The three most expensive local insurers were Allstate, Nationwide, and MetLife, based on our analysis. With an average annual rate of $989, the three national insurance companies cost about 23% more than the 11-company composite average from the study. Compared to the cheapest three, Allstate, Nationwide, and MetLife were roughly $346 more expensive each year for our two drivers' basic liability insurance policies.


You might wonder how auto insurance quotes are calculated. It's important to understand the primary goal of an insurance company is to effectively predict risk and assign premiums based on the risk a particular driver may pose. Car insurance companies assess your entire driving profile to estimate this risk, including factors such as location, demographics, insurance history, driving record, and vehicle.
There are plenty of good reasons to have up-to-date car insurance for your vehicles, whether you have a new driver in your family or you have recently purchased a new car to take on the road. What is most important about looking at car insurance quotes in many cases is knowing that you won’t have to deal with hidden fees, understanding what your coverage actually includes, and knowing whether you’ll have an honest and reliable resource should you ever need to file a claim.
Most insurers — and we're not just talking about auto insurance companies here — use some type of credit-based insurance score to help determine how risky a potential customer is. The practice is a bit controversial, which is why some states have laws against using it (see above). But the general thinking behind insurer credit checks is: If someone is bad with their finances, they might be irresponsible in other areas of life, too. You can learn more about how car insurance rates are determined here.
We wrote the book on low price car insurance, but the story isn’t just about discounts. We’ll go a step further by giving you the power to tailor the quote to your budget and protection needs. We’ll also make sure you’ve maximized your savings opportunities with helpful hints below. That’s why you’re at the best place to buy cheap auto insurance online.
You can sometimes get auto insurance quotes on lead generation sites, but expect them to be far less reliable than quotes from comparison sites. Using lead generation sites most likely means that you’ll end up wandering from one auto insurance website to another in pursuit of the best rate, which rather defeats the purpose of using a quote-generating site at all.

Auto insurance comparison websites, which let you instantly compare quotes from multiple insurance providers, can be a huge help in your quest for affordable car insurance. They provide accurate, personalized rates, discounts, and coverage options all on one site—much like your favorite travel comparison site that gives you airline ticket or hotel room options all on a single page.

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.
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Some insurance companies will provide their customers with a hire car for a limited period of time if their vehicle has been stolen. There is also the possibility of pre-purchasing a ‘discount hire car benefit’ or ‘comprehensive hire car benefit’, which will ensure you have access to a hire car while your vehicle is being repaired from damage caused in an accident.

Erie is the cheapest insurance company, and arguably the most reliable insurance company as well. They score points by allowing customers to start their quote online, which we personally found to be a streamlined and fast process. Erie also scored the highest marks from the number of policies they offer. Erie offers pet coverage, free accident forgiveness, free vanishing deductibles, roadside assistance, and many more, essentially giving its customers a degree of flexibility not even found amongst the largest insurers. Customers of Erie may also be eligible for its Rate Lock program. This is a unique program where customers won't see their rates increase except for three reasons: you move to a different area, add or remove someone from your policy, or add or subtract a car. Lastly, despite its smaller size, Erie offers the same types of discounts larger national insurers provide such as bundling, anti-lock brakes, anti-theft, young driver and senior driver among others.

How much you drive, or your annual mileage, is a huge rating factor in places like California but can still positively and negatively affect your premium in other states. If you live in California, you can expect a 25% gap in average annual premiums between those who drive 0-7,500 miles a year and those who drive more than 15,000 miles a year. On average, however, the less you drive, the more it saves you — but not by much.
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.
If you have a clean driving record — no at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, or other recent citations — you'll probably pay less for car insurance. Conversely, a bad driving record will cause your rates to skyrocket: car insurance premiums typically increase by 29% after a DUI, 33% after an at-fault accident, and 15% after a speeding ticket in Virginia. The post-citation penalties assessed by car insurance companies after speeding tickets and at-fault accidents in Virginia align with nationwide averages, but drivers receive lower-than-average rate hikes after DUI violations. If you have a clean driving record, be sure to check for good-driving discounts from your insurer.
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Virginia has a 10-year lookback period for most offenses, though subsequent offenses committed within five years may lead to harsher penalties. Penalties are also enhanced for high or extremely high BAC levels or for committing a DUI offense while transporting a passenger who is 17 years old or younger. All DUI offenders must report to an Alcohol Safety Action Program for screening and review. There may be a required attendance in classes or treatment before license reinstatement.
Some insurers offer discounts to drivers for a variety of reasons such as having a clean record, paying an annual premium all at once or being a safe driver for a certain period of time. If the insurance company you’re with offers more than just auto insurance, consider bundling all your insurance through them, like home and car insurance. Most companies offer a group discount, even if it’s just for more than one car.
In today's economy, we know money can be tight. At Nationwide, you can choose whether you want to pay monthly, quarterly or semi-annually. You also can choose to pay by check, debit or credit card, through the mail, online or over the phone. We also offer paperless billing, which allows you to save money on postage by scheduling recurring automatic payments and may qualify you for our one-time Easy Pay sign-up discount.

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.
The biggest downside to Erie is that it is only available in Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. As well, Erie still relies strongly on its agent network; which isn't always a bad thing. A strong agent network is usually key to ensuring a smooth claims process. If you want to quickly buy car insurance without speaking to anyone though, Erie may not be the company for you. While you can start the process online, you ultimately will have to speak with an agent to finalize your quote. Erie will be ideal for any customers within its market, who do not mind putting in some extra effort to get quality and cheap auto insurance.
A car insurance quote from The General® requires no personal information (your name, phone number, street address, etc.) to provide an accurate car insurance quote. Once you receive your anonymous auto insurance quote, there is absolutely no commitment on your part. You can save your auto insurance quote online at any point during the process and return to it at your leisure.
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