Cheap Car Insurance for the Unemployed

Looking for a job can be a full-time job — without the benefits, of course. Let us handle your insurance.

What's cheap car insurance when you're unemployed?


Being unemployed can be terrifying as an adult. You still have to pay your rent/mortgage, eat, and usually you still often drive which means you need car insurance. Paying for insurance is legally required, even when you're unemployed, and yet there aren’t a lot of resources to help if you aren’t getting a regular paycheck. Well, that’s where we come in. Let’s explore cheap car insurance options if you’re unemployed.


Here’s our main topics:
  1. Can you be charged more if you’re uninsured?
  2. Why does employment status matter with insurance?
  3. What are your resources?
  4. Which companies should you consider?




Do unemployed people pay more for auto insurance?


In short, no. Insurance companies do use as many things as possible in order to accurately calculate the risk (i.e., premium you’d pay) you present to them. These things are usually your driving habits, location, what your drive, and your age — but not necessarily your occupation. They can use what you do as an indicator your potential as a customer, but we’ll explain that soon.

Certain professions are associated with a lowered risk than others and thus some companies offer discounts for those professions. With that said, insurance companies do not use your occupational status as a rating factor nor do you have an obligation to tell your insurance company mid-term if you quit or lose your job. Insurance companies cannot charge you more based on what you do.

If you want to see what insurance companies do use to calculate premiums, see our guide here.





Being unemployed and insured


As we stated, the fact that you don’t have a job won’t impact your insurance premium. However, what you do for a living can impact your premium. Certain professions are associated with a lowered risk than others and thus some companies offer discounts for those professions. These occupations, listed below, are commonly rewarded with an affinity/membership discount.

Again, it is not that your insurance company will charge you more if you do not fall into one of these jobs. It’s that an insurance company will simply charge them less.

Regardless if you feel this is fair or not, we have a plan on how you can save while you’re unemployed.





How to save on car insurance while unemployed?


Although you’re not directly punished for being unemployed by your insurance company, you certainly still feel the sting of spending money while you’re not earning any. So, let’s get to saving.


Consider telematics

Telematics, or usage-based insurance, is a growing trend in the insurance industry. Basically, it uses an in-car device to track your driving habits. And your habits will determine a premium that is more representative of the kind of risk you actually are to your insurance company. Your age, credit history, and location are all big rating factors in most states for your premium that aren’t directly tied to how you drive. SO, if you’ve been unemployed for awhile, your credit might take a hit. Here are some companies and corresponding potential discounts for telematics.


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

Consider, however, that not every state participates in these programs. Check with your company to see if you are eligible.



Pay smart

The way in which you pay for insurance can help reduce your premium. For example, paying all of your premium up front rather than month-by-month can help reduce your installment and processing fees. This is called a paid in full discount and while we understand it’s not exactly practical to pay hundreds of dollars up front when you’re not earning any income, we thought we’d throw it out there.


Savings Based on Method of Payment

Savings with Paid in FullSavings with EFT
$61$27

The second part of our “paying smart” suggestions might be a little easier if you’re unable to pay all of your premium up front. Paying by electronic funds transfer (direct deposit via your bank account) can help eliminate pesky transaction fees associated with debit and credit cards. Although less than a paid in full discount, it can still be helpful.



Bundle Your Policies

If you own or rent an apartment, consider placing the insurance policies you have over your residence with the same company as your auto (or vise versa). This will not only save you some hassle of having to deal with multiple insurance companies (who likes that) but also give you a much adored multi-policy discount. While the discount below reflects the savings on your auto policy, you would receive a discount on both policies.


Savings on Bundles

Savings with RentersSavings with Home
$73$142

Although our data reflection traditional multi-policy parings (home/auto), this discount can apply to any combination of two insurance policies.



Drive Safely

At any time, regardless of employment status, you should always strive to drive safely. But now that you’re looking for work this fact is even more important. As you can see below, receiving a DUI can raise your premium an average of $529 per a 6-month policy. Consider, however, that you will be charged for DUIs for a total of 3 years (on average, 10 years in California). So, that $529 will actually stretch into over $3,174 over your 3 year sentence.


