UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020
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|City Density||11,960 people per square mile
|Average Cost of Car Insurance||$3,813|
|Cheapest Car Insurance Company||Liberty Mutual: $2,832|
|Road Conditions||Poor Share: 28 %
Mediocre Share: 35 %
Fair Share: 14 %
Good Share: 22 %
Vehicle Operating Cost (VOC): $627
Chicago is one of the most well-known cities in the U.S. It rivals the lifestyle and tourist attraction of major U.S. cities like New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles.
The Windy City is known for a lot of things, such as the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, MLB’s Chicago Cubs, NBA’s Chicago Bulls, the exceptionally cold winters, and higher-than-average car insurance rates.
Over two million people reside in the city of Chicago, which is in Cook County, Ill. Chicago’s population comes close to some smaller U.S. states. With that many people in one area, car accidents are likely to happen more than most cities.
This guide will explain all of these details on car insurance in Chicago, who has the cheapest car insurance, as well as show you which companies are best for your current financial and coverage needs.
Ready to compare rates now? Enter your zip code above for FREE.
The Cost of Car Insurance in Chicago
The average annual rate for car insurance in Illinois is $3,271, but the average annual rate in Chicago is $3,813.
Because this is an annual rate, you’ll pay $3,813 throughout the month, or you would pay half of the average annual rate and renew every six months. The amount may be greater, however, since there is a renewal fee when you renew your car insurance policy.
Why is it that much per year? Car insurance rates are determined by several factors, such as age, gender, marital status, wage, and the area in which you live.
This section of the guide will walk you through each one of those factors and explain why car insurance considers them when issuing costs for your policy.
Does gender and age affect my car insurance in Chicago?
Car insurance companies often determine car insurance rates based on age, gender, and marital status.
Statistics show younger single drivers take more risks than older married drivers. To prepare for accidents, car insurance companies issue rates based on risks and the average cost of damage and injuries caused by an age group, gender group, and those who are single or married.
How expensive is car insurance based on age? Let’s take a look.
|City||17-Year-Old Driver||25-Year-Old Driver||35-Year-Old Driver||60-Year-Old|
This summarized table shows the rate disparity between the ages. Seventeen-year-old driver rates are $2,800 more than the average annual rate for Chicago, while the other three age groups have rates that are significantly less.
Is this a difference based on gender? Statistically, men take more risks than women, so car insurance companies issue car insurance policies accordingly. Therefore, males have more expensive car insurance rates per year than females.
Males do have higher annual rates than females in Chicago, but the disparity isn’t as big as age factors.
Now, let’s look at the total demographics. This table will show the average annual rates based on age, gender, and marital status.
|Single 17-year-old female||$8,809|
|Single 17-year-old male||$10,446|
|Single 25-year-old female||$3,098|
|Single 25-year-old male||$3,399|
|Married 35-year-old female||$2,708|
|Married 35-year-old male||$2,734|
|Married 60-year-old female||$2,495|
|Married 60-year-old male||$2,596|
Single, 17-year-old males have the most expensive car insurance rates per year. Seventeen-year-old females have the second-most expensive rates per year, while the cheapest rates per year were for married, 60-year-old females.
What are the cheapest ZIP codes in Chicago?
Another factor is the ZIP code. Car insurance companies have different annual rates based on ZIP code. Some ZIP codes have higher-than-average rates.
Why are rates different? Part of the reason why are risks. Some ZIP codes see car accidents and car fatalities more than other ZIP codes. An area with higher-than-average risks for drivers will likely have higher rates.
|Chicago ZIP Code||Average Annual Rate|
This table is a summary of all the ZIP codes in Chicago.
The cheapest ZIP code is 60657, which is the Lake View area in Chicago. The most expensive ZIP code is 60636, which is the West Englewood area.
What’s the best car insurance company in Chicago?
The best car insurance company is the company that meets your needs in terms of cost-efficiency and coverage needs. This guide is designed to point you in the right direction.
As you continue through the guide, we’ll list company rates. These companies happen to be the biggest in the nation and are ranked as some of the best by financial agencies and car insurance authorities.
Cheapest Car Insurance Rates by Company
Cheap car insurance works wonders for income. Car insurance can be costly, but it’s part of life’s essentials, especially if you’re commuting to the workplace. Some Chicago residents don’t drive, but for those that do have a motor vehicle, you may want to know which companies have the cheapest rates per year.
We’ve attached the average from each company along with factors such as age, gender, and marital status.
|Company||Average||Single 17-Year-Old Female||Single 17-Year-Old Male||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|
As you can see, the trend continues with teen drivers across each company. Teen drivers have premiums that are so expensive it rivals the cost of annual tuition. Among the most expensive is Farmer’s average annual rate for 17-year-old drivers.
Liberty Mutual has the lowest rates across all the demographics in the data table.
Best Car Insurance for Commute Rates
Some car insurance companies will consider how many miles you will be driving during the year. This method of insuring is known as commute rates, where an annual rate is estimated on how many miles you drive during the year.
The average motorist in Illinois drives over 12,000 miles per year.
What are you likely to pay for car insurance? Let’s explore the rates you could have for your policy regarding rates based on commutes.
|Company||Average||10 Miles Commute / 6000 Annual Mileage||25 Miles Commute / 12000 Annual Mileage|
Five car insurance companies in the data table don’t issue higher or lower rates based on commute mileage, and policyholders will pay the same amount regardless of the mileage they drive per year.
Those companies are Allstate, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, and Progressive. Allstate has the most expensive rate out of all the companies listed.
