Published: January 7, 2022Updated: July 28, 2022

Auto Insurance Research and Statistics

Finding reliable information about auto insurance isn’t easy. A Google search for the term “auto insurance” returns mostly advertisements from companies promising you low rates — not helpful if you’re looking to educate yourself on what to buy. To make an informed decision, you need objective knowledge on auto insurance and how it works in the United States. Here, we’ve compiled all of our original research as well as third-party research on auto insurance in the U.S., from pricing to the myths you should know before paying for a policy.

From the worst states for DUIs to how gender affects the cost of auto insurance, there are few questions our experts haven’t answered in our auto insurance research.

Our Original Research

Compiling thousands of data points, we perform research on auto insurance and driving in general.

Fines for Cell Phone Usage by State

Even though distracted driving is relatively commonplace, you could get fined for using a cell phone while driving, or worse. Fines range from $25 all the way up to more than $1,000, and multiple violations could lead to court appearances, community service, and/or jail time.

We’ve compiled each state’s laws surrounding texting and driving as well as some third-party statistics surrounding distracted driving. For example, research from the National Conference of State Legislatures has found that over 80 percent of drivers in the U.S. use their phones while driving1, alarmingly.

The State of Driving in 2021

Using data from over 700,000 real auto insurance calls, we’ve outlined the top cities and states for DUIs, tickets, and car accidents. We learned some fascinating statistics, like that 4 percent of residents of Alaska, Idaho, Minnesota, Wyoming, and North Dakota have been arrested for DUIs. This is 33 percent higher than the national average of 3 percent. DUIs tend to be more common in rural areas, where public transportation is not as widely available or not available at all.

Auto Insurance Myths, Debunked

If you’ve been researching auto insurance, you’ve probably come across some auto insurance myths.

Do red cars really cost more to insure? Do credit scores affect car insurance rates? Do tickets and at-fault accidents make your rates go up?

We provided answers from real insurance agents Patrick Nolin, Brian Bruce, and Kevin Hamill. As it turns out, red cars don’t cost more to insure, and the color isn’t a factor in the cost of auto insurance. In contrast, credit scores affect the average cost of car insurance, with those with bad credit paying more.

Effects of DUI on Car Insurance

How do DUIs affect car insurance? Using data from hundreds of thousands of auto insurance calls, we explored the relationship between DUI convictions and accidents, tickets, and homeownership. We hypothesized that people with DUIs in the past five years were more likely to have been involved in at-fault car accidents in the same time period. We also thought people with DUIs would be more likely to have gotten two or more tickets in the past five years, and that homeowners would be less likely than renters to have DUIs.

Why does it matter? Because events like DUIs, at-fault accidents, and tickets can increase the cost of car insurance. Especially if you had to get an SR-22, or proof of insurance, finding cheap auto insurance may be difficult.

Similarly, if you get into an accident and it’s your fault, the cost of auto insurance rises. The same goes for tickets.

There’s also a relationship between homeownership and auto insurance costs. Homeowners are considered to be less risky than renters, meaning they’re less likely to file claims. As a result, homeowners receive cheaper auto insurance than renters, if all else is equal. Our data said that homeowners were 24 percent less likely than renters to have DUIs, matching our original hypothesis.

Labor Day Accident Statistics

Many people may not know that car accidents increase on Labor Day. In 2021, for example, an estimated 466 people in the U.S. died by driving on Labor Day, a 19 percent increase from the previous year. Many people travel and drink on Labor Day, which explains the high death rate2. Learn more about the cost of car accidents, whose insurance to call first in a car accident, and what to do after a car accident is your fault.

Senior Driving Statistics

When it comes to buying auto insurance for seniors, you may expect higher premiums due to more frequent accidents, but is this fair? Senior driving statistics indicate otherwise.

In fact, since the mid-1990s, fatal crashes from licensed drivers over the age of 70 have decreased by 43 percent, compared to 21 percent with the general population. Currently, drivers 70 and older have lower fatal accident rates than those in the 35 to 54 age range.

While the reasons for this large difference aren’t clear, the decrease in fatal accidents may be due to advances in medicine and technology that make it easier for older adults to drive safely. In 2019, 7,214 older adults were killed in traffic crashes in the U.S., accounting for 20 percent of traffic fatalities and 20 percent of all licensed drivers. This was a 3 percent increase from 2018.

