Car Insurance in Utah

I found $422 in savings in 40 minutes.

Utah is well known for being the holy grail of beautiful drives, and with a statewide average premium of $1,121, it’s one of the more affordable states in the country in terms of car insurance. What’s even better is that with some diligent shopping, you could find yourself saving even more.

I ventured out to find the most economic coverage the state had to offer, covering the bases of minimum coverage with a few small necessary add-ons. In just 40 minutes of scouring the web and making a few phone calls, I found over $400 in savings savings, undercutting my already cheap average premium. Although your quotes are sure to vary, I found quite a varied range, from local outfit Bear River’s $572 offer to American Family’s $994 quote. I was pleased to find that even my most expensive quote was actually below the state’s average.

When it comes time for you to shop for your own policy, it’s key to remember that every little factor imaginable has an effect on the way a quote is calculated. Everything from your zip code, to your age, to your credit score can seriously alter the quote you receive. Needless to say, I can’t say whether you’ll find similar rates with either Bear River or American Family — it’s impossible to predict. In the (somewhat altered) words of Smokey Bear, only you can prevent paying more than you have to for car insurance.

In my research, I gathered the quotes with a combination of online tools and some fairly tedious phone calls. On average, the online forms took around 8 minutes to complete, while the phone calls rode closer to 20 minutes. As boring as it can seem, If you’re looking to purchase a policy, this is time well spent.

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Our Top 5 Picks for the Best Car Insurance in Utah

The following five companies meet all my criteria for customer service and financial stability, and I’d recommend them to anyone in Utah.

Insurer My quote
Bear River $572
Geico $630
State Farm $846
The Hartford $906
American Family $994

These companies stood out because of their customer support, financial rating, and financial stability. Each of them, other than Bear River which was too small for consideration, have an “average” (or higher) JD Power rating in the Southwest region, as well as a favorable rating from A.M. Best. JD Power conducts incredibly thorough customer service satisfaction surveys while A.M. Best takes a look at insurance companies’ financial viability to help you find the company that will have your back if the unthinkable should happen.

I was intrigued to find that Bear River offered me the best car insurance quote of $572 — and GEICO was the only big-league provider to come within $100 of it. As a general rule of thumb, the more localized a company is, the higher quality their customer service is. So even though Bear River isn’t rated, I’m going to pick them. My recommendation is to stick with a more affordable company like Bear River and put your saved money into better coverage, rather than paying more for a similar policy. After all, you (hopefully) won’t be dealing with your insurance company on a regular basis.

Earlier this year I experienced the unthinkable; I totaled my car on the open highway. I managed to walk out of the event with only minor scratches, but the lesson I learned was far more impactful: Attention to customer satisfaction is of the utmost importance. My court dates were zero fun, and the process of replacing my car was (you guessed it) also not very fun. However, I can attest to just how horrible the situation could have been if my provider decided to become stubborn and hold back on me. So if one day you find yourself in my shoes — that is, walking away from your now ruined vehicle buried in a ditch — you surely don’t want to wind up dealing with obstinate insurance company on the other side.

Even If You’re Happy, It’s Best to Shop for a New Policy Every Couple of Years

Car insurance companies don’t calculate premiums on your level of risk alone; they also consider how much money you’re comfortable paying. This technique is called price optimization, and as you may have expected, it’s caused a bunch of controversy over the past few years. Bob Hunter, the director of insurance for the Consumer Federation of America, simply calls it what it is: “profit maximization.”

A study by Earnix found that 45 percent of large insurance companies analyze a range of your personal data (like credit scores, web shopping habits, and social media activity) with an algorithm that decides how likely you are to look for better deals. But not only that, these companies use that information to gauge how much cash you’re comfortably spending. And if they think they can get away with more than you’re already paying, they’ll take advantage of you.

