Naturally, insurance companies use your driving past as an indicator of how you will drive in the future. It can be difficult to find affordable car insurance if you have a checkered driving history. While it’s very unlikely you will find an insurance company that won’t increase your premium after an at-fault accident or other violation, the degree of the rate increase will vary by company. Let’s compare rate increases for some common violations across major insurance companies.
We found Progressive was the most affordable car insurance rates after a recent accident compared to the many auto insurance companies we surveyed. From the $1,241 average we state above, rates increased by 29% after an at-fault accident. While that may still seem high, it was the smallest rate increase we saw of any company including Erie, State Farm, GEICO and American Family.
Progressive Home Advantage® policies are placed through Progressive Specialty Insurance Agency, Inc. with affiliated and third-party insurers who are solely responsible for claims, and pay PSIA commission for policies sold. Prices, coverages, privacy policies, and PSIA's commission vary among these insurers. How you buy (phone, online, mobile, or independent agent/broker) determines which insurers are available to you. Click here for a list of the insurers or contact us for more information about PSIA's commission. Discounts not available in all states and situations.

No matter which company you quote or what state you live, all auto insurers will want to know your driving history. In most cases, it will be hard to forget a ticket you received or accident that you were involved in. Many insurers will accept estimated dates if you are close. However, if you want more exact numbers, then then you can always call your local Department/Bureau of Motor Vehicles.
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.
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.

Cheap auto insurance doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. You just need to know where to look and what to look for in an auto policy. Savvy auto insurance customers can benefit from the regular price adjustments and the introduction of new discounts by an auto insurance carrier, if they shop. So, are you getting the best value at the best price?
Like a DUI, a reckless driving citation can raise your car insurance rates. If you’ve received a reckless driving citation, your best bets for cheap car insurance are Nationwide and Liberty Mutual, despite the latter being one of the more expensive insurance options if you don’t have a violation. This shows the importance of comparing car insurance rates carefully — your driving profile will be handled differently by every company.
Analysis used a consistent base profile for the insured driver: a 30-year-old single male driving a 2013 Honda Accord EX with a good driving history and coverage limits of $50,000 bodily injury liability per person/$100,000 bodily injury liability per accident/$50,000 property damage liability per accident with a $500 deductible for comprehensive and collision. For coverage level data, optional coverage (that must be rejected in writing) is included where applicable, including uninsured motorist coverage and personal injury protection.

Quotes that are given through agents or brokers often include their own commission that is being paid by the insurance carrier as a percentage from the premium itself. While some captive agents receive salaries, most agents and brokers rely on their commissions for their income and this is how they make money. Their commission can range anywhere from 0-1% for some annuities policies, 8-20% for car and home insurance to 40-100+% for some life insurance policies, on the first year of the policy. They also earn their money every time you renew your policy, mostly from 1-2% for life insurance renewals (zero after three years) to 2-5% (some even receive up to 15%) for car and home insurance renewals. However, going for the cheapest premium is not something that we always recommend, sometimes it is better to pay more for a premium that covers you well and answer all of your specific and personal needs.
Unless you’re a teen driver, your gender isn’t a significant auto insurance rating factor. In fact, the national difference between car insurance premiums paid by women and men is less than 1%. For teenagers, this premium difference is much more dramatic: male teen drivers pay nearly $600 more per year than do female teens. Again, this comes back to the main goal of an insurance company – anticipating and limiting exposure to risk. Car insurance companies' historical data says young male drivers are more likely to take risks while driving than are female drivers in the same age group.
Liability coverage is legally required in Virginia and pays for injury and lost wages that you cause to another driver or their passengers as well as damage to the other driver’s vehicle in the event that you are considered “at fault” in an accident. The coverage limits are determined by each individual state and normally split into three categories. In Virginia, the minimum is listed as 25/50/20 and explained below:
If you intend to alter your vehicle in any way that makes it different from the standard model, which includes adding non-standard accessories, you will have to contact the insurance company. You will have to provide your insurer with a list of the alterations and accessories along with their monetary value. You also have the option to remove alterations and accessories from your policy by contacting the insurance company.
Results: Insurify produced nine quotes, starting at $78/month, each with the option to contact the insurance company immediately or schedule a phone call for a later time. Some of the quotes included helpful information about the policy or the insurance company offering it. The site allowed me to change the coverage from the left hand sidebar, and it was easy to click on the different coverages and see the prices change in real time.
If you live in an area with unusual state regulations or heightened risk of weather-related claims, shopping car insurance options will be vital. Not every car insurance company offers policies in every state, which can make pricing less competitive. If you live in storm-prone states like Louisiana or Florida, you might find it harder to get a competitive rate.
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.

