Auto insurance isn’t only great protection for your vehicle, it’s also the law. All states require some degree of insurance for your vehicle to protect you and other motorists. Coverage requirements will vary based on your financial responsibility for your car and your state’s requirements. Some states even require you to have liability insurance before you even get a license.
All insurers base their rates on risk. We're talking car insurance, so the company is primarily trying to determine how likely you are to get into an accident. Obviously, if you have a poor driving record or you're on the road all the time, the odds are less in your favor. But statistics show women get into fewer accidents than men as do married individuals versus single ones. Younger drivers, conversely, get into more accidents than older drivers. All that data on your demo can influence what insurers charge.
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.
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.
Your car insurance premium is priced to fit you like a glove. Insurers evaluate your driving history, demographic data, and other metrics to determine what kind of customer you'll be. But from a consumer's perspective, the primary question is which company offers the cheapest insurance? We surveyed top auto insurance companies and assessed common rating factors to determine which insurer provides the cheapest car insurance quotes — even for young motorists or high-risk drivers.
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Results: The final page offered five quotes ranging from $141 per month to $215 per month, and three links to other websites that I could use to get additional quotes. Unlike the other comparison websites, the quotes weren’t in any order (the others sorted their results from smallest to largest). Each quote included a company rating, policy features and a button that would either take you to the company’s website or allow you to compare it with another company. A list of options on the left side of the page allowed me to check off the features that I wanted to include, and eliminated companies not offering those features.
What changes between each state’s auto insurance requirements is how much of each type of coverage is needed. Both bodily injury and property damage liability coverage is required in almost every state, and some states require personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage as well. Each state also has its own minimum liability limits, presented as bodily injury limit for a single person, bodily injury limit on the entire accident, and property damage limit.
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.
There are two other methods that come immediately to mind. First, you could pay your premiums annually or semi-annually. Some car insurers offer anywhere from a 3% to 10% discount for doing so. The other thing you can consider is increasing your deductible. That's the amount of money you pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in, so you'd pay more in case of an accident, but your monthly premium would be lower.
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.
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.