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Car Insurance Costs: Study Measures Affordability by City

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author photo by Jessica Shea Choksey April 2014
  • Car insurance premiums can vastly differ from city to city
  • NerdWallet.com has developed the Ford F-150 Insurance Index
  • Average annual car insurance premium for an F-150 is $1,003.98

Consumers often forget to consider insurance premiums in their car-buying decisions. But insurance is just as much a part of a vehicle's cost of ownership as fuel or maintenance. And it often varies greatly depending on geography. To sift through some of the confusion, NerdWallet.com, a consumer-friendly financial literacy website, has developed the Ford F-150 Insurance Index, which uses America's top-selling vehicle to illustrate the differences in insurance premiums from city to city. The variances can be eye-opening. For example, insuring an F-150 in Detroit costs eight times more than insuring a car in Boise.

The index reveals that six of the 10 most affordable places to own an F-150 are in California, yet California is one of the states where the F-150 is not a best-seller. It also determines that the average annual insurance premium for an F-150 is $1,003.98.

NerdWallet's methodology for this study was to retrieve quotes for four different driver profiles in the 150 most populous cities: 27-year-old single men and women, and 40-year-old married men and women. For each driver profile, they chose each city's two least expensive insurance quotes to determine an overall average and then divided this number by the local median income.

Here are the 10 most affordable and 10 least affordable cities to own a Ford F-150:

MOST AFFORDABLE

Ranking City Average Median Income % of Median Income
1 Fremont, Calif. $754.38 $100,574 0.7501%
2 Arlington, Va. $810.60 $100,474 0.8068%
3 Irvine, Calif. $783.96 $96,278 0.8143%
4 Huntington Beach, Calif. $751.75 $80,020 0.9395%
5 San Jose, Calif. $783.24 $80,090 0.9779%
6 Gilbert, Ariz. $810.13 $79,916 1.0137%
7 Santa Clarita, Calif. $818.81 $78,894 1.0379%
8 Scottsdale, Ariz. $788.69 $72,102 1.0939%
9 Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. $815.75 $74,118 1.1006%
10 Boise, Idaho $534.74 $47,446 1.1270%

LEAST AFFORDABLE

Ranking City Average Median Income % of Median Income
1 Detroit, Mich. $4,199.43 $23,600 17.7942%
2 Hialeah, Fla. $1,706.18 $28,878 5.9082%
3 Newark, N.J. $1,830 $31,293 5.8480%
4 New Orleans, La. $1,962.91 $34,361 5.7126%
5 Providence, R.I. $1,887.14 $33,989 5.5522%
6 Miami, Fla. $1,530.55 $28,301 5.4081%
7 Grand Rapids, Mich. $2,014.92 $38,643 5.2142%
8 Baton Rouge, La. $1,587 $38,806 4.0896%
9 Brownsville, Texas $1,138.75 $29,619 3.8447%
10 St. Louis, Mo. $1,207.13 $31,997 3.7726%


What it means to you: Whether you're in the market for an F-150 or an entirely different vehicle, you should acquire a sense for what insurance premiums will be in your area. This may help inform your overall car-buying decision.

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
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Car Insurance Costs: Study Measures Affordability by City - Autotrader