Which auto insurance company has the cheapest rates?

Your car insurance premium is priced to fit you like a glove. Insurers evaluate your driving history, demographic data, and other metrics to determine what kind of customer you'll be. But from a consumer's perspective, the primary question is which company offers the cheapest insurance? We surveyed top auto insurance companies and assessed common rating factors to determine which insurer provides the most affordable car insurance quotes — even for young motorists or high-risk drivers.

 

The most affordable car insurance...

  1. After a collision
  2. With a bad driving record
  3. With a teen driver
  4. By credit score
  5. By insurance history
  6. By primary vehicle use
  7. For low- and high-mileage drivers

How to find the best cheap car insurance

  1. Money-saving tips
  2. Popular car insurance discounts

 

How to find cheap insurance after a car accident

Accidents and other incidents can raise car insurance premiums substantially. Most property damage or collision claims will be ruled by your insurance company as an at-fault accident. As you can see with the data below, an at-fault accident can raise your premium between $232 and $363 every six months.

 
6-month premium w/out claim
Premium after $1,000 in damagePremium after $2,000 in damage
Allstate - $779$1,036$1,162
GEICO - $760$1,038$1,141
Farmers - $717$825$1,077
Liberty Mutual - $756$1,018$1,109
Nationwide - $660$883$993
Progressive - $746$985$1,120
State Farm - $757$1,020$1,117

 

No matter which insurance company you choose, being involved in an at-fault accident will raise your rates. If the value of the damage you caused is greater than $2,000, Nationwide could offer the best affordable car insurance quotes. If the value of the claim is less than $1,000, Farmers is often cheaper.

It's the "golden rule" of car insurance: as your driving profile changes, so will your premium. Not every company will assess your profile and apply rate changes in the same way. If you’ve been involved in a collision and your rate increases, shop around to find a company that views your accident as less costly than does your current company.

 

Ready to see personalized rates?

Location pin icon
Your information is secure.

 

Car insurance rates after driving violations

"Violation" is a broad term comprising a number of offenses. Included in our insurance price analysis are violations with major financial implications: a DUI or DWI, driving with a suspended license, hit-and-run, and reckless driving. Here's how popular companies' rates stack up for drivers with recent offenses.

 

Insurance after a DUI, DWI, or OWI

Aside from the legal implications of a DUI, having one on your insurance record will, on average, raise your premium by $624 every six months. Farmers, the second-cheapest company for drivers without a DUI infraction, raises rates by the most after a DUI — $1,316.

 

dui 4

6-month premium w/out DUI
Premium with DUI
Allstate - $779
$1,371
GEICO - $760
$1,731
Farmers - $717
$1,316
Liberty Mutual - $756
$1,124
Nationwide - $660
$1,340
Progressive - $746
$1,450
State Farm - $757
$1,239

After a DUI, Nationwide's premiums increased by more than $600 to become the third-most-expensive company, while Liberty Mutual became the cheapest. While Liberty Mutual isn't the cheapest auto insurer without a DUI, the $367 increase is the smallest financial penalty for drinking and driving.

This is why it’s important to not become complacent with your insurance company. Just because Nationwide was the cheapest insurance company before a DUI doesn't mean things will stay as-is with a serious violation on your record.

 

Additional resources

Learn more about car insurance after a DUI.

 

Car insurance costs after a driving with a suspended license offense

While the average annual increase from driving with a suspended license is about $556, rates vary substantially by company. While Liberty Mutual's rates are middle-of-the-road for drivers without violations, they’re actually the cheapest after a citation for driving with a suspended license.

 
6-month premium w/out license suspension
Premium after suspended license citation
Allstate - $779
$1,289
GEICO - $760
$1,718
Farmers - $717
$1,239
Liberty Mutual - $756
$1,148
Nationwide - $660
$1,187
Progressive - $746
$1,305
State Farm - $757
$1,202

If you've been convicted of driving with a suspended license, your best bet for cheap auto insurance might be Liberty Mutual. After an incident, companies that were originally the cheapest without any prior claims or convictions are no longer cheap options.