Best Car Insurance for Coverage Level Rates
The coverage level depends on car insurance coverage limits. The higher the coverage limit, the more money you will pay for annual car insurance. Coverage limits depend on the car insurance rule you’re under.
Some policyholders only want the minimum requirements for car insurance. For Illinois, the minimum requirements are liability insurance coverage, which says motorists must have coverage limits of $20,000 for bodily injury of one person per accident, $40,000 for bodily injury of two or people per accident, and $15,000 for property damage per accident.
These coverage limits are listed as an insurance rule and are listed as a 20/40/15 rule.
You can use the 20/40/15 rule under full coverage car insurance, but if you think the coverage rule isn’t enough, you can ask the car insurance company for a higher coverage limit.
If you’re ever in an accident and the cost of damages and injuries exceed the coverage limit, you may be liable for the cost the car insurance couldn’t cover. Therefore, car insurance companies offer coverage limits such as 50/100/50 (medium coverage limit) or 100/300/100 (highest coverage limit).
How does that affect average annual rates? Let’s look at some data based on coverage level.
The lower the coverage limit, the cheaper the annual rate. Liberty Mutual remains the cheapest car insurance company in Chicago so far.
Some of the annual rates have small differences. It may be cheaper in the long term to get medium coverage.
Best Car Insurance for Credit History Rates
Car insurance companies consider your credit history when you’re pursuing a policy. When car insurance companies inspect your credit, it does not affect your credit score.
Why do car insurance companies need to see your credit score?
According to Experian credit experts, “Credit scores can help provide insurance companies a basis to determine your financial ability to make premium payments on time.”
Car insurance companies review your credit history and estimate your chances of filing a claim. Experian officials report that there’s a correlation between a person’s credit score and the total cost to insure that person.
What does that mean for Chicago motorists who have their annual rates based on their credit score? We’re able to answer that question by reviewing the data in the table below.
The better your credit, the less money you’ll pay for car insurance. There are major disparities in car insurance rates per year for each company. The company with the lowest increase in poor credit history rates from average rates by a company is Progressive, with an increase of $651.
Best Car Insurance for Driving Record Rates
Maintaining a good driving record can save you money on car insurance. Drivers who have good driving records pay significantly less than those who have accidents, speeding violations, and DUIs on their driving record. Let’s look at what policyholders in Chicago will pay for car insurance based on driving records.
|Group||Average||Clean Record||With 1 Speeding Violation||With 1 Accident||With 1 DUI|
Compared to the company averages, car insurance rates for policyholders with a clean record are much cheaper than the average annual rate of each company.
Normally, car insurance companies issue higher rates for a DUI than accidents. Allstate, Farmers, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, and State Farm have accident rates that are higher for records with a DUI.
Be advised, too many violations on your driving record may place you in the high-risk pool.
What are some car insurance factors in Chicago?
Let’s review some additional factors that are missed when we think of car insurance. Some of those factors include the growth and prosperity of an area. We touched on this subject when we were talking about the ZIP code.
In addition to growth and prosperity, we’ll review how car insurance rate affects annual income, whether homeowners have cheaper insurance than renters, wages by gender and ethnicity, and also poverty levels in the city of Chicago.
Chicago Metro Report
We can determine the growth and prosperity of an area through job growth and how much individuals earn in an area.
One of the ways we’ll review growth and prosperity is through the Brookings Institute research. The Brookings Institute is a nonprofit organization that researches problems facing society at the local, national, and global levels to create solutions for these problems with new ideas.
The Brookings Institute covers each major metro area in the U.S.
Chicago is in the metro area known as Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI. The Brookings Institute displays two different ratings and reviews in there annual Metro Monitor Report. One is a one-year report, and the other is a 10-year report.
Here’s a summary of both reports of Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI.
|1-Year Change (2016-17)||Percentage||Brooking Rating
Overall Prosperity: 18 out of 100
Overall Growth: 65 out of 100
|Percentage change in jobs||+0.8%||72 out of 100|
|Percentage change in GMP||+2.8%||38 out of 100|
|Percentage change in jobs at young firms||+0.9%||74 out of 100|
|Percentage change in productivity||+2.0%||15 out of 100|
|Percentage change in standard of living||+3.0%||9 out of 100|
|Percentage change in average annual wage||+1.0%||46 out of 100|
The performance of the Brookings Institute is rated from one to 100, where one through 20 is the best performance, and 81 through 100 is the worst performance.
In the one-year report, Chicago’s prosperity level performed well. However, the average annual wages of residents were moderate, with a 1 percent increase.
Growth was at a moderate level, also. The best rating was the percentage increase in GMP.
GMP or good manufacturing practice is a concept that ensures products maintain quality standards as they are produced and controlled.
Young firms, in the one-year report, performed moderately worse, which could mean competition in the Chicago area for upstarts, and new companies had a moderately tough time growing.
What’s the metro area like for the 10-year report? Let’s continue with this summary.
|10-Year Change (2007-17)||Percentage||Brooking Rating
Overall Prosperity: 57 out of 100
Overall Growth: 72 out of 100
|Percentage change in jobs||+2.6%||68 out of 100|
|Percentage change in GMP||+7.4%||70 out of 100|
|Percentage change in jobs at young firms||-19.5%||62 out of 100|
|Percentage change in productivity||+4.7%||58 out of 100|
|Percentage change in standard of living||+5.2%||38 out of 100|
|Percentage change in average annual wage||+3.6%||73 out of 100|
In a 10-year report, the metro monitor of Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI had an overall prosperity rating of 57 out of 100, and an overall growth rating of 72 out of 100. Compared to the one-year report, these ratings fall within the moderate to moderately poor performance ratings.
