Finding the best cheap car insurance
Finding the best choice for car insurance with a low price tag is a challenge every driver faces. With so many companies to choose from, the task can seem overwhelming. Through this handy guide, finding the right car insurance company at the best price is simplified. The Zebra has compiled lists of car insurance companies by price for a variety of rating factors like driving history, demographic data, and other factors. It's important to note that premiums are priced to fit each individual driver, and nsurance companies evaluate each application to determine the level of risk they present. Because of this, rates vary among policyholders.
The cheapest car insurance companies
The Zebra analyzed rates from top insurance companies to determine which insurance company provides the best cheap car insurance in 2021. View average insurance rates from some of America's most popular insurance companies below, or continue reading to see rates from more large insurance companies.
At just $94 per month, USAA's average rates are the industry's cheapest. The company's policies are only available to active-duty U.S. military, veterans and their family members.
GEICO's average monthly rate is $102, and the company's customer service is well-regarded.
Nationwide is the third-cheapest auto insurance company, at $106 per month on average.
Best cheap car insurance companies
While smaller insurers are also worth looking into, let's start by checking out average rates from America's most popular insurers. Below you'll find premiums for the average driver from USAA, GEICO, Nationwide, Progressive and State Farm. Read on to learn more about typical car insurance rates for drivers by age group, credit tier, and violation history.
Cheapest car insurance companies after an accident
It's the "golden rule" of car insurance: as a driving profile changes, so does a driver's premium. Not every company assesses accidents in the same way, so it's worth comparing insurance quotes occasionally to find the best prices.
An at-fault accident raises insurance rates by an average of 45%. The cheapest car insurance company in this situation is USAA, which still offers eligible drivers affordable rates after an accident ($127 per month).
Auto insurance data methodology
The auto insurance rates published in this guide are based on the results of The Zebra's State of Insurance car insurance pricing analysis. This analysis of more than 83 million insurance rates spans every U.S. ZIP code, using a sample user profile: a 30-year-old single male driver with a Honda Accord, good credit and full coverage at these levels:
- $50,000 per person/$100,000 per incident for bodily injury liability
- $50,000 per incident for property damage liability
- $500 deductibles for collision and comprehensive coverage
To generate pricing for particular rating factors, we adjusted the driving profile based on common pricing factors used by major car insurance companies. These factors include credit score, coverage level, driving record and others.
In some instances, average rates from Liberty Mutual were derived from internally sourced sales data.
Cheapest car insurance companies after a ticket
Car insurance rate increases may occur after a driver receives a ticket.
Included in the below insurance price analysis are violations with major insurance implications:
A DUI can raise a driver's car insurance rates by $80 per month. Progressive is the most affordable choice after a DUI or DWI offense, while Allstate raises rates the most after a DUI citation.
|Insurance company||Monthly rate (no DUI)
||Monthly rate (after DUI)|
Progressive and State Farm assess relatively small penalties against drivers with DUIs, upping rates by less than $50 per month. Progressive's $46-per-month increase is well under the national average rate hike following a DUI conviction.
The average monthly rate increase after a ticket for driving with a suspended license is $75. State Farm is the cheapest company after a citation for driving with a suspended license.
|Insurance company||Monthly rate (no suspended license ticket)
||Monthly rate (after suspended license ticket)|
In most states, a hit-and-run incident is the most costly citation for insurance — even pricier than a DUI. Drivers ticketed for a hit-and-run should consider State Farm, a relative bargain after a citation at $153 per month.
|Insurance company||Monthly rate (no hit-and-run)
||Monthly rate (after hit-and-run)|
The definition of reckless driving varies by state, but regardless of location, it comes with a hefty insurance penalty. On average, a reckless driving charge raises insurance rates by around $75 per month.
If you don't qualify for USAA, State Farm is the second-cheapest insurer after a reckless driving citation, at $151 per month.
|Insurance company||Monthly rate (no reckless driving ticket)
||Monthly rate (after reckless driving ticket)|
Compare car insurance rates and find a policy in minutes.
Cheapest auto insurance companies for teen drivers
If a parent's greatest fear is their child getting behind the wheel, covering their car insurance premiums might be a close second. On average, teen drivers pay 83% more for insurance than older drivers do. USAA is the cheapest company for teen drivers, with Nationwide the best option for drivers who don't qualify for USAA coverage.
See below the average monthly premiums from popular car insurance companies with a teen driver added to the car insurance policy of a married couple.
CAR INSURANCE RATES FOR TEEN DRIVERS
|Insurance company||Monthly rate (no teen driver)
||Monthly rate (with teen driver)|
Teen drivers and insurance: more data
Consult our in-depth guides for age-specific data and company-by-company breakdowns:
- Cheap car insurance for young adults
- Car insurance for 16-year-olds
- Car insurance for 17-year-olds
- Car insurance for 18-year-olds
- Car insurance for 19-year-olds
- Car insurance for families
Cheapest insurance companies for drivers with bad credit and good credit
In most U.S. states, insurance companies take into consideration a driver's credit score when setting rates. An improvement of one credit tier leads to savings of an average of about $32 per month.