Source: Insure.com, from a study commissioned by Insure.com from Quadrant Information Services. Averages are based on a 40-year-old male driver who commutes 12 miles to work, with policy limits of 100/300/50 ($100,000 for injury liability for one person, $300,000 for all injuries and $50,000 for property damage in an accident) and a $500 deductible on collision and comprehensive insurance. The policy includes uninsured-motorist coverage. Rates were averaged across multiple ZIP codes and insurance companies. Average rates are for comparative purposes; your rate will depend on your personal factors.

Remember, price is just one piece of the car insurance policy puzzle. You also want to make sure you feel good about the insurer you’re doing business with. Do they have a good track record when it comes to paying out claims? Are they known for their customer service? Are they financially solvent? Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to get answers to these questions. In fact, sometimes, some important signifiers will be included with your auto insurance quote. The big stats to check when vetting an insurance company include:


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.

It's hard to say. You might see rates change as you age, but they don't always go down, so much as they level out or increase at a lower rate. (Remember, the rules of inflation are in effect.) And that assumes you don't incur any red marks on your driving record. As for a change in marital status, you generally have to contact your insurer to get a rate decrease — and if your spouse has a less-than-stellar driving record, well, again, you mind wind up paying more.

The Zebra is another free auto insurance comparison website. The site’s name refers to its founders’ goal of presenting “insurance in black and white.” The Zebra has a few articles about choosing car insurance, a car insurance calculator, and some basic information about other types of insurance in addition to its quoting tool. It is rated 4.7 out of 5, and has 565 user reviews on ShopperApproved.
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.
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.
Between September and December 2017, The Zebra conducted comprehensive pricing analysis using its proprietary car insurance quote engine, comprising data from insurance rating platforms and public rate filings. The Zebra examined nearly 53 million rates to explore trends for specific auto insurance rating factors across all United States zip codes, averaged by state, including Washington, DC.
To decide which companies were the best rated, we decided to take a look at which ones received the least complaints relative to their business size. Using data from the North Carolina Department of Insurance, we calculated a complaint index that compares the number of complaints to the number premiums in dollars. Below is a table ranking the insurance companies in North Carolina by the lowest index numbers (best) to highest (worst) complaint index. If the index is less than one, the insurer is better than the average, and if it is greater than one, it is worse than the average. For example, if the company’s complaint ratio is 1.15, the company has a 15% higher share of complaints compared to its market share.

On average, an at-fault property damage accident with a claims payout exceeding $2,000 will raise your premium by an average of $726 per year. Over three years, that adds up to $2,178! If you’re thinking of filing a claim, consider the overall cost of the claim versus what the claim would cost to pay out of pocket. Compare this $2,178 penalty — plus your deductible — to the out-of-pocket expense. While this is nice information to know before filing a claim, it won’t help if you’ve already filed a claim. If you have an at-fault accident on your insurance history, consider Nationwide or Farmers.


Liability coverage is legally required in Virginia and pays for injury and lost wages that you cause to another driver or their passengers as well as damage to the other driver’s vehicle in the event that you are considered “at fault” in an accident. The coverage limits are determined by each individual state and normally split into three categories. In Virginia, the minimum is listed as 25/50/20 and explained below:
For instance, a moving violation affects your driving record for three years in most states. Once you know it has been three years since your ticket, there’s no need to wait for your current auto policy to expire. You can immediately quote a new policy that will no longer charge you for that violation. The same goes for an at-fault accident, which will typically affect your rate for three to five years (but can vary by state and carrier). In addition, Progressive offers discounts for being ticket- and accident-free.
"After being with my insurance company for just shy of 10 years, and after having shopped at companies that everyone around my hometown swore were the cheapest (including unadvertised "bargain" companies and giant comparison shopping brands), I decided to shop here at Cheap Car Insurance and ended up saving just under $1,100 off my annual insurance bill, which is a lot more than I ever could have imagined anyone saving, especially me, an avid online shopper and extreme bargain hunter [...]
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.

