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Car insurance comparison: How it works


Why you should compare car insurance rates

You may be leaving hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on the table if you don’t regularly compare car insurance rates. Many factors affect your car insurance rates, and if any of them changed, it’s possible that the cheapest policy will come from a different insurer.

You should compare car insurance rates at these times, when your rates are likely to change significantly:

  • You bought a car
  • You added a teen driver to your policy
  • You got married or divorced
  • Your credit score changed
  • You bought a house or moved
  • You got cited for a DUI or major violation or caused an accident

Even if your status remains the same, you should do some car insurance shopping every six or 12 months. Insurance companies use different formulas to set your rates, so the price for the same policy can vary significantly even if you don’t have a life-changing event. That means you can wind up overpaying if you don’t compare insurance rates from several companies at least once a year.

Compare car insurance rates and save

If you compare car insurance rates, you'll save money because you'll see which carrier offers the cheapest rate for your particular circumstances. In the chart below, you’ll see the annual average car insurance rate and highest and lowest rates, on average, and the amount of savings for each state, on average. It shows that you can save from $300 to $3,000, depending on where you live, by doing an auto insurance quotes comparison:

StateAverage annual rateAverage highest rateAverage lowest rateAverage $ savingsAverage % savings
Michigan$2,490$4,025$1,013$3,012297%
Pennsylvania$1,532$3,183$686$2,497364%
DC$1,722$2,876$696$2,180313%
Wisconsin$1,327$2,743$632$2,111334%
Kentucky$1,771$2,894$880$2,014229%
New York$1,782$2,893$992$1,901192%
North Dakota$1,311$2,560$743$1,817245%
Connecticut$1,775$2,564$924$1,640177%
Oklahoma$1,655$2,593$1,006$1,587158%
Louisiana$2,190$2,984$1,445$1,539107%
Florida$1,835$2,698$1,179$1,519129%
Hawaii$1,458$2,376$857$1,519177%
Delaware$1,655$2,422$1,107$1,315119%
Rhode Island$1,693$2,362$1,106$1,256114%
Maryland$1,396$2,223$1,071$1,152108%
New Jersey$1,353$1,887$745$1,142153%
Alabama$1,313$1,895$771$1,124146%
Missouri$1,158$1,805$705$1,100156%
Colorado$1,435$1,958$863$1,095127%
Tennessee$1,223$1,838$744$1,094147%
California$1,527$2,033$942$1,091116%
Mississippi$1,330$1,960$871$1,089125%
New Mexico$1,257$1,946$870$1,076124%
Texas$1,308$1,947$889$1,058119%
Georgia$1,348$1,795$740$1,055143%
Kansas$1,245$1,794$766$1,028134%
New Hampshire$1,102$1,583$557$1,026184%
Nevada$1,750$2,284$1,279$1,00579%
Iowa$1,024$1,625$630$995158%
Utah$1,212$1,591$653$938144%
Arizona$1,353$1,834$918$916100%
Massachusetts$1,191$1,757$851$906106%
Montana$1,224$1,753$848$905107%
Indiana$965$1,553$650$903139%
Idaho$946$1,581$694$887128%
Arkansas$1,383$1,849$964$88592%
South Dakota$1,052$1,548$685$863126%
West Virginia$1,387$1,921$1,110$81173%
Illinois$1,009$1,393$593$800135%
Vermont$967$1,269$472$797169%
Oregon$1,292$1,732$944$78883%
Nebraska$1,117$1,481$697$784112%
Wyoming$1,472$1,830$1,126$70463%
Maine$920$1,203$503$700139%
Ohio$957$1,312$626$686110%
North Carolina$963$1,241$620$621100%
Minnesota$1,200$1,517$899$61869%
Washington$1,197$1,498$994$50451%
South Carolina$1,263$1,528$1,030$49848%
Virginia$979$1,192$742$45061%
Alaska$1,114$1,305$952$35337%

* Averages are based on insurance for a single 40-year-old driver, with good credit and a clean record, with policy limits of 100/300/100 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $100,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive coverage. Data for CarInsurance.com provided by Quadrant Information Services.

Now that you’re ready to save, we’ll walk you through the process of reviewing your coverage, gathering the personal information you’ll need, comparing rates and vetting potential insurers.

How to compare car insurance quotes in five easy steps

1. Get an idea of what you can expect to pay.

If you’ve moved or if you just want to get a feel for what car insurance costs in your neighborhood or are a new driver, you can get an idea of what people in your area are paying by using our car insurance comparison tool, showing the average car insurance rate in each ZIP code.

