Online Auto Insurance: NY Rate Filing Shows Impact of Territorial Rating

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An analysis of rate filing data shows widely fluctuating prices between places like the Bronx and Rochester, according to

Rating data contained in a recent rate-increase request for the New York assigned-risk program shows just how much a New Yorker's location can affect premiums, according to

Practically every insurance company in the country uses customers' location to help gauge how much of a risk they pose and, consequently, how much to charge them for their policies. Geographic location can help give an indication of how likely a policyholder is to get into an accident, how costly that accident can be expected to be, and how likely a car is to get stolen or vandalized.

Although location is just one factor in a very complex rating process, motorists in dense, urban areas with higher crime rates generally get higher premiums, while drivers in rural areas with lower traffic volumes and crash rates tend to have greater access to cheap insurance premiums.

And that principle is on display in the New York rate filing. For example, compare the population and premium statistics for the Bronx and Rochester.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Bronx County had about 32,900 people per square mile in 2010. Rochester, on the other hand, was roughly about one-fifth as dense, with the average population per square mile coming in at about 5,900. And the premium disparity reflects that difference.

The following data show how much higher base rates were for Bronx residents compared with Rochester residents:

-- Bodily injury liability: 291 percent higher ($929 vs. $237)
-- Full PIP coverage: 483 percent higher ($3,041 vs. $521)
-- Uninsured motorist coverage: 190 percent higher ($64 vs. $22)
-- Comprehensive: 171 percent higher ($527 vs. $194)
-- Collision: 96 percent higher ($2,194 vs. $1,078)

The only coverage type for which the Bronx saw lower base rates was property damage liability. For that coverage, Bronx base rates are 2 percent lower than Rochester's ($382 vs. $393).


Readers should keep in mind that these are only base insurance rates, meaning that they are adjusted according to the personal specifics of the person purchasing the coverage. Also, they are for the state-run assigned risk pool, the members of which get charged substantially more for coverage when compared with drivers who get policies on the voluntary market; so the base rates are not indicative of base rates for all drivers living in those areas. 

For more on this and other insurance issues, head to for access to informative resource pages and an easy-to-use quote-comparison generator.

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Benjamin Zitney
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