If you're looking for more information regarding car insurance after a suspended license, see our guide here.

 

Auto insurance rates after a hit-and-run violation

A hit-and-run on your insurance record is a doozy. In most states, it is the most expensive violation you can receive – even more costly than a DUI. If you’re ticketed after a hit-and-run, finding affordable auto insurance quotes can be tricky.

hit and run

 

6-month premium w/out hit-and-run charge
Premium after hit-and-run
Allstate - $779
$1,415
GEICO - $760
$1,878
Farmers - $717
$1,366
Liberty Mutual - $756
$1,191
Nationwide - $660
$1,399
Progressive - $746
$1,502
State Farm - $757
$1,297

Liberty Mutual is an affordable option after a hit-and-run. Liberty Mutual increases rates by just $434, $258 less than the average among other major insurers. Increases after a DUI ($624) and a license suspension ($556) are less expensive than the cost increase after a hit-and-run.

 

Car insurance costs after reckless driving

The definition of reckless driving can vary by state. In general, it is described as driving with a general disregard for the rules of the road and other drivers — and it comes with a pretty hefty fine. On average, a reckless driving charge will raise your six-month premium nearly $598.

 
6-month premium w/out reckless driving chargePremium at Reckless Driving
Allstate - $779$1,348
GEICO - $760$1,841
Farmers - $717$1,129
Liberty Mutual - $756$1,152
Nationwide - $660$1,111
Progressive - $746$1,415
State Farm - $757$1,227

While Nationwide is not the cheapest after a DUI or hit-and-run, it is the cheapest after a reckless driving charge. Nationwide has a six-month premium of $1,111 – a $451 post-violation increase. If you have a reckless driving charge on your record, consider Nationwide, Liberty Mutual, and State Farm in your search for an auto insurance policy.

 

Additional resources

If you're having trouble getting car insurance quotes with a bad driving record, see our breakdown of insurance for getting a car insurance policy for bad drivers and high-risk drivers.

If you have a clean driving record, review our analysis of car insurance for good drivers.

 

Get quotes based on your driving record!

Location pin icon
Your information is secure.

 

Adding teen drivers to your insurance policy

If a parent's greatest fear is their child getting behind the wheel, covering their car insurance premium might be a close second. On average, adding a teen driver increases annual car insurance rates by about 83%. This is because of the risks posed by teen drivers: they're less experienced and more likely to take risks behind the wheel, leaving the insurance company vulnerable. We assessed premiums from top insurers after adding a teen to the car insurance policy of a married couple.

 
6-month premium w/out teen driver
Teen driver average
Allstate - $691
$1,395
GEICO - $650
$1,284
Farmers - $1,143
$1,222
Liberty Mutual - $671
$1,327
Nationwide - $600
$1,135
Progressive - $670
$1,277
State Farm - $676
$1,331

Nationwide is the cheapest company for adding a teen driver to your policy, with Farmers second-cheapest. Bear in mind, the data above was generated by averaging the projected premium for a teen male driver and a teen female driver. A male teenager, on average, costs $239 more in annual premium than a female driver. This is because of the additional risk presented by a young male driver compared to a female driver. Nationwide is the cheapest insurer for a family with either a female or a male teen driver.

 

Additional resources

To find the cheapest auto insurance for teen drivers, consult our guides:

 

See car insurance quotes for teen driver policies

Location pin icon
Your information is secure.

 

Credit score and auto insurance

Insurance companies place substantial weight on your credit score, using it to determine risk. Studies by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) show drivers with low credit scores not only file more claims than drivers with higher credit scores, but the actual dollar amount is greater than higher-scoring drivers. Thus, those with better credit are safer clients — with more affordable premiums. On average, moving from one credit tier to the next among our selected insurers saves an average of $344 in annual premium payments.

credit by car insurance provider

 

Company6-mo. premium w/ poor credit 6-mo. premium w/ excellent credit
Farmers$681$633
Nationwide$804$565
Progressive$872$648
Geico$907$623
State Farm$969$646
Liberty Mutual$970$641
Allstate$971$692

If you have bad credit, you should consider Farmers and Nationwide in your search. This is especially true considering the average cost of insurance for drivers with "bad credit" is $247 more expensive than premiums for those the "excellent" group. If you have excellent credit, Nationwide is $70 cheaper than the average for that credit group.

