Across the board, the longer and with the higher limits you have insurance, the cheaper your premium will be. Using historical data, insurance companies see those with above state minimum requirements as less likely to file a claim or get into an accident. Because of the decreased risk you present, insurance companies tend to lower your rates. In essence, the longer you've been insured for, the lower your rates will be, with all other metrics kept constant.
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.
Winston-Salem, the county seat of Forsyth County, tied with Mebane for the 2nd best car insurance rates in the state. Our profiled drivers pay about $755 for a year's worth of full coverage. We found the best rates to be at Auto Owners, North Carolina Farm Bureau, Penn National, Allied, and Erie for Winston Salem. With an average annual rate of $650 between the five companies, this means local drivers covered under these five auto insurers typically save 13% when compared to the usual Winston-Salem Driver. Perhaps most well-known for successful business ventures, Winston-Salem is the birthplace of many companies, such as Krispy Kreme, Camel Cigarettes, and Hanesbrands. It is the fourth largest city in North Carolina and is called the “Twin City” and “City of the Arts and Innovation” for its dual focus on fine arts and technological research.
Oh, there are a whole bunch. The big ones include good driver discounts (for going long enough without a moving violation); affiliation discounts (for belonging to a group, like AAA or AARP, that partners with the insurer); low-mileage discounts (for, you know, low mileage) and car safety feature discounts (for installing stuff like emergency break assistance or collision avoidance systems). You can find a full list of common car insurance riders and discounts here.
Insurance companies place a lot of weight on your credit score as they see it as a highly accurate way to determine risk. Studies by the Federal Trade Commission have shown that drivers with low credit scores not only file more claims than drivers with higher credit scores, but the actual dollar amount is greater than higher scoring drivers. Thus, they’re cheaper clients. On average, moving from one credit tier to the next among our selected insurers saves you an average of $344 a year.
Below is a table with the three companies with the lowest auto insurance rates for ten of the biggest cities in the state. This will help motorists see a local view of who has the cheapest rates in their hometown. However, these rates are for our single male sample driver, so it is important to remember that your rates will differ based on your vehicle, driving record, and other factors. Auto-Owners, Allied, and North Carolina Farm Bureau dominated as the top three cheapest car insurance companies across the 112 cities we surveyed.
Whether you select the state minimums or increase your coverage, make sure the limits you set for bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage are the same for every quote you compare. Bodily injury liability coverage helps cover expenses of another person's physical injury if you are found liable in an accident. Property damage liability coverage helps pay for damages you may cause to another person's property.
In arriving at the relative cost of car insurance between cities in North Carolina, we obtained auto insurance quotes for our sample driver across in 112 locations in the state. The driver we used as our benchmark was a single 30 year old male to have a standard comparison across the 100+ places. Our benchmark driver owns a 2011 Toyota Camry vehicle - no renting or financing. He averages 12,000 miles a year on the road for daily commute to and from work, and in the most recent five years, have not had any accidents or traffic violations. Quotes were obtained for a policy with basic liability protection for the Camry from companies such as State Farm, GEICO, and the North Carolina Farm Bureau.
If you opt for the minimum required coverage in Virginia, prepare to pay an average of $385 annually. This is more affordable than the U.S. average by 41%. If you opt for better coverage, you can select a policy with comprehensive and collision coverage, protecting against costs incurred by car collisions, theft and vandalism, or weather incidents. It's worth noting that better coverage has a price: in Virginia, a comprehensive policy with a $1,000 deductible costs $792, 105% more than liability-only coverage. For a comprehensive policy with a $500 deductible, expect to pay 135% more than you would for a basic liability-only policy.
If you have bad credit, you should consider Farmers and Nationwide in your search. While you as a driver may not exactly fit the rest of our profile, it's a good place to start. This is especially true considering the average of "bad credit" is more than $1300 more expensive than the "excellent" group. If you have excellent credit, Nationwide is $140 cheaper than the average for that credit group.
We have compiled all the car insurance requirements on a state-by-state basis so you can see at a glance what the minimum coverage is―and what other regulations you may need to comply with in your home state. This information can be especially useful when you are new to a state, or if you are a newly licensed driver. Choose your state below for car insurance requirements in your neck of the woods.
Step 1: Gather your information. To obtain a quote you will need birth dates, an email address, and a previous address in most cases. Also, know what type of car you are driving. This is more than make and model. Know what trim package you have, etc. These little things do matter. If you are currently insured, having your policy handy is not a bad idea.
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.
Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. Bankrate is compensated in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. This compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear. Bankrate.com does not include all companies or all available products.
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.
Know when to cut coverage. Don’t strip away coverage just for the sake of a lower price. You’ll need full coverage car insurance to satisfy the terms of an auto loan, and you’ll want it as long as your car would be a financial burden to replace. But for older cars, you can drop comprehensive and collision coverage, which only pay out up to your car’s current value, minus the deductible.