Television and movies might make it seem like everyone takes a taxi in New York City, but the truth is that New York has the fourth highest number of licensed drivers of any state. If you live in New York, you may be interested in shopping for more affordable car insurance; you may be wondering who the most common car insurance companies are in your area so you can compare their rates with your insurance company. If you are looking to move to New York, you might want to know what insurance company is rated highest among local residents so you can obtain a quote from that company.

Just because a certain auto insurance company is popular does not mean that it will necessarily be the best fit for your needs. However, some companies are a better fit for certain regions than others, and by considering local options as well as the major national companies you can be sure to get the widest variety of quotes for your auto insurance before deciding on a specific policy.

Why does my location matter?

Car insurance rates vary from one state to the next due to state laws, insurance requirements, crime rates, traffic conditions and weather phenomenon. Some conditions will differ not only from one state to the next but between cities or even within neighborhoods in a given city. For example, if crime rates are higher in one neighborhood than another, insurance rates will be proportionately higher.

In all situations, auto insurance companies determine their rates by gauging how likely a person is to file a claim. The higher the risk of a claim being filed, the more likely that auto insurance rates will be high to compensate. Your own driving history plays the largest role in determining risk, but geographic factors weigh heavily into the equation as well.

One major element of car insurance rates is traffic. Individuals who must spend a lot of time on the road commuting have an increased risk of being involved in an auto accident. In the case of New York, excellent public transportation reduces commuter time for many individuals and keeps this relatively low-risk. On the other hand, drivers who do venture onto inner-city roads will find congested traffic and have an increased chance of being involved in multiple-car accidents over people in rural communities.

Crime plays another major role in insurance determination. Theft and vandalism can both lead to insurance claims; theft is especially expensive to insure against as it leads to vehicles needing to be replaced by the insurance company. Border cities are the worst for car theft, but any major metropolitan area is at high risk. New York ranks as the 10th state with the highest incidence of car theft.

Weather also plays a major role in determining auto insurance rates. Catastrophic weather events can lead to expensive claims for insurance companies. The most common weather-related claims for automobiles are hail-related; floods and windstorms also cause damage to vehicles every year. New York also has cold weather, which could lead to freezing conditions and drivers losing control on ice, leading to more car accidents. Of course, inner-city drivers have a lower risk of this happening than those on the interstate, as cities usually keep roads maintained against the ice.

New York Car Insurance Requirements

When buying auto insurance in New York, you will need to carry minimum coverage of $10,000 in property damage liability, and $25,000/$50,000 bodily injury liability. This means that whenever you cause damage to another person’s vehicle or property, your insurance company will pay up to $10,000 worth of that damage. Injuries are paid up to $25,000 per person or $50,000 per accident.

These are the state minimums; you may choose to obtain insurance with higher minimums than these. Any damage or injuries you cause that are not paid by your insurance company will be charged against you personally. If you are unable to pay for this damage, your credit score will be affected and you could also lose your license until the accident is paid off. This is why it is imperative to carry enough auto insurance coverage.

What Are the Top 10 Insurance Companies in New York?

Some individuals rank insurance companies by the size of the company, the number of clients it has, or the customer satisfaction. Ultimately, the best insurance company is the one that meets your needs; if you need affordable coverage a the ability to file a claim from your mobile phone, you will choose a different company than someone who wants a personal relationship with his agent. Here are 10 of the most popular insurance companies in New York.

1. Infinity. A new insurance company, Infinity insurance began selling non-standard and high-risk insurance policies in 2002. The company is now the second largest writer of non-standard auto insurance in the country. It was originally a subsidiary of AFG. Infinity sells entirely through independent agencies and direct sales. The company is headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama.

2. Adirondack Insurance. A New York-based company, Adirondack provides insurance for automobile and homeowners policies. In addition to offering standard insurance coverage, Adirondack provides unique coverage such as travel document recovery and travel expense reimbursement. It also has one of the fastest turnaround times for claims, with an average cycle time of just 72 hours from the claim being filed to the check being issued.

3. Progressive. Originally begun in 1937, Progressive has quickly gained in popularity in recent years due to its innovations in auto insurance. Some of the unique features offered by the company are pay-as-you-go auto insurance and pet injury coverage. Progressive depends largely on direct sales, but there are also hundreds of agencies across the country. The corporate headquarters is located in Mayfield Village, Ohio.

4. Amica. A mutual insurance group, Amica has been in business since 1907. The company is the oldest auto insurance provider in the country. It provides several other financial services as well including life insurance. You can purchase Amica through an agency or online. The company is located in Lincoln, Rhode Island

5. Metropolitan. Originally, MetLife insurance was conceived as a life insurance provider, and is one of the largest in the country. The New York-based company expanded to offer auto insurance in recent decades, and now offers insurance for personal autos as well as recreational vehicles. Metropolitan insurance utilizes many types of safe driver discount.

6. Main Street America. Sold nationally through independent agencies, Main Street America has been providing auto insurance since 1923. Main Street America has grown in recent years and will likely continue expanding. The company is headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida.

7. Allstate. The second-largest insurance company in the country by market share, Allstate is a well-known name in the insurance business. Located in Northfield, Illinois, Allstate offers policies for personal auto, commercial auto, recreational vehicles, homeowner’s, life insurance and extended medical benefits. Allstate is perhaps best known for its accident forgiveness program, which allows for drivers to receive deductible reductions for each year of safe driving and prevents rates from increasing after an accident.

8. State Farm. Currently holding the top position in the country of insurance companies by market share, State Farm has insured homes and vehicles since 1922. In addition to insurance, State Farm offers several other financial services including annuities. The company is located in Bloomington, Illinois.

9. Unitrin. A direct sales insurance company, individuals can purchase Unitrin policies online or call the company to obtain coverage. The company is based out of Chicago, Illinois but offers policies nationwide. As a direct sales company, Unitrin features several convenient options such as online claim filing.

10. American Family. Conceived over 80 years ago, this insurance company provides auto insurance as well as home, life, farm and other types of coverage. As a mutual company, policyholders are also invested in the ownership of the company. American Family currently operates out of Madison, Wisconsin but policies can be purchased online or through local agencies.

Whether you choose to use a large national insurance company or opt for a smaller local insurer, you can obtain the best rates on your car insurance by shopping for quotes and determining the best fit for your family. If you maintain safe driving habits and purchase vehicles that are safe and economical, your insurance rates will be affordable.

If you need to save money on car insurance, you can discuss your options with the customer service department of the insurance company you choose or with your local agent. Your insurance company may have a safe driving reward or other discount that you can take advantage of.