Why you can trust The Zebra
The Zebra partners with some of the companies we write about. However, our content is written and reviewed by an independent team of editors and licensed insurance agents, and never influenced by our partnerships. Learn more about how we make money, review our editorial standards, or view a list of our partners.
Best cheap car insurance for drivers with bad credit
Finding cheap car insurance with bad credit can be difficult. On average, drivers with poor credit (scores between 300 and 579) pay $105 more per month for car insurance than do drivers with very good credit (between 740 and 799). According to The Zebra's analysis, the following major insurance companies are the cheapest for drivers with bad credit.
Among major carriers, GEICO is cheapest for drivers with poor credit, coming in at $157 per month.
Nationwide comes in at second place with a rate of $167 per month for drivers with poor credit.
Only slightly higher than Nationwide, USAA comes in third place for drivers with poor credit with rates of $168 per month.
What are some cheap car insurance companies for bad credit drivers?
Using a profile (check out our methodology here), we surveyed eight insurance providers to see which company offered the cheapest rates for drivers with generalized credit scores. Drivers with very poor credit (between 300 and 579) pay an average of $209 per month for auto insurance, across the surveyed insurers. That comes out to over $2,500 per year, or 77% higher than a driver with very good credit (between 740 and 799).
CAR INSURANCE RATES WITH BAD CREDIT (300-579)
|Car Insurance Company||6-Month Rate||Monthly Rate|
GEICO is the cheapest insurance company for car insurance for a driver with a credit score of 579 or less. GEICO is only the cheapest company for our specific user profile, which likely doesn't fit yours perfectly. The best way to find cheap auto insurance with bad credit is to compare rates from as many insurers as possible.
Find an affordable policy today by comparing quotes.
Insurance rates by credit score
Reference the chart below to see the degree to which your credit score influences how much you pay for an auto insurance policy. Or, enter your Zip Code above to get personalized quotes in minutes.
In order to help you find the best car insurance for bad credit drivers, we gathered sample car insurance quotes from major insurance companies in the U.S. Below, we detail the insurance companies with the cheapest rates for drivers with low credit scores and explore some other ways to find affordable car insurance.
Why do car insurance companies use credit history?
Car insurance companies use many data points to predict the risk presented by prospective customers. Using their own historical data and information from the Federal Trade Commission, companies have deduced drivers with poor credit ratings file more claims than do drivers with excellent credit.
Data show that when drivers with worse credit do file a claim, the payout by the insurance company tends to be higher than payouts to other credit pools. All in all, this makes drivers with better credit scores cheaper to insure — thus, their insurance premiums are lower.
Keep in mind, your car insurance companies use soft credit inquiries when you buy your policy. Soft inquiries should not lower your credit score. If you’re just comparing or shopping around for car insurance, your credit will not be impacted via a hard or soft inquiry. However, it’s important to give the most accurate information when shopping for car insurance. Once you get to the final stage of your quote process, your premium will update to better reflect your credit and driving history.
Which car insurance companies don’t use credit score as a rating factor?
It depends on the state in which you reside and drive. As of 2021, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Washington do not allow insurance companies to use credit scores as a rating factor. If you live in those states, your insurance won't be impacted by your credit score. In other locations across the U.S., auto insurance companies are allowed to use your credit report as a factor when determining your car insurance rate. Learn more about the factors that go into calculating your premium.
Among the better insurance options for drivers with bad credit are telematics-based insurance companies. These companies track your driving and incorporate inputs from your behavior behind the wheel to price your premiums. Although credit score remains a rating factor in some of the programs, if you're a safe driver with a less-than-ideal credit history, telematics insurance might be a good option.
Auto insurance rates for drivers with bad credit by location
Below is a state-by-state breakdown of how much a poor credit report can impact your annual car insurance premium. On average, there is a $1,520 — slightly over 100% — difference in average insurance rates between drivers with very poor credit and drivers with exceptional credit. If you have bad credit, you can expect to pay double the premium a driver with great credit would.
Click on your state below to learn more.
