Find cheap car insurance quickly and easily — compare quotes online!
After finding your dream car, choosing the correct car insurance policy is a less exciting task. It’s often boring, inconvenient, and expensive, but in order to protect your investment and follow the rules of the road, it's a necessity. The good news is, getting cheap car insurance quotes doesn't need to be difficult — let's review some tips on how to find quotes and end up with an affordable insurance premium.
If you don’t want to spend your entire day dealing with car insurance companies, be sure you have the following information on hand to get an accurate quote.
Many companies advertise "free" auto insurance quotes. Any car insurance quote you receive is and should be completely free. Insurance companies want to incentivize you to purchase a car insurance policy from them, so they’re not going to charge you for an up front assessment (the quote). When shopping around for insurance, remember you can find free car insurance quotes from a variety of sources.
You might wonder how auto insurance quotes are calculated. It's important to understand the primary goal of an insurance company is to effectively predict risk and assign premiums based on the risk a particular driver may pose. Car insurance companies assess your entire driving profile to estimate this risk, including factors such as location, demographics, insurance history, driving record, and vehicle.
Because most forms of insurance are regulated at the state level, state legislation influences car insurance premiums. For instance, in Michigan, a no-fault state, state law requires an unlimited amount of Personal Injury Protection coverage, a requirement that increases the cost of car insurance. Although each state legislates insurance differently, auto insurance prices may vary on a zip code-by-zip code basis. Below is an analysis of the cheapest and most expensive states for car insurance (from The Zebra's State of Insurance study).
CHEAPEST AND MOST EXPENSIVE STATES FOR CAR INSURANCE
|Most Expensive States||Least Expensive States|
|Michigan - $2,610||North Carolina - $901|
|Louisiana - $2,225||Virginia - $901|
|Kentucky - $2,050||Maine - $927|
|Rhode Island - $2,004||Iowa - $1,015|
|Florida - $1,878||Idaho - $1,018|
|Texas - $1,810||Vermont - $1,027|
|Nevada - $1,802||Ohio - $1,037|
|Mississippi - $1,800||Wisconsin - $1,040|
|California - $1,731||Hawaii - $1,079|
|Delaware - $1,700||New Hampshire - $1,083|
Whether you can get a cheap car insurance quote may come down to your zip code. If you live in a densely populated area, with a high number of auto insurance claims, your premium will be more expensive than that of a person living in a less dense and less claim-laden part of town. Even if you haven’t filed any claims, you could pay more based solely on your neighborhood.
Unless you’re a teen driver, your gender isn’t a significant auto insurance rating factor. In fact, the national difference between car insurance premiums paid by women and men is less than 1%. For teenagers, this premium difference is much more dramatic: male teen drivers pay nearly $600 more per year than do female teens. Again, this comes back to the main goal of an insurance company – anticipating and limiting exposure to risk. Car insurance companies' historical data says young male drivers are more likely to take risks while driving than are female drivers in the same age group.
AVERAGE CAR INSURANCE COSTS BY GENDER
Your age helps to determine your car insurance premium. Statistically, a young driver is less experienced and more likely to receive a citation or cause an accident. In the eyes of an insurance company, that means more risk and a greater need for financial protection, i.e., a higher premium.
Your likelihood of getting cheap auto insurance quotes increases once you turn 19, and again at 25, as you become less likely to drive recklessly. This remains consistent until you get into your 60s, when rates start to tick up again.
|Age Group||Avg. Annual Premium|
|16 to 19||$5,151|
|20 to 29||$1,918|
|30 to 39||$1,407|
|40 to 49||$1,355|
|50 to 59||$1,258|
|60 to 69||$1,287|
|70 to 79||$1,514|
|80 to 85||$1,804|
While the difference is small, married drivers are more likely to get affordable car insurance quotes than are single, divorced, or widowed drivers. Car insurance companies see married drivers as more likely to share driving responsibilities and less likely to file claims.
AVERAGE AUTO INSURANCE PREMIUMS BY MARITAL STATUS
AVERAGE ANNUAL CAR INSURANCE EXPENDITURE BY HOMEOWNER STATUS
|Renter w/ Multi-Policy||Condo Owner w/ Multi-Policy||Homeowner w/ Multi-Policy|
MEAN ANNUAL CAR INSURANCE RATES BY EDUCATION LEVEL
Unlike your education level or gender, your credit has a big impact on your insurance rate. Drivers with poor credit (524 or below) pay more than twice what those with excellent credit (823 or more) pay for auto insurance. Again, this has to do with how insurance companies view drivers with poor credit in terms of risk. A driver with poor credit is more likely to file a claim than a driver with excellent credit. Moreover, when a claim is filed by a driver with poor credit, the claim payout by the insurance company tends to be higher. Insurance companies cover this risk by charging those with poor credit scores higher rates.
It’s important to consider how your previous auto insurance record reflects on your car insurance quotes. Gaps in insurance — or periods spent with bare minimum coverage — can increase your quote, as insurance companies see you as financially unstable and more risky to insure. A lengthy insurance history with high limits and fewer claims can lead to cheap car insurance quotes.
