Everyone wants to save money, right? One way you can do that is by getting cheap auto insurance. However, finding the perfect balance between quality of coverage and a cost that’s in your budget can be overwhelming, especially if you are unfamiliar with how auto insurers operate.
With that in mind, we created this comprehensive guide to finding cheap auto insurance. We will give you our picks for the best cheap auto insurance companies, explain how providers set rates, and give you some shopping tips.
If you would like to skip ahead and start your search for a new policy, simply enter your zip code below. By following the prompts, you can get multiple auto insurance quotes in minutes. We have reviewed all the major providers and identified the best car insurance companies in the industry so that you can buy with confidence and know your vehicle is protected when you get behind the wheel.
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Best Cheap Auto Insurance Companies
Even if your goal is to find cheap auto insurance, it is still important that you partner with a trustworthy company. After all, a fly-by-night provider may leave you high and dry in the event that you actually need to file a claim. To avoid such a predicament, we recommend the following four companies:
GEICO: Best Overall
GEICO is best known for its gecko-centered marketing campaign. However, the insurer brings much more to the table than just a clever advertising strategy. In fact, the company topped our rankings in all of our review categories.
We awarded GEICO a 9.5 out of 10.0 for industry reputation. The company earned a 9.0 for coverage, customer experience, and cost. We like GEICO for its low prices, wide array of discounts, and usage-based insurance option. GEICO also offers mechanical breakdown insurance and rideshare insurance.
USAA: Best Military Provider
If you or an immediate relative is in the military, then USAA can be an excellent choice. We gave the company an 8.9 out of 10.0 overall in our review. USAA earned an 8.5 for coverage and a 9.0 for cost, customer experience, and industry reputation.
USAA is known for its first-rate claims servicing. If you have to file an insurance claim with USAA, the company will walk you through every step of the process. USAA also offers flexible payment plans to meet the unique needs of military personnel. If your family lives on base, you can receive additional discounts.
Progressive: Best for High-Risk Drivers
If you have a less-than-stellar driving record, Progressive can be a smart choice for insurance. We rated the company the best insurer for high-risk drivers and awarded it an 8.9 out of 10.0 overall. Progressive received a 9.5 for reputation, 9.0 for coverage, and an 8.5 for customer experience and cost.
Progressive has numerous discounts and ways to save on coverage. The company offers discounted rates for online account management, loyalty, safe drivers and multi-vehicle coverage, just to name a few. The Name Your Price tool can also help you find a policy that fits your budget.
State Farm: Best Student Discounts
State Farm was founded about 100 years ago in 1922. Since then, it has become a market leader in the auto insurance industry by offering unique coverage options and a variety of discounts. State Farm is especially focused on providing various types of safe driver discounts.
We gave State Farm a 9.0 rating overall. It received an 8.0 for both coverage and price from our team of experts. However, these ratings are offset by the company’s superior customer service and industry reputation ratings. State Farm is a great option if you need to insure a student driver or two.
How to Find Cheap Auto Insurance Rates
The first step to getting cheap auto insurance is comparing quotes from multiple providers.
There are many ways to obtain these quotes depending on how much leg work you’re willing to do. If you have time to burn, you can even opt to visit insurance agents in person. This would require you to make an appointment and drive to the nearest office(s). An alternative option is to call each company and obtain a quote over the phone.
If you are looking to save time, getting quotes from insurance company websites is a good option. However, be prepared to re-enter the same information over and over again on multiple websites. You will also probably want to enter identical coverage amounts on each insurer website so your quotes will be comparable to one another.
Finally, you can use a quote comparison tool to get quotes from multiple providers at once. You only have to enter your information one time, so if you’re looking for the fastest way to get cheap coverage then a comparison tool may be the way to go.
Common Auto Insurance Discounts
Every insurance company is different, but there are certain discounts that are offered among most major providers. Popular discounts include:
- Multiple policies
- Multiple vehicles
- Safe driver
- Good student
- First responder
- Healthcare worker
- Industry-specific discount (employer discount)
- Government employee discount
- Paperless billing
- Paying online
The more of these discounts that you qualify for, the better your chances are of obtaining cheap car insurance. Before you finalize a policy, be sure to inquire about any profession-specific discounts, as these often go overlooked.
Factors Auto Insurance Companies Consider When Determining Rates
Auto insurance companies set your rates based on a risk assessment. The companies are essentially betting against you needing to file a claim. In order to conduct your risk assessment, auto insurance companies consider a variety of factors, including:
Your state of residence and zip code heavily influence your insurance rate. If you drive in a more congested area, your chances of being involved in a crash increase. On the other hand, drivers in rural areas are less likely to impact another vehicle.
Another major determining factor is the crime rates in your area. Even the safest drivers may need to file a claim if their vehicle has been burglarized or stolen. If you are preparing to move to a major metropolitan area, compare rates across various zip codes first. You may be able to obtain cheap auto insurance by simply living in a different zip code within the same city.
Insurance companies also consider details like age, gender, and marital status when setting your rates. Younger male drivers are considered to be higher risk than older clients. Insurance companies may also discount your policy if you are married and are insuring multiple drivers and/or vehicles.
Vehicle Information and Driving Record
Your vehicle make and model will heavily influence your insurance rates as well. Higher-end vehicles are more expensive to repair or replace, and will therefore increase rates.
Your driving record is also a key factor that influences your insurance rate. If you have a history of speeding or have filed multiple claims in recent years, insurance companies will typically charge you more.
Other Ways of Getting Cheap Auto Insurance Rates
Before settling on a policy, make sure to do your research. Compare multiple quotes and coverage options. You can also request a higher deductible, which will reduce your monthly premium.
Review your existing coverage levels to see if you are paying for coverages that you do not need. You may be able to renegotiate your current policy rate by speaking to an agent.
If you are ready to shop for new car insurance rates, enter your zip code below to get free quotes from top providers in your area.
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The Detroit Bureau collects data from every major car insurance provider to formulate rankings of the best insurers. Our in-depth rating system takes into account market share, coverage, pricing, customer satisfaction and ratings from industry experts. Each insurer is given a weighted score in four categories, as well as an overall score out of 10.0.
We recommend auto insurance companies based on these rankings, but we also encourage you to perform your own research and compare quotes to find the best coverage.