Did you know Seattle women spend more than men on auto insurance? We didn’t either—until we surveyed the city’s drivers. This is a striking find, as the data bucks the national trend of men paying more for auto policies.
Does this mean females in the Emerald City are worse drivers than their male counterparts? That certainly seems to be the case. At the very least, though, it reveals that gender plays a role in determining how much someone pays for car insurance in Seattle.
That’s not the only factor that affects insurance rates, of course. Others include:
- Driving history
- Vehicle year, make, and model
To learn more about how much car insurance costs in Seattle and why both women and men pay as much as they do for it, we surveyed 500 drivers. We asked them to share all of the information above and then we connected the dots to see how each of those aspects impact the city’s auto insurance rates.
This study compiles the results of that legwork and offers advice on how you can cut your bill and save some money.
Average Monthly Car Insurance Rate
Oil prices in the US have plummeted since the start of 2016. This has resulted in more people on the road, which in turn has prompted an increase in auto insurance premiums.
According to a recent , AAA national study on driving costs, car insurance rates have gone up exponentially in the past year. They’ve risen 9.6 percent, to be specific—a $107 increase. The national average is now $1,222 per year.
In Seattle, the average person pays $1,668 per year. That’s almost $450 higher than the national average.
Average in Seattle = $139
The average Seattle driver spends $139 per month on car insurance. This figure takes into consideration the entire population of Seattle--including first-time drivers, DUI offenders, and seniors.
Men = $133
The average male in Seattle pays $133 per month for car insurance. And as mentioned earlier, in Seattle they pay less than their female counterparts.
Underwriters base car insurance premiums on many factors, including the number of tickets and accidents an individual racks up. Because Seattle men pay $10 less per month than women, it’s probably safe to say they have fewer traffic incidents on their driving records.
Women = $143
While women nationwide spend less on car insurance than men, that isn’t the case in Seattle. Here, the average woman pays $143 per month--or $10 more than what the average man pays.
More specifically, men pay $1,596, while women pay $1,716 per year. That means women in Seattle spend $120 more per year on car insurance than men.
Does this mean Seattle women are worse drivers than the city’s men? It could. Regardless, women with tickets and accidents on their records pay $312 more annually than men with tickets and accidents.
But our study also found that 19 percent of women had tickets or accidents on their driving records compared to 22 percent of men. So while women have fewer of these incidents on their records, it seems likely they cause more accidents or are involved in more severe moving violations due to their significantly higher rates.
And because insurance companies set their rates based on risk profiles, we can assume most Seattle insurers charge women more than men.
That’s especially evident when you look at young women aged 18 to 24 who have tickets and accidents on their records. They pay $480 more annually than men in the same age range with marks on their records.
We also see this trend in Atlanta, Georgia, where the average woman pays $84 more a year than men. Women with tickets and accidents, on the other hand, pay $132 more annually. And women 18 to 24 with tickets and accidents pay over $500 more than men with faulty records.
Over in Denver, though, male drivers still pay more for car insurance than their female counterparts. The average man there pays $132 more annually than women, and men with tickets and accidents pay $168 more.
Still, the difference between average drivers and those with tickets and accidents isn’t as steep in Denver as it is in Seattle or Atlanta. It’s big enough, though, that we can assume men in Denver present a higher risk to insurance companies and could be considered worse drivers than women.
Age and Car Insurance Rates in Seattle
Aged 18 to 24= $165
Insurers often charge younger drivers higher rates. Why? They have the least amount of experience behind the wheel. They’re also more prone to accidents and distracted driving.
Aged 25 to 34= $136
You’ve probably heard that once you turn 25, your insurance rates tend to go down. The main reason for this: the more driving experience you have, the fewer accidents you’re likely to cause. As a result, drivers in this age group pay an average of $19 a month less than their younger counterparts.
Aged 35 to 44= $140
In general, as you get older, you make more money. And as you make more money, you usually buy more expensive things (i.e., newer cars). Of course, newer cars cost more to insure. Hence why drivers between the ages of 35 and 44 pay more for auto insurance.
Aged 45 to 54=$150
This demographic also has a lot of disposable cash to spend on newer cars. And they also spend a lot on car insurance—more than 35 to 44-year-olds, in fact.
Aged 55 to 64=$116
Drivers in this age bracket benefit from the lowest car insurance rates. They have the most experience behind the wheel, and they get in the fewest number of accidents. They also tend to be more careful and don’t text--or drink--and drive as much as younger drivers.
