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, reference our data methodology, or view a list of our partners.
What is the average cost of car insurance in America?
The average cost of car insurance is $1,483 per year. That puts the average car insurance cost per month at $124.
Auto insurance quotes vary widely based on individual rating factors. The Zebra's team of licensed insurance experts crunched the numbers using a composite user profile and gathered rates from the top auto insurance companies to develop these figures. Dive into the data below to see how age, gender, location and vehicle affect auto insurance premiums.
- Quick facts: average car insurance costs
- Car insurance costs an average of $1,483 per year, or $124 per month.
- At $90 a month, Nationwide provides the cheapest rates on average.
- Drivers aged 50-59 pay the least for car insurance on average
- The average rate increase for an at-fault accident is $335 for a six-month policy
Which car insurance companies are the most affordable?
As part of our car insurance rate analysis, we compared premiums from some of America's most popular insurers. Check out average car insurance rates from the best car insurance companies below. Keep in mind your rates will vary, depending on your driving history.
Nationwide offers the cheapest average car insurance rate at $90 per month
GEICO offers the second cheapest average car insurance rates at $94 per month.
At $104 per month, Progressive's average car insurance rate is third cheapest among the major carriers surveyed.
Among the surveyed car insurance companies, Nationwide was the cheapest based on our average profile. GEICO came in as second-cheapest. Our individual profile might not reflect your rates, but you can use our auto insurance premiums as a jumping-off point to explore options from multiple car insurance companies.
Average car insurance rate by coverage level
Depending on your level of coverage, your premium will vary. The average auto insurance policy includes liability insurance with limits of $50,000/$100,000 for bodily injury and $50,000 for property damage coverage, alongside collision and comprehensive deductibles at $500. If you're leasing or financing your vehicle, you might be required to carry gap insurance as well.
We grouped coverage levels by categories of best, good, and minimum, along with average rates for a six-month policy by top insurance companies. See more details per coverage tier:
Liability limits of 100/300/100, $500 deductible for collision and comprehensive coverage (full coverage).
Liability limits of 50/100/50, $1,000 deductible for collision and comprehensive coverage (full coverage).
State minimum liability only, no comprehensive and collision coverage.
Average premiums for "best" full coverage car insurance coverage level
We recommend carrying full coverage if you have assets to protect, multiple drivers on your policy (especially teenagers), drive a high-performance or luxury car, or are currently leasing or financing a vehicle. Due to the high liability limits (at least 100/300/100) and physical protection provided for your own car at this coverage level, it's typically the most expensive.
The risks of low liability limits
Not carrying enough liability coverage can leave you at risk of being sued if you cause enough damage to eclipse your liability limits — leaving any assets vulnerable.
A $500 deductible is the most common, but you can further decrease your premium by upping your deductible because of the inverse relationship they share — see this illustrated below at the "good" coverage level with a $1,000 deductible.
Average premiums for "good" full coverage car insurance coverage level
We generally recommend keeping your liability limits to at least 50/100/50. This middle-of-the-road level of full coverage also provides comprehensive and collision coverage for your own vehicle with a $1,000 deductible.
While a $500 deductible is the most common, you can further decrease your premium with a higher, $1,000 deductible because of the inverse relationship they share. Learn more about how to choose a deductible.
Average premiums for "minimum" liability-only car insurance coverage level
Liability limits are set by each state. You must carry at least the state-mandated minimum level of liability insurance in order to be a legal driver in that state. However, keep in mind that this does expose you to more risks:
- A history of having just the minimum level of coverage can reflect negatively on you as a driver in the eyes of an insurance company. They could charge you higher rates because insurers view drivers who consistently carry the minimum amount of insurance as riskier clients.
- In the event of an at-fault accident in which your liability limits aren't sufficient to cover the other driver's injuries and/or property damage, you would be underinsured. You could then be sued to cover the remaining amount.
