While Pittsburgh rates are well below archrival Philadelphia's -- which are among the highest in the country -- they still aren't cheap. Two drivers with the same car might well pay rates for Pennsylvania car insurance that differ by hundreds of dollars when one lives in South Hills and the other in Oakland.
No matter where you live, you'll findcar insurance rates vary -- sometimes by a great deal. Each car insurance company uses its own formula when deciding what you’ll pay, so the same policy can have many different price points. Pittsburgh ZIP code 15219 is the most expensive ZIP code for car insurance in the city, $1,216 a year, according to a survey of rates from six major carriers. The difference between the highest rate ($1,867) for that ZIP and the lowest ($808) is $1,059. That's why everyone should comparison shop.
To see how other Pennsylvania car insurance rates compare, use our average rates tool below. Enter a ZIP code and it will show the average rate, as well as the highest and lowest, for your location.
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CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to provide a report of average auto insurance rates for a 2016 Honda Accord for nearly every ZIP code in the United States. We calculated rates using data for up to six large carriers (Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm).
Averages for the default result are based on insurance for a married 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day, with policy limits of 100/300/100 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $100,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. The rate includes uninsured motorist coverage.
Averages for customized rates are based on drivers ages 20, 30, 40, 50, 60 and 70 for the following coverage levels: state minimum liability, liability of 50/100/50 and 100/300/100 with $500 deductible on comprehensive and collision. These hypothetical drivers have clean records and good credit. Average rates are for comparative purposes.
Your own rate will depend on your personal factors and vehicle.
State Minimum: Required liability coverage to drive legally in your state; some states mandate additional coverage, such as personal injury protection, uninsured motorist, underinsured motorist.
Liability Only 50/100/50: $50,000 per person/$100,000 maximum per accident for bodily injury; $50,000 for property damage. Liability pays for injuries/damage you cause others.
Full Coverage 100/300/100: $100,000 per person/$300,000 maximum per accident for bodily injury; $100,000 for property damage; comprehensive and collision coverage with $500 deductible. Liability pays for injuries/damage you cause others. Comprehensive and collision pay for damage to your car.
Here's how Pittsburgh’s highest average rate ($1,216) compares to others:
$289 more than the least expensive average rate ($927) in Pennsylvania, ZIP code 16801
$6 more than the state average ($1,210)
$15 less than the national average rate ($1,231)
You’ll see in the chart below the most expensive Pittsburgh ZIP codes.
Pittsburgh car insurance rates
*Methodology for rates by ZIP code: CarInsurance.com commissioned Quadrant Information Services to run auto insurance rates for a 2014 Honda Accord for more than 30,000 ZIP codes in the United States using six large carriers -- Allstate, Farmers, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm. (In cases where an insurer’s rate wasn’t available, another major carrier's rate was substituted.) Averages are based on insurance for a single 40-year-old male who commutes 12 miles to work each day, with policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. This hypothetical driver has a clean record and good credit. The rate includes uninsured motorist coverage. Average rates are for comparative purposes. Your own rate will depend on your personal factors and vehicle.
Pittsburgh car insurance requirements
Pennsylvania state law requires the following minimum car insurance coverage:
Minimum bodily injury liability
Minimum property damage liability
First party benefits (medical)
Cheapest car insurance in Pittsburgh
To drive legally, you need at least state minimum insurance required. This will be the lowest liability car insurance limits your insurer offers. In Pennsylvania, (written as 15/30/5) that means your liability car insurance would pay up to:
$15,000 for injuries you cause to others
$30,000 per accident
$5,000 for damage you cause to others’ cars and property
Pennsylvania also requires you to buy a minimum of $5,000 of first party benefits medical coverage. It pays medical expenses for you and anyone on your policy up to its limits, even if the accident was your fault.
The state average rate for a year of minimum coverage is $560, according to our rate analysis. If you increased your coverage to 50/100/50, you would pay just $66 more.
Best car insurance in Pittsburgh
Even a minor accident can put your savings and home in jeopardy if you have just the state required minimum of insurance. To protect your assets, you should buy liability insurance in the following amounts:
$100,000 to pay for others’ medical bills
$300,000 to pay for injuries to others in an accident you cause
$100,000 to pay for damage to others’ property
You should also consider buying these optional coverages:
Comprehensive, which replaces stolen cars and covers damage to your car from floods, fire, hail, vandalism.
Collision, which pays for damage to your car from accidents.
Comprehensive insurance and collision coverage are advised unless you have a very old car that’s of little value. In Pennsylvania, comprehensive costs $132 and collision costs $301, on average per year, for drivers, according to the Insurance Information Institute. These optional coverages come with a deductible. That’s the amount you pay before your insurance company pays. Typical deductibles amounts are $1,000, $500 and $250 – you choose which one you want. The higher the deductible is, the lower your rate will be.
Driving in Pittsburgh
Traffic in Pittsburgh: As with many major cities, traffic can be congested, especially during rush hour, but Pittsburgh did not make a list of the worst U.S. cities for traffic recently reported by USA Today.
Car crashes: Major accidents have resulted in an average of about 20 deaths a year in recent years (2012-2014).
Commuting: The average commute in Pittsburgh lasts 22.8 minutes.
High Occupancy Vehicle rules: The HOV lane, also known as the carpool or diamond lane, is designed to reduce traffic congestion and promote ride-sharing on freeways. In the Pittsburgh area, only vehicles with at least two people, mass transit vehicles like buses, and motorcycles are allowed to use the lanes. The lanes may be restricted during specified hours.
Public transportation: The U.S. Census Bureau says that the majority of riders in Pittsburgh who commute to work by public transportation are white (about 53 percent), Hispanic (about 3 percent) and black (about 34 percent). The bureau notes that commuting is the main reason people use mass transit.
Smog rules: In Pittsburgh you must have a vehicle (model year 1975 or newer) tested for emissions before registering and annually after that. After moving to Pittsburgh, the vehicle must be tested as part of the registration process.
Bad intersection: Where 18th and Carson streets meet is considered one of the most dangerous in Pittsburgh, especially for unwary pedestrians.
The information was gathered from various sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, state transportation departments and city police departments.