2. Review your existing policy and assess coverage.

While you shop around for the price and insurance company that is right for you, you should know what coverages are right for you too. If this is a new policy you need to meet at least your state's minimum liability car insurance requirements. If you simply want to find the cheapest car insurance possible when comparison shopping, you would look for liability coverage only, and in the smallest amount your state will accept. (Legally required minimum liability coverage amounts vary by state.) Bear in mind that some states require so little coverage that an accident might leave any other assets you have, such as a home or savings, vulnerable to lawsuits.

If you’re replacing a policy, review the information on your policy to see if your existing coverage is still the best for you.

The four main types of car insurance you should understand are: 

  • Liability car insurance – Covers others’ property damage and medical expenses. If you have few assets, you don’t need high limits. If you own a home or have savings, you do --  100/300/100 is recommended. That means $100,000 per person, up to $300,000 an accident and $300,000 for property damage costs.
  • Uninsured motorist coverage – Comes in two forms: uninsured motorist bodily injury pays for medical bills if you’re injured in an accident that an uninsured driver causes. Uninsured property damage pays to fix your car. Some states require these coverages, but if yours doesn’t, ask yourself if you would have the money to pay for damages yourself should you be hit or injured by a driver without car insurance.
  • Collision coverage – Covers damage to your car. This pays out only up to the actual cash value of your car. If your vehicle is old, you may not need this optional protection.
  • Comprehensive insurance – Covers theft and damage to your car from hail, floods, fire, vandalism and animal strikes. Like collision coverage, this will pay you up to the amount your car is valued by the insurance company. If you drive a beater, you may not need the extra coverage.

Comprehensive and collision coverage are typically not budget-busters. A comprehensive car insurance comparison analysis by CarInsurance.com shows the national average cost per year is $192. For collision, it’s $526.

Also, decide now what deductible makes sense for your situation. One of the best ways to save on car insurance is to raise your deductible for collision and comprehensive insurance, but remember that if you have a claim, that deductible will be your out-of-pocket expense to repair or replace your car. If you have more than one claim, you'll have to pay the deductible each time. We recommend you choose an amount that you can pay from savings. Your car won’t be repaired until you pay your share.

3. Gather your personal information.

If you compare car insurance rates online, it’s easier to compare quotes side-by-side, which saves you from having to repeatedly give out the same information and write down quotes on your own. Once you know what coverage you need, gather the following information to request a car insurance quote.

  • Name, birth date and driver's license number of all drivers to be covered.
  • Make and model of each car to be covered.
  • Driving history, including accidents and driving violations, of all drivers to be covered by the policy.

4. Start comparing car insurance quotes from different companies.

Now you can begin collecting online car insurance quotes. Request rates from at least three different insurers. Be careful to compare the same coverage by using the same liability limits, identical deductibles and optional coverages.

Also be sure to follow up with potential insurers about any car insurance discounts you may qualify for. There may be additional discounts offered that are not part of the online quote process. For instance, you may be asked how many miles you drive a year to see if you’re eligible for a low-mileage discount, but you may not be asked what your teen driver’s grades are, which could snag you a good-student discount.

Now that you know what coverages and limits you need, start now by finding car insurance companies in your area.

5. Research potential car insurance companies before you buy.

When you’re ready to buy, research the insurers that offered you the lowest rate. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) recommends that when you compare insurance companies you take the following steps:

  • Check with an insurance rating service, such as A.M. Best or Standard & Poor's, to find a grade or rating for the company and an analysis of its finances so you can feel confident that a potential insurance claim will be paid.
  • Check for complaints against the company with NAIC's Consumer Information Source.
  • You can also research complaint rates online at the Better Business Bureau and your state insurance department's websites.
  • Read the customer comments at the insurer’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to see if people are generally happy with the service.

Compare car insurance quotes from different companies to find the lowest rates

You can get an idea of which car insurance companies have low cost car insurance in your state by doing a search in the table below. It shows how insurers ranked on price for a policy with the following coverage:

  • Bodily injury liability -- $100,000 per person/$300,000 maximum per accident for bodily injury
  • Property damage liability -- $100,000 for property damage
  • Comprehensive and collision coverage with $500 deductible

Enter your state in the search field to compare car insurance quotes from different companies near you.

