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How to get cheap car insurance

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Here we’ll explain what you need to know to find cheap car insurance rates. Below we outline the steps to take that will save you money:

How to get cheap car insurance quotes

Full coverage: Savings by state for comparing auto insurance quotes

State minimum liability: Savings by state for comparing auto insurance quotes

Cheap car insurance companies in your state

Maintain good credit to get really cheap auto insurance

Keep your driving record free of violations

Buy state minimum liability or low liability limits

Raise your deductible

Ask for discounts

How to get cheap car insurance quotes

Comparing car insurance quotes to see which car insurance company is the cheapest will save you the most. Rates differ by hundreds of dollars among companies, which is why it literally pays to shop around for the lowest rate.  For instance, CarInsurance.com’s rate analysis found the following potential savings, or the difference between the highest and lowest price, for the same policy:

  • State minimum liability – average savings of 153 percent, or $497
  • Full coverage – average savings of 138 percent, or $1,127

When broken down by state, savings are even more significant in some cases. For full coverage, drivers in states with the highest average savings can trim $2,000 to $3,000 from their premium just by comparing rates and opting for the lowest one. But even in states where the savings are much lower, you can still avoid overpaying by $350 to $600 -- a 40 percent to 70 percent savings.

Full coverage: Savings by state for comparing auto insurance quotes

StateAverage annual rateAverage highest rateAverage lowest rateAverage % savingsAverage $ savings
Alaska$1,114$1,305$95237$353
Alabama$1,313$1,895$771146$1,124
Arkansas$1,383$1,849$96492$885
Arizona$1,353$1,834$918100$916
California$1,527$2,033$942116$1,091
Colorado$1,435$1,958$863127$1,095
Connecticut$1,775$2,564$924177$1,640
DC$1,722$2,876$696313$2,180
Delaware$1,655$2,422$1,107119$1,315
Florida$1,835$2,698$1,179129$1,519
Georgia$1,348$1,795$740143$1,055
Hawaii$1,458$2,376$857177$1,519
Iowa$1,024$1,625$630158$995
Idaho$946$1,581$694128$887
Illinois$1,009$1,393$593135$800
Indiana$965$1,553$650139$903
Kansas$1,245$1,794$766134$1,028
Kentucky$1,771$2,894$880229$2,014
Louisiana$2,190$2,984$1,445107$1,539
Massachusetts$1,191$1,757$851106$906
Maryland$1,396$2,223$1,071108$1,152
Maine$920$1,203$503139$700
Michigan$2,490$4,025$1,013297$3,012
Minnesota$1,200$1,517$89969$618
Missouri$1,158$1,805$705156$1,100
Mississippi$1,330$1,960$871125$1,089
Montana$1,224$1,753$848107$905
North Carolina$963$1,241$620100$621
North Dakota$1,311$2,560$743245$1,817
Nebraska$1,117$1,481$697112$784
New Hampshire$1,102$1,583$557184$1,026
New Jersey$1,353$1,887$745153$1,142
New Mexico$1,257$1,946$870124$1,076
Nevada$1,750$2,284$1,27979$1,005
New York$1,782$2,893$992192$1,901
Ohio$957$1,312$626110$686
Oklahoma$1,655$2,593$1,006158$1,587
Oregon$1,292$1,732$94483$788
Pennsylvania$1,532$3,183$686364$2,497
Rhode Island$1,693$2,362$1,106114$1,256
South Carolina$1,263$1,528$1,03048$498
South Dakota$1,052$1,548$1,5480$0
Tennessee$1,223$1,838$744147$1,094
Texas$1,308$1,947$889119$1,058
Utah$1,212$1,591$653144$938
Virginia$979$1,192$74261$450
Vermont$967$1,269$472169$797
Washington$1,197$1,498$99451$504
Wisconsin$1,327$2,743$632334$2,111
West Virginia$1,387$1,921$1,11073$811
Wyoming$1,472$1,830$1,12663$704

