Insurance

45891: The ZIP code with the lowest insurance premiums in the country

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Recently, we shared the story of a place with the highest insurance premiums in the country, 48211 in Detroit, Michigan. This time, we’re traveling just two and a half hours southwest to arrive at Van Wert, Ohio. 

This year, the ZIP code 45981, where Van Wert is located, had the lowest average insurance premiums of anywhere in the U.S.

Life in 45891

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Van Wert is a town of about 11,000 people that lies 77 miles from Toledo and 34 miles from Fort Wayne, Indiana. Despite its relatively small size, Van Wert has several claims to fame. It has long been the center of peony cultivation, with farms surrounding the town filled with the brilliant pink blossoms. In fact, Van Wert has hosted its Peony Festival since 1902. 

At one point, Van Wert was also the only place in the world producing Liederkranz, an American version of Limburger cheese, known for its distinctive aroma. Liederkranz itself has a storied history disappearing from Van Wert and the world for 25 years at the turn of the twenty-first century, until it was reintroduced in Wisconsin in 2010. But this story is (mostly) not about cheese.

In addition to being home to fragrant flowers and odorous cheeses, Van Wert citizens pay less for their car insurance than anywhere in the country. Why do the people of Van Wert pay less for their auto insurance? And why do they pay so much less (the average of $845 per year) than in 48211 only 200 miles away (the average there is over $6,000 a year)? Read on to find out.

In addition to being home to fragrant flowers and odorous cheeses, Van Wert citizens pay less for their car insurance than anywhere in the country.

History of 45891

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In 1820, Van Wert County was named in honor of a hero of the American Revolution, Issac Van Wert. The area where the town is now is located in what was originally called the Black Swamp. As the name would suggest, early settlers had to deal with very muddy, swampy ground they drained to make way for agriculture. 

Railroads reached the region in the mid 1800s and manufacturing businesses grew as well, leading to growth near the turn of the twentieth century. Today, many of Van Wert’s residents work in agriculture or related services. There is also still a particular connection to cheese making. 

Now that you have a little understanding of what makes 45891 tick, let’s consider the just-as-fascinating reasons people pay less for insurance there…and why location matters so much.

Why location impacts insurance rates

Location can have a huge impact on your insurance premiums. While you might focus on the things most in your control, like how you drive, insurance companies look at the bigger picture. Factors around you also have a big impact on the likelihood that something will happen to your vehicle and that will lead you to file a claim.

When deciding on rates, insurers look at all of the following in your ZIP code:

  • crime rates
  • traffic
  • accident rates
  • the number of uninsured motorists
  • claims history
  • weather and environmental factors like natural disasters
  • state and local government regulations

For example, if you live in a place with a lower crime rate (such as Ohio), your insurance company will likely deduce that there is a lower chance of your car being stolen. You can learn more about how the activities of those around you affect your premiums in our recent "Risk Assessment Pool Party."

Insurance prices in 45891

The Zebra examined 83 million rates to figure out what people around the country are paying for insurance. The average for the state of Ohio was $1,028 which is significantly less than the national average.

As seen above though, differences extend not just from state to state but from ZIP code to ZIP code. And the average insurance cost of 45891 is significantly below the state average at $845. So why is insurance so slow in 45891?

Crime is about average in 45891; however, the incidence of vehicle theft is low. The rate of auto theft in the area is significantly below Ohio and U.S. averages, and has fallen since 2010. 

In terms of uninsured motorists, about 13% of Ohio residents do not have insurance which is commiserate with the national average. The low population density and traffic patterns of 45891 work in its favor to beat these averages. 

Ohio also has a low occurrence of natural disasters which applies to 45891 as well. 

Take these factors together and you have a recipe for the lowest rates in the country and a very nice flower festival to boot. 


Data Sources: The Zebra State of Auto Insurance 2022, TheZebra.com, Insurance Research Council, MLive.com, Best Places Crime by ZIP, Insurance Information Institute, CrimeGrade.org

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Susan MeyerSenior Editorial Manager

Susan is a licensed insurance agent and has worked as a writer and editor for over 10 years across a number of industries. She has worked at The Zebra a year. She currently specializes in producing research-focused content for The Zebra's Resource Center on topics related to auto and home insurance, personal finance and smarter living in the 21st century.

Susan's work has been cited by the Insurance Information Institute, State Farm, BuzzfeedCBS, Yahoo, Entrepreneur and Business Insider.