StateCompanyAverage yearly rate
AlaskaState Farm$979
AlaskaGeico$1,075
AlaskaProgressive$1,080
AlaskaAllstate$1,304
AlabamaGeico$759
AlabamaMid Century$1,172
AlabamaNationwide$1,197
AlabamaAllstate$1,257
AlabamaState Farm$1,572
AlabamaProgressive$1,840
ArkansasGeico$980
ArkansasState Farm$1,165
ArkansasFarmers$1,176
ArkansasNationwide$1,483
ArkansasProgressive$1,594
ArkansasAllstate$1,821
ArizonaGeico$977
ArizonaProgressive$1,047
ArizonaFarmers$1,195
ArizonaState Farm$1,392
ArizonaNationwide$1,719
ArizonaAllstate$1,807
CaliforniaGeico$944
CaliforniaUnited Financial$1,128
CaliforniaNationwide$1,379
CaliforniaNationwide$1,756
CaliforniaFarmers$1,932
CaliforniaState Farm$1,967
ColoradoGeico$813
ColoradoState Farm$1,241
ColoradoFarmers$1,516
ColoradoProgressive$1,559
ColoradoAllstate$1,889
ConnecticutGeico$946
ConnecticutNationwide$1,254
ConnecticutState Farm$1,463
ConnecticutProgressive$2,026
ConnecticutAllstate$2,462
ConnecticutForemost$2,478
DCGeico$713
DCProgressive$1,496
DCState Farm$1,518
DCNationwide$1,977
DCAllstate$2,913
DelawareGeico$1,134
DelawareProgressive$1,333
DelawareNationwide$1,492
DelawareState Farm$1,872
DelawareAllstate$2,398
FloridaGeico$1,192
FloridaState Farm$1,611
FloridaProgressive$1,754
Florida21st Century Centennial$1,972
FloridaAllstate$2,584
GeorgiaGeico$762
GeorgiaNationwide$1,303
GeorgiaState Farm$1,372
GeorgiaProgressive$1,563
GeorgiaAllstate$1,701
HawaiiGeico$857
HawaiiState Farm$1,023
HawaiiAllstate$1,389
HawaiiProgressive$1,646
HawaiiFarmers$2,376
IowaAmco Ins Co$645
IowaGeico$693
IowaFarmers$933
IowaState Farm$945
IowaProgressive$1,286
IowaAllstate$1,589
IdahoGeico$713
IdahoFarmers$800
IdahoState Farm$845
IdahoProgressive$848
IdahoDepositors Ins Co$863
IdahoAllstate$1,577
IllinoisGeico$590
IllinoisAmco Ins Co$678
IllinoisState Farm$1,011
IllinoisIllinois Farmers$1,170
IllinoisProgressive$1,193
IllinoisAllstate$1,375
IndianaGeico$651
IndianaIllinois Farmers$748
IndianaProgressive$854
IndianaNationwide$866
IndianaState Farm$1,095
IndianaAllstate$1,569
KansasNationwide$814
KansasGeico$823
KansasState Farm$1,166
KansasFarmers$1,249
KansasProgressive$1,682
KansasAllstate$1,718
KentuckyGeico$881
KentuckyNationwide$1,631
KentuckyProgressive$1,693
KentuckyState Farm$1,734
KentuckyAllstate$2,822
LouisianaGeico$1,540
LouisianaState Farm$2,023
LouisianaAllstate$2,316
LouisianaProgressive$2,881
MassachusettsGeico$865
MassachusettsState Farm$884
MassachusettsProgressive$1,272
MassachusettsAllstate$1,742
MarylandProgressive$1,102
MarylandNationwide$1,114
MarylandGeico$1,199
MarylandState Farm$1,357
MarylandAllstate$2,177
MaineGeico$517
MaineState Farm$948
MaineProgressive$1,025
MaineAllstate$1,212
MichiganGeico$1,027
MichiganProgressive$1,714
MichiganTitan$2,177
MichiganAllstate$2,849
MichiganState Farm$3,135
MichiganFarmers$3,999
MinnesotaGeico$935
MinnesotaIllinois Farmers$1,030
MinnesotaAllied$1,188
MinnesotaState Farm$1,190
MinnesotaProgressive$1,295
MinnesotaAllstate$1,483
MissouriAllied$724
MissouriGeico$800
MissouriFarmers$1,051
MissouriState Farm$1,279
MissouriProgressive$1,303
MissouriAllstate$1,769
MississippiGeico$894
MississippiNationwide$1,184
MississippiProgressive Gulf Ins Co$1,268
MississippiState Farm$1,353
MississippiAllstate$1,917
MontanaGeico$848
MontanaProgressive$1,112
MontanaState Farm$1,149
MontanaDepositors$1,238
MontanaMid Century$1,244
MontanaAllstate$1,753
North CarolinaProgressive$622
North CarolinaGeico$704
North CarolinaState Farm$845
