The state of New York is one of the 15th least most expensive states to acquire auto insurance and is much cheaper than the national average. According to multiple studies, New Yorkers are consistently ranked in the bottom quartile for paying auto insurance premiums. Buffalo, New York, as the second largest city in the State tends to have higher than average insurance premiums compared to the state average, just like New York City. However, getting the cheapest insurance in Buffalo, New York is possible if you know how to avoid common pitfalls of the auto insurance industry.
Avoid High Auto Insurance Traps
In order to get the lowest auto insurance in Buffalo, you need to be sure to avoid common mistakes, both in looking for the cheapest rate and in your overall life. Auto insurance premiums are designed to award people that are considered lower risk than more risky demographics. As such, there are a number of ways to avoid high premiums by simply avoiding the situations below.
Driving Record Infractions
One of the worst situations that will increase your auto insurance premiums is by racking up a number of driving infractions, even minor ones, or by committing just one major infraction. Driving infractions stay on your driving record for 3 to 5 years and can increase your premiums significantly especially for these infractions:
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Careless or reckless driving charges
- Excessive speed, speeding tickets, 20 or more mph over the limit
- Vehicular homicide
- Vehicular manslaughter
- Accidents causing serious injury to yourself or others
- Accidents causing significant property damage
These driving infractions are considered the worst-offenders for insurance premium assessors. However, if you are a habitual offender, where you have multiple small infractions every year over multiple years, they also can increase your premiums.
Poor Vehicle Choice
Choosing a vehicle should suit your lifestyle and preference, however with many options available you should consider choosing a vehicle that serves to avoid two high-premium causing situations. Most auto insurers are providing cheaper rates for vehicles that are meeting exceedingly higher safety standards with extra safety features that include forward collision warning, auto-braking and lane departure warning on top of already standard features that include safety airbags, rear-view cameras and safety belts.
Secondly avoid the following 10 vehicles that are the most stolen vehicles in the state of New York, as they will automatically be assessed higher premiums for insurance:
- Honda Accord
- Honda Civic
- Ford Econoline 350
- Toyota Camry
- Nissan Altima
- Dodge Caravan
- Ford Econoline 250
- Nissan Maxima
- Toyota Corolla
- Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee
There are literally dozens of models in each of the categories of vehicles represented in the list that will not be assessed extra premiums because of their risk for theft. Buffalo city with the highest car thefts of 424 per 100,000 vehicles in New York State, it is even more imperative that you choose your vehicle wisely.
These two mistakes could cost you hundreds of extra insurance costs in a year. There are other mistakes to avoid as well, such as not getting multiple quotes, not asking for discounts for multiple reasons and not providing your entire situation to the broker or agent during the quoting process.
The Cheapest Auto Insurance in Buffalo
According to ValuePenguin, the average auto insurance in Buffalo is $1,231 annually. Yet there is quite a lot of variation between neighborhoods and between the highest quotes and the lowest. Lancaster is the cheapest neighborhood at $1,064 annually while Downtown Buffalo is the most expensive at $1,549 annually. At the same time there is quite a difference between insurers in the ValuePenguin survey as well. They surveyed the ten most popular insurers including Geico, Erie, Allstate, USAA, Liberty, Metlife, Encompass, Amica, State Farm, and Nationwide.
The prices per neighborhood and prices per insurer are:
- Lancaster, $1,064
- Blasdell, $1,067
- Lackawanna, $1,136
- Amherst, $1,181
- Williamsville, $1,214
- Kenmore, $1,247
- Cheektowaga, $1,249
- Tonawanda, $1,256
- West Seneca, $1,350
- Downtown, $1,549
- Nationwide, $2,504
- State Farm, $1,548
- Amica, $1,315
- Encompass, $1,311
- Metlife, $1,298
- Liberty, $1,082
- USAA, $896
- Allstate, $866
- Erie, $832
- GEICO, $660
It is imperative to note that the difference between the highest and lowest insurers is much larger than the difference between neighborhoods. Insurer averages are based on a standard set of data and you should be sure to do your own comparisons as each insurer may treat your information differently than in this survey. However, the difference between the cheapest, GEICO and most expensive, Nationwide, is an outstanding 400% approximately.
Also, remember that USAA is an insurer for members of the U.S. military and is not a public insurer. Lastly, although not a consideration for cheap insurance, J.D Power and Associates produce an annual Auto Insurance Study that looks at overall customer satisfaction and claim satisfaction per insurer and region of the United States. In the New York region, State Farm and GEICO have 5 Circles each, the highest within their rating system. Sometimes, better customer service does not have to come with a higher price tag, as is the case with GEICO.
When looking for the cheapest auto insurance in Buffalo, New York remember that there are three main factors that can be responsible for a high premium: major driving infractions, driving a top ten stolen car and not conducting a comprehensive comparison for quotes.