Are you unhappy about your rates and how they’re affected by the information above? If so, brush up on your driving skills by taking a defensive driving course. This is a great way to reduce your car-insurance bill. Also consider the make, model, age, and value of your car. These considerations are detailed further below.
The Real Cost of Tickets and Accidents
Splotchy incidents on your record will increase your premiums. Our study shows how much your rates will go up with this type of blemish.
Average monthly cost with tickets or accidents = $156
Average monthly cost without tickets or accidents = $134
In Seattle, 20 percent of drivers report having tickets or accidents on their record. These individuals pay, on average, $156 a month in premiums. That’s $22 more a month than someone who has a clean driving record. Extend that out to a full 12 months, and you’ll see these men and women pay about $264 more for auto insurance during a typical year.
Types of Accidents or Tickets
As for the kinds of incidents these drivers were involved in, 10 percent were associated with DUIs, 27 percent resulted from speeding, and 38 percent were tied to driver being at fault for a crash.
Average Cost With Tickets or Accidents
Because young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 are most prone to accidents and driving under the influence, if they have a violation on their record they’ll pay an average of $208 per month. This is $43 more than what the average Seattleite in this age range pays for the same coverage.
As these drivers get older, their premiums will still be significantly higher than someone with a cleaner record, if their own remains tainted. Although rates tend to decrease between the ages of 55 and 64, men and women with accidents and, especially, DUIs pay $23 more a month for car insurance than the average person in that age range.
Driving a newer car costs more to insure.
Newer cars usually cost more to insure. The simple reason: they’re more expensive to fix or replace.
Rates by Age of Car
If your car was made between 1990 and 2004, you’ll pay less than if it was made between 2005 and 2017. In fact, cars made between 1990 and 1994 cost $63 less per month to insure than those from 2015 or 2017.
Even though older cars are cheaper to insure overall, there are many other elements that factor into how much your car affects your rates. One example is the make and model of your car, which we’ll discuss below.
Average Rates by Car Make and Model
Along with the age of your car, its make and model also can affect your premiums. More expensive cars equate to higher rates, and vice versa.
Most Expensive Makes to Insure
Cheapest Makes to Insure
Based on these charts, a Land Rover SUV costs more to insure than a Toyota Prius or Camry. Which makes sense—a nicer and more expensive vehicle costs more to repair or replace, so it’s also going to cost more to insure.
Insurance underwriters also look at your vehicle’s crash statistics, crash test scores, engine size, and vulnerability to car theft when calculating rates. So because a Ford F150 has a large engine, you can expect your rates to be higher than a fuel-efficient Toyota Prius.
If you think you're paying too much for your premium, compare quotes to find the lowest insurance rates possible.
The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies in Seattle
You’ve probably heard that no two insurance companies are the same. Well, it’s true. Each uses its own algorithms to determine rates. Our study provides an overview of six major insurance providers and the average rates paid by Seattle drivers to those organizations.
Rates for 18-24 Year Olds
For 18-to 24-year-olds, Safeco is the cheapest bang for your buck, while Geico is the most expensive. However, when you compare that to the 25-to-34 age range, Safeco and Geico are the second- and third-cheapest insurers, respectively.
Rates for 25-34 Year Olds
By far the biggest disparities in this age range are Allstate, State Farm, Pemco, and Geico. Allstate, State Farm, and Pemco consumers under 25 pay an average of $30, $60, and $69 more than people aged 25 to 34. For Geico, drivers in the under-25 range pay an average of $93 dollars more than their older counterparts.
On the other hand, Progressive and Safeco don’t show too much of a disparity.
Rates for 35-44 Year Olds
Rates for 45-55 Year Olds
Between the 35-to-44 and the 45-to-55 age range, only Progressive, Allstate, and Geico showed disparities. Progressive showed a $49 increase from the 35-to-44 to the 45-to-55 age range. Allstate showed a $35 spike, and Geico actually decreased by $28.
This shows that some companies raise their rates as people age and accumulate more wealth for newer vehicles.
Rates for 55-65 Year Olds
As for people between the ages of 55 and 64, they usually have the most driving experience. On the other hand, these are the ages when a driver’s reflexes start to deteriorate. Because of that, some insurers—like Allstate, Progressive, Safeco, and State Farm—reduced their rates, while others—like Pemco—raised theirs.