State minimum liability: Savings by state for comparing auto insurance quotes

StateAverage annual rateAverage maximum rateAverage minimum rateAverage % savingsAverage $ savings
Alaska$318$421$24770%$174
Alabama$421$559$29886$261
Arkansas$401$604$258134$346
Arizona$495$619$31795$302
California$494$633$253150$380
Colorado$515$731$325125$406
Connecticut$770$1,028$444132$584
DC$752$980$354177$626
Delaware$822$1,080$532103$548
Florida$903$1,533$421264$1,112
Georgia$539$919$257258$662
Hawaii$555$829$303174$526
Iowa$294$448$189137$259
Idaho$322$520$226130$294
Illinois$385$602$215180$387
Indiana$401$696$285144$411
Kansas$405$599$223169$376
Kentucky$760$1,026$364182$662
Louisiana$699$922$49188$431
Massachusetts$539$776$278179$498
Maryland$715$1,016$56480$452
Maine$359$497$220126$277
Michigan$2,022$5,162$568809$4,594
Minnesota$598$838$368128$470
Missouri$412$651$258152$393
Mississippi$401$648$243167$405
Montana$323$553$170225$383
North Carolina$348$432$23187$201
North Dakota$366$508$28380$225
Nebraska$331$425$24474$181
New Hampshire$490$799$235240$564
New Jersey$677$911$417118$494
New Mexico$427$698$267161$431
Nevada$621$886$414114$472
New York$829$1,197$424182$773
Ohio$385$542$264105$278
Oklahoma$445$664$304118$360
Oregon$711$973$475105$498
Pennsylvania$483$806$261209$545
Rhode Island$756$1,126$398183$728
South Carolina$484$591$36462$227
South Dakota$269$430$167157$263
Tennessee$407$693$250177$443
Texas$466$645$34388$302
Utah$539$666$307117$359
Virginia$376$498$30762$191
Vermont$344$453$188141$265
Washington$465$697$318119$379
Wisconsin$369$514$228125$286
West Virginia$499$644$36178$283
Wyoming$333$556$170227$386

Methodology:

CarInsurance.com analyzed rates for a 2016 Honda Accord with full coverage to identify the savings drivers can expect from shopping around. Rates were fielded from up to six major insurers for nearly every ZIP code in each state. The average savings is the dollar difference between the highest and lowest rates received from insurers, on average, for each state’s ZIP codes.

 

Cheap car insurance companies in your state

When shopping for car insurance, Penny Gusner, CarInsurance.com consumer analyst, says you need to decide how much coverage you need and compare quotes, and provides these tips:

  • The cheapest auto insurance will always be just the amount you need to drive legally, your state minimum liability requirements. However, this doesn’t pay for damage to your car; it covers damage to other cars and property and pays for medical bills for those you inure in an accident. If your car is more than 10 years old or worth less than $3,000 and you have no or few assets, this may suffice.
  • The recommended level of car insurance you should buy to ensure you don’t put your assets and savings at risk is full coverage. That includes $100,000 to pay for a person’s injuries you cause, up to $300,000 per accident, with $100,000 for property damage costs, with comprehensive insurance to pay for hail, fire, flooding and theft of your car and collision to pay for damage to your car, with a $500 deductible.
  • Be sure to get quotes for the exact same coverage amounts from at least three insurance companies when comparing prices.

If you’re wondering which car insurance companies are the cheapest near you, CarInsurance.com’s rate data can help. Here we show average car insurance rates from major insurers, ranked from least to most expensive, for every state, for a full coverage policy.

StateCompanyAverage annual 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

Maintain good credit to get really cheap auto insurance

Aside from comparison shopping, keeping dings off your credit history and sustaining a high credit score is one of the best ways to get – and keep – affordable car insurance rates.  Drivers with poor credit pay an average of 69 percent, or $983 more for insurance than those with good credit, according to CarInsurance.com rate data. That’s higher than the hike to your rate (32 percent) for an accident you cause that hurts someone.