Sorry Allstate, but company loyalty may not necessarily be the name of the game. In fact, it’s safe to say that loyalty to your provider can actually do you more harm than good. The reality of the situation is that to say “thanks for sticking around,” many auto insurers are upping your rates for no reason, and masking it with a less valuable good driver discount (or something of the sort).

The smart customer shops around for a shiny new policy every one or two years. This is an excellent way to keep insurers more on their toes and less on their analytics. In the same way they’re privy to your personal information, they’re also aware of when you look for better policies. So by doing so, you won’t be marked by the algorithms as someone who will be complacent with paying more. While price optimization is a touchy and controversial subject, no company wants to lose your as their customer. Frequently keeping an eye out for a better policy is the best way to keep the competitive pricing flowing for your insurer.

As of 2015, fifteen different states (not including Utah) have answered a call by the Consumer Federation of America to speak out against and price optimization and enforce new regulations. Those opposed to the movement are claiming that said regulations are too vague and might actually hurt the consumer. Michael Barry, I.I.I.’s vice president of media relations even went so far as to dismiss the idea that price optimization is even a problem: “The short answer for us [insurance agencies] is that all the rating factors are based on risk,” said Michael Barry, I.I.I.’s vice president of media relations. Insurance is a heavily regulated industry and anyone who tries to incorporate a rating factor that’s not approved into their application is going to be told to remove it.”

So what can you do about it? First, if you have noticed any weird or unwarranted price increases in your own premium, call your agent and ask if they’re using price optimization tactics and let them know you’re considering switching insurers. Second, hop on the Consumer Federation of America’s bandwagon and send your thoughts to Todd Kiser, your insurance commissioner.

Utah’s Minimum Coverage

The Bare Minimum

The quotes I got were for the most basic level of coverage required in the purchase of insurance in Utah; $25,000 for bodily injury per person, $60,000 for total bodily injury for all involved, and $15,000 for property damage, or a 25/60/15 plan. You can also sign up for $80,000 total coverage.

The Best Car Insurance is Not Just Cheap Car Insurance

Everyone wants cheap car insurance, but it’s not always best opt for the minimum coverage. That coverage with the lowest rate might even cost you more in the long run. Let me tell you why.

Speaking from experience, it’s likely that you will have to file a claim in your lifetime — statistics show that the common driver averages an accident every 17.9 years. What’s even more frightening is that the average cost of injury inducing, but nonfatal accident is a stupefying $80,700, and unless you’re much wealthier than I am (in which case I say congratulations), you would probably rather not pay that out of pocket. I know I’m not immune to getting into another car accident.

In most cases, upgrading all the way to a 100/300/50 plan isn’t as daunting of a leap as you might expect. For example, my quote for a 25/60/15 plan with Geico was $630. To up my coverage to 100/300/50 the cost went up to $792, and while that’s a $162 annual difference, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to shelling out of pocket in the event of an accident, which can average from $50,000 to $80,000. In my mind, it’s worth the having a level of coverage you can trust should the unexpected happen.

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Beat the Average Premium: 9 Ways to Snag Cheap Car Insurance Rates

There are tons of factors that affect your insurance premiums, for better or worse. And, in case you didn’t know, many of them are under your control! Check out the list below for nine ways that you can beat the system and decrease your premium by a few dollars each month.

Nine Ways to Lower Your Car Insurance

FAQs

Why are Utah’s Rates So Affordable?

What to Expect
Average Monthly Premiums
United States $139
Utah $93
West Valley City $97
Taylorsville $96
West Jordan $96
Salt Lake City $94
Sandy $94
Orem $91
Provo $90
Ogden $89
Layton $85
Source Quadrant

Much of Utah’s population lives in rural, less populated areas, and usually that leads to a higher percentage of crash fatalities per capita (hospitals are spaced farther apart than in more urban states like New York or Georgia). However, since 2010, Utah has consistently scored several points below the rest of the country, with an average of 8.3 from 2010 to 2014. That’s pretty good compared to other rural states like Kansas and Wyoming, and probably contributes to the state’s affordable rates.

