Whether you’re moving to a new city, buying car insurance for the first time or just looking for cheaper rates, you may be curious who the most popular car insurance companies are in your area. If other people are getting great service and low rates, you may be able to receive the same benefits. There may be regional discounts or other special services available that you can take advantage of in any particular city.

Just because other individuals receive low rates does not necessarily mean that you will, however, and the most popular insurance company is not necessarily the best fit for every individual. Nevertheless, searching for the top 10 insurance companies in any city can give you an idea of where to start when searching for quotes or choosing an agency in Chicago, Illinois. You can also search for quotes for free online or look for a local agency that can provide quotes for multiple car insurance companies.

Does where I live really matter?

Car insurance rates are determined by dozens of factors, including your driving history and what type of car you own. Where you live also pays a large part in your insurance rates. Insurance laws differ from one state to the next, limiting what you can have on your insurance policy. Rates also vary from one city to the next, even between neighborhoods in the same city.

The reason for the rate discrepancy between cities is that some locations pose a greater risk to the insurance company than others. Insurance companies can only make a profit if they receive more money from premiums than they need to pay for claims. Therefore, they balance claims expenses by raising the premiums for individuals who are most likely to file a claim. Because certain geographical factors can make claims more likely, cities that pose great insurance risk will see increased premiums over areas with fewer risk factors.

Individuals who commute frequently are at higher risk of being involved in an accident than those who do not need to face rush-hour traffic on busy highways. Congested city streets and highways pose a high risk of minor collisions and multiple car accidents. In the case of Chicago, the public transportation system has reduced some of these risks, but city-dwellers are still more prone to accidents than individuals in rural communities.

Crime also plays an important role in determining insurance rates. Neighborhoods with a high incidence of theft or vandalism will naturally have higher premiums than those with less crime. Chicago doesn’t rank in the top 25 worst cities for vehicle theft, but is also not in the bottom 25; it is of moderate risk, but is much less prone to car theft than border cities.

Weather is also a vital element to the cost of auto insurance. Vehicles at high risk of being damaged by catastrophic weather events will be more expensive to insure than those parked in states with mild weather. In Chicago, rain and windstorms are relatively common, as is snow and ice. Hail can also be a concern during some months of the year. Weather is more mild than coastal cities or more northern areas, so the rates are not dramatically affected in this regard.

Car Insurance in Chicago

Illinois is in the bottom 10 for auto insurance costs, meaning that it is one of the most affordable states for auto insurance, ranking just slightly more expensive than Arizona and Utah. Of course, policies in Chicago will be slightly more expensive than those in more rural areas of the state, but drivers in Chicago can expect to pay lower rates than those in comparable-sized cities across the country.

The state requirements for Illinois require a driver to purchase $15,000 of property damage liability insurance to pay for any damage caused in an accident. Illinois drivers also must purchase bodily injury liability with limits of $20,000 per person up to $40,000 per accident. Of course, these are only the state insurance minimums; you may wish to purchase additional insurance beyond this amount if you can afford it. If you are ever involved in an accident and your insurance cannot pay for the damage, you will be responsible to pay the difference out of pocket.

Who Are the Top 10 Car Insurance Companies in Chicago?

1. Allstate. Located in Northfield, Illinois, Allstate is the second largest provider of auto insurance in the country and the most popular company throughout Illinois and the Chicago area. Allstate initially started as a subsidiary of Sears, Roebuck & Co., but became publicly traded in 1993. In addition to private auto insurance policies, Allstate also offers commercial vehicle, home and commercial property, life and extended benefits insurance.

2. MetLife. Metropolitan insurance began as a life insurance company in 1863 and has spread over time to cover nearly all financial services including auto and home insurance. It is currently the largest life insurance company in the country, but auto insurance policies are gaining in popularity. MetLife is headquartered in New York City.

3. Metriplan. A small local insurance company, Metriplan is only available through an insurance agent. You cannot purchase a policy directly online or over the phone, and Metriplan does not have a website. If you are able to find a local agent, you may be able to obtain good rates with this popular local company.

4. Republic Lloyds. A Texas-based company in operation since 1903, Republic Lloyds offers auto insurance across the country. They are a popular choice in Illinois and have received an excellent rating for their business practices. Policies can be purchased online, over the phone or from a local agent.

5. Unitrin. This company is a financial institute providing auto insurance, life insurance and health insurance as well as other financial services such as consumer financing for businesses and personal needs. Policies can be purchased online, over the phone or with a local agent. Unitrin is headquartered in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

6. Amica. Founded in Rhode Island in 1907, this insurance provider is the oldest mutual insurance provider for auto insurance in the country. It also provides home and life policies. Unlike other companies that can be purchased from an agency, Amica relies purely on direct sales; you can purchase a policy online or over the phone with a representative.

7. State Farm. The largest provider of insurance in the country by market share, State Farm’s popularity wanes in some areas due to its cost. Since its founding in 1922, State Farm has offered financial services and auto insurance nationwide. The company has its headquarters in Bloomington, Illinois.

8. GEICO. Originally designed to provide insurance to government employees and military personnel, GEICO has gained popularity in recent years as an affordable provider of auto insurance. Although some agencies do sell GEICO, the majority of products are purchased through direct sales.

9. Safeco. Based in Seattle, Washington, Safeco insurance provides a combination of mutual company and investor-owned stock company features. You can purchase Safeco insurance from a local agent or sign up online or over the phone to take advantage of their usually affordable rates.

10. Nationwide. Originally conceived in Ohio, Nationwide has expanded in the past 80 years to encompass auto polices across the country. As with many insurance companies, Nationwide started as a farm bureau mutual insurance provider; in recent years it has expanded to several other types of financial services.

Of course, just because some car insurance companies are more popular in a given area does not mean that the company will be the best match for your needs. In some situations, companies are more popular in the states they are headquartered in, or where independent agencies decide to push certain products over others.

Ultimately, the best way to obtain affordable car insurance is to obtain quotes online or through a local insurance broker. Because many insurance companies are only available through one means or the other, it may be wise to comparison shop through both methods before deciding on an auto policy.

Regardless of how you choose to buy your policy, you can ask if there are any discounts you can qualify for in order to lower your rates. You can also keep your rates affordable by practicing safe driving practices, installing anti-theft devices in your car and parking in a garage at night. By making an effort to keep your premiums low, you can guarantee that you get the lowest possible rates available in your city, no matter what that city is.