Car Insurance Done the SMARTWAY™


New England’s southernmost state may be the third smallest in the country and only the 29th most populous, but it’s the fourth most densely populated. Congestion in urban centers like Bridgeport and Hartford—where auto insurance rates average twice as much as in the state’s rural areas—is just one reason Connecticut residents pay some of the highest premiums in New England and the entire U.S.

Some other contributing factors include high income levels, a high cost of living, and little industry regulation by the state. But this doesn’t mean you’re locked into paying exorbitant rates!

There are plenty of ways to get a better deal on your car insurance, many of which are addressed on this page. The best way, however, is to avail yourself of SmartFinancial’s objective, carrier-neutral information and instantly comparison shop for the lowest quotes on coverage that’s just right for you.

Say no more! Show me some great rates!

Connecticut Auto Insurance Rates

There’s certainly no shortage of car insurance carriers offering coverage in Connecticut. So where’s a savvy shopper to start? How about with the three top-rated companies for the state (see the full list).

  1. Amica Mutual
  2. Allstate
  3. Nationwide

Why are they such a smart start? They earned these rankings in a J.D. Power study that factored in data like their average prices, customer satisfaction ratings, policy flexibility, billing practices, payment options, and more.

There’s a good chance you’ll get great rates from one of these providers. But we take all the guesswork and finger-crossing out of shopping for car insurance. Comparison shop instantly by choosing your city from the list below. Or, if it’s not there, click here instead.

 

Legalities 101

You’re legally obligated to carry auto insurance in Connecticut, like everywhere else in the country. Find more about the minimum coverage requirements a little further down on the page. The law’s in place to protect you from burdensome expenses should you have the misfortune of getting into an accident; it also protects other drivers from the same if you happen to cause an accident. Not that you would—we know you’re an excellent driver. Just generally speaking.

Connecticut Driving Safety

Over the last decade, most of Connecticut’s traffic fatality statistics have improved, at least slightly. The state also has a relatively low number of traffic deaths per capita.

One thing that jumps out in the stats, however, is that Connecticut has a particularly high percentage of motorcyclist fatalities, accounting for 1 in 5 motorist deaths. Well over half of motorcyclists killed were not wearing helmets. Please, for those of you operating larger vehicles, remember to look carefully for motorcyclists. And for you two-wheelers out there, please wear a helmet.

A somewhat unusual trend in Connecticut is the high number of traffic fatalities that occur in cities. Urban accidents account for a little more than 80% of all crash fatalities in the state. Often though, the likelihood of death is greater in rural regions, where cars tend to travel farther and faster with lower visibility, and where emergency vehicle response time is slower and transport to a hospital takes longer.

Connecticut Driving Safety Stats

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266
Number of traffic fatalities in 2015
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217
Number of 2015 traffic fatalities occurring in an urban area
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20
Percent of fatally injured in 2015 who were motorcyclists

Driving Green

Connecticut hasn’t yet been quite as proactive as many other states in incentivizing its residents to make more sustainable vehicle-related choices. But if you’re an eco-minded motorist in The Constitution State, don’t despair; there may still be a few ways to save some green by going green.

Take a look at three possible avenues to saving some money each month by being a more environmentally friendly driver in Connecticut.

  • Emissions Test Exemptions for Electric Vehicles

    Fully electric vehicles—not hybrids—are exempted from the state’s mandatory bi-annual emissions testing that coincides with vehicle registration and registration renewal. This saves both time and money. The Connecticut Emissions Program website has more information about emissions testing requirements and inspection locations.

  • Car Insurance Discounts for Green Choices

    Connecticut auto insurance providers commonly give discounts to their environmentally responsible customers. If you drive an economy, alternative fuel, or hybrid vehicle, ask your carrier if you qualify for a discount. Also, drivers who keep their mileage down over the course of a year in an effort to lead a greener lifestyle may also be eligible for savings.

  • Free Parking for New Haven Drivers with Hybrid or Alternative Fuel Vehicles

    Here’s a perk just for drivers with a hybrid or alternative fuel vehicle (AFV) registered in New Haven. They can park for free at any metered spot in the city (but must still respect posted time limits). All you need is a free official decal from the city; learn more—including where to get the decal and what to bring with you—on the City of New Haven website.