The percentage for jobs at young firms is down nearly 20 percent. The standards of living have performed somewhat well, but in comparison to the year report, it’s a major disparity.
Median Household Income in Chicago
Household income could be the income of one or more individuals in the household.
Data USA reported the average household in Chicago earns about $57,000 per year.
How does it involve car insurance? As mentioned in the previous sections, car insurance is thousands of dollars per year, depending on who’s being insured. If you’re trying to save money on car insurance, you may want to know the percentage it takes from your income.
To find that percentage, you can divide the cost of annual car insurance into your annual income.
For example, if your car insurance premium is $3,813 per year, and your annual income is the Chicago average of $57,238., you could divide 3,813 into 57,238 (3,813 / 57,238). This will give you a decimal answer that comes out to 0.06661. Move the decimal over two places, and your percent is 6.66 percent, which is average car insurance as a percent of income in Chicago, Ill.
Each company has its average rates, so we can use the same formula to determine car insurance as a percent of the income of each company. Let’s continue using Data USA’s median household income projections for this data.
|Company||Average Annual Rate||Premium as a % of Income|
When we applied the division to the median household income of Chicago, which $57,238, we found these results. Based on the median household income, the cost of car insurance is lower than 10 percent for all companies in the data table.
How does car insurance affect your income? Find the car insurance as a percent of income by using this calculator tool we’ve provided. Enter the annual income and cost of insurance per year, and the tool will calculate the percentage for you.
Homeownership in Chicago
Approximately 46 percent of housing units in Chicago were owned by their occupants, while the other 54 percent were rented by their occupants. The average value of property in Chicago is $271,600.
For homeowners, car insurance is much cheaper. Homes are valuable assets that many homeowners will likely insure. Car insurance companies, especially the biggest ones, are part of a larger insurance company with the same name but in a different department.
Therefore, these companies offer a discount for car insurance when the policyholder uses the same insurance company for home insurance.
Education in Chicago
Data USA reported that over 219,925 students attended college in Chicago in 2017. Most of those students were female. There were 61,544 of those students who graduated from Chicago colleges and universities.
Speaking of universities, the largest institutions were the University of Illinois at Chicago, DePaul University, and DeVry University-Illinois.
The most popular majors in Chicago are Business, Liberal Arts, and Accounting. Students have tuition costs from $7,957 to $15,915 for public four-year colleges, while private college students have tuition as expensive as $27,000.
Why mention education in a car insurance guide? The reason is students who perform well can get discounts on car insurance. Of course, car insurance companies will need valid proof that the student is going full-time and has an outstanding GPA.
Wage by Race and Ethnicity in Common Jobs in Chicago
We saw the wage performance of Chicago in the summarized table under the growth and prosperity section. Let’s examine the wages by common jobs of each ethnicity in Chicago.
In addition to wages, let’s see the car insurance as a percent of income. Is there a disparity among wages?
|Ethnicity||Managers Income||Premium as a % of Income (Managers)||Registered Nurses Income||Premium as a % of Income (RNs)||Drivers/Sales Workers & Truck Drivers Income||Premium as a % of Income (Driver/Sales)||Elementary & Middle School Teachers Income||Premium as a % of Income (Teachers)||Cashiers Income||Premium as a % of Income (Cashiers)|
|Two or more ethnicities||$72,232||5.30%||$69,497||5.50%||$54,642||7.00%||$44,171||8.63%||$33,798||11.28%|
Those who earned more money saw small percentages of their income affected by car insurance, but those who made less than the median household income in Chicago had a significant amount of their income affected, such as cashiers. Black and Other ethnic groups were the lowest-earning groups in the data.
Wage by Gender in Common Jobs in Chicago
Let’s make it even more specific and see the disparity among gender. Statistics show men outearn women, so a disparity among genders will show, but how big or small are those disparities regarding wages in Chicago?
|Chicago, IL Common Jobs||Female||Premiums as % of Income (Female)||Male||Premiums as % of Income (Male)|
|Driver/sales workers & truck drivers||$35,666||10.69%||$51,236||7.44%|
|Elementary & middle school teachers||$54,606||7.00%||$58,779||6.49%|
We’ve included car insurance as a percent of income. From the data, we see men in Chicago outearn their female counterparts. Men do pay more for car insurance; however, women pay more as a percent of income. Women pay more than 2 percent for car insurance than men.
Poverty by Age and Gender in Chicago
There’s about 21 percent of people in Chicago who live below the poverty. The national average for populations under the poverty line is roughly 13 percent.
|Poverty by Age and Gender||Males in Poverty||Females in Poverty|
|Younger than 5||26,055||25,870|
|5 Years Old||5,113||4,351|
|6 to 11 Years Old||30,979||30,138|
|12 to 14 Years Old||14,112||14,135|
|15 Years Old||4,324||4,814|
|16 to 17 Years Old||8,528||9,336|
|18 to 24 Years Old||33,216||44,142|
|25 to 34 Years Old||31,413||48,961|
|35 to 44 Years Old||24,070||36,888|
|45 to 54 Years Old||23,678||29,158|
|55 to 64 Years Old||23,274||28,003|
|65 to 74 Years Old||10,631||16,523|
|75 Years and Older||7,024||15,696|
The population ages that were most affected by poverty were males from 18 to 24 and females who are 25 to 34.
