things like limiting how often you drive or improving your credit score can also make a big difference. I always pay my premiums in full, which earns me a nice discount with most insurers.

Nine Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance Rates

FAQs

Why are Connecticut’s rates so high?

What to Expect
Average Monthly Premiums
United States $139
Connecticut $161
Danbury $134
Norwalk $136
Bristol $139
Stamford $140
Meriden $143
New Britain $145
Milford $148
West Haven $161
Waterbury $168
Hartford $171
Bridgeport $171
New Haven $174
Source Quadrant

It’s hard to tell exactly why Connecticut’s rates are so hefty, but if one thing’s for sure, is that the state’s urban population doesn’t help. The higher the population density, the higher chance of accidents, theft, and vandalism. Auto repair costs and medical care are also more expensive in urban areas, which means insurers have to pay out more for a claim in Connecticut than they would in Wyoming, for example. In fact, Connecticut’s average cost for a check-engine-light repair ($436) is the fourth most expensive in the nation.

The state’s affluence also contributes to the higher-than-average premiums. People with more money are likely to purchase higher coverage limits and more expensive vehicles, and that’s going to increase the state average. And if you hit one of those expensive cars, the property damages are likely to be very high. Insurance providers know this, and adjust their base pricing accordingly.

The Bottom Line

The only way to find your best auto insurance price is to get quotes from several companies and compare their rates and coverages. It doesn’t take a lot of time and it could save you a considerable amount of money, so it’s definitely worth it. And if you can, go with more than just the minimum coverage. The additional monthly cost to you is nothing compared to the thousands of dollars in damages you could be responsible for if you cause an accident down the road.

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Enter your zip code to compare rates from some of my top recommendations.

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