Average Increase in Annual Premium in 2016

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


Be smart with your coverage

Unlike a house, a car depreciates in value over time. So, if you bought a brand new vehicle a decade ago, chances are you don't need the same insurance protections you once had. The only coverages you are required by law to have (unless you have a lien) are your state liability limits. Other coverages, like comprehensive and collsion are designed to protect your car. Consider if the value of your vehicle (which can be easily determined through Kelley Bluebook or NADA guide) is worth what you pay for these additional coverages. Here are our quick tips for determining coverage:


  • Determine the value of your vehicle by using Kelley Blue Book and NADA guide
  • Contrast the premium with full coverage between only have liability coverage. If that difference in premium is enough to replace the value (determined in step 1), you probably don't need full coverage.
  • If the premium difference is not enough, consider raising your deductibles - by raising your deductibles you can lower your premium. If, however, you do raise your deductible, you increase your financial reponsible for any at-fault accidents. As your deductible is what you pay before insurance company steps in.


Shop Around

Shopping for car insurance is probably the absolute best way to find a cheaper rate. You can look for all the discounts, consider all the telematics out there and still be paying an arm and a leg for auto insurance. Sometimes it’s just your company. Only with The Zebra can you shop hundreds of companies at once in order to find the best rate for you. Saving you time to search for what you really need - a job.



Compare over 200 insurance companies at once!






Which company is cheapest for you?


Insurance is regulated at the state level, priced at the zip-code level, and reflective of many attributes of you. Which means, it's very hard to say which company will be the cheapest for you. Your best bet is to follow our advice regarding shopping around often in order to see as many companies as possible.

If you'd like more specific information regarding companies and premiums, see some of our case studies below.


Recent Questions:

Cheap Car Insurance for the Unemployed

Is it discrimination not to allow someone to get car insurance w/out an address?

Jan 31, 2019
Peoria, AZ

That is straight up discrimination by not allowing a homeless person get car insurance because of no address. What can ...

Do you have a carrier that will write an auto policy for a driver with an international permit?

Dec 15, 2018
Anaheim, CA

I moved here from South Africa – I have a South Africa license with an International permit. I have an ...

Can I limit to children to only drive the cheapest vehicle?

Dec 14, 2018
Redwood City, CA

I have 3 cars and 2 children 18and 16, can I limit the car insurance to just one car and ...

Does it count against you if you don’t have insurance now?

Dec 06, 2018
Kenner, LA

I don’t have the car yet. I’m getting it Wed. Do you also offer any type of bundle discounts like ...

Additional Resources:

Cheap Car Insurance for the Unemployed

What is the State of Auto Insurance in 2018?
What is the State of Auto Insurance in 2018?
Feb 06, 2018

Well, we’ve done it again. We’ve gone and gotten super curious about how car insurance is impacting the 250 million...

What Happens if You Crash a Zipcar?
What Happens if You Crash a Zipcar?
Jan 09, 2018

Car sharing services like Zipcar and Car2Go allow city dwellers to forego car ownership without losing all of the perks....

What I Learned After Totaling My Car 450 Miles from Home
What I Learned After Totaling My Car 450 Miles from Home
Jan 03, 2018

This past May, I took a road trip from Rhode Island to West Virginia to attend a friend’s wedding. Despite...

Do Keyless Ignitions Actually Put Your Car – and Your Life – at Higher Risk?
Do Keyless Ignitions Actually Put Your Car – and Your Life – at Higher Risk?
Dec 14, 2017

No broken windows. No lengthy process of wedging the door open. No hotwiring, no alarm, no concerned passerby dialing 911....

How to File a Car Insurance Claim: Steps, Timing, and Costs to Expect
How to File a Car Insurance Claim: Steps, Timing, and Costs to Expect
Dec 01, 2017

You get in an accident or your car is pummeled with hail. You need to figure out how to get...

Survey: Americans in the Dark about Car Insurance
Survey: Americans in the Dark about Car Insurance
Oct 24, 2017

“What you don’t know can’t hurt you…” … is an entirely false statement in the world of auto insurance. Car...

Introducing the Insurability Score: Your Insurance Risk Decoder
Introducing the Insurability Score: Your Insurance Risk Decoder
Oct 24, 2017

Today, The Zebra debuted the Insurability Score™, a personalized calculation which reveals to drivers what is affecting their insurance risk,...