Poverty by Race and Ethnicity in Chicago
Let’s broaden our view of poverty and look at poverty by race and ethnicity. Is there a disparity in poverty numbers?
|Race & Ethnicity||# of People in Poverty||% of People affected by Poverty|
|Two or More Ethnicities||13,506||1.88%|
The common ethnic group living below the poverty line in Chicago is black, which is about 36 percent. The second and third most affected by poverty are white (24.7 percent) and Hispanic (23.4 percent) groups.
Employment by Occupations in Chicago
Data USA reports that employment in Chicago grew at a 0.413 percent rate.
Chicago’s common jobs are office and administrative support occupations, management occupations, and sales and related occupations. Chicago has a high number of residents working in the legal system, firefighting and fire prevention, arts, design, entertainment, sports, and media occupations.
The highest-paid individuals in Chicago are those who work in law enforcement, attorneys, paralegals, and IT professionals.
Driving in Chicago
Chicago, Illinois, is probably one of the busiest cities during peak commute hours. Between residents living in the city and visitors traveling through the city, expect commute times for Chicago to higher than the U.S. average.
This section will explore the roads and traffic of Chicago. We’ll talk about highways, road conditions, and other traffic-related information that’ll inform you of the conditions of Chicago’s roadways.
What are major roads in Chicago?
Like other cities in the U.S., some of Chicago’s roads are busy while other roads are easy to navigate. Some roads have potholes while other roads are freshly paved.
Here’s a drive-time video that shows some of the road conditions in Downtown Chicago.
In this sub-section, we’ll explore the major highways, popular sites in the Windy City, further explain road conditions, and we’ll talk about Chicago’s automated enforcement system.
Illinois has 24 active routes, which totals 2,203 miles of interstate. Six out of 24 of those active routes travel through Chicago. They are Interstate 55 (I-55), Interstate 57 (I-57), Interstate 88 (I-88). Interstate 90 (I-90), and Interstate 94 (I-94). Here’s a list of all the active routes in Illinois.
To give you a visual of some of the interstate in Chicago, we’ve added another drive-time to give you an idea of what the highways are like in the Windy City.
Some motorists don’t use toll roads, but toll roads can get you to a destination much faster. Some of them have less traffic, too.
Chicago has at least five toll roads.
Chicago drivers and visiting drivers can use cash or coin at each toll kiosk.
If you’re a resident or go to Chicago more than the average visitor, you can use the I-Pass/EZ-Pass system.
Drivers can sign up to Illinois Toll Way and add money to an account designed to pay for toll road fees. The fees are used for maintenance and other fixes on Illinois roadways. The state of Illinois assures that the money used to fix its roadways is not from state or federal money.
Chicago motorists who use toll roads pay an average of $50 per year.
Popular Road Trips/Sites
Chicago is one of the most popular cities in the U.S. Expedia has a travel guide video detailing the most popular sites and attractions of Chicago. The video is posted here.
Your daily commute can depend on road conditions. Rough roadways can cause accidents depending on the condition of the road. Potholes and loose gravel are some of the many challenges a driver can face will driving.
Does Chicago have road conditions like that? Before we answer that question, let’s look at summarized data regarding road conditions.
|Road Condition Summary||Stats|
|Vehicle Operating Cost||$627|
A national nonprofit transportation research group known as TripNet reported most of Chicago’s roadways are mediocre. To be exact, only 35 percent of Chicago road conditions are mediocre, followed by poor conditions that have a percent share of 28 percent.
Fair roadways make up 14 percent of road conditions in Chicago, while 22 percent of roadways in Chicago are in good condition.
What about VOC? Why is it important?
VOC stands for vehicle operating costs. This is important to road conditions because VOC estimates changes in vehicle travel speeds and delays. The average VOC in Chicago is $627.
Does Chicago use speeding or red-light cameras?
Around the U.S., there’s something called the automated enforcement system. This system is legal in the states that use it, and they back up the law with crime and traffic statistics.
An IIHS article reported that cities with red-light cameras reduced the fatal red-light-running crash rate by 21 percent.
The automated enforcement system is a system of cameras or monitoring systems around a city, county, or entire state that records the driving activity of motorists.
Red-light cameras capture motorists that drive through a red light, and if you do so, you may be fined.
Speed cameras, on the other hand, record you and the speed you were going, enforcing speed limit laws. Law enforcement uses this system to enforce road safety laws. Illinois has both red-light cameras and speed cameras.
The penalty for violating red-light laws and speed laws will result in a fine up to $100. Subsequent offenses (offenses that occur after the first offense) will result in a fine, and a motorist will have to complete a traffic education program.
Some drivers who commit too many offenses will have their driver’s license suspended.
Here’s a short video describing the challenges of red-light cameras.
What type of vehicles are in Chicago?
This sub-section is all about vehicles in Chicago. There are a number of vehicles in Chicago. You’ll likely see a good number of practical cars like Toyota, Chevrolet, and Ford. But don’t be surprised if you encounter a few Teslas.
We’ll talk about the most popular vehicles owned, how many cars per household, speed trap reports, and we’ll compare and contrast property crime and violent crime data.
Most Popular Vehicles Owned
According to Auto Remarketing, the top three vehicles owned in Chicago are Chevrolet, Ford, and Toyota, but the Times of Northwest Indiana argues that the top vehicles in recent years have been Honda, Toyota, and Nissan.
When you search the web for top vehicles in Chicago, you’ll see the Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Toyota Corolla, and Nissan Altima are the most popular.