Car Insurance Laws

Being a Minimalist

By law, all Connecticut drivers must carry coverage of at least $20,000 bodily injury per person, $40,000 bodily injury per accident, and $10,000 property damage liability per accident. Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which protects you if you’re in an accident with a driver who has too little or no coverage, is also required in the state; the uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage minimum limits are $20,000 bodily injury per person and $40,000 bodily injury per accident.

Since 1994, Connecticut has used an at-fault system. This means that someone involved in an accident may seek compensation from the driver determined to have caused the incident. They may also file a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault motorist without the sort of restrictions applied to litigation rights in no-fault states.

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$ 20,000
Bodily injury coverage per person

Maximum payment for serious injury or death to a single person

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$ 40,000
Bodily injury coverage per accident

Maximum payment for serious injury or death to more than one person

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$ 10,000
Property damage per accident

Maximum payment for all damaged property in an accident caused by you

Maximizing Your Return on Investment

If you’re a gambler at heart, you might stick with the minimum coverage limits required by Connecticut state law. That’s one way to keep your premium down. But there are lots of accident situations in which you’ll find minimum coverage to be inadequate, and you could end up on the hook for significant out-of-pocket expenses. Picking up optional coverages is a smart way to ensure your insurance will really come through for you if you need it.

Optional coverage in Connecticut

  • Collision
  • Comprehensive
  • Gap Coverage
  • Accident Forgiveness
  • Roadside Assistance
  • New Car Replacement
  • Rental Car
  • Loss of Use
  • Medical Benefits
  • Travel Expenses
  • Vehicle Value Upgrade

These are examples of optional coverages offered by auto insurance companies in Connecticut. Some exclusions will apply. Also, if you have vehicle financing, your lender will probably insist on collision, comprehensive, and/or other additional coverages. Make sure to factor that in when calculating your monthly expenses.

Be an informed consumer! Take a look at our post 11 Mistakes People Make when Shopping for Auto Insurance before you sign any contract.

Connecticut car insurance companies

Amica Mutual
Allstate
Nationwide
Geico
Progressive
Plymouth Rock
Liberty Mutual
State Farm
The Hartford
Travelers
Safety Insurance
Arbella
MAPFRE Insurance
MetLife
Safeco
The Hanover

*This list of insurance carriers is based on the ratings for New England in the J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Auto Insurance Study. Ratings are derived from five key service areas: claims, price, interaction, policy offerings, and billing. USAA is a military-only option and is therefore not including in the above rankings.

Car Safety for Connecticut Kids

Connecticut Car Seat Regulations

If you’re new to transporting a child, or if your kid’s nearly ready to change from one restraint system to another, you might be wondering how to make the safest legally acceptable choices. The State of Connecticut Department of Transportation website has some helpful information and resource links.

For now, though, here’s a quick rundown of the basic legalities in the state:

Until infants reach both the age of 1 and 20 pounds, they must be properly secured in a federally approved rear-facing car seat in the back seat of the vehicle. While that’s the law, it’s further recommended that babies remain in a rear-facing car seat until they reach its size limit or the age of 2, whichever comes first.

Toddlers must ride in a forward-facing car seat until they outgrow its manufacturer-designated weight limit. After that, a switch to a booster seat is appropriate, and children must use one of these until they reach both 7 years old and 60 pounds. A lap and shoulder belt have to be engaged when using a booster seat.

It’s strongly suggested that children ride in the back seat until at least the age of 13, as they are safer there in the event of an accident and they’re susceptible to injury from airbag deployment. All minors must wear a seat belt whenever and wherever they are in a vehicle.

Leaving Children Unattended in a Vehicle

Connecticut state law protects children under the age of 12 against being left unsupervised in a vehicle if there’s a substantial risk of harm. Doing so is a class A misdemeanor. Beyond that, doing so between the hours of 8:00 pm and 6:00 am ups the charges to a class C felony, and doing so at a location licensed to sell alcohol for consumption is a class D felony.

Children are at increased risk of injury, assault, and kidnapping when left unattended. Also, temperatures inside a vehicle on a hot day—or even a mild one if parked in the sun—can quickly climb to dangerous levels. Kids (and pets) are susceptible to heatstroke, brain damage, and death.

