Car insurance in Brooklyn is no joke. If you’ve tried to insure your car while living in Brooklyn, you’ve probably discovered this for yourself. Car insurance in Brooklyn is much higher than anywhere else in the country — the average car insurance rates nationwide range from $700 to $1,000 yearly, depending on your age group.
The average insurance rate in Brooklyn? An average of $3,500 yearly, over 140% the national average. That’s even higher than many of the rates for other boroughs in NYC: the average yearly rate in Queens is $2,400; $1,400 in Brooklyn and the Bronx.
So why is insurance so much more expensive in Brooklyn? And moreover, what can you do about it? Fortunately, there are some ways you can bring those prices down.
Why are car insurance rates so high in Brooklyn?
First of all, let’s take a look at exactly why Brooklyn car insurance rates are the way they are.
As most everyone knows, insurance companies assign rates based on a variety of risk factors: the age of the driver, their driving record, the area they live in (including accident rates, likelihood for natural disasters, etc). The higher the risk of an accident (and thus a big payout), the higher the insurance rate. Brooklyn is home to a number of elements that contribute to risk factor.
The first: high traffic volume. More cars on the road means a higher risk of accidents, and traffic in Brooklyn (as in much of New York) is legendarily dense. There’s also a high-density population, which means not only a lot of cars on the road, but also more pedestrians, which also increases the risk of accidents.
Another factor: fewer parking garages in Brooklyn. This means many of the inhabitants have to park on the street, which increases the chances of things like parking mishaps, car theft, and vandalism — all risk factors for insurance rates.
Brooklyn weather also plays a part in how much insurance costs, due to the higher incidence of inclement weather such as storms, ice, hail, and gale force winds. This not only can pose a significant driving hazard, but also has the potential to damage vehicles, leading to car insurance claims and payouts.
Finally, bad road conditions (potholes, poorly maintained roads) can inflict significant wear-and-tear on cars, and bad driving behavior like road rage and distracted driving (already a problem in dense, busy traffic) can also present a risk factor.
What can you do to lower your Brooklyn car insurance?
So now that we know some of the root causes for Brooklyn’s relatively astronomical insurance rates — what is there to be done about it? There are some steps that can be taken to mitigate the high cost of having a car in Brooklyn:
Drive safely. This may seem like a no-brainer, but a good driving record is one of the first things that insurers look at when assessing risk factors. You can even opt to have a device in your car that will share telemetry data with your insurer, bringing your insurance rate down even further (if you’re a safe driver, that is).
Apply for discounts. Most insurers offer discounts such as good student discounts, homeowner discounts, paid-in-full discounts (for paying your entire yearly rate in one payment), and more. Ask your insurer for more details.
Bundle your insurance. One common way to bring your insurance rates down is to bundle your car insurance policy with your homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance. If you own multiple vehicles, you can also bundle them together with a muti-car policy to bring rates down even further.
Improve your credit score. For good or ill, your credit score can play a big part on how much you end up paying for car insurance. A higher credit score means any insurer will see you as more reliable in terms of making payments, and therefore less of a risk. If you can find a way to raise your credit score, it will end up helping you in several ways — not just car insurance.
Take a course. Taking a defensive driving course can not only bring rates down with your insurer (many will offer a discount for completing such a course), but is also likely to improve your driving skills and make the likelihood of an accident where you’re at fault much lower.
Drive less. One advantage to living in the city: public transit. By walking, taking the subway, or otherwise making use of public transportation and alternate means of travel, you can switch to pay-per-mile insurance and end up paying much less for your car insurance in the end.
Compare insurance. Finally, one of the smarter steps you can take to lower your insurance rate is to shop around. Compare rates among different insurance companies and find a cheaper policy that also meets your car insurance needs.