North CarolinaFarmers$1,046
North CarolinaNationwide$1,071
North CarolinaNationwide$1,205
North CarolinaAllstate$1,230
North DakotaAllied$753
North DakotaGeico$897
North DakotaProgressive$1,047
North DakotaState Farm$1,132
North DakotaAllstate$1,502
North DakotaMid Century$2,560
NebraskaAllied$711
NebraskaGeico$978
NebraskaState Farm$1,003
NebraskaMid Century$1,192
NebraskaAllstate$1,393
NebraskaProgressive$1,403
New HampshireGeico$550
New HampshireNationwide$867
New HampshireState Farm$1,036
New HampshireProgressive$1,465
New HampshireAllstate$1,588
New Jersey21st Century Centennial$762
New JerseyGeico$1,104
New JerseyProgressive$1,255
New JerseyAllstate NJ$1,761
New JerseyState Farm$1,847
New MexicoGeico$894
New MexicoProgressive$998
New MexicoState Farm$1,177
New MexicoFarmers$1,251
New MexicoAllstate$1,948
NevadaGeico$1,342
NevadaMid Century$1,537
NevadaProgressive$1,663
NevadaState Farm$1,726
NevadaVictoria$1,955
NevadaAllstate$2,256
New YorkGeico$993
New YorkProgressive$1,160
New YorkAllstate$1,587
New YorkState Farm$1,855
New YorkNationwide$2,098
New YorkForemost$2,858
OhioGeico$619
OhioState Farm$881
OhioFarmers$887
OhioProgressive$999
OhioNationwide$1,015
OhioAllstate$1,310
OklahomaGeico$1,050
OklahomaFarmers$1,327
OklahomaState Farm$1,416
OklahomaAllstate$1,918
OklahomaProgressive$2,506
OregonGeico$933
OregonState Farm$1,043
OregonNationwide$1,121
OregonProgressive$1,238
OregonFarmers$1,594
OregonAllstate$1,656
PennsylvaniaGeico$703
PennsylvaniaNationwide$711
PennsylvaniaState Farm$1,284
PennsylvaniaAllstate$1,729
PennsylvaniaProgressive$3,183
Rhode IslandState Farm$1,132
Rhode IslandGeico$1,292
Rhode IslandNationwide$1,678
Rhode IslandProgressive$2,092
Rhode IslandAllstate$2,246
South CarolinaGeico$1,050
South CarolinaAllstate$1,178
South CarolinaNationwide$1,200
South CarolinaProgressive$1,359
South CarolinaState Farm$1,511
South DakotaGeico$708
South DakotaNationwide$938
South DakotaMid Century$982
South DakotaState Farm$1,052
South DakotaProgressive$1,110
South DakotaAllstate$1,562
TennesseeGeico$764
TennesseeNationwide$796
TennesseeState Farm$1,131
TennesseeProgressive$1,223
TennesseeMid Century$1,576
TennesseeAllstate$1,794
TexasFarmers$905
TexasGeico$1,027
TexasColonial$1,247
TexasProgressive$1,328
TexasState Farm$1,348
TexasAllstate$1,949
UtahGeico$684
UtahMid Century$1,016
UtahAllied$1,119
UtahAllstate$1,353
UtahProgressive$1,503
UtahState Farm$1,518
VirginiaNationwide$744
VirginiaGeico$894
VirginiaState Farm$969
VirginiaAllstate$1,102
VirginiaProgressive$1,150
VermontGeico$485
VermontNationwide$789
VermontProgressive$1,103
VermontAllstate$1,183
VermontState Farm$1,255
WashingtonNationwide$1,028
WashingtonGeico$1,075
WashingtonProgressive$1,092
WashingtonState Farm$1,160
WashingtonFarmers$1,335
WashingtonAllstate$1,455
WisconsinGeico$663
WisconsinState Farm$914
WisconsinMid Century$1,021
WisconsinArtisan$1,176
WisconsinAllstate$1,484
WisconsinNationwide$2,851
West VirginiaGeico$1,149
West VirginiaProgressive$1,238
West VirginiaState Farm$1,309
West VirginiaNationwide$1,327
West VirginiaAllstate$1,853
WyomingState Farm$1,128
WyomingGeico$1,287
WyomingFarmers$1,688
WyomingAllstate$1,874

*Rates were fielded by Quadrant Information Services from up to six major insurers in nearly every ZIP code of each state. Driver profile: male, age 40, married, clean record and good credit, driving 2016 Honda Accord.


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