These compact vehicles are known for their fuel economy and practicality on the road.
How Many Cars Per Household
Data USA reported that 529,000 households (approximately 40 percent) owned one car, which is the largest share in the city. The second-largest share were households that own two cars, which is 30 percent of households in Chicago. The U.S. average for car ownership is 40.3 percent.
Households without a Car
What about households that don’t own a vehicle? About 16 percent of Chicago households do own a vehicle, which is 218,000 households without a car.
The U.S. average for households that don’t own a car is 4 percent, which 12 percent lower than Chicago’s average in 2017.
Speed Traps in Chicago
What are speed traps?
Law enforcement uses speed trap tactics to catch drivers who are speeding on roadways.
They intentionally hide in designated areas and catch road safety violators. Violators are ticketed, fined, and possibly could have their license suspended.
Speed traps are legal, depending on the state. In Chicago, speed traps are legal. Lawmakers see speed traps as similar to the red-light camera surveillance systems, in which motorists are penalized for breaking the law even if they are not aware they’re being watched.
The latest speed trap reported was on February 21, 2019. A Chicago motorist listed a speed trap on I-94 East and Cicero Avenue going south.
Vehicle Theft in Chicago
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) reported over 740,000 vehicle thefts in the U.S. But how many car thefts were reported in Chicago? The data table below compares the thefts in the U.S. to the thefts in Chicago.
|Area Summary||Motor Vehicle Theft (Total)|
Illinois had a total of 17,389 vehicle thefts. Chicago had over 10,000 vehicle thefts, which more than any other city in the state of Illinois.
Check out this Chicago theft report from CBS Chicago.
Despite the crime data, safety is subjective. Each opinion is going to be different, and crime statistics are not the sum of personal experiences.
Neighborhood Scout is one of the organizations that provide these statistics and summarizes the data to give you an idea of the chances you could become a victim. Before we look at the chances of becoming a victim, let’s review the safest neighborhoods.
Here is a list of the safest neighborhoods, according to Neighborhood Scout.
- S Western Ave / W 99th St
- W Devon Ave / N Central Ave
- N Western Ave / W Grace St
- N Caldwell Ave / N Lehigh Ave
- W Foster Ave / N Lamon Ave
- W North Ave / N Larrabee St
- S Western Ave / W 95th St
- N Western Ave / W Addison St
- N Francisco Ave / W Foster Ave
What are the chances of becoming a victim of a violent crime in Chicago? Let’s review the numbers in the data below.
|Violent Crime Area Summary||Violent Crime Rate||Chance of Becoming a Victim|
|Chicago||10.12||1 in 99|
|Illinois||4.04||1 in 247|
Your chances of becoming a victim of violent crime in Chicago is one in 99, but chances of becoming a victim in Illinois, however, is one in 247.
Are residents more likely to encounter property crimes? Let’s examine the data below.
|Property Crime Area Summary||Property Crime Rate||Chance of Becoming a Victim|
|Chicago||32.48||1 in 31|
|Illinois||19.33||1 in 52|
The property crime rate is much more likely than violent crime. Chicago residents have a one in 32 chance to become a victim of property crime. The entire state of Illinois has an average chance of one in 52.
Finally, let’s review the totals for violent crime and property crime for the year.
|Chicago Annual Crime Summary||Annual Violent Crimes||Annual Property Crimes||Annual Total Crimes|
|Number of Crimes||27,395||87,884||115,279|
|Crime Rate (per 1,000 residents)||10.12||32.48||42.60|
The total property crimes in Chicago were roughly 40,600 more than violent crimes. Therefore, a person will encounter property crime more than violent crime. The total crime rate in Chicago is more than double the U.S. average.
Neighborhood Scout measures the safety of the city using its crime index grading system. A city is scored from one to 100, where 100 is the safest and one is the most dangerous. Chicago crime index score is seven.
How is traffic in Chicago?
This sub-section of the guide will explore the traffic congestion forecast of Chicago, commute time, common methods of travel, transportation along highways, and crash fatality data.
Traffic Congestion in Chicago
Chicago has the most traffic congestion in Illinois, which is probably due to its population size. One of the ways you can monitor the traffic forecast is through websites and smartphone apps.
TomTom is a traffic forecast agency that reports on a city’s traffic congestion level. TomTom shows these congestion levels daily, monthly, and annually. Here’s a summary of the congestion levels in Chicago, according to TomTom.
|Traffic Congestion||TomTom Data|
|United States Traffic Congestion Ranking||14|
|Morning Peak Congestion||36%|
|Evening Peak Congestion||57%|
|Extra Travel Time||29 min/day
|Highway Road Length||1,023 km|
|Non-Highway Road Length||45,712 km|
TomTom defines traffic congestion levels on its website. We’ve summarized these definitions for your convenience.
The congestion level is the increase of overall travel time compared to a “free-flow traffic situation.”
TomTom explains that the congestion level percentage corresponds to the extra time it takes for a commute around the city.
Therefore, a congestion level of 26 percent could mean extra travel time on average commute time, which is 33.5 minutes in Chicago. If average commute time is 33.5 minutes, 26 percent of that is added to your commute during high levels of traffic, which is roughly 12 minutes.
If you’re accustomed to commuting less than 25 minutes, expect these commutes to be longer in Chicago. We briefly talked about this in the last section, but commute time in Chicago is about 34 minutes, which nine minutes more than the U.S. average.
