Find the Cheapest Pennsylvania Car Insurance - 2021
Car insurance in PA isn’t more expensive than the US average, despite it being a no-fault state. This means that you don’t need to overspend for high-quality car insurance. However, there is still a lot of room to save. All you need to do is obtain quotes from reliable companies that offer affordable policies.
But determining which insurers offer the cheapest coverage and how they score in relevant metrics requires a lot of research. We did that research for you.
First, we got quotes for different age demographics from all prominent Pennsylvania auto insurance companies. Then we looked at the most reputable rankings in customer service and financial strength. Finally, we explored each company’s website in detail to see how many discounts and optional coverages they offer.
Rest assured that you’ll find in this guide the right Pennsylvanian insurer tailored just for you, no matter how specific your needs might be. Read on to find more details.
The Best Car Insurance in PA
- Overall Winner: Erie Insurance
- Runner-Up: Geico Insurance
- Cheapest Option Progressive Insurance
- Best for Senior Drivers: The Hartford
- Best for the Military: USAA
The Overall Winner: Erie Insurance
Erie, the car insurance company based in the Pennsylvanian namesake city, takes the victory on home turf. It offers the perfect combination of affordable policies and excellent customer service. To start with the latter, Erie receives five stars in J.D. Power’s rankings in both claims handling satisfaction and insurance shopping categories.
Furthermore, the company is also the winner in J.D. Power’s rankings for the Pennsylvania region. Even its NAIC ratio is below the average — 0.64. This indicates that Erie gets considerably fewer complaints than what’s considered average for a company of its size.
And it’s not just the overwhelming customer satisfaction that makes Erie one of the best auto insurance companies in PA. Erie’s NAIC ratio is “A+,” which is the second highest result possible.
This indicates that Erie is a financially stable company despite its smaller size. Finally, the icing on the cake comes in the form of low rates. More often than not, Erie was the cheapest insurer in our quote comparison.
Nonetheless, the company has one significant downside when compared with larger insurers — weak online tools. Its website looks plain, and there’s no Erie insurance app available either on AppStore or Google Play.
However, this is a small price to pay given how well Erie scores on other fields. Ignore it at your peril.
Choose Erie for excellent customer service and affordable prices.
Look elsewhere if you want polished online tools
The Runner-Up: Geico Insurance
It’s Warren Buffet’s Geico that takes the title of the second best Pennsylvania auto insurance provider. For starters, it has a sleek and intuitive website and a highly rated mobile app.
Those services can be used to download a proof of insurance and pay your bill, among other things. Geico’s online quoting system is also fast and neatly organized, meaning you can find the right coverage for you in no time.
However, it’s financial strength where Geico excels the most. It is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway, one of the most successful companies in the US. Given this, it’s no surprise it gets the highest possible AM Best rating, “A++.”
One surprising Geico’s downside in Pennsylvania is its relatively high auto insurance prices. It has the reputation of an affordable insurer, but our comparison of car insurance quotes in PA tells a different story.
Its quotes were among the most expensive, together with Allstate’s and State Farm’s. Nonetheless, insurance quotes are highly individualized, meaning it’s likely that you will not get the same results as we did.
Geico’s high prices are mitigated by exceptional scores in the customer service department. In J.D. Power’s 2019 rankings for Mid-Atlantic region, Geico took the second place overall. It’s the only company to score four stars, being beaten only by Erie, which gets five stars.
Because of these results, Geico is an excellent alternative to our number one option, especially for folks willing to pay more for higher financial strength and a more extensive list of features.
Choose Geico for superior financial strength, excellent online tools, and reliable customer service.
Look elsewhere if you want the cheapest car insurance in PA.
The Cheapest Option: Progressive Insurance
Those looking for the most affordable coverage in Pennsylvania should put Progressive at the top of their list. While Erie offers lower rates in smaller cities, Progressive is the cheapest overall.
And it’s not just the low prices that make Progressive a smart choice. The company is one of the most prominent insurers in the US by market share, with a long tradition of providing reliable coverage, even for high-risk drivers.
It’s AM Best rating is A+, making it one of the Pennsylvania car insurance providers with the highest financial stability. Additionally, Progressive offers a sufficient number of discounts and optional coverages to satisfy even the most demanding buyers.
The only downside is its below-average performance in the customer service department. The company could only manage two out of five stars in J.D. Power’s regional ranking.
Still, Progressive’s NAIC ratio is 0.75, indicating that the company receives 25% fewer complaints than average for an insurer of its size. Given Progressive’s super-affordable prices, this small disadvantage would not stop it from being a premiere company to get your auto insurance quotes in PA.
Choose Progressive for the lowest prices and excellent overall performance.
Look elsewhere if you want the most reliable customer service.
