There isn’t a definitive answer to the question, “which company is the cheapest?” Some companies are cheaper than others, plain and simple, but individual details of your driving profile can affect which companies offer you the cheapest rates. For example, while Liberty Mutual wasn’t the cheapest for a driver with a clean record, it was the cheapest for a driver following a DUI. The best way to find cheap car insurance is to compare as many companies as possible using your driving profile.
If you want cheaper insurance, you have to show insurers you’re a low risk driver. Studies have shown certain drivers pose more of an accident and claim risk, so they charge accordingly. You’ll see the cheapest rates for drivers with a newer car, low annual mileage, good credit score and no accidents or tickets. You can also keep costs down by keeping your car in a garage and paying premiums on time.
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.
In most states, a DUI is the most costly violation you can receive. Moreover, in states like California, it will stay on your insurance record for 10 years! Based on our analysis of the most popular car insurance companies, this would set you back an average of $12,491 in insurance rate increases during that 10-year period. To limit your costs, do your due diligence and shop around: State Farm and Liberty Mutual are the cheapest insurance options after a DUI — so consider starting there.
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.
If you find yourself away from the wheel more times than not, a pay-per mile auto insurance company like Metromile may be the best company to go with. Metromile is one of the first companies in the U.S. where a bulk of a driver's premium is determined by how much they drive. How much is too much? We found that generally for Metromile to be a good deal, drivers should only drive 7,500 miles or less per year. The biggest downsides to Metromile is a mediocre record of claims handling, in addition to the company only being available in seven states: CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA, WA.
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