For more information related to car insurance and your credit score, see our related articles:

 

Compare rates today!

Location pin icon
Your information is secure.

 

Insurance history

Across the board, the longer you have insurance — and the more insurance you have — the cheaper your premium will be. Insurance companies use data showing those who cover their vehicles above and beyond state minimum coverage requirements as less likely to file a claim or get into an accident. These drivers are also considered more financially stable.

Because of this decreased risk, insurance companies provide lower rates for longer-term clients. If you're new to the world of insurance, you should start your record with higher than state minimum bodily injury and property damage limits. This will protect your property and get you off on the right foot with insurance companies.

The data below is based on two 30-year-old drivers with either no history of liability insurance history or five years of high-liability limit car insurance coverage. With all other metrics constant, the same car insurance quote is $62 cheaper for the driver with a more comprehensive insurance history.

insurancehistory

 

Allstate6-month premium w/out insurance history6-month premium w/100/300 BI Limits for 5 years
GEICO$857$791
Farmers$797$723
Liberty Mutual$725$690
Nationwide$831$752
Progressive$716$666
State Farm$809$743

If you're looking for insurance and you either don't have an insurance background or only have a history of carrying state-minimum coverage, Liberty Mutual might be the cheapest company for you. For more information on coverage options, see our guides below.

 

Find a policy today!

Location pin icon
Your information is secure.

 

Primary vehicle use

While the majority of people use their vehicle for pleasure, using your personal auto policy for business use can bump up your premium quite a bit. This has to do with the way your insurance company views the increased risk that comes with using the vehicle for business uses.

The best place to start your search for cheap business-use car insurance is Nationwide. A business-use policy isn't a commercial policy. Rather, it comprises the use of a car for personal and business purposes. Most insurance companies have their own versions of these rules, which can cover delivery drivers or salespeople.

Company

PleasureBusiness
Allstate$788$853
GEICO$710$781
Farmers$679$735
Liberty Mutual$735$810
Nationwide$643$715
Progressive$710$787
State Farm$754$759

If you're a driver for Uber or Lyft and would like to see this can impact what you pay for car insurance, see our related articles below:

 

 

How much you drive

How much you drive — or your annual mileage — is an influential rating factor in places like California but can still positively and negatively affect your premium in other states. If you live in California, you can expect a 25% gap in average annual premiums between those who drive up to 7,500 miles a year and those who drive more than 15,000 miles a year. On average, the less you drive, the more it saves you — but this impact is minor.

Company
0-7,500 Miles
15,501 Miles & Above
Allstate
$754
$801
Geico
$678
$718
Farmers
$650
$732
Nationwide
$617
$645
Progressive
$698
$749
State Farm
$717
$752
Liberty Mutual
$706
$738

Car insurance companies can raise the rates of drivers who tally above-average annual mileage because more time on the road equates to additional risk. If you drive more than 12,000 miles a year, your best bet for affordable auto insurance is Nationwide.

 

Additional resources

For more information on annual mileage and car insurance, including which insurance providers offer discounts for infrequent drivers, see our guide to low-mileage auto insurance here.

 

 

Who offers the best insurance? Find out now!

Location pin icon
Your information is secure.

 

How to find the best car insurance

We all know those insurance commercials: they all advertise "fantastic" rates, and somehow every insurer is the cheapest. But when you read between the lines, it's clear cheap auto insurance isn’t always the way to go when your vehicle — and your money — is at stake. But there are ways to save on insurance without sacrificing quality or service.

 

In this article, we'll discuss:
  1. How to find cheaper car insurance
  2. Why is auto insurance so expensive?
  3. How to get car insurance discounts
  4. Is cheap insurance always the way to go?
  5. What are the best cheap auto insurance companies?

 


 

Where to find cheap car insurance

If you're in the market for car insurance, the best place to look is online. Your best bet is to shop between multiple companies to see which offers the best coverage at the best rate.