Drivers with bad credit should consider Nationwide and GEICO. This is especially important considering insurance for drivers with bad credit is $125 more expensive per month than it is for drivers with excellent credit.
The use of credit scores in setting insurance rates is controversial, and some lawmakers are working to curtail it. In fact, several U.S. states already prohibit the practice.
Insurance for drivers with bad credit is $125 more expensive each month than it is for drivers with excellent credit.
|Insurance company||Monthly rate (bad credit)||Monthly rate (excellent credit)|
Compare rates and find an insurance policy.
Cheapest insurance companies for business use
The cheapest company for business-use car insurance is State Farm.
While the majority of drivers use their vehicle for leisure or commuting, using a personal auto policy for business may result in more expensive rates. A business-use policy isn't a commercial auto insurance 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 may cover delivery drivers or salespeople who travel by car.
|Monthly rate, pleasure-use (Leisure)||Monthly rate, business-use|
If you're a driver for Uber or Lyft and would like to see this can impact what you pay for car insurance, consult the below resources:
Cheapest car insurance companies for low-mileage drivers
Mileage is an influential factor in car insurance pricing. For instance, low-mileage drivers in California save 32% on insurance premiums compared to high-mileage drivers.
High-mileage drivers should consider Nationwide, while less-frequent drivers should look into a policy with GEICO.
CAR INSURANCE RATES BY MILEAGE TIER
|Insurance company||Monthly rate, low-mileage (0 - 7,500 MPY)||Monthly rate, high-mileage (15,000+ MPY)|
How to get cheap car insurance: discounts and tips
If you're looking for affordable insurance, the best place to start is online. Your best bet is to compare quotes from multiple companies to see which offers the best coverage at the best rate. It's also a good idea to look into discount opportunities, as most car insurance companies may apply discounts for qualifying drivers. If you aren't sure where to start, read on for tips or speak to a licensed agent to understand your options.
Remember: your car insurance rate is specific to you
Many factors determine car insurance rates, including location, your age, insurance history, driving history and the make and model of your vehicle.
If you've accumulated at-fault accidents or claims, your rate will increase. If your credit score is low or your ZIP code has a large number of uninsured motorists, you might not be able to find cheap auto insurance.
Auto insurance discounts
You can’t improve your credit score overnight, but there are some easy ways to reduce the cost of insurance — like car insurance discounts.
Multi-policy/bundling auto insurance discount
Qualifying for this discount involves carrying two insurance policies with one company. Common bundling combinations include a home-and-auto bundle or a renters-and-auto bundle. A homeowners-auto combo saves an average of $12 per month, compared to $6 for a renters-auto pairing.
Safe driving discount
This discount entails taking a defensive driving course and presenting your insurance company with proof — like a receipt or transcript. 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.
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. In our survey, we found systems such as night vision devices, park-assist devices and rearview cameras did not earn discounts.
AVERAGE INSURANCE SAVINGS WITH SAFETY DEVICES
|Safety/Anti-Theft Device||Average Annual Premium||Discount|
|Blind Spot Warning Device||$1,481||$2|
|Collision Preparation System||$1,482||$1|
|Electronic Stability Control (ESC)||$1,474||$9|
Good driver discount
This discount is available to drivers with clean driving records. Good driver discounts can be added when your Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) or CLUE report is pulled at the inception of your auto policy. If you're convinced your record is clean (no at-fault accidents or violations) and you aren't receiving a discount, speak with your insurance company and inquire about a discount. By keeping a clean slate, you can earn a discount of approximately 10%.
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.
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 upfront, you are often given a discount: the highest preferred payment discount. A paid-in-full discount can save you $73 per year on your auto policy.
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 $21 annually. If you are able to pay up front or through automatic payments, this is a great way to get cheaper car insurance.
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.
For more information on cheap car insurance and profession-based discounts, see our guides:
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 as proof.
Save an average of $440 a year by comparing your options.
Cheap car insurance near you: comparing rates by state
Because each driver, location and situation differs, it's hard to say which insurance company has the cheapest rates.
To find out which company offers the best cheap car insurance for you, compare auto insurance options every six months from multiple insurance companies.
Find cheap car insurance by state:
- Are Car Insurance Rates Negotiable?
- Best Car Insurance for a Learner's Permit
- Can You Get Car Insurance without an Address?
- Car Insurance Rate Increases: How Much Will Auto Insurance Cost This Year?
- Car Insurance Rates by City
- Car Insurance Without a Social Security Number
- Car Insurance with No Down Payment
- How to Switch Car Insurance Companies
- When Do Car Insurance Rates Go Down?
- Why is Car Insurance so Expensive?
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.