The Best for Senior Drivers: The Hartford
We didn’t include The Hartford in our PA quote comparison because you need AARP membership to qualify for its insurance. Nonetheless, we checked other sources which confirm that The Hartford offers cheap auto insurance in PA, especially for senior drivers.
Furthermore, if you choose The Hartford insurance, you’ll reap all the benefits of being an AARP member. These include discounts at restaurants, bookstores, and pharmacies, as well as travel and rent-a-car vouchers. On top of that, The Hartford has the second-highest possible AM Best rating in financial strength — “A+” or “Superior.”
The icing on the cake comes in the form of the third overall place in J.D. Power’s regional rankings. The Hartford scored impressive 4 stars out of 5 and has as many as ten Pennsylvania auto insurance companies ranked below it.
Due to its excellent performance across the board, the Hartford is a solid pick for all customers and number one option for seniors.
Choose The Hartford for its strong performance across the board and the exclusive benefits of AARP membership.
Look elsewhere if you want the best financial strength.
The Best for the Military: USAA
USAA is an insurance company that was founded in 1922 by 25 US Army officers who could not find coverage elsewhere because other insurers would consider them as too risky. USAA provides coverage only to former and current US army members and their close families. But for this particular category, it’s the best car insurance in PA.
It gets the highest numeric rating and full five stars in J.D. Power’s regional and national rankings. Additionally, it’s among the most affordable insurers in Pennsylvania, and it offers many useful features and optional coverages.
Lastly, USAA has the strongest AM Best rating — “A++” or “Superior.” The company even provides banking and investment services and retirement funds. For all these reasons, those who qualify will be hard-pressed to find a better option than USAA.
Choose USAA for superb overall performance.
Look elsewhere if you don’t qualify for USAA coverage.
Cheap Car Insurance in PA (By City)
Car insurance prices vary considerably depending on where you call home. To test what rates insurers offer in each city, we collected quotes with full coverage limits from all the major insurance companies in Pennsylvania. Our annual mileage was 10,000, and our sample vehicle was a 2018 Honda Accord. We always choose limited tort option
According to 2018 census, Philly is the sixth-most populous city in the US and the largest city in Pennsylvania, with over 1,584,000 people. However, it isn’t the state’s capital – that honor belongs to Harrisburg.
Philadelphia is a hub for higher education, being a home of many prestigious universities. These include the University of Pennsylvania, an ivy league member and the oldest university in the US, as well as Temple University, Drexel University, and Saint Joseph’s University.
Philadelphia is also the place where the first US zoo, medical school, public library, hospital, stock exchange, and US Marine Corps were founded.
Auto insurance in Philadelphia, PA, is quite expensive. Our policy cost around $150 more per month than in other cities. This does not come as a surprise since high population density increases the chances of an accident.
Furthermore, the high average income drives up the expenses of operating a business. Based on our comparison of Pennsylvania car insurance quotes, Progressive is the most affordable, followed by Erie. Geico and Plymouth Rock Assurance offer reasonable rates too, but they do not offer much else to justify their high prices.
Pittsburgh carries a nickname “the Steel City” because more than 300 steel-related businesses operate in the town. It is also called the “City of Bridges” because of its 446 bridges.
Furthermore, Pittsburgh is home to prominent aluminum, glass, petroleum, cars, and electronics manufacturers. It’s also one of the top food places in the US. In 2019 the San Francisco-based restaurant and hospitality consulting firm AF&CO named it the “Food City of the Year.”
Auto insurance in Pittsburgh, PA, is surprisingly affordable, given the population density and the median income in the city. On average, a customer will pay $204 less for a full coverage policy than in Philadelphia. Progressive is the most affordable option, while Erie is the best overall. Furthermore, Plymouth Rock Assurance, Geico, and State Farm are all worth your attention.
Did you know that Allentown was once home of Liberty Bell? This famous symbol of the American Revolution that was rung to announce the public reading of the Declaration of Independence is now located in Philadelphia. But in 1777 a group of revolutionaries hid it in their basement of a church in Allentown to prevent British from finding it.
Those looking for cheap car insurance in Allentown, PA will have to shop around – the city is the second most expensive in Pennsylvania, right after Philadelphia. The average monthly price for a full coverage policy is $45 higher than in Pittsburgh.
Still, those looking for good cheap car insurance should flock to Erie. It is the most affordable company in Allentown and the best overall. Besides Erie, we would consider Progressive and Plymouth Rock Assurance, and even Geico if excellent financial strength is a priority.
The city of Erie is home to the headquarters of the Erie Insurance Group, one of the best auto insurers in the US, and our overall winner in this guide.
The town is often called the “Gem City” because of the beautiful color of The Erie lake. However, it’s perhaps better known as the “Flagship City” because Hazard Perry’s gorgeous flagship USS Niagara is ported in Erie.