 

Your car insurance rate is specific to you

Myriad factors determine car insurance rates, including location, your age, your insurance history, your driving history, and the car you drive. If you've accumulated at-fault accidents or claims, your rate will increase. If your credit history is poor or your ZIP code has a large number of uninsured motorists, you might not be able to find cheap auto insurance.

Learn more about how car insurance quotes are generated.

 


 

Popular auto insurance discounts

You can’t improve your credit score overnight, but there are some easy ways to reduce the cost of car insurance — like discounts.

 

Multi-policy/bundling auto insurance discount

Qualifying for this discount involves carrying two insurance policies with one company. Common bundling combinations include home-and-auto or renters-and-auto. The discount is greater for the former, with a homeowners-plus-auto combo saving an average of $110 per year, compared to $72 for a renters-and-auto pairing. The discount affects both policies. The estimated savings below refers only to the auto insurance policy discount.

AVERAGE MULTI-POLICY BUNDLE DISCOUNTS
RentersHomeowners
$72$110

 

Telematics- and usage-based insurance policies

Telematics — or usage-based insurance — is a growing trend in the insurance industry. These programs track your driving habits via an in-car device. Your car insurance rates will be determined by your driving habits, including speed, mileage, and other factors, rather than your age, credit history, or location. Some insurers offer major discounts for good drivers using telematics-based insurance.

 

CompanyEstimated Savings
Progressive SnapShotAverage of $130
Allstate DrivewiseAverage of 10-25%
State Farm Drive Safe & SaveUp to 15%
Esurance DriveSenseVaries
Nationwide SmartRideUp to 40%
Liberty Mutual RightTrackAverage of 5-30%
GEICO DriveEasyVaries

 

Not every state authorizes telematics programs. Check with your company or insurance agent to gauge your eligibility.

 

Be smart with your coverage

Your 2003 Pontiac isn't gaining value over time. If you have an older vehicle, it might not require the same levels of coverage as a newer vehicle, i.e., comprehensive and collision insurance. Here are some easy steps to consider when thinking about your coverage options.

  • Using Kelley Blue Book and the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association), determine the market value of your vehicle.
  • Using the information from step 1, look at the difference in price between having full coverage (comprehensive and collision) and having only liability. If the amount of money you save in premium from losing full coverage is not enough to cover or replace your vehicle (which you determined from step 1), keep these coverages.
  • If you determine that you still need comprehensive and collision coverage, consider raising your deductible. By raising your deductible, you lower your premium as you assume a greater amount of financial responsibility if your vehicle is totaled.

Note: Even if you remove these optional coverages, you should keep your bodily injury and property damage coverage. Consider keeping your uninsured/underinsured coverage as well.

Learn more about how to find the best cheap full coverage auto insurance.

 

Safe driving discount

This discount entails taking a defensive driving course and presenting your insurance company with proof — a receipt or transcript — of it. The logic behind this discount is clear: a safer driver is a cheaper client because they're less likely to file a claim. Consult our guide to auto insurance for good drivers to learn more about how to save.

 

Equipment discount

If your car comes with an anti-theft device or a service like LoJack, your insurance company may provide a discount. The discounts tend to be smaller than a multi-policy or defensive driver discount. On average, using a disabling anti-theft device can save you an average of $11 per year on car insurance.

 

Average insurance savings: safety devices

Safety/Anti-Theft DeviceAverage Annual PremiumDiscount
None$1,323
Passive Disabling Device$1,312$10
Tracking Device$1,314$9
Audible Alarm$1,317$6
Electronic Stability Control$1,318$5

 

Good driver discount

Naturally, this discount is offered for drivers with clean driving records. Good driver discounts can be added when your Motor Vehicle Report or CLUE report is pulled at the inception of your auto policy. If you're convinced you have a clean driving record — meaning no at-fault accidents or violations — and aren't receiving a discount, speak with your insurance company and ask if they offer a discount for good drivers. By keeping a clean slate, you can earn a discount of approximately 10% while avoiding the costly penalties listed below.

