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By edie1290 On 02/11/04  

What's car insurance rates like in Chicago? I'm under 25 and I drive a 1999 Honda Civic. I pay about $150 a month in Florida (it's a no fault state, and my credit - while it's getting better as I near paying off my credit card (wahoo!!!) - isn't quite stellar)
I also imagine it would depend on where I lived exactly in the city.
I also have no car alarm. I imagine it would be worth it for me to purchase one, not only to receive an insurance discount but also to give me some peace of mind. No?

I know about most of the cost of living diff's between chitown and florida - higher gas, food, and everything else prices, higher rent (though I currently pay $600 and that includes absolutely nothing but the roof I live under, not even water, so I wouldn't really be paying that much more up north), plus a state income tax.

Last question - has anybody who's moved to Chicago from another area where cost of living was lower found that income also tended to be higher in Chicago? I suppose it would depend on what field you're in - journalism is mine - but I'm curious what other people's experiences have been like.

Thanks for the help. I used to post here all the time but sadly fell off the proverbial wagon. This was the first place I could think of for solid advice as I pondered the questions I have about my impending move.

Oh! One more question. What's a good conservative estimate of moving expenses? I'm not talking security deposits and all that, just the cost of renting a u-haul and driving it 700 miles and unloading my own crap. Thanks!

By researchasaurus On 02/11/04  


I have no car, but my boy does. It is a 1991 Ford, and we're both on the policy, and we pay like $900 a year total, which includes a cheap renter's insurance policy too. We live on the edge of west Chicago which can be sketchy at times. Maybe a local agent could give you a quote--if you have State Farm or some other national agency already, just tell them you are contemplating a move, maybe pick a Chicago zip code (I think a lot of the north side is 60657??) and see if they can give you a ballpark figure.

I would have to say that in my experience, salaries are not necessarily higher than in other places. For example I came here from Wichita, Kansas, which is not exactly Cosmopolitan-High-Roller-Ville, and I made relatively good money there doing the same job. I think they paid more because they wanted to hang on to people. My current job in Chicago just matched the salary I was already earning--which was only $500 less than the maximum for this job's salary range. You can always negotiate based on the higher cost of living when you look for a job though--people can understand that.

As for the moving van expenses, I did the U-Haul route several times, Michigan to North Carolina, North Carolina to Kansas, Kansas to here...and I think each time, for the second to the smallest size of truck, it was like $1,000. One of those times we towed a car on a rented thingy too. It ain't cheap, but moving companies are definitely a lot more.

Good luck! Living here is awesome so I hope you get to. Bring your big coat.

By researchasaurus On 02/12/04  

Hey by the way...

Chicago is definitely liveable without a car altogether. Tons of convenient public transportation for both short and long distances, and you can completely avoid the hassle that is parking your car in this city!

Should have said that before.

Your car is fairly new, so if you can make yourself sell it, you'd have a nice little chunk of savings to help with all the other moving expenses!

</mom advice>

By jenabug On 02/12/04  

hey there!

you're gonna love chicago!!maybe not the weather so much, but i moved here from arizona and love love love it.

researchassurus is right--you might not even need a car depending on what your commutes will be, but my boyfriend and i share a car and are both over 25 and we pay 130 a month. rent is a little steep in some areas, but some areas that are not as high end as others can run about 825 for a two bedroom [ukrainian village, logan square, and if you're a little braver, humbolt park--i only say this from experience] and if you can afford a couple hundred more, roscoe village is still pretty reasonable and super cute. [we pay 975 for 1.5 bedrooms] it sounds like you have a pretty sweet rent budget if you can snag a roommate. cost of living is a little high, but everyone just seems to figure out a way to struggle through it. but let me tell you, that car will cost a lot. you need a city sticker, some places make you have parking permits, and i don't care how observant of no parking zones you may be, you are bound to get a few tickets, and the city is truly evil about booting and towing.

my dad came out to az to help drive me out here, and we rented from budget rental vans, and they had a very reasonable rate, unfortunately, i do not remember what that rate is exactly, but i would recommend giving them a call.

hope this was helpful! and if you haven't already done this, you might get some good advise if you post on la vida crafty, too. a lot more people check that forum group more regularly and there's lots of chicago crafties!

good luck to you!

By flibbleflab On 02/16/04  

First off, lemmie vote against the car alarm. A lot of times you have to park farther away from where you will be and you won't be able to hear it anyway. I'd save those pennies.

I live in Chicago in Lakeview in a nice studio for $575 a month. I drive an '87 civic and my insurance is around $600 a year, but I am through USAA, so I think I get a deal. Also, you can sometimes get a deal on rent--by that I mean my heat and my cooking gas are included in my rent. I only pay electric and phone. Also, the market is really in renter's favor right now because everyone is buying. So you might be able to get a move-in bonus. And the generic Chicago places don't usually come with air conditioning or a dishwasher--just so you're not surprised.

If you're living in a fun neighborhood with lots of transportation and lots of stores, you could easily live carless and just take cabs when need be. Howeveh:

A car is so handy if you live in a cheaper neighborhood. Usually those places aren't so close to food stores and you'll be much more mobile. It is expensive though. I have paid probably at LEAST $3,000 in tickets which makes me want to barf (I parked in an alley for 2 hours while I ran into mine bf's place=$50). The only plus is that when you first move and still have your out of state plates, you can throw away any ticket you get. They won't track your car down. I threw out probably 20 tickets. And I do not park like an idiot, I promise. I did rent parking for a while which saved me many dollars.

Go to and you can do an online search for apartments. The apartment listings come out on Tuesday night, so taht's when you can get the best stuff. I always try to live near an el or a good bus line if you have to commute. You can do job searches there too--it's very handy. Also I know people have luck with craigslist.

I am an actor/secretariat-peon so I can vouch for living cheaply and easily here. I'd recommend the Ravenswood and Lincoln Square neighborhood. Nice/safe/cheap.

Good luck!

By ferociousdinosr On 02/17/04  

By the way, did you see my posting for a sublet? I am currently looking for a roommate to share my palatial apartment in Andersonville. The rent's fairly cheap. My roommate is leaving because she's an art student, broke, and is moving in with relatives.

Let me know if you'd like more details.


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