We collected quotes from a variety of insurance companies across 2,700 towns and cities in the U.S, for 128 insurance companies. Our sample driver was a 30 year old male who drove a 2011 Toyota Camry. To obtain quotes, we kept parameters for getting coverage the same, such as that he was single, and had a clean driving record. The only parameter that changed was the zip code where he lived in the U.S. The amount of coverage we opted for gave our driver bit more than what is required of state minimums.


At The Zebra, we know better than most just what a pain buying car insurance can be. We also know that students suffer from higher-than-average policy rates. Talk about a double-whammy. That’s why, this year, we’ve decided to continue The Zebra’s annual scholarship with the goal of helping to alleviate the financial pressures of college-bound students in Virginia, while also getting an insider view of the Old Dominion State.


Insurify’s quote comparison tool was a great help in shopping for car insurance. I particularly liked how easy it was to compare rates based on a custom coverage level; with a few clicks, I could alter the parameters (say, by changing the liability coverage maximum or adding roadside assistance) and get a whole new basket of quotes instantly. Every year, Insurify also publishes a Best Car Insurance Companies list.
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As with any credit check, a record of this search will remain on your file – and your credit rating will affect the amount of APR that you’re charged. If you have a poor credit rating, you may be charged up to 20% APR. And if you’ve struggled to pay credit in the past, or if you have a CCJ to your name, then you may be denied the option to pay monthly. If you think you’ll have issues with your credit rating, you can read our guide on improving your credit score.
A higher deductible means lower premiums, your monthly or annual price. But if you get in an accident, you will have to pay more than if your deductibles were lower. For example, if you have a $500 deductible on a $2,000 accident, you’d pay $500 before your insurance company covers the other $1,500. With a $1,000 deductible, you’re paying $1,000 and your insurer covers the remaining $1,000.
How it works: Once I launched the quoting tool for auto insurance, I was greeted by a large-print brag that “Drivers Pay As Low As $29.32/Month for Car Insurance.” When I began filling in my vehicle information, the site offered to save me time by looking up the information for me—a frightening reminder of how much of our personal information is available online. The contact information fields were accompanied by text stating that “we respect your privacy” and “NO SPAM, privacy guaranteed.”
Companies do not have a standard rule as to what is considered high risk. If you have had an accident or moving violation the variance in premium will differ from company to company. You may have to get several quotes before finding the company that will work with a poor driving record. If you are diligent, then you should be able to find a rate you can live with.
OpenSecrets.org: OpenSecrets is the website of the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research group located in Washington DC. It's the top resource in the US for unbiased information and allows users to track federal campaign contributions and lobbying by lobbying firms, individual lobbyists, industry, federal agency and bills. Other resources include the personal financial disclosures of all members of the US congress, the president and top members of the administration. OpenSecrets users can also search through ZIP codes to learn how their neighbours are allocating their political contributions.
Liability coverage is legally required in Virginia and pays for injury and lost wages that you cause to another driver or their passengers as well as damage to the other driver’s vehicle in the event that you are considered “at fault” in an accident. The coverage limits are determined by each individual state and normally split into three categories. In Virginia, the minimum is listed as 25/50/20 and explained below:
QuoteWizard is another insurance lead generation site that sells leads to insurance agents and carriers. In addition to auto insurance, they also offer quotes for home, renters, health, and life insurance. The site also has a blog with articles about various insurance-related topics. QuoteWizard is rated 3.68 out of 5, and has 36 user reviews on BBB.org.
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.
It's hard to say. You might see rates change as you age, but they don't always go down, so much as they level out or increase at a lower rate. (Remember, the rules of inflation are in effect.) And that assumes you don't incur any red marks on your driving record. As for a change in marital status, you generally have to contact your insurer to get a rate decrease — and if your spouse has a less-than-stellar driving record, well, again, you mind wind up paying more.
Young drivers (those between the ages of 16 and 25) pay extraordinarily high auto insurance rates, with those aged 16-19 paying the most expensive premiums of all. Because of the risk presented by inexperienced drivers, teens pay more than three times the national average for car insurance. In Virginia, the average teen driver pays $3,747 — approximately $1,200 less than the national teen driver average, but more than three times as much as an older driver in Virginia.
Every auto insurance company advertises its low rates. But as with any product, the cheapest car insurance policy isn't always the best option. Considering the financial stakes, it's worth doing the due diligence to find a policy that protects your car completely in the event of a collision. Hunt for a great value, instead of settling for the cheapest car insurance in your state.
You may have heard that men pay more than women for car insurance. This is true, because statistically men are more likely to engage in risky driving practices like speeding and driving under the influence, which results in more accidents. Massachusetts, Hawaii, and North Carolina do not allow gender to play a role in auto insurance rates, so drivers in those states don’t have to worry.
Besides being legally required in almost every state, auto insurance is an incredibly important part of your financial safety net. The average car insurance claim in 2013 was over $15,000 for bodily injury and over $3,200 for property damage. Car insurance is there to cover medical bills, vehicle repair or replacement, and keeps you off the hook for injury and damage liability for others. Your premiums will go up if you cause an accident, but that’s better than the alternative.
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).
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:
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