 

AVERAGE ANNUAL INSURANCE COST INCREASE BY VIOLATION
Accident/Violation6-Month Premium Increase
None
Speeding 11 - 15 MPH Over Limit$141
Speeding 16 - 20 MPH Over Limit$153
Speeding 21 - 25 MPH Over Limit$165
At-Fault Accident$306
Reckless Driving$499
Racing$523
DUI$529

 

Military discount

Many companies offer discounts for active or former military members and their families. The amount and qualifications differ per company but you should ask if your current company has this discount.

 

Multi-car discount

A multi-car discount involves insuring more than one car with a single insurance company. Typically, the discount is automatically added either at policy inception — if two cars were originally added — or when you add the second vehicle to the policy.

 

Preferred payment discount

This discount refers to the manner in which you make your insurance payments and has tiers, typically. For example, if you pay your entire premium up front, you are often given a discount: the highest preferred payment discount. A paid-in-full discount can save you $62 per year on your auto policy. Moreover, if you set up automatic payments from a bank account, you can often receive an Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) discount.” An EFT discount can lead to savings of about $28 annually. If you are able to pay upfront or through automatic payments, this is a great way to get cheaper car insurance.

AVERAGE RATES: ETF AUTO INSURANCE DISCOUNT
YesNoSavings
$1,295$1,322$27
AVERAGE RATES BY PAYMENT PLAN
Paid-in-FullInstallmentsSavings
$1,261$1,323$61

 

Profession discount

Some insurance companies will offer a discount based on your occupation. Statistically, some occupations — teachers, physicians, or police officers — are less likely to file a claim and thus pose less risk. Because of this, some insurance companies return the savings back to you. Usually, they will require proof of your profession, such as a photocopy of your professional degree or certification.

If you'd like more information on finding cheap car insurance via profession-based discounts, see our other articles:

Good student discount

If you're responsible for insuring a young driver, you understand how expensive this can be. Given the number of claims they cause, teen drivers are considerable risks for insurance companies. If your son or daughter has the grades — typically a GPA of 3.0 or better — speak with your insurance company about a good student discount. Normally, they’ll ask for a transcript every policy period (6-12 months) as proof.

GOOD STUDENT DISCOUNTS: AVERAGE SAVINGS
Average TeenAverage Male TeenAverage Female Teen
$283$360$207

 


 

Cheap car insurance: pros and cons

You’ve heard the phrase “you get what you pay for.” This sometimes applies to car insurance. Sometimes an auto insurance company is cheap because it offers minimal customer support or because it cuts corners in the claims process, leaving you to pick up the pieces. If an easy and reliable claims process or customer service are important to you, evaluate your cheap auto insurance options carefully.

 

Find affordable auto insurance online today!

Location pin icon
Your information is secure.

 

Cheap car insurance companies by state

Because every driver is different, it's hard to give specific advice on which insurer will provide the cheapest rates. Your best bet is to shop around frequently and get car insurance quotes from top providers.

Additional information

Find the best cheap car insurance in your state below!

Alabama - Kansas
Kentucky - North Carolina
North Dakota - Wyoming
Alabama
Kentucky
North Dakota
Alaska
Louisiana
Ohio
Arizona
Maine
Oklahoma
Arkansas
Maryland
Oregon
California
Massachusetts
Pennsylvania
Colorado
Michigan
Rhode Island
Connecticut
Minnesota
South Carolina
Delaware
Mississippi
South Dakota
District of Columbia
Missouri
Tennessee
Florida
Montana
Texas
Georgia
Nebraska
Utah
Hawaii
Nevada
Vermont
Idaho
New Hampshire
Virginia
Illinois
New Jersey
Washington
Indiana
New Mexico
West Virginia
Iowa
New York
Wisconsin
Kansas
North Carolina
Wyoming

 

See personalized rates today!

Location pin icon
Your information is secure.

Don't just take our word for it

Read real reviews from our customers and see why The Zebra is the #1 insurance comparison site

The Zebra is rated 4.7 out of 5 based on 1,136 reviews.