But no one’s perfect, so if you’re looking for the cheapest car insurance you can get with bad credit, here are how companies compare:

CompanyExcellent credit ratePoor credit rate% increase$ increase
Victoria$1,591$2,19338%$603
Nationwide$1,598$2,24441%$646
Allstate$1,868$2,90656%$1,038
Progressive$1,483$2,64477%$1,161
Farmers$1,753$3,03978%$1,279
Geico$1,109$2,09485%$986
State Farm$1,400$3,012113%$1,613

*Methodology: Calculations are rounded. Rates were fielded by Quadrant Information Services from up to six major insurers in 10 ZIP codes in each state for a driver of a 2017 Honda Accord, age 40, with full coverage and a $500 deductible.

Keep your driving record free from violations

Tickets for moving violations affect what you pay for car insurance, so part of keeping costs low is maintaining a clean driving record. Insurance companies check your driving history upon renewal or when you ask for quotes for a new policy, and use that information when pricing policies. Typically, it means higher rates if you’ve had accidents or been convicted for driving under the influence (DUI), speeding, failing to stop or yield or other traffic violations.  That’s why it’s important to check your driving record and fix it if you see any errors before shopping for coverage. However, each company assesses risk differently, so even with driving infractions on your record, you’ll save if you compare car insurance companies. Let’s break average increases for common moving violations and accidents by company:

Speeding 16 to 19 miles over the limit

CompanyAverage rateRate after speeding ticket % increase$ increase
Nationwide$1,598$1,90019%$302
Allstate$1,868$2,23920%$371
Farmers$1,663$2,04224%$329
State Farm$1,400$1,80727%$407
Progressive$1,483$1,91631%$433
Geico$1,109$1,44931%$340

One at-fault property damage accident over $2,000

 

CompanyAverage rateRate after accident claim% increase$ increase
State Farm$1,400$1,67019%$270
Progressive$1,483$1,81622%$333
Farmers$1,663$2,30138%$638
Allstate$1,868$2,63141%$762
Geico$1,109$1,57843%$469
Nationwide$1,598$2,51357%$915

Buy state minimum liability or low liability limits

One way to get the lowest possible car insurance premium is to buy just state required minimum liability  coverage. Liability insurance is commonly shown in the following format: 20/40/10. The first two numbers refer to bodily injury liability limits and the third number to property damage liability. In this example, 20/40/10 means coverage up to $20,000 for each person injured in an accident, up to a maximum of $40,000 for the entire accident, and $10,000 worth of coverage for property damage.

There’s no use in buying optional comprehensive and collision insurance if you have a car that’s not worth much or is very old. That’s because comprehensive and collision will only pay out up to the actual cash value of the car, minus your deductible.

Just bear in mind that liability insurance doesn't cover your own injuries or damage to your own property. Gusner never recommends carrying just the state minimum of liability, because in most states it’s not enough to protect you from potentially shelling out a lot of money if you cause an accident. Typically, buying higher liability limits doesn’t cost that much more. Consider the following, based on CarInsurance.com’s analysis of rates from up to six major insurers for nearly all ZIP codes:

  • The nationwide average cost for state minimum liability coverage is $526
  • Increasing that coverage to $50,000/$100,000/$50,000 averages only $561. So, you only pay another $35 a year by increasing your coverage.
  • If you increase that to $100,000/$300,000/$100,000 with comprehensive and collision and a $500 deductible, that average goes up to $1,350, which is $824 more per year or $69 per month.

Raise your deductible

Another way to get cheap car insurance rates is to raise your deductible if you have a full coverage policy with comprehensive and collision. Deductible amounts typically are $250, $500 and $1,000 and is what you pay before your insurance company will fix your car after you file a claim. The savings you get from hiking your deductible depends on the amount you initially have compared to what you jump to, but averages about 18 percent. Note, however, that the reduction comes off your comprehensive and collision costs, not your total premium.

Ask for discounts

Finally, be sure you are getting all the car insurance discounts that you qualify for by following up with your current company or those that you are considering for a new policy. For instance, the insurer may have asked how many miles you drive and given you a low-mileage discount, but may not be aware that your teen driver meets the criteria for a good student discount.

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