The most common method of travel, according to Data USA, is driving alone, which accounts for 49 percent of commuters in Chicago. The second-largest share is 28.3 percent of commuters who use public transit. Roughly 8 percent of commuters carpooled.
Interstate-53 (I-53) and Interstate (I-90) are the busiest highways in Chicago. Each highway has 12 lanes and can be extremely congested during morning and evening peak hours.
Expect commute times to be extended beyond the average commute time.
How safe are Chicago streets and roads?
When car insurance companies increase their policy premiums, they often get approval from insurance authorities. To receive approval, car insurance must back up, insurance law uses the term justify, their reasons for the increase.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) researches and reports crash fatality statistics. These statistics are one of the reasons why car insurance companies increase their rates. In the information below, you’ll see data that lists the traffic fatalities by crash type and person type.
First, let’s look at the total number of crash fatalities in Cook County, which is the area Chicago is located.
|County in Illinois||2017 All Crash Fatalities||2018 All Crash Fatalities|
From 2017 to 2018, the total number of fatalities dropped by 24. Is it enough to decrease car insurance premiums in the upcoming year? Let’s continue with the other fatality numbers to see if any fatalities increased within a year.
Some fatalities are categorized into two or more different types of crashes.
Here’s the data by crash type in Cook County.
|Crash Type in Cook County||2017 Fatalities||2018 Fatalities|
|Single-Vehicle Crash Fatalities||162||141|
|Roadway Departure Fatalities||101||88|
The crash totals are part of the 288 fatalities and not the sum of the total fatalities for the year. In other words, the total number of pedestrian fatalities and intersection fatalities are from the same total.
Therefore, for example, out of 264 fatalities in 2018, 88 of those 264 involved roadway departure crash fatalities. From those 88 fatalities, some of them may have involved an alcohol-impaired driver.
Alcohol-impaired drivers, of course, are fatalities that involve at least an alcohol-impaired driver. For Cook County, the alcohol-related fatalities decreased by 35 from 2017 to 2018.
The decreasing trend continued for single-vehicle crash fatalities. As the category states, single-vehicle crash fatalities involved one vehicle.
Since the decrease happens throughout the data, car insurance won’t be able to justify any increase due to the decreasing number of fatal crashes by crash type.
But does trend continue among pedestrians, passengers, or pedalcyclists? Let’s look at how the person type was affected by motor vehicle fatalities.
|Person Type in Cook County||2017 Fatalities||2018 Fatalities|
|Passenger Car Occupant Fatalities||120||110|
All of the value that decreased, pedalcyclist had the only increase of fatalities from 2017 to 2018.
A pedalcyclist is anyone who is using a vehicle that requires pedaling to move it on the roadway.
Pedalcyclist includes bicyclists, unicyclists, and other cycles that have pedals.
The NHTSA further studies fatalities through something called Fatality Awareness Reporting System (FARS). FARS data is separate data that record the fatalities on different types of roadways.
Arterial roads are roads designed to deal with heavy traffic. These roads are classified as highways or city roadways (minor arterial) depending on the traffic. Collector arterial roads are roads that collect traffic and bring drivers to arterial roads.
The data below compares and contrasts the fatalities in Chicago and the state of Illinois.
|Road Type||Cook County Road Fatalities||Illinois Road Fatalities|
Chicago has no rural areas, and it would make sense that there were no fatalities on rural roads. More fatalities occurred on roads that don’t carry a particular category. These fatalities could have happened more on inner-city roadways where open traffic often results in a faster speed driven by other motorists.
Finally, we’ll review the incident reports from the US DOT involving railroad incidents.
|Highway User Speed||Calendar Year||County||Highway||Highway User Type||Rail Equipment Type||Non-Suicide Fatality||Non-Suicide Injury|
|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|
|1||2016||Cook||Racine Ave.||Automobile||Cut of Cars||0||0|
Despite the number of fatalities across Cook County, fatalities and even injuries were minimized when it involved railroads. Only one fatality and two injuries occurred.
Allstate America’s Best Drivers Report
Every year Allstate provides a national list of the best drivers in the nation. This annual report grades each city on its driver experience.
What was Chicago’s rank this year? Did they improve or did they move down a rank or two?
Here’s a summarized data table of Chicago’s rank and overall driver performance.
|Chicago, Ill. Best Driver Summary||Ranks & Stats|
|2019 Best Drivers Report Ranking||133|
|Average Years Between Collisions||8.26|
|2018 Best Drivers Report Ranking||129|
|Change in Ranking From 2018 to 2019||-4|
|Relative Claim Likelihood (Compared to National Average)||0.281|
|Drivewise® HardBraking Events per 1,000 Miles||28.78|
In 2018, Chicago ranked 129th on America’s Best Drivers Report. They were bumped down to the 133rd rank as of 2019.
Chicago policyholders were estimated to make approximately a claim every eight years. The likelihood of making a claim is about 28 percent compared to the national average.
Finally, the Drivewise hard braking results found that Chicago motorists hard brake at roughly 29 times every 1,000 miles. Hard braking is an event in which a driver slams on breaks to avoid a collision with a person, wildlife, another motor vehicle, etc.
An estimated 36 percent of commuters in Chicago use public transit and carpool to work. Chicago is likely to have every major ridesharing service available in the U.S. Lyft, Uber, taxis, and other forms of carpool services are available for Chicago residents.
Websites like RideGuru provide a list of rideshare services in a designated area, or you could search for a rideshare service through your smartphone store.
