We analyzed nearly 100 insurers on our quest to find the best cheap car insurance companies. Above, you'll find those that topped the list. These companies offer comprehensive coverage, financial strength, competitive pricing, high marks on customer service, and additional benefits.
SuperMoney's guide to the best cheap car insurance
What should you know when on the hunt for the best cheap car insurance? Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
How can I get the cheapest car insurance?
The cost of car insurance is dependent on a variety of factors. Here are 12 ways to keep your costs down.
1. Drive safely
Policyholders with poor driving records have more expensive car insurance, particularly if they've had a DUI and/or if they're 25 or younger. Keep this in mind the next time you're running late and feel tempted to speed. You want to keep your driving record squeaky clean.
If you have blemishes on your record, you can still benefit from changing your habits now. The more time that has passed since your last driving infraction, the better your chances at getting cheap car insurance.
2. Drive cars that are cheaper to insure
The vehicle you drive will impact your auto insurance rates. If you want the lowest price, you'll need to drive a vehicle that is low risk and of average price. When a vehicle presents more risk, like a small sports car, your rates go up. Additionally, the more expensive a car is to repair or replace, the more you will pay for coverage.
“Rates will not only vary between different types of vehicles with an insurance carrier but even more with different insurers,” adds John Espenschied of Insurance Brokers Group
. “We have clients that have high-end vehicles like Maserati in addition to their regular cars, and some carriers won't even accept those types of vehicle risks.”
It's important to find the right insurer for your specific needs.
3. Install anti-theft devices
If someone breaks into your vehicle or steals it, comprehensive car insurance can cover the loss or damage. However, you can reduce the risk of this type of loss by installing anti-theft devices such as a car alarm, GPS tracking system, and steering wheel lock. Many insurance companies offer discounts for these types of anti-theft devices.
4. Don't double-dip other benefits
Car insurance companies may offer coverage that you don't need because you're already covered elsewhere.
While going to an emergency room to get checked out for a concussion may be a good idea after an accident, you might already be covered by your health insurance policy. If you are, it's a waste of money to pay for it as part of your car insurance as well.
Further, car and home insurance can overlap when it comes to a loss as the result of a vehicle break in or a hail storm. If someone breaks into your car window one day and steals your purse, a home insurance policy would cover the purse. As a result, you wouldn't need that coverage for your belongings from your auto insurer.
Some insurers also offer insurance to pay for a car rental in case your car has to be repaired. Assess the value of this coverage carefully. If a car repair takes two days and you depend on your car to get to work, then car rental insurance may be helpful. But if you have a membership with an organization like AAA, they may offer that as well.
5. Take a driver safety course
Many insurance companies will reduce the cost of your insurance premiums by 10% or more if you complete a driver safety course. You can complete one of these courses online with the cost ranging from $15 up to $100.
6. Check around for other car insurance discounts
The best car insurance companies offer great discounts for a variety of reasons such as being a member of a union, a student with good grades, or a veteran. For example, Liberty Mutual offers discounts for owning a home, being in the military, having no accidents, and more.
Nichols adds, “Many companies also offer to plug a device into your car’s computer and provide a discount based on your driving habits.”
Discounts may vary from 5% to 15%, so be sure to check with potential providers to see what they offer.
7. Explore state-sponsored programs
A few states have insurance programs for low-income families which can help to cut your costs.
If you live in California, for example, the California Low-Cost Automobile Insurance Program (CLCA) offers liability car insurance capped at less than $400 per year. That's considerably cheaper than the national average.
To qualify for the CLCA, you can't exceed the income eligibility (which varies by county), you must have a good driving record, and you must own a car worth $20,000 or less that is paid in full.
New Jersey is another one that with a program called The Special Automobile Insurance Policy (SAIP). It provides medical assistance coverage in case of an accident as well as expenses related to serious brain or spinal cord injuries (up to $250,000).
To qualify, you need to be enrolled in a Federal Medicaid with Hospitalization program and have a valid driver's license. The premium is about $365 per year.
Check with your state to see if help with affordable car insurance is available in your area.
8. Cut down on your yearly mileage
When auto insurance companies calculate your insurance premium, they consider how many miles you drive per year. Those who drive 60,000 miles are going to pay a lot more for car insurance premiums than those who drive 2,000 miles. Why? More miles equals more risk.
The more you can cut down on the miles you drive from home, the cheaper your insurance. Can you take a bus or train to work? Can you join a carpool?
9. Make sure your credit score is as high as possible
Some states allow insurers to take your credit history and score into account when calculating your auto insurance rates.
Being so, it's a good idea to monitor your credit score and ensure it's accurate and up to date.
You can visit the AnnualCreditReport.com
website to get a free credit report and can monitor your score on an ongoing basis with companies like Credit Sesame.
10. Take the highest possible deductible
When you file a claim, the deductible is the amount you pay before your coverage goes into effect.
Most policies come with the option for a deductible of $500, $1,000, or $2,000. As the deductible goes up, the car insurance premium cost goes down, and vice versa.
An easy way to lower your premium is to choose the highest deductible amount. However, it's important to consider your driving history when making this decision. If you have a history of filing claims, it will cost you more in the long run to raise your deductible.
On the other hand, if you rarely file claims, you can enjoy the savings by making this move.
11. Know the minimum car insurance requirements for your situation
Finding the lowest auto insurance quotes starts with figuring out what kind of coverage you need (learn more below). Requirements may vary by state and your personal situation.
Most states require driver to meet minimum car insurance requirements. Some only require a liability insurance policy (property damage and bodily injury liability), while others require additional medical coverage (personal injury protection PIP) or uninsured and/or underinsured motorist coverage.