- If your own vehicle is damaged in an at-fault accident by an uninsured driver or by a comprehensive claim incident (like theft, weather and animal-related damage), you would have no coverage.
Minimum liability coverage — without comprehensive and collision to cover damage to your own vehicle — is the cheapest tier of auto insurance you can buy.
Minimum liability coverage — without comprehensive and collision to cover damage to your own vehicle — is the cheapest tier of auto insurance you can buy. However, it also leaves you the most exposed to risk.
Is liability coverage enough?
The less coverage you have, the less your premium will cost. However, it's generally recommended to keep your liability coverage as high as possible to ensure your assets are protected.
If your vehicle has any considerable value or you're thinking of selling it in the future, make sure you add comprehensive and collision coverage. In general, you should carry as much insurance as you can comfortably afford.
Compare rates and find an affordable policy today
Average car insurance rates by driver age
Age is a major component of auto insurance premiums. Based on traffic safety data, age is a reliable proxy for risk behind the wheel. To help offset the effect of age on auto insurance and find the cheapest possible rates, we recommend comparing car insurance quotes yearly.
See below the relationship between age and car insurance rates.
What age pays least for coverage?
Those aged 50 to 59 pay the least for car insurance, with all other variables constant. Teen drivers pay the most — about $381 per month for drivers between 16 and 19 years old. Once you turn 20, you should expect an average monthly drop in your insurance premium by about $224.
Aside from very young and very old drivers, age doesn't have a major impact on the average cost of auto insurance. Between the ages of 40 and 60, the average difference in premium is only $45. It's important to consider other rating factors that could have a larger impact on premiums.
Average car insurance premium by driving record
Getting any type of violation — even a minor one — can have major impacts on your premium. For an at-fault accident, the average rate increase in the last year was $335 per six-month policy — or $670 per year. Most insurance providers will raise rates for three to five years after any violation, ticket or claim.
Average cost of car insurance by credit score
In all but a handful of states (California, Massachusetts and Hawaii are exceptions), your credit score is a major rating factor. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), drivers with low credit not only file more claims than drivers with high credit but their claims tend to be more expensive. On average, drivers with excellent credit pay $783 less for car insurance than drivers with very poor credit — with all other rating factors constant.
|Credit Tier||6-Month Premium||Monthly Premium|
|Very Poor (300-579)||$1,424||$237|
|Very Good (740-799)||$779||$130|
Compare auto insurance rates today.
Car insurance rates by gender
In states like California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Montana, there is no difference in car insurance premiums for men and women. In other states, the difference between car insurance rates for men and women is small — less than a 0.5% difference in car insurance premiums, nationwide.
Gender and car insurance
Although many people assume car insurance costs vary greatly between men and women, it's a minor factor when you look at the bigger picture. However, gender does play a factor in premiums for young drivers. On average, male drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 pay $672 more per year than do female teens.
Car insurance quote pricing by location
Anytime you move, you'll need to update your car insurance. Car insurance is regulated at the state level and priced by ZIP code. Your exact location can have a major impact on your premium. Compare your rates against your state's average to see whether you're paying too much for auto insurance.
|State||Average 6-Month Premium||Monthly Premium|
The difference between the cheapest car insurance state (Ohio) and the most expensive (Michigan) is over $800 per six-month policy period. This means drivers in Michigan pay over $130 per month more for car insurance than do Ohioan drivers! Learn more about auto insurance rates by state.
State minimum vs. full coverage: state-by-state cost analysis
Each state regulates its insurance laws, governing what coverage types drivers must carry and in what amounts. Nearly every state requires certain minimums for liability coverage, while some states may require additional coverage types such as personal injury protection (PIP) or uninsured/underinsured coverage.
Below, you'll find a state-by-state rundown of the average six-month premiums for the minimum liability limit versus a "full coverage" policy. While "full coverage" is generally a combination of other coverage types, in this case, it refers to higher liability limits (50/100/50) and collision and comprehensive deductibles at $500 each — a fairly typical coverage level in the United States.
