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.
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.
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To determine how much auto insurance is best for you comes down to understanding your current economic circumstances and how the different types of coverage work together. If you own a car, buying car insurance is inevitable, so it is really important you are getting the right amount for the right price. The following table gives a quick summary of what types of insurance you should have.
While JD Power-recommended companies above aren’t among the cheapest of the insurance companies we’ve examined, they might suit your needs. It’s important to think beyond price to find a comfortable middle ground between claims satisfaction and affordability. Use The Zebra’s side-by-side insurance comparisons to avoid some of the legwork involved in insurance shopping.
Step 3: Review what you found. If you are able, print out the different quotes you obtained. Make sure all the information is accurate and comparable. See if there are any differences with added no-cost features. These may be the ultimate thing that you base your decision on. Also, check on the policy exclusions (items that are not covered under the policy).
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.
Unlike quote comparison sites, lead generation sites simply sell your information to their advertising partners—typically insurance companies. These sites are not built to provide you with personalized quotes and are not much help when trying to compare car insurance rates. Avoid these sites unless you’re eager to receive tons of cold calls from insurance phone banks and desperate agents.
That’s also hard to say. Beyond how much coverage you’re looking to buy, the cost of car insurance is affected by driving record, place of residence, type of car, how much you drive and your personal details (age, gender, marital status, etc.) But just so you have a frame of reference for what types of prices to expect, the average annual cost for car insurance was about $900 back in 2014.
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:
Since most people choose one of these large insurers, NerdWallet compared quotes from the five largest auto companies in ZIP codes across the country. Rates are for policies that include minimum coverage required in each state, plus collision and comprehensive coverage. Our “good driver” profile is a 30-year-old with no moving violations and credit in the “good” tier. Use the tabs to see rates for drivers with credit in the “poor” tier and those with one at-fault accident as reported to the insurer.