Cheap auto insurance doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. You just need to know where to look and what to look for in an auto policy. Savvy auto insurance customers can benefit from the regular price adjustments and the introduction of new discounts by an auto insurance carrier, if they shop. So, are you getting the best value at the best price?
Auto insurance isn’t only great protection for your vehicle, it’s also the law. All states require some degree of insurance for your vehicle to protect you and other motorists. Coverage requirements will vary based on your financial responsibility for your car and your state’s requirements. Some states even require you to have liability insurance before you even get a license.
NerdWallet averaged rates for 30-year-old men and women for 10 ZIP codes in each state and Washington, D.C., from the largest insurers in each state. “Good drivers” had no moving violations on record and credit in the “good” tier as reported to each insurer. For the other two driver profiles, we changed the credit tier to “poor” or added one at-fault accident, keeping everything else the same. Sample drivers had the following coverage limits:
While liability coverage is required in most states, other coverage requirements vary from state to state. Some coverages may even be optional. You may want to familiarize yourself with your state's specific car insurance requirements. To accurately compare car insurances rates, make sure you've selected the same set of required and optional coverages for each quote you get.
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While you might want to finish shopping for car insurance as quickly as possible, it’s important to do your due diligence and find the right company. At the end of the day, car insurance is designed to protect and benefit you. If you were to be injured or have your car totaled in an accident, your insurer’s customer service and claims satisfaction would be vital.
Cheap auto insurance doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. You just need to know where to look and what to look for in an auto policy. Savvy auto insurance customers can benefit from the regular price adjustments and the introduction of new discounts by an auto insurance carrier, if they shop. So, are you getting the best value at the best price?
No matter which company you quote or what state you live, all auto insurers will want to know your driving history. In most cases, it will be hard to forget a ticket you received or accident that you were involved in. Many insurers will accept estimated dates if you are close. However, if you want more exact numbers, then then you can always call your local Department/Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
Ehhhh ... I mean, you won't face a legal penalty. (They vary by state, but usually involve hefty fines. Plus, your license could get suspended.) In terms of adequate coverage, it depends on where you live. Some states have low minimums. In fact, many only require liability insurance, which covers property damage or bodily injury you cause other people. You would need other types of car insurance if you wanted coverage for damage to your car.
Car insurance is required in every state (and Washington DC) with three exceptions: New Hampshire, Missouri (uninsured drivers must submit “proof of financial responsibility” to the Department of Revenue), and Virginia (where drivers must pay a $500 fee to drive uninsured). These states still require at-fault drivers to pay for any bodily injury and property damage.
Newer, cheaper cars tend to be cheaper to insure. Luxury cars have a higher sticker price and tend to cost more for as long as you use it. It’s worth buying a cheaper car, especially if you’re a young driver. If you haven’t purchased a car yet or are getting ready to shop for a different car, compare insurance prices for car models you’re interested in. The insurance price differences might surprise you.

One note on price: Not all insurers will quote based on what you’ll pay each month. Some might list the annual or even semi-annual cost of a policy. (Why? Who knows? Insurance will never get accused of being easy.) Point is, here, too, you’ll want to be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. (Prices vary widely enough where it’s easy to get confused on the actual price.) That way, you know what insurer is truly offering the best price.
Like a DUI, a reckless driving citation can raise your car insurance rates. If you’ve received a reckless driving citation, your best bets for cheap car insurance are Nationwide and Liberty Mutual, despite the latter being one of the more expensive insurance options if you don’t have a violation. This shows the importance of comparing car insurance rates carefully — your driving profile will be handled differently by every company.
If you own a car, car insurance is a required expense in 48 of the 50 states. A lack of diligence when shopping for your car insurance could lead to a hefty monthly bill, as well as headaches if you actually need to file a claim. We researched and explored quotes from over 128 companies in 2,700 cities to determine which insurers had the lowest costs, nationally and in each state. Our team also evaluated which companies had the best track record for customer service and the claims process.
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