Age Group 65-69 65-69 65-69 70-74 70-74 70-74 75-79 75-79 75-79 80-84 80-84 80-84 85 & over 85 & over 85 & over
Gender Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total
2000 4,182 4,202 8,385 3,644 3,822 7,467 2,820 3,091 5,911 1,656 1,854 3,511 958 1,092 3,050
2001 4,193 4,242 8,436 3,650 3,813 7,464 2,825 3,087 5,912 1,723 1,929 3,653 981 1,124 2,106
2002 4,253 4,284 8,538 3,647 3,788 7,435 2,936 3,173 6,110 1,849 2,079 3,929 1,112 1,288 2,401
2003 4,370 4,407 8,777 3,613 3,749 7,362 2,894 3,173 6,067 1,856 2,103 3,959 1,132 1,304 2,436
2004 4,474 4,535 9,009 3,607 3,747 7,355 2,875 3,187 6,063 1,897 2,181 4,079 1,129 1,339 2,468
2005 4,575 4,645 9,221 3,618 3,754 7,372 2,893 3,162 6,055 1,909 2,211 4,121 1,166 1,403 2,569
2006 4,726 4,819 9,545 3,661 3,801 7,463 2,922 3,176 6,099 1,964 2,267 4,232 1,271 1,522 2,794
2007 4,981 5,095 10,077 3,733 3,877 7,611 2,933 3,187 6,121 1,999 2,305 4,305 1,340 1,589 2,930
2008 5,268 5,402 10,671 3,842 4,005 7,848 2,939 3,190 6,130 2,043 2,359 4,402 1,438 1,747 3,186
2009 5,469 5,617 11,087 3,938 4,098 8,037 2,943 3,172 6,115 2,060 2,354 4,414 1,480 1,799 3,279
2010 5,652 5,815 11,468 4,028 4,201 8,230 2,966 3,191 6,157 2,090 2,373 4,463 1,540 1,870 3,411
2011 5,894 6,079 11,973 4,176 4,361 8,538 3,004 3,220 6,225 2,092 2,341 4,433 1,554 1,841 3,395
2012 6,311 6,515 12,826 4,349 4,557 8,906 3,041 3,255 6,296 2,097 2,338 4,435 1,590 1,890 3,480
2013 6,494 6,733 13,227 4,533 4,775 9,307 3,091 3,329 6,420 2,076 2,323 4,399 1,588 1,888 3,477
2014 6,868 7,146 14,014 4,778 5,040 9,818 3,197 3,437 6,634 2,094 2,312 4,405 1,647 1,930 3,577
2015 7,218 7,571 14,788 4,975 5,257 10,232 3,267 3,567 6,834 2,157 2,364 4,521 1,700 2,017 3,716
2016 7,522 7,895 15,417 5,190 5,463 10,653 3,441 3,710 7,151 2,195 2,410 4,606 1,792 2,085 3,877
2017 7,609 8,017 15,626 5,690 6,015 11,705 3,637 3,944 7,581 2,238 2,485 4,723 1,828 2,152 3,980
2018 7,759 8,183 15,942 5,962 6,289 12,251 3,878 4,176 8,054 2,315 2,621 4,936 1,847 2,218 4,0653

And disproving sexist stereotypes, from 2010 to 2019, older male driver fatalities increased by 39 percent, while older female driver fatalities increased by only 12 percent. Regardless of sex, the highest fatality rate in 2019 was for those in the 80 to 84 range, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration4. Read more about auto insurance for seniors in Florida and auto insurance for seniors in Michigan.

Third-Party Auto Insurance Research

Since every licensed driver in the U.S. needs auto insurance for their vehicle, it’s no surprise that the U.S. spent about $240 billion on auto insurance in 2018. Still, the cost of basic liability insurance, which most states mandate, is too high for many low-income Americans. You might pay more for auto insurance if you:

  • Aren’t married
  • Are female
  • Rent your home
  • Don’t have a college degree
  • Had a break in auto insurance coverage
  • Don’t have a great credit score
  • Have a blue-collar job5

Despite these disparities in price, overall customer satisfaction with the auto insurance industry was 835 out of 1,000 in 2021 and in 2020. Still, 45 percent of auto insurance customers said they would switch providers if they could save up to $200.

Here are some other interesting auto insurance statistics:

  • Only 52 percent of auto insurance customers know about COVID-19 premium relief efforts.
    Thirty-four percent of customers report that they are willing to try UBI, or usage-based insurance. UBI involves telematics that track driving patterns, including miles driven and safe driving. Currently, only 16 percent of customers use this technology.6
  • Despite the fact that auto insurance is mandatory for vehicles in the U.S, 13 percent of drivers are uninsured.7
  • Men pay more for car insurance than women. In 2021, women paid an average of $152 for car insurance per month, while men paid $159, nearly 5 percent more. When it comes to auto insurance premiums, auto insurance affordability is better if you’re female, regardless of the amount of liability coverage or insurance claims.
  • Age affects car insurance costs, as well. The older you get, the less you’ll pay, with Gen Z drivers paying the most for car insurance monthly in 2021 at $183. That’s nearly 30 percent higher than Baby Boomers, who pay an average of $129 per month for car insurance.8

Recap

That’s the latest auto insurance research, but we’ll keep this page updated as we conduct more research using the latest data. For more information, read our guide to auto insurance, a comprehensive look at auto insurance and insurance companies from an expert perspective. We’ll cover everything from bodily injury liability to property damage liability to personal injury protection (PIP) for a private passenger; i.e., your auto injuries. After all, if you have any injury claims, you should know how much the claim costs will be before you get into an accident.

Citations

  1. Distracted Driving | Cellphone Use. NCLS. (2021, Jul 20).
    https://www.ncsl.org/research/transportation/cellular-phone-use-and-texting-while-driving-laws.aspx

  2. HOLIDAY TRAFFIC FATALITY ESTIMATE. NSC. (2021).
    https://injuryfacts.nsc.org/motor-vehicle/holidays/labor-day/

  3. Highway Statistics 2018. US Department of Transportation. (2020, Feb).
    https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/policyinformation/statistics/2018/dl220.cfm

  4. Traffic Safety Facts. US Department of Transportation. (2021, May).
    https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/813121

  5. Auto Insurance: A National Issue of Economic Justice. CFA. (2019, Jan).
    https://consumerfed.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Summary-of-Auto-Insurance-Research.pdf

  6. Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Stalls Despite $18 Billion in Premium Relief, J.D. Power Finds. J.D. Power. (2021, Jun 15).
    https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2021-us-auto-insurance-study

  7. Monitoring Availability and Affordability of Auto Insurance; Assessing Potential Evolution of the Auto Insurance Market/em>. National Archives. (2021, May 27).
    https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/05/27/2021-11167/monitoring-availability-and-affordability-of-auto-insurance-assessing-potential-evolution-of-the

  8. 2022 STATE OF THE AMERICAN DRIVER. Jerry. (2022).
    https://www.keepandshare.com/doc11/33815/jerry-state-of-the-american-driver-2021-pdf-2-6-meg?da=y