I'm a Chicagoan and, of course, I like to think that there's something special about anything Chicago, including Chicago auto insurance. But, as far as Chicago insurance goes, there just isn't. That, however doesn't mean that there's nothing about Chicago insurance that's specific to Chicago. There is. But it's not special, something similar happens in all large cities.
And that breaks my heart. Yours too, huh?
The one thing about Chicago auto insurance that's specific to Chicago yet fails to be special?
The criteria insurance companies use to determine how much premium to charge people.
Keep the following information in mind the next time you move. Because sometimes the lower rent apartment and the higher rent apartment you're considering will end up costing you the same when you factor in auto insurance even though the higher rent one is nicer.
Insurance companies have been keeping track of crimes (auto theft and vandalism, among them) and other things for ages. They know, for instance, that the zip code 60612 (Lincolnwood, just outside Chicago) has lower crime rates than 60641, a zip code that borders Lincolnwood (60612) to the south.
The difference between one neighborhood and another in terms of crime is not always big, so the differences in insurance premiums will not be big either. However, in some parts of Chicago, you cross a street and you're in a different world - think Beverly vs. Morgan Park or Gresham (though here you're crossing train tracks), and the western part of Division Street, or parts of Western or of Cicero.
Of course, when the distinction is so sharp you know without needing research that there's going to be a difference in insurance premiums. Not all people will think of it, but if they did, they'd know. However, when changes are gradual, like Logan Square and Humboldt Park, you don't notice them, but statistics do change. And so do premiums.
You might find out that the apartment you were going to rent for $1050 a month will cost you $1100 a month when you factor in car insurance, just like the one three blocks away, so there's no savings, so you might as well get the one three blocks away.
So what should you do to make sure insurance isn't going to offset the savings in housing?
The best thing to do is to talk to your insurance agent and have him/her tell you what premiums would be if you lived on this block or that block. It's a simple thing, and the differences in premiums are not always that much, the consequences add up to only a handful of dollars to a few hundred dollars a year. All the same, why not make fully informed decisions?
Besides, what's wrong with saving a few dollars on your auto insurance?
Well, that's all I have to say on this particular subject. Now I go lament the fact that there aren't that many special Chicago things as I'd like them to be.