AVERAGE 6-MONTH INSURANCE PREMIUMS — FULL COVERAGE VS. STATE MINIMUM
|State||State Minimum Liability||Full Coverage|
Average car insurance rates by region
Car insurance costs vary by region, as well. Have a look at the regional breakdown of insurance rates below.
AVERAGE INSURANCE PREMIUMS BY REGION
|Region||Average 6-Month Premium|
Which region is cheapest?
Overall, New England drivers pay less for car insurance, while drivers in the Far West (coastal states) pay the highest amounts. Of course, each state varies greatly in cost depending on its requirements and individual insurance laws.
For example, in the Midwest, Michigan is expensive, but the cheaper car insurance offered in Ohio ($463), Indiana ($594), Illinois ($642) and Wisconsin ($540), help lower the overall average.
Compare auto insurance rates in minutes!
Car insurance quotes by vehicle
It goes without saying: your vehicle contributes to the cost of your car insurance. Every single vehicle will generate a unique premium based on its vehicle identification number (VIN). Insurance companies use the VIN to assess your vehicle’s mileage, accident history and other characteristics that are factored into your premium. It’s difficult to give an average cost of car insurance by vehicle — below are some national averages.
How car insurance premiums are calculated
An “average rate” is hard to calculate, thanks to the myriad rating factors contributing to any driver's auto insurance premium. For instance, homeowners are likely to pay less for car insurance in general. Your driving record is also a major contributor, as those with a DUI are more likely to pay far higher rates for insurance as well.
Car insurance is designed — and priced — to suit each individual driver, accurately estimating the risk they represent to an insurer. While car insurance quote pricing varies by driver, it also varies by company. Between the cheapest company and the most expensive, you might find a substantial price gap. This is because every insurer weighs different factors when underwriting a policy.
It's important to take the national average cost of car insurance with a grain of salt. The best way to find an affordable policy, consult an insurance agent or compare car insurance online.
Compare rates and find a policy today!
Average car insurance rate FAQs
- What is the average cost of car insurance?
Across the U.S., the average annual premium is $1,483, or $124 per month. That's a decrease of 4% compared to 2020's national average of $1,548.
- How much does car insurance cost in my state?
Your location — down to your specific ZIP code — is a critical rating factor when insurance companies calculate your premium. In addition, because auto insurance is regulated on the state level, each state's laws and regulations do make an impact on average rates. For instance, Michigan is consistently the most expensive state for car insurance largely due to mandated coverage requirements enforced by law.
Other expensive states include Louisiana, Florida, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Nevada and California. Some of the cheapest states for car insurance include Ohio, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia and Vermont.
- Which car insurance companies have the most affordable rates?
In our survey of top car insurance companies, Nationwide was the cheapest for the average driver profile. GEICO was a close second. Keep in mind that this individual profile likely won't match yours exactly. The best way to find a budget-friendly rate is to shop around for quotes before the end of every policy period.
- How much is car insurance for a young driver in their 20s?
On average, drivers aged 20 to 29 pay $1,887 per year for auto insurance. That's $944 for a six-month policy or $157 per month. Young drivers in their 20s paid 27% more than the national average.
About The Zebra
The Zebra is not an insurance company. We’re an independent, unbiased partner for consumers, on a mission to help you compare insurance options apples-to-apples, so you can make a truly informed decision. We’re proud because:
- We’re the first to compare all the major insurance companies side-by-side. The information provided on those insurers here is intended to help inform and educate consumers before they decide where to spend their hard-earned cash.
- We have no stake in which insurance company you choose — we simply want to offer you unbiased, fast, side-by-side comparisons of your insurance options.
This article was written by one of The Zebra’s insurance experts. Each article is thoroughly researched to ensure we provide readers the most accurate — and helpful — information possible. That’s insurance in black and white.®
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.