E-Star Repair Shops
E-star Repair Shops are auto repair shops that collaborate with Esurance on alerts that tell policyholders the status of their repairs. If you’re ever in an accident, you’ll be able to use one of these locations. Esurance and the E-star Repair Shop will tell you where they are with repairing your vehicle.
Here are 10 locations around Chicago that comply with E-star Repair Shop policies.
|Shop Name||Address||Contact Info|
|B&L Automotive Repair, Inc.||3830 N. Kedzie Ave|
Chicago, Ill. 60618
|email: [email protected]
P: (773) 463-1622
F: (773) 463-0920
|Carstar Scolas Collision Center||9110 Ogden Ave|
Brookfield, Ill. 60513
|email: [email protected]
P: (708) 485-7600
|Erie - Lasalle Body Shop - Erie||1005 W. Huron |
Chicago, Ill. 60642
|email: [email protected]
P: (312) 337-3903
F: (312) 337-7486
|Erie - Lasalle Body Shop - Kedzie||2440 S. Kedzie|
Chicago, Ill. 60623
|P: (773) 762-5571|
|Fix Auto Skokie||8015 N. Lawndale|
Skokie, Ill. 60076
|email: [email protected]
P: (847) 676-0420
|Gerber - Chicago / Elston Ave.||4545 N. Elston Ave|
Chicago, Ill. 60630
|email: [email protected]
P: (773) 725-7200
F: (773) 725-4829
|Paul Ries & Sons||3940 W. Armitage Ave|
Chicago, Ill. 60647
|email: [email protected]
P: (773) 227-8300
F: (773) 227-8544
|Paul Ries & Sons II||2233 West Grand|
Chicago, Ill. 60612
|P: (312) 637-6740|
|Service King Morton Grove||5940 Oakton Street|
Morton Grove, Ill. 60053
|email: [email protected]
P: (847) 965-2205
|Tom & Jerry's Autobody||5644 N. Northwest Hwy|
Chicago, Ill. 60646
|email: [email protected]
P: (773) 775-6767
F: (773) 775-5901
Always alert your car insurance company when you’ve received an estimate. For E-star members, these 10 auto repair shops may be recommended to you anyway.
What is the weather like in Chicago?
The Windy City has very mild summers and frigid winters. Stock up on a few sweaters and coats because cold days in Chicago are extremely cold.
We’ve summarized some weather data for you. Review the average annual temperature and precipitation totals below.
The annual highs and lows are not bad at all. There are times during the winter where a polar vortex will make its way across the north and mid-west states. You’ll want to be prepared for that.
How about precipitation? Chicago deals with precipitation of all types. Let’s see how much precipitation Chi-Town gets per year.
|Average Sunshine||189 days|
|Average Annual Rainfall||38 inches|
|Average Snowfall||35 inches|
Chicago is next to Lake Michigan. Expect these averages to increase when storms blow through the city. It’s particularly worse for cities along the coast of Lake Michigan due to lake-effect precipitation, which means moisture from the lake rises to the atmosphere causing more heavier precipitation.
Does Chicago ever encounter any natural disasters? Yes, and it’s more than the national average. In 2017, the number of natural disasters in Chicago was 19, while the nation’s average was 13. The most common natural disaster in Chicago was flooding, followed by storms and tornados.
To further protect yourself after a natural disaster, enroll in comprehensive car insurance. Comprehensive coverage pays for damages that are out of your control, such as storm damage, falling objects, or damage sustained when a vehicle is stolen.
Is public transit available in Chicago?
Chicago’s public transportation is known as the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA).
According to Choose Chicago, the CTA is the second-largest public transportation system in the U.S.
There are 129 bus routes and eight ‘L’ train lines in Chicago. How much does it cost to use CTA? Here are the fares for CTA.
|Chicago Transit Authority Fare Chart||Full||Reduced||Student|
|'L' Train Fare||$2.50||$1.25||$0.75|
|Transfer (up to 2 additional rides within 2 hours)||$0.25||$0.15||$0.15|
These general fares are available for Chicago residents and visitors. Children, students, disabled commuters, and Medicare recipients ride at a reduced price while seniors ages 65 and older, and military members ride for free.
All commuters who want a free or reduced-fare should present their identification to prove their eligibility for a free and reduced ride.
CTA Passes permit commuters to use the CTA system for a duration of time rather than a few hours. How much are the passes? The costs are listed below.
|Chicago Transit Authority Passes Chart||Full||Reduced|
|1-Day CTA Pass||$10||-|
|3-Day CTA Pass||$20||-|
|7-Day CTA Pass||$28||-|
|7-Day CTA/Pace Pass||$33||-|
|30-Day CTA/Pace Pass||$105||$50 (**Available only to riders with RTA-issued Reduced Fare permits)|
The costs are more expensive, but you’ll have full access to the CTA system. The annual cost is $1,260 when you add up the 30-Day CTA/Pace Pass for 12 months. You’ll be able to load these passes on something called a Ventra account. You can use Ventra for train and bus services.
Here’s a video explaining how to use and obtain a Ventra account and card.
Is alternate transportation available in Chicago?
If you’re looking for a different way to get around town, you can use Chicago Water Taxi. The cost of fare for Chicago Water Taxi is:
- One-Way Pass: $6
- All-Day Pass: $10
- Ten-Ride Pass: Monday-Friday $20 / Saturday-Sunday $50 (valid for ten rides)
- 31-Day Commuter Pass: $60 (valid for 31 days, gives commuter unlimited access)
There are over 200 miles of bike lanes in Chicago. Commuters who want to use a bicycle to commute around the city can use Divvy, which is Chicago’s bike-share program.