AVERAGE ANNUAL CAR INSURANCE RATES BY INSURANCE HISTORY
|Insurance History||Avg Annual Premium|
|1 Year with 50-100 BI Limit||$1,463|
|3 Years with 50-100 BI Limit||$1,427|
|1 Year with 100-300 BI Limit||$1,424|
|5 Years with 50-100 BI Limit||$1,398|
|3 Years with 100-300 BI Limit||$1,390|
|5 Years with 100-300 BI Limit||$1,367|
An insurance company's assessment of how you drive entails more than you might think. When assigning a quote, an auto insurance company will look at the primary way you use your vehicle, how many miles you drive annually, and your driving record.
How you use your vehicle can impact the affordability of car insurance quotes. Using your vehicle for pleasure — the most common usage — results in an average annual premium of $1,427. However, if you're a traveling salesman or someone using your vehicle for business, you could pay $152 more per year.
AVERAGE ANNUAL CAR INSURANCE PREMIUM BY VEHICLE USE
|Work/Commute, 10-15 Miles||$1,436|
It’s important to consider the difference between a business-use personal policy, outlined above, and a commercial car insurance policy. If you’re using your vehicle to transport goods or lending your vehicle to employees, you may need a commercial insurance policy.
If you’re a rideshare driver working for Uber or Lyft, consult your insurance company about getting a Rideshare Endorsement. This endorsement protects you from getting denied coverage if you’re in an accident while working.
Annual mileage can be represented in car insurance pricing. If you live in California, the only state where mileage makes a significant impact, it’s less of a gray area. In California, those who drive more than 15,000 miles per year pay $370 more annually than less-frequent drivers who cover less than 7,500 miles each year.
If you live anywhere else in the US, mileage may have less of an impact, but it isn’t ignored altogether.
|Annual Mileage||Annual Premium|
Among the factors that go into car insurance quotes, driving history is probably the most significant. How you have driven is a good indicator of how you will drive. If your driving résumé includes speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, or other violations, expect your premium to reflect that. In other words, you're going to pay a lot.
Speeding tickets, DUIs, and other violations will make it tough to get cheap car insurance quotes. A DUI may raise your rate by as much as 80% — with some states penalizing drivers by more.
AVERAGE ANNUAL INSURANCE RATES BY DRIVING BACKGROUND
|Accident/Violation||Average Annual Premium Increase|
|Driving too slowly||$287|
|Speeding 11-15 MPH Over Limit||$298|
|At-Fault Accident - Greater than $2,000||$687|
|Hit and Run||$1,218|
Most at-fault accidents and violations will raise your insurance rates for three years. In California, a DUI can influence your insurance costs for 10 years! Don’t drink and drive: it will cost you.
The car your drive makes a big difference in your insurance rate. Vehicles built for performance, with high MSRP (manufacturer's suggested retail price), and foreign-built models are often costlier to insure. Vehicles that don't cost as much to repair or aren't built for faster driving — such as vans and sedans — are correspondingly cheaper to insure.
AVERAGE ANNUAL CAR INSURANCE RATES BY VEHICLE TYPE
|Vehicle Type||Average Annual Premium|
|SUVs and Crossovers||$1,579|
Now that we’ve outlined why insurance can cost so much, let’s look at some ways to save.
At-fault accidents can lead to inflated insurance rates. If you’re not familiar with the way insurance companies price policies, you might be inclined to use your collision coverage if you’ve damaged your vehicle. But unless you’ve done significant damage, it may be worth paying for damages yourself and declining to involve your insurance company.
Should you file a claim? Take the below steps and assess:
When you get an insurance quote, an agent might add extraneous coverage. Unlike your home, your vehicle will rapidly depreciate in value, meaning the coverage you once had might not be necessary after a few years. For example, collision and comprehensive coverage are designed to protect your vehicle from damage. But if your vehicle is worth less than $4,000, the value of insurance payout you would receive may not justify the cost of your insurance premium.
When shopping for affordable car insurance quotes, come in with a good idea of your vehicle's value via Kelley Blue Book and NADA. If you determine your vehicle is worth more than $4,000 but you need to save money, consider raising your deductible. Because your car insurance deductible and premium are inversely related, you can lower your bill by raising your deductible. Looking at the chart below, you can see how your premium is affected by adjusting your deductible.
AVERAGE ANNUAL INSURANCE COSTS BY COVERAGE LEVEL
|Coverage Level||Average Annual Premium|
Some car insurance discounts are automatically added to your auto insurance policy when they pull your driving report. But, you will want to make sure they’re not forgetting anything. Here are some potential discounts and cost-cutting programs you can participate in. Certain restrictions apply, of course.
Your auto insurance quotes can vary based on your circumstances. You should shop around for new car insurance quotes as often as possible! For the most part, car insurance policies are non-binding. If you find a better rate elsewhere, cancel your current policy and move on to the next. The remaining outstanding premium should be refunded back to you. Opportunities to look for cheaper rates include when you move, when you add or change a car to your policy, get married, or celebrate a birthday.
Auto insurance companies attempt to predict and price the risk you and your vehicle pose in order to reduce their exposure. Keeping in mind the factors we just covered, the more risky you appear to your insurance company, the more you will be charged. Factors like age, marital status, and homeowner status, are less easy to change. Avoiding unnecessary claims, being smart with your coverage needs, and shopping around for car insurance quotes every so often are great ways to save on car insurance.
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