Find Your Perfect Policy: 866-843-5386

Last updated: December 11, 2023

Car Insurance Information and Tips

If you’re buying car insurance for the first time, we have all the information you need.

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There’s no reason to know much about car insurance until you need it. But when that time arises, you may be wondering what your insurance really covers. How much do you need, and how do you get it? Most importantly, are there any tips and tricks you should know to get the best deal possible?

Our experts are here to help.

Car Insurance Information

Whether you want to know how to request price quotes or dive into your state’s laws that affect car insurance, here is the essential information you need about auto insurance in the U.S.

What You Need to Get Car Insurance

Before you reach out for quotes, make sure you have all of the information you need at hand:

  • Credit scores, ages, marital status, and genders of everyone who will be on the policy
  • Dates of birth of everyone on the policy
  • Driver’s license numbers of everyone on the policy
  • Vehicle Identification Numbers, makes, models, etc., for all vehicles on the policy
  • DUIs, at-fault accidents, or tickets in the past five years for every driver on the policy
  • Mailing address
  • Names of everyone who will be on the policy
  • Number of vehicles you own
  • Types of policies you’re interested in
  • Whether you own or rent your home
  • Your current monthly auto insurance payment
  • Your current provider and how long you’ve been with them

How to Get Insurance Quotes

You can request a quote by calling at (866) 843-5386. We will shop the entire market for you and connect you to an auto insurance company that suits your needs. Your other option is requesting quotes one by one from individual providers, but that is a much more time-consuming process.

Average Costs of Car Insurance

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) releases average car insurance rates by state, with the most recent data being from 2020. That year, the average cost across all states was $1,047.1 Find your state below to see the average where you live.

State Average annual expenditure on car insurance, 2020
Alabama $918
Alaska $970
Arizona $1,042
Arkansas $879
California $1,050
Colorado $1,172
Connecticut $1,229
Delaware $1,252
District of Columbia $1,415
Florida $1,372
Georgia $1,255
Hawaii $810
Idaho $724
Illinois $915
Indiana $766
Iowa $708
Kansas $793
Kentucky $909
Louisiana $1,495
Maine $704
Maryland $1,201
Massachusetts $1,170
Michigan $1,419
Minnesota $881
Mississippi $979
Missouri $909
Montana $834
Nebraska $796
Nevada $1,247
New Hampshire $848
New Jersey $1,334
New Mexico $905
New York $1,436
North Carolina $753
North Dakota $692
Ohio $781
Oklahoma $888
Oregon $952
Pennsylvania $969
Rhode Island $1,391
South Carolina $1,113
South Dakota $739
Tennessee $854
Texas $1,085
Utah $937
Vermont $786
Virginia $846
Washington $1,035
West Virginia $915
Wisconsin $753
Wyoming $770

How Companies Determine Rates

Aside from the coverages, limits, and deductibles you choose, companies use many factors to determine car insurance rates, including the following.

  • Address: States have different minimum coverages and fault systems, among other variations that affect average rates by state. But where you live within a given state also matters — car insurance is more expensive in densely populated urban areas compared to suburban and rural areas, which generally have less crime.
  • Age: Auto insurance costs the most for teens, as they lack driving experience. Rates decrease around age 25.
  • Credit rating: People with bad credit scores have been statistically proven to be more likely to file insurance claims, which is why in every state except Massachusetts, Michigan, Hawaii, and California, insurance companies can legally charge them more.
  • Driving record: Of course, one of the biggest indicators of future losses is past losses. Someone with a bad driving record, which could include accidents or moving violations, will have higher insurance costs than someone with a clean driving record showing a safe driving history.
  • Gender: Men are another group that’s been proven to get into more accidents, have more DUIs, speed more, and are more likely to drive while distracted or drowsy. That’s why in every state except California, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, men pay more for car insurance than women.
  • Homeownership: Homeowners will have lower rates than renters.
  • Marital status: Married people are proven to get into fewer accidents than single drivers. This even extends to people who are separated, divorced, or widowed, which is why insurance companies give married people lower rates in every state except Arizona, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Ohio, and Wyoming.
  • Mileage: People with shorter commutes pay less for car insurance than people with longer commutes, especially if they sign up for pay-per-mile insurance.
  • Vehicle: A car’s safety ratings and repair costs affect the size of your car insurance premiums as well. Save money on insurance by choosing a safe vehicle.


Aside from New Hampshire and Virginia, the two states that don’t require auto insurance, every state requires some form of coverage. The required coverages are typically bodily injury and property damage.

  • Bodily injury liability: Bodily injury coverage pays for another party’s injuries when you cause an accident.
  • Property damage liability: The other component of liability coverage pays for another party’s property damages when you cause an accident.

What if the other party causes the accident? What will cover your and your passengers’ injuries and property damage?

  • Medical payments coverage (MedPay)/personal injury protection (PIP): Depending on your state’s fault system, which we cover below, MedPay or PIP will cover you and your passengers’ medical costs. PIP also covers lost wages and child care costs that result from an accident.
  • Collision coverage