What if I’m not a full-time resident?

The purchase insurance in the state of Utah, you must either be a resident of the state or prove that your vehicle is principally parked there. The only other exemption to the rule is anyone with active military status.

Expert’s Corner

During my research, I reached out to Utah attorney Bryan Larson for insight about the minimum coverage, the costs of car crashes, and more. He’s a 1980 graduate from Brigham Young University with over 30 years of experience under his belt; time also spent co-authoring a book and earning recognition by the American Trial Lawyers Association as one of the “top 100 trial lawyers” in Utah. Needless to say, he had quite a lot to say about the matter:

Should drivers consider more than the minimum coverage? Why or why not?

Absolutely, yes! The Utah State Insurance minimums are higher than those in many

states but are far less than what a responsible driver should consider for his family. The state minimum coverage is classified as 25/65/15. This means that if you go into an insurance salesman and simply say “just give me the minimum” or “give me the cheapest,” the coverage you will have will provide only liability coverage to protect you and your family from the damage claims of another that are only no more than $25,000 per person and no more than $65,000 per accident for bodily injury and no more than $15,000 for property damage that the covered driver causes to another person.

Based on your experience, what is the average cost of damages from a serious, but non-fatal wreck?

I have been practicing law from well over 30 years and have had thousands of cases ranging from the most simple, minor injuries to catastrophic injuries costing millions of dollars. There is not a clear answer to what an “average” amount of damages is, because the cost of medical expenses continues to soar and the potential for damages from a motor vehicle collision continues to increase. This is true in spite of the fact that motor vehicles have become safer over the years. The advent of cell phone technology, the increasing use of drugs (even legalized drugs in some states) in addition to the alcohol that has long been a problem, and the increase in the number of vehicles on the road make driving increasingly risky. The average speed on our highways continues to rise. Only a few years ago the speed limit was 55 miles per hour. Now, throughout much of the state 80 miles per hour on our freeways is common. The use of seatbelts does not eliminate injuries from occurring.

What is the most common vehicular incident (accident) in your area?

The most common type of motor vehicle accident that occurs in Utah is clearly the sudden acceleration/deceleration type injury. This usually occurs with a “rear-ender” type of collision. This is where a vehicle is following too close for the conditions or circumstances and fails to stop before colliding with the back of the vehicle in front of it. This causes a sudden acceleration, causing the vehicle in front to move forward quickly, often followed by a sudden deceleration after hitting another vehicle in front of that vehicle.

Another common type of collision is what we call a “left hand turn in front of collision” whereby a vehicle turning left collides with a vehicle attempting to head straight through the intersection. This is usually a “failure to yield right of way.” We also see many failure to stop collisions and collisions where a vehicle heading down a main boulevard or thoroughfare suddenly collides with a vehicle pulling out from a parking lot or side street. There are many other kinds of accidents, but the ones mentioned here are the most common.

Have you observed any particular auto insurance companies to be easier to work with than others? Which insurer makes the claims process the easiest?

Answers to this question can be all across the board, depending on who you talk to. Sometimes the “easy” factor may depend literally on which insurance adjuster is assigned to the case. As a general rule, no insurance company has your best interest in mind, in spite of how “friendly” they may appear. …  As a general rule, most insurance companies do not care about you individually. Once an accident occurs, you become a claim file with a claim number and a projected dollar figure exposure is attached to that file.

The Bottom Line

With low state average, every Utah driver should be able to insure their vehicle for an affordable price. But the savings don’t have to stop there. If you shop around, you’re guaranteed to at least figure out if there’s another provider that could offer you a better deal. Plus, you’ll avoid becoming a complacent customer in the eyes of your current insurer.

Keep in mind that the best car insurance is not always cheap car insurance, and most of the time, you get what you pay for. Choosing to investigate quotes for more than the state’s minimum coverage is an incredibly good thing to do. Who knows, you might actually find out that for some companies, more coverage is actually cheaper. How much will you save?

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

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