DIFFERENCE IN ANNUAL AUTO INSURANCE RATES — VERY POOR VS. EXCEPTIONAL CREDIT (2020)
|State||Very Poor (300-579)||Difference||Exceptional (800-850)|
|Alabama||$2,947.46||139% or $1,714||$1,232.95|
|Alaska||$2,179.02||91% or $1,042||$1,136.16|
|Arizona||$3,035.50||142% or $1,782||$1,253.36|
|Arkansas||$2,950.56||98% or $1,460||$1,489.66|
|California||$1,868.03||0% or $0||$1,868.03|
|Colorado||$3,226.79||111% or $1,702||$1,524.57|
|Connecticut||$3,022.63||100% or $1,516||$1,506.03|
|Delaware||$3,362.84||116% or $1,807||$1,555.18|
|District of Columbia||$2,948.16||140% or $1,720||$1,228.14|
|Florida||$4,328.71||119% or $2,353||$1,975.10|
|Georgia||$2,680.11||84% or $1,230||$1,450.09|
|Hawaii||$1,045.19||0% or $0||$1,045.19|
|Idaho||$2,162.31||117% or $1,167||$994.65|
|Illinois||$2,379.19||109% or $1,245||$1,133.97|
|Indiana||$2,242.09||121% or $1,231||$1,010.15|
|Iowa||$1,948.75||100% or $977||$970.83|
|Kansas||$2,854.58||99% or $1,422||$1,431.91|
|Kentucky||$4,312.68||125% or $2,398||$1,914.53|
|Louisiana||$4,320.77||110% or $2,264||$2,056.08|
|Maine||$1,656.17||100% or $830||$825.71|
|Maryland||$2,499.02||97% or $1,236||$1,262.59|
|Massachusetts||$1,462.80||0% or $0||$1,462.80|
|Michigan||$8,640.46||271% or $6,314||$2,326.00|
|Minnesota||$2,485.08||118% or $1,347||$1,137.48|
|Mississippi||$2,820.11||103% or $1,433||$1,386.48|
|Missouri||$3,597.67||152% or $2,175||$1,422.65|
|Montana||$2,664.25||102% or $1,349||$1,315.02|
|Nebraska||$2,459.39||107% or $1,276||$1,183.13|
|Nevada||$3,289.06||94% or $1,599||$1,689.54|
|New Hampshire||$1,912.85||111% or $1,007||$905.66|
|New Jersey||$3,546.17||166% or $2,213||$1,332.93|
|New Mexico||$2,419.77||103% or $1,231||$1,188.65|
|New York||$3,769.57||149% or $2,259||$1,509.74|
|North Carolina||$1,448.66||60% or $543||$905.06|
|North Dakota||$2,474.77||111% or $1,302||$1,172.26|
|Ohio||$1,903.67||113% or $1,010||$893.41|
|Oklahoma||$3,131.14||96% or $1,538||$1,592.19|
|Oregon||$2,766.35||118% or $1,497||$1,268.66|
|Pennsylvania||$2,743.43||120% or $1,501||$1,242.39|
|Rhode Island||$3,798.85||105% or $1,949||$1,849.59|
|South Carolina||$2,659.03||113% or $1,411||$1,247.56|
|South Dakota||$3,336.60||125% or $1,853||$1,482.97|
|Tennessee||$3,238.42||143% or $1,908||$1,330.11|
|Texas||$2,771.30||123% or $1,529||$1,242.12|
|Utah||$2,666.71||141% or $1,562||$1,103.91|
|Vermont||$2,196.67||118% or $1,192||$1,004.59|
|Virginia||$1,828.83||108% or $949||$879.21|
|Washington||$2,612.71||125% or $1,453||$1,159.05|
|West Virginia||$2,856.02||117% or $1,545||$1,310.71|
|Wisconsin||$2,238.80||122% or $1,233||$1,005.07|
|Wyoming||$2,106.52||62% or $810||$1,296.35|
How to save on car insurance if you have bad credit
Because your credit score is a pivotal non-driving rating factor, it would be difficult to negate its effects with a few discounts. But by doing your homework and trying to get as many discounts as possible, you could rack up some savings. Let's explore some ways to save money on car insurance with a poor credit score.
Look for these discounts
- Bundling discounts
- Good driver discount
- Electronic signature, paperless discount, payment by bank (EFT)
- Affinity membership (discount based on your organization loyalties)
File claims wisely
Being smart with your claims means you shouldn't file a claim unless the damages to your vehicle are greater than the rate increase you might receive in return.
Let's say you’re a driver in Texas who gets into an at-fault collision. The estimate for the repairs is $1,700. Last year, at-fault accidents raised car insurance rates by an average of $767 per year — and most insurance companies will charge higher rates for at least three years after a violation or claim hits your driving record. This $767 will amount to over $2,300 in total rate increases. If you include a typical $500 deductible, the average total cost of this claim would be over $2,800.
In this scenario, you would save yourself over $1,100 by paying out-of-pocket for the $1,700 in damage.
So, when thinking if it’s worth it to file a claim, you should consider the estimated cost of repairs is versus what you would end up paying after your rate is increased.
Find the right coverage for your car
Unlike a fine wine, your car depreciates rapidly. What this means in terms of savings is that the insurance coverage you once had on your 1999 Geo might not be necessary anymore. Here how to decide on coverage:
- Do you have a loan on your vehicle?
Vehicles that have a lien or loan are usually required to maintain physical coverage as the lienholder has a vested interest in the vehicle.
- What’s the value of your vehicle?
You can determine this through Kelley Blue Book or NADA. If your vehicle is worth less than $4,000, you should drop your collision coverage and potentially your comprehensive. These coverages are optional if you own your vehicle and are designed to protect its physical integrity. If the car is not worth very much to begin with, you could be paying for coverage you do not need. If you decide to drop both of these coverages, consider adding uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage. If you need to keep these coverage options, considering raising your deductible. Because they are inversely related, a higher deductible will equal a lower premium.
Find the right company
Follow our lead and shop with as many companies as possible in order to find the cheapest rate for you. Don’t be afraid to consider non-standard companies, i.e., the ones you haven’t heard of, as they may be more inclined to offer you a better rate than some of the bigger names.
Choose a car insurance company by comparing rates side-by-side.
About The Zebra
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.
The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.