Car Insurance FAQ

Is my credit score a factor when obtaining car insurance in Connecticut?

It is. While your neighbors to the north in Massachusetts are some of the very few Americans protected against this practice, most carriers in Connecticut do use your credit report to determine your “insurance score.” This is a calculation made using a variety of factors, including your credit score, to estimate your likelihood of getting into an accident and filing a claim.

Does Connecticut offer a good-driver discount?

Car insurance companies love insuring safe drivers with clean records, of course. So, to attract them, keep them, and incentivize other customers to be more careful, most offer good-driver discounts. There are numerous other potential discounts for Connecticut motorists too, such as:

  • Accident Free
  • Affinity (qualifying organization membership)
  • Anti-Lock Brake
  • Anti-Theft Device
  • Full Pay
  • Good Student
  • Home Ownership
  • Multiple Car
  • Multiple Policy
  • New Car
  • Passive Restraint
  • Resident Student
  • Utility Discount
  • Vehicle Safety

Does Connecticut allow the use of digital insurance cards?

Connecticut is one of the few remaining states that has not approved the use of digital insurance cards. Make sure you keep a printed official proof of insurance in your vehicle at all times.

What happens if my coverage lapses?

It’s illegal not to have coverage on any active vehicle registration. In Connecticut, you don’t have to be pulled over to be busted, either; insurance carriers are required by law to report lapsed policies. You’ll be fined $200 and given a brief period in which to acquire new coverage. Failure to do so results in a hearing at which your registration may be suspended, and you may even lose the ability to register any vehicle in the state again.

What are Connecticut’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) percentage limits under the state's driving under the influence (DUI) laws?

It’s against the law to drive in Connecticut at the following BAC percentages:

.08%+ at 21 years old or older
.04%+ for commercial vehicle drivers
.02%+ at under 21 years old

In Connecticut, you can be convicted of an OUI (operating under the influence) offense even without direct evidence of you BAC. If your ability to drive is deemed to be impaired, that’s all that’s required for a conviction. OUI applies not only to alcohol, but also to any recreational drug or other substance abused for its ability to intoxicate, prescription or over-the-counter medication, or supplement that impairs the driver’s physical, mental, or emotional state.

What are the chemical test refusal penalties in Connecticut?

Like most states, Connecticut has an implied consent law, meaning that anyone with a state-issued driver’s license is presumed to have consented to a breath, urine, or blood test. You are, however, permitted to refuse a blood test, but must take one of the others instead. The first time you refuse to take a chemical test to determine your BAC, your license will be suspended for 6 months; the second time is a 1-year suspension and the third refusal is a 3-year suspension.

What are the consequences of being convicted of a DUI?

Connecticut’s OUI laws impose stiff penalties on people convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or another legal or illegal substance that impairs their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. The more convictions you have, the harsher the penalties.

Temporary installation (6 months for first-time offenders, 1 year for first-time offenders not of legal drinking age) of an ignition interlock device is mandatory in all OUI convictions.

First-time offenders also face a 45-day license suspension, or a 1-year suspension if they are under 21 years old, as well as up to 6 months of jail time and $500 to $1,000 in fines.

Does Connecticut offer driver improvement courses to reduce my insurance premium?

Completing a state-approved defensive driving course is one way to get a discount on your premium from many carriers in Connecticut. If you’re 60 or older and complete such a course, your insurance company is legally mandated to give you a discount of at least 5% on your monthly payment.

Is there any way I can reduce the cost of my Connecticut car insurance?

While Connecticut residents pay relatively high auto insurance rates on average, you’re not locked into paying too much every month. In fact, if you can pay upfront instead of monthly, you’ll get a better deal. Also, inquire about which discounts you qualify for, including the many addressed throughout this page. Improving your credit score will help as well, but the best way to lower your car insurance premium is to compare quotes.

What is uninsured motorist coverage and is it required in Connecticut?

Connecticut drivers are legally obliged to carry uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage in their policy. They must have minimum coverage of $20,000 bodily injury per person and $40,000 bodily injury per accident. This offers financial protection in the event of an accident with a driver who doesn’t have any or enough coverage, as well as in a hit-and-run situation.

8%
Uninsured drivers in Connecticut
12%
Uninsured drivers Nationwide

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