In addition to laws regarding the type of insurance you need, there are also requirements regarding the dollar amount of coverage you must have.
Further, while comprehensive and collision coverage are optional according to the state, they may be required if you are financing your vehicle.
So find out the minimum amount of coverage necessary for your vehicle and you can start there to find the lowest possible auto insurance quotes. However, you'll want to consider your driving history to determine if the cost for additional coverage is worth it for you.
12. Shop around
Lastly, the best advice when looking to find the cheapest car insurance policy is to shop around.
Experts advise getting car insurance rates from at least three companies before choosing the one. Our list above gives you a head start on finding reputable companies to add to your shortlist. From there, you can narrow down your top three picks and contact them for policy quotes.
Learn how to find auto insurance that will cover any driver.
What to consider before buying the cheapest car insurance policy
When shopping around for a car insurance company, don’t just pick the one with the lowest rates. Affordability can come at a cost. Being so, consider the quality of coverage, customer service, and financial stability. While you want to keep the price down, you also want to ensure you get the coverage and service you need.
Although you are looking for a car insurance company that offers cheap coverage, it's also important to ensure the products will cover the needs of all drivers. Skimping on coverage you need can cost you more in the long-term.
Great customer service
SuperMoney enables you to read car insurance company reviews to get an idea of the quality of their customer service. This can help you gain insight into the company's claims process to ensure you'll get the support you need if an accident ever occurs.
Cheap car insurance rates are worthless if the car insurance company doesn’t have the financial clout to pay claims. Check their A.M. Best rating, which you can also find on SuperMoney’s insurance comparison page. This rating provides an easy way to check the financial stability of insurance companies.
What are the different types of auto insurance?
Each state has different laws about how much insurance is required and the types of insurance you need for your vehicle.
Here's a look at the most common types of car insurance coverage:
- Liability coverage: Liability covers the costs you incur if you damage another person or their property. It is composed of bodily injury liability and property damage liability.
- Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage covers your car against damages or losses that can occur aside from collisions. This can include theft, hail, vandalism, or fire.
- Collision insurance: Collision offers you coverage that will help to replace or repair your car up to its cash value in the event of a collision.
- Uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage (UI/UIM): UI/UIM helps to cover the costs of repairing your vehicle and paying medical bills if you are hit by a driver without sufficient auto insurance coverage.
- Medical payments coverage: If you are in an accident and you or your passengers are injured, this coverage will help to pay for the medical expenses such as hospital visits and X-rays.
- Personal injury protection (PIP): PIP helps to cover your medical expenses after an accident. It can also help to cover other expenses you incur as a result of your injuries, such as lost income or child care expenses.
- Optional insurance types: Other common insurance coverage types include classic car insurance, ride sharing coverage, new car replacement coverage, gap coverage, and rental reimbursement coverage.
Read more about the various types of car insurance
and how they affect your car insurance rates so that you can better understand the products that will work best for you.
What type of car insurance do I need?
If you want affordable car insurance, a key factor is going to be figuring out which types of coverage you need on your policy.
Of course, drivers have to meet the required minimums for you situation. But beyond that, it will vary from person to person.
For example, if you are insuring a new teenage driver, you will probably want to err on the side of caution with full coverage. If you are in your late 30's with a spotless driving record and minimal driving, you may be able to go with the bare minimum.
Further, if you have a cheap car and will pay more than it's worth in premiums, it will be better to go with the minimum.
You'll have to weigh your risk level against the costs of coverage and the costs of repair or replacement to find the solution that will save you the most money in the long-term.
Does my zip code impact my car insurance rates?
Your zip code may be a factor in the affordability of your car insurance. However, it can vary by state. Some states have banned companies from using a zip code when calculating insurance pricing.
Where a zip code can be used, insurance companies consider the following factors about an area:
- Claim history
- Crime rates
- Percentage of uninsured motorists
- Accident rates
- Environmental factors
When an area has a higher risk level, drivers are more likely to file claims, hence the more expensive costs. So if you are moving to a new zip code, don't forget to update your insurance company.
How can I find cheap auto insurance for my business?
Similar to shopping for a personal auto insurance policy, the best thing drivers can do when looking for auto coverage for a business is to shop around.
Identify your needs and then get quotes from the top providers to find the best car insurance price and value for your situation. Many of the top personal auto insurance companies also provide commercial insurance such as Geico, USAA, Liberty Mutual, and State Farm.
How can U.S. military members save money on car insurance?
Military members will find that many insurers offer discounts for their service although the discount may vary greatly. Additionally, companies like USAA cater to customers who are service members and offer competitive policy offerings.
Still, it's important to shop around and get quotes. However, be sure to check into the insurers that cater to service members, like USAA, and ask all providers about their discounts as it can greatly impact your pricing. Geico, for example, offers a military discount up to 15%.
What do I need to get a car insurance quote?
To get car insurance quotes, drivers should have some information and documents on hand.
“When we’re starting a quote for our customers, we need to know the drivers on the policy, their dates of birth, addresses, and the amount of coverage that they want,” says Robert Nichols of Nichols of Robert Nichols Insurance Group
. “Then, once they have the vehicle information, we can run the quote for them.”
Are all cheap car insurance policies the same?
No, all cheap car insurance policies are not the same! Each car insurance company is unique in its coverage types, discounts, risk assessment, pricing, service quality, and more. Being so, to find the best company
for you, it's important to shop around. Be sure to get at least three quotes before making a decision on the one.
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