The car insurance in Erie is more affordable than in Allentown but still slightly more expensive than in Pittsburgh. Erie dominates in its hometown by offering the highest quality customer service and the lowest rates.
However, despite being one of the cheapest auto insurance companies out there, it has weak online tools, meaning you should consider Progressive, Farmers, and Geico if handling everything online is your cup of tea.
Reading is known as “The Pretzel City” because numerous pretzel bakeries call it home. Unique Pretzel, Tom Sturgis, Dieffenbach, and Bachman currently produce tasty pretzels in Reading. In recent years, it became one of the premier destinations for mountain bikers. It has over 125 miles of trails, and it is one of the International Mountain Bicycling Association ride centers. On the down note, Reading has the highest percentage of residents living in poverty in the US, according to the 2010 census.
Based on our research, Reading is the third most expensive city for car insurance in Pennsylvania. Erie is the most affordable and the best overall option, while Plymouth Rock Assurance, Progressive, and Travelers all offer reasonable rates.
Geico is also a worthwhile option for those ready to stretch their budget a bit. On the other hand, Allstate insurance in PA, and especially in Reading, is just too expensive to recommend.
Scranton was called the “Electric City” because the Dickson Manufacturing Company installed the electric lights citywide in 1880. Also, in 1886, the US’s first fully electric streetcars began operating in Scranton. Now the city has an entire museum dedicated to its electric trams. It’s called The Electric City Trolley Museum, and there you can see street cars that are now decommissioned.
Auto insurance in Scranton, PA, is the second most affordable in the state. As in other smaller Pennsylvania’s cities, Erie is the most affordable option. Due to its excellent scores in customer service and solid financial strength, it’s also the best option overall.
Nonetheless, since it’s always wise to request quotes from multiple insurers, you should also give a chance to State Farm, Progressive, and Plymouth Rock Assurance.
Pennsylvania Auto Insurance Laws
Pennsylvania’s Minimum Insurance Requirements
- Bodily Injury Liability – $15,000 per person/$30,000 per accident
This coverage pays for the injuries you’ve inflicted on others in an at-fault accident (it may include other medical-related expenses, too, such as lost wages).
- Property Damage Liability – $5,000
This covers any damage you caused to other people’s property in an at-fault accident. In most situations, that property is their car, but it may be personal belongings or stationary objects like mailboxes or fences.
- Medical Benefits (Personal injury protection) – $5,000
This coverage pays yours and your passengers’ medical expenses regardless of who was at fault.
Despite being a no-fault state, Pennsylvania’s auto insurance regulations are among the most lenient in the US. However, we would advise a customer to purchase a policy with higher limits for additional security.
But if you still decide to opt for the bare minimum, you should be aware that the chances are you will have to contribute out of pocket if an accident happens. This is essential to keep in mind.
Limited and Full Tort
Car insurance in PA brings another dilemma for potential buyers. This time it’s about the right to sue. According to Pennsylvania’s government guide on its auto insurance laws, you can opt for either limited or full tort (“tort” is just a fancy legal word for injury).
Limited tort will result in the lower premium. However, you will not be able to sue the party that caused the accident for pain and suffering. Pennsylvania’s Act 6 of 1990, title 75, section 1705 (d) allows some exceptions to this rule, but these are rare.
Full tort, on the other hand, allows unlimited rights to sue the negligent party. However, car insurance in Pennsylvania will be 40-60% more expensive if you select full tort coverage. The Key Stone state is only one out of two in the US that allows a customer to choose between full and limited rights to sue.
SR22 Insurance in Pennsylvania
SR22 isn’t a type of coverage but a certificate that your insurance company has to fill out and send to the nearest DMV after a severe violation. It serves as proof that your auto insurance policy has adequate limits. You need an SR22 form after violations like driving under the influence, street racing, or inflicting bodily injury in an at-fault accident.
However, Pennsylvania is one of eight states that does not require SR22. The only situation where you need to provide SR22 with your automobile insurance policy in PA is if you moved there recently and had to carry SR22 in another state.
Driving in Pennsylvania When You Aren’t a Full-Time Resident
According to the AAA’s guideline on Pennsylvania’s driving laws, non-residents may operate a vehicle in the state with valid out-of-state license without any temporal restrictions. However, you cannot use out-of-state vehicles for commercial purposes like transportation or ride-sharing.
Additionally, if you receive a citation for not registering your vehicle in PA, you’ll have five days to provide evidence that you are a non-resident and the authorities will dismiss the citation.
Furthermore, according to Pennsylvania’s DMV, if you moved to the state recently, you have 60 days to obtain a driver license and car insurance in PA.