6 Things to Know Before You Get Car Insurance
6 Things to Know Before You Get Car Insurance
Oct 04, 2017

Let’s get one thing out there. No one is especially psyched to get car insurance. You get it because it’s...

Editorial: A Need for Optionality in Insurance
Editorial: A Need for Optionality in Insurance
Sep 19, 2017

Today The Zebra announced that we closed a record-breaking $40 million Series B funding round, led by Accel Partners. As...

Car Warranty vs. Insurance: Which You Need and When
Car Warranty vs. Insurance: Which You Need and When
Sep 07, 2017

Anyone who has ever owned a “lemon” (a car that’s a dud) knows how stressful and costly car repairs can...

Religious Exemptions for Car Insurance: Are They Legal?
Religious Exemptions for Car Insurance: Are They Legal?
Aug 09, 2017

In nearly every conceivable scenario, if you’re driving around in a motor vehicle, there is no reason why you should...

Does Your Car Insurance Policy Cover Flooding?
Does Your Car Insurance Policy Cover Flooding?
Aug 07, 2017

If you don’t live in a flood plain, making sure your car insurance covers flood damage might be low on...

Can Your Bank Force You to Get Car Insurance?
Can Your Bank Force You to Get Car Insurance?
Aug 03, 2017

Wells Fargo is now finding themselves in hot water over the recent reports that they charged over 570,000 customers for...

How to Update Your Driver’s License When You Move to a New State
How to Update Your Driver’s License When You Move to a New State
Jul 28, 2017

Moving to a new state can be an exciting adventure. As with most moves, it requires a bit of paperwork...

When Can You Let Your Friend Drive Your Car (and When Shouldn’t You)?
When Can You Let Your Friend Drive Your Car (and When Shouldn’t You)?
Jul 26, 2017

It’s not uncommon for your friend to share your clothes, your skillet, or your favorite movie. And for those types...

Does Your Credit Score Affect Your Car Insurance Rate?
Does Your Credit Score Affect Your Car Insurance Rate?
Jul 19, 2017

You know you need good credit to take out a loan, a mortgage, or your friend with expensive taste. But...

What Are Your Options When Your Car Lease Ends?
What Are Your Options When Your Car Lease Ends?
Jul 17, 2017

Of course there are many reasons you might want to lease your car. Perhaps you like the idea of driving...

How Do Car Insurance Companies Determine Rates?
How Do Car Insurance Companies Determine Rates?
Jun 15, 2017

If you’re one of the 250 million drivers in the United States, you’re required by law to have car insurance....

CLUE Report: Why Does it Matter for Your Home and Auto Insurance?
CLUE Report: Why Does it Matter for Your Home and Auto Insurance?
Jun 06, 2017

When searching for an insurance policy, it’s important for consumers to do their due diligence and compare quotes before choosing...

Car Insurance for Seniors
Car Insurance for Seniors
May 26, 2017

Some senior stats for you: By 2030, one in five Americans will be over 65. The first of the baby...

Digital Insurance Cards: Which States Accept Them?
Digital Insurance Cards: Which States Accept Them?
May 19, 2017

You probably already take care of your banking errands on your phone (thanks, mobile check deposits!). You may have shown...

6 Reasons to Leave Your Car Insurance Company
6 Reasons to Leave Your Car Insurance Company
May 05, 2017

You might be familiar with a few scenarios that could make your auto insurance rates change: You bought a new...

5 Tips to Consider Before Financing Your Car
5 Tips to Consider Before Financing Your Car
Apr 21, 2017

Buying a new (or new-to-you) car can be an overwhelming process. First, you need to research all your options to...

7 Car Rental Mistakes That Could Cost You
7 Car Rental Mistakes That Could Cost You
Apr 11, 2017

Rental cars offer tremendous convenience. Whether you need a vehicle to help you explore a vacation destination or get you...

Car Insurance for First-Time Drivers: 6 Things You Should Know
Car Insurance for First-Time Drivers: 6 Things You Should Know
Apr 03, 2017

A driver’s license is more than just permission to take to the open road. To many, including first-time drivers, it...