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.

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.
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.
We aim to show you car insurance quotes from as many insurance companies as possible, so that you can find the right policy for you. Unfortunately, we can’t promise to show quotes from every insurance provider, because not all companies want to be included on comparison websites. We won’t offer you advice or make a recommendation, but we will provide you with all the information you need to help you decide which is the right policy for you. You can find out more about how we work here.
Step 6: Make your choice. Now that you have weighed your choices, make your purchase. Be sure that you make all the choices that you made when you ran your quote. Make sure that there is nothing you have to do at the onset of your policy that will matter later on in your policy life, such as signing up for a safe driving tool that would give you a discount at a later date. Remember, your unique situation will determine which company is best for you.

A company that specializes in the most basic coverage options may have the cheapest auto insurance rates. However, they may also lack some customer service benefits of more established companies. These benefits may include 24 hour customer assistance and claims tracking. Consumers should always be aware of these trade-offs as they make their decision.


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.

Whether you use the vehicle to commute, attend school, or “pleasure;” insurance companies will want to know the frequency and distance that the insured uses the vehicle. You can use tools such as Google Maps to figure out the distance you generally drive to work or school. In most cases, a general ball park will suffice for most insurance companies.
In aggregate, our three most expensive cities in North Carolina ranked with a cost of car insurance that was 17% greater than the state mean. The average annual premium for these three cities was $946, which, while expensive relatively speaking in the state, actually fell on the cheaper side compared to other states the team has analyzed. These locations ranged vastly in size from populations of less than 5,000 to over 203,000.
After a DUI, Nationwide's premiums increased by more than $1,300 to become the third-most-expensive company, while Liberty Mutual became the cheapest. While Liberty Mutual isn't the cheapest auto insurer without a DUI, the $785 increase is the smallest financial penalty for drinking and driving. This is why it’s important to not become complacent with your insurance company. Just because Nationwide was the cheapest insurance company before a DUI doesn't mean things will stay as-is with a serious violation on your record.
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.

Auto insurance companies attempt to predict and price the risk you and your vehicle pose in order to reduce their exposure. Keeping in mind the factors we just covered, the more risky you appear to your insurance company, the more you will be charged. Factors like age, marital status, and homeowner status, are less easy to change. Avoiding unnecessary claims, being smart with your coverage needs, and shopping around for car insurance quotes every so often are great ways to save on car insurance.
Many companies advertise free auto insurance quotes. Any car insurance quote you receive is and should be completely free. Insurance companies want to incentivize you to purchase a car insurance policy from them, so they’re not going to charge you for an upfront assessment (the quote). When shopping around for insurance, remember you can find free car insurance quotes from a variety of sources.

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.


112 locations in the Tar Heel state - from Ahoskie to Zebulon - were covered, and included places in all three regions: the Blue Ridge Mountain region through Piedmont and the Coastal Plain. Annual costs for these places spanned from $725 in Asheville, the lowest rates in our North Carolina study, to $977 in Fayetteville. Depending on where our North Carolinians sample drivers lived, auto insurance rates can vary by 26% from the most expensive to the cheapest in the set.
A large part of an insurance premium depends on the type of car you drive. Is it a Corvette? Lamborghini? Maybe a Ferrari? Or perhaps you drive a Chevy Volt? Each car will impact the base cost of your monthly insurance mainly for the replacement value of the vehicle. In fact, some states and auto insurance companies will not cover certain vehicles. Also, high theft risk cars cost more to cover as well. Hummers, for example, are more costly than other SUVs and one of the determining aspects is the Hummer is stolen more often than other models. Either way, your premium may be higher due to one of those situations. Since you probably won't be going out and buying a new car just to lower your auto insurance, it's good to know what else can affect the costs of a new policy.
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.
North Carolina requires minimum limits of $30,000 per person and up to $60,000 per accident for Bodily Injury Liability, and Uninsured Motorist Coverage. It also requires that drivers are insured for up to $25,000 for property damage. At higher levels of bodily injury coverage, North Carolina requires that insurers include combined Uninsured / Underinsured Motorist Coverage in the same policy.
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.

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.


Unlike your education level or gender, your credit has a big impact on your insurance rate. Drivers with poor credit (524 or below) pay more than twice what those with excellent credit (823 or more) pay for auto insurance. Again, this has to do with how insurance companies view drivers with poor credit in terms of risk. A driver with poor credit is more likely to file a claim than a driver with excellent credit. Moreover, when a claim is filed by a driver with poor credit, the claim payout by the insurance company tends to be higher. Insurance companies cover this risk by charging those with poor credit scores higher rates.

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.
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