Pennsylvania is one of 12 no-fault states, meaning you’ll rely on your PIP coverage to get a reimbursement for injuries you have suffered. It doesn’t matter who caused the accident; you’ll be filing a claim and getting paid from your insurance company.
However, if you opt for more expensive full tort, you’ll be able to sue the at-fault party for all injury-related expenses, including pain and suffering. This means that in Pennsylvania, you can opt out of the no-fault insurance system if you choose to pay a higher premium.
Keep in mind that this pertains only to bodily injuries. The auto insurance system in PA allows you to make a claim for the damaged property (e.g., your car) without restrictions.
Price optimization is the practice in the insurance industry of using advanced software tools to estimate the highest amount a customer would pay for their coverage.
It’s considered immoral and often illegal because it relies on non-underwriting factors to determine the final prices, such as your likeliness to leave the company for a better deal. In other words, PA car insurance companies will try to charge two drivers with the same profile different rates.
The good news is that the Pennsylvania Insurance Department took a firm stand against the practice of price optimization. It published the Notice 2015-16, which made clear that price optimization is against the current Pennsylvania law. It states:
“With the advent of sophisticated pricing tools, including computer software and rating models referred to as price optimization, insurers, rating organizations and advisory organizations are reminded that policyholders and applicants with identical risk classification profiles—that is, risks of the same class and essentially the same hazard—must be charged the same premium”.
This prohibits companies in PA to use any criteria outside of how much risk you carry to determine your rates.
Tips for Finding the Cheapest Auto Insurance in PA
Check the Discounts
The easiest way to the most affordable auto insurance is by taking full advantage of the discounts. When you are completing an online quote, the system should offer you an option to check the discounts you qualify for. Make sure to do that, since it will lead to a substantially lower premium.
Also consider enrolling in the programs where insurers track your driving habits, such as Progressive’s Snapshot. They can lower your rates by 40%, meaning you can get a policy with higher limits and still have cheap auto insurance in Pennsylvania.
If the company requires that you talk to an agent, insist that they mention all the available discounts. Keep in mind that the agents often work on a commission, which means that it is in their best interest to charge you more than necessary.
Compare Multiple Quotes
So far in this guide, we have crunched the numbers and compared the car insurance quotes in PA from all prominent car insurance companies. Nonetheless, insurance quotes are highly individualized, meaning you may not get the same results as we did.
That’s why you’ll have to spare one afternoon to do your quote analysis. The fastest way to do so is to make a shortlist of companies that fit your needs and request online quotes from all of them.
When you are making your list of the finest automobile insurance options in Pennsylvania, you would like to know how they perform in departments such as customer service and financial strength.
While this guide provides information on top companies in PA, our car insurance reviews contain all the information you may need on 24 different US insurers. There, you’ll find how many discounts and optional coverages each company offers, how they score in customer satisfaction, and how financially stable they are.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How much is car insurance in PA?
The average price of full coverage policy for a 40-year-old male with a clean record is $231. Our sample policy included collision and comprehensive coverage for a 2018 Honda Accord, each with $500 deductible.
If you drop these from your policy, you can expect to pay 30-60% less, depending on the car your drive and your liability limits.
2. How much is car insurance for a teenager in PA?
Furthermore, cities like Pittsburgh, for example, are more expensive than other areas. That said, a teen driver can expect to pay anywhere between $200-400 for full coverage from a cheaper insurer
3. Who has the best car insurance rates in PA?
Based on our quote comparison, Progressive offers the most affordable PA auto insurance in the bigger towns such as Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, while Erie has the cheapest insurance in smaller cities. Plymouth Rock Assurance also offers reasonable prices.
4. What is considered full coverage in PA?
There’s no widely accepted agreement on which limits and protection plans make up the full coverage. Instead, it represents an insurance plan that makes you feel sufficiently secure.
Our version of full coverage auto insurance in PA would include $100,000/$200,000 in liability limits for bodily injury and $30,000 for property damage. We would also choose comprehensive and collision coverages, each with $500 deductibles.
Finally, we’d select uninsured/underinsured motorist protection with limits equal to the liability. We do not think full tort is necessary, but we would choose PIP limit that’s between $10,000 and $30,000.
5. Do you have to have collision insurance in PA?
No, this coverage is not mandatory in Pennsylvania. It is necessary only if you bought your vehicle using a loan or a lease, which many Americans did according to the recent car loan statistics. In that case, the lender will require such insurance.
6. Is PA a no-fault state?
Yes. If you purchase regular car insurance in PA with limited tort, you’ll rely only on your PIP coverage to reimburse medical expenses. However, you can also choose more expensive full tort in Pennsylvania, which will give you almost unlimited rights to sue.
This means that you can opt-out of the no-fault system if you are prepared to pay more.