June 18--The nation's biggest insurance companies charge wildly different prices to similar, or even the same, drivers in the same city, a new study shows.
In Chicago, as well as 14 other cities, "good" drivers -- with no accidents or moving violations -- are quoted what the Consumer Federation of America says are high auto insurance rates for the minimum liability coverage required by states.
But those quotes are highly variable.
In Chicago, for example, Web quotes to the same hypothetical woman ranged from $680 a year for Geico to $1,806 from Allstate. Progressive and State Farm quoted $832 and $734, respectively, CFA found.
It gathered quotes for two hypothetical customers: the man hadn't had a moving violation or accident in seven years, nor the woman in 12 years. Both had good credit ratings, were single with one dependent, rented in areas with median income around $30,000, had a high school degree, and drove a paid off 2002 Honda Civic with 10,000 miles on it. He was a 27-year-old laborer, and she was a 35-year-old bank teller.
In Chicago, the man's quotes ranged from $637 for Geico to $1,910 for Allstate. Progressive's quotes were $867 and $1,582, respectively.
"It's difficult to understand why the same driver is being quoted rates from different insurers that vary so considerably," CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck said. "Insurers say rates reflect risk and cost, but if this in fact is the case, why do their assessments of these factors differ so radically?"
More than half of the rate quotes on Web sites to the two drivers were over $1,000, and 32 percent of the quotes exceeded $1,500, the study said.
Allstate didn't have an immediate comment.
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