Divvy offers bikes at over 580 stations. There are approximately 5,800 bikes across the Windy City that are available for rent 24 hours a day, and seven days a week. Here’s the cost of Divvy rentals.
- Single Ride: $3 per trip. One trip lasts up to 30 minutes.
- Day Pass: $15 per day. Unlimited three-hour rides in 24 hours.
- Annual Membership: $99 per year. Unlimited 45-minute rides for 365 days.
Commuters can pick up a rental bike from a self-service docking station and return it to a station near their destination. Searching for Divvy location is much easier with the Divvy app, which available for Android and iOS.
Is parking easy in Chicago?
Chicago parking can be quite expensive. The average price of parking in Chicago’s metropolitan area is $15 per hour. Places like the Hampton Inn Majestic Chicago Theater District Hotel charge as much as $30 per hour.
As you venture out from downtown Chicago, rates for parking are as low as six dollars. How can you find parking spaces without driving around searching for one? Here are a few websites that give you a faster way to find parking
- Interactive map of public parking facilities in downtown Chicago.
- iParkit: Allows drivers to reserve a guaranteed parking spot. Available for Android and iOS
- Millennium Garages: Visit the website first to purchase drive-up rates.
- ABM Parking: An extensive site that lists all convenient parking lots around Chicago.
- ParkChicago: Allows any driver to create an account linked to your car’s license plate. After you sign-up, you can enter the zone number on any Chicago street meter car parking sign to pay. Available for Android and iOS
- SpotHero: Parking spots across the city accessible from your phone. Available on Android and iOS.
If you happen to get lucky and find a parking space, be sure to have the correct amount with you and be vigilant about staying within the parking rules.
How is the air quality in Chicago?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducts research annually for each major metro area around the U.S. These research reports summarize the air quality index of a designated area.
Air Quality Index (AQI) measures how clean or polluted a city’s air is.
This is particularly important to vehicle registration and car insurance. The emissions from vehicles can determine the condition of your vehicle. Older vehicles, of course, are less energy efficient. Although they are cheaper for car insurance premiums, they cause more pollution.
Let’s look at the AQI of the metro area in and around Chicago. We’ve summarized the EPA data from 2017 to 2019.
|Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI AQI Day Summary||2017 AQI Index Data||2018 AQI Index Data||2019 AQI Index Data|
|Days with AQI||365||365||335|
|Days Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups||23||20||16|
|Days Very Unhealthy||-||-||-|
The AQI in the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin metro area fluctuated across each category. AQI for good days decreased by several days as the years progressed, but so did the AQI days that were considered unhealthy for sensitive groups.
Approximately 24,00 miliary veterans who served in the Vietnam Conflict live in Chicago.
There’s one military facility near Chicago, which is the Naval Station Great Lakes. This military location is one hour away from Chicago if you’re traveling by car, and one hour and 32 minutes away if you’re commuting by public transit.
Why mention the military here? As promised, we want to guide you to the best car insurance information that’s available. Military members can receive discounts for car insurance and often pay significantly less than the average policyholder.
Here’s a list of several car insurance companies that offer military discounts:
- Liberty Mutual (must be active duty)
- Safeco (active or retired)
Earlier in the guide, we compared and contrasted the car insurance rates for each company. Let’s have another look at car insurance rates based on the average annual rates. This time, let’s compare it to the state’s average annual rate ($3,271) by detailing the difference in the amount. Is it cheaper or more expensive?
|Company||Average Annual Rate||Difference (+/-)||Difference (%)|
There’s a slight margin of error, but USAA is much cheaper than the other companies in Chicago.
USAA is specifically for active military, retired military, and immediate family of military personnel.
Unique City Laws
Chicago hands-free driving law complies with Illinois state law. No driver shall be texting or handling a device while behind the wheel of a car. Using a device while driving can result in fines and/or the suspension of your license.
The food truck law in Chicago requires individuals who want to start food truck to get a business license, get health code approval, and establish a permit with the city of Chicago or Cook County in general. You can learn more about Chicago’s food truck law on Chicago’s government website.
Even though tiny homes were proposed to Chicago three years ago, city officials denied the building of tiny houses. Has the law changed since then? This short video will explain the current status of tiny houses in Chicago.
The parking laws of Chicago are straight forward. If you park by a parking meter, you should deposit the correct change into the meter. Illegal parking will get a ticket and a fine. Chicago’s government site covers all this in their Q and A for motorists in the Chicago webpage.
Chicago Car Insurance FAQs
This section is designed to answer commonly asked questions regarding car insurance or other general question you may have about the guide. For additional questions, use our comment section to express any questions or statements that you have.
Does Chicago offer low-cost car insurance?
Insurance companies offer several coverages. If you’re shopping for car insurance, you’ll have to ask about a discount regarding low-income individuals. There’s something called state-sponsored car insurance, which essential car insurance paid for through the state. Unfortunately, there are only three states that offer it, which are California, Hawaii, and New Jersey.
Which Chicago airport is closer to downtown?
The closest airport to downtown Chicago is Midway Airport. It’s an easily accessed area that’s ideal for any traveler.
Why is Chicago called the Windy City?
Chicago got the name the Windy City because of all the false promises from politicians throughout the years.
Can I insure a vehicle I don’t own?
Yes. This is called non-owner car insurance. You can simply add another vehicle to your policy and get insurance on a vehicle that you don’t add. Be advised, getting insurance for a teenage driver will be expensive.
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