Snapshot is a free program that personalizes your rate based on your ACTUAL driving. The safer you drive, the more you save. The average driver saves $130 with Snapshot.** You don’t even need to be a Progressive customer to try it. Just call us and request the plug-in device. After one month of safe driving, you’ll find out how much you can save with Progressive! See more on Snapshot.
The hardest part is finding out which auto insurance company will give you the most value for your money while providing the reliable coverage you need as a driver. You’ll never know if you’re getting cheap car insurance unless you compare it with other major insurance companies. To avoid overpaying for your current coverage, start comparing quotes today at Compare.com.
How it works: The quoting process was similar to that of other comparison websites, although it offered me the option of connecting my Google or Facebook account to speed up the process. After I entered the requested information, the Zebra announced that it had matched me up with nine possible discounts, although it warned that not every insurance company offered all of these discounts.
For instance, a moving violation affects your driving record for three years in most states. Once you know it has been three years since your ticket, there’s no need to wait for your current auto policy to expire. You can immediately quote a new policy that will no longer charge you for that violation. The same goes for an at-fault accident, which will typically affect your rate for three to five years (but can vary by state and carrier). In addition, Progressive offers discounts for being ticket- and accident-free.
The Zebra is another free auto insurance comparison website. The site’s name refers to its founders’ goal of presenting “insurance in black and white.” The Zebra has a few articles about choosing car insurance, a car insurance calculator, and some basic information about other types of insurance in addition to its quoting tool. It is rated 4.7 out of 5, and has 565 user reviews on ShopperApproved.

Quotes that are given through agents or brokers often include their own commission that is being paid by the insurance carrier as a percentage from the premium itself. While some captive agents receive salaries, most agents and brokers rely on their commissions for their income and this is how they make money. Their commission can range anywhere from 0-1% for some annuities policies, 8-20% for car and home insurance to 40-100+% for some life insurance policies, on the first year of the policy. They also earn their money every time you renew your policy, mostly from 1-2% for life insurance renewals (zero after three years) to 2-5% (some even receive up to 15%) for car and home insurance renewals. However, going for the cheapest premium is not something that we always recommend, sometimes it is better to pay more for a premium that covers you well and answer all of your specific and personal needs.
Everquote also provided checkboxes to opt out of receiving calls and emails from agents. However, under the “Show My Quotes” button, the usual legal boilerplate informed me that by clicking the above button I was providing express written consent to be contacted by Everquote and a whole laundry list of insurance companies and partners, whether or not my phone number was on the Do Not Call list.
Nationwide is the cheapest company for adding a teen driver to your policy, with Farmers second-cheapest. Bear in mind, the data above was generated by averaging the projected premium for a teen male driver and a teen female driver. A male teenager, on average, costs $239 more per year than does a female driver. This is because of the additional risk presented by a young male driver compared to a female driver. Nationwide is the cheapest insurer for a family with either a female or male teen driver.

While liability coverage is required in most states, other coverage requirements vary from state to state. Some coverages may even be optional. You may want to familiarize yourself with your state's specific car insurance requirements. To accurately compare car insurances rates, make sure you've selected the same set of required and optional coverages for each quote you get.
When shopping for affordable car insurance quotes, come in with a good idea of your vehicle's value via Kelley Blue Book and NADA. If you determine your vehicle is worth more than $4,000 but you need to save money, consider raising your deductible. Because your car insurance deductible and premium are inversely related, you can lower your bill by raising your deductible. Looking at the chart below, you can see how your premium is affected by adjusting your deductible.
Beyond that, the additional coverage you requested should be listed on the quote (known in insurance-speak as the “deck” or “declarations page”), along with any deductible associated with that portion of the policy. You might also see a list of any car insurance discounts you can or already have qualified for and all the personal information you inputted, along with the make and model of your car (which is worth a scan, just to make sure everything is accurate).
First, you can play with your deductible. We all like to have the least amount of out of pocket expense if we are involved in an accident. However, the lower the deductible, the higher your premium will be. Select a higher deductible amount. If you have chosen a $500 deductible, rerun your quote with a $1,000 or higher deductible. This will assuredly lower your overall premium. 

Between 7/1/15 and 9/30/15, the average estimated savings off MSRP presented by TrueCar Certified Dealers to users of TrueCar powered websites, based on users who configured virtual vehicles and who TrueCar identified as purchasing a new vehicle of the same make and model listed on the certificate from a Certified Dealer as of 10/31/2015, was $3,279. Your actual savings may vary based on multiple factors including the vehicle you select, region, dealer, and applicable vehicle specific manufacturer incentives which are subject to change.  The Farmers Car Shopping Service website is owned and operated by TrueCar, which is not affiliated with any of the companies comprising the Farmers Insurance Group of Companies.
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