CHICAGO — Where are the highest car insurance rates in Chicago?
Look to the South and West sides, where residents of some of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods, on average, have higher car insurance premiums than residents of the city's wealthier areas.
Drivers in West Englewood and Englewood pay, on average, more than $1,500 in car insurance premiums annually, according to data compiled from several providers by personal finance site NerdWallet.com.
That's about 50 percent higher than Lakeview's 60657 ZIP code and Lincoln Park's 60614, where drivers pay on average less than $1,020.
In general, people living in neighborhoods on the South and West sides pay more than those living Downtown or on the North Side. The number of claims is the reason, experts say.
"It really doesn't have anything to do with the income level of the individual in those areas," said Janet Patrick, director of the outreach hotline at the Illinois Insurance Association, a trade organization. "It has to do with claim activity and amount of costs to deal with those claims."
But the disparity isn't lost on Englewood residents like Aysha Butler, president of Resident Association of Greater Englewood, who has two cars insured in the area.
"Of course, it's an unfair process," Butler said. "This is a Goliath-type of issue that areas like 60621 Englewood and 60636 West Englewood have always dealt with."
Tanveer Ali explains the discrepancy:
In general, car insurance in cities like Chicago costs more than in outlying areas. One reason for this is that with more cars, people and bikes in big cities, there's more potential for drivers to have accidents there. The average premium in Algonquin, about 46 miles north of the Loop, is $982, according to NerdWallet. (Of course, Nerdwallet notes that suburban residents need to contend with long commutes too.)
Within a big city like Chicago, the differences in rates between wealthy and poor neighborhoods isn't all that unusual, according to NerdWallet analyst John Kuo.
Other facts about the individual driver and the car matter most — age, type of car, marital status, driving record — but location plays a big role, Kuo said.
"Where you live actually has a big impact on your car insurance rates," Kuo said. "If there is more crime in the neighborhood, there is a higher likelihood that a claim would be filed."
But Butler said such an assumption about residents of the city's poor neighborhoods is wrong.
"I've never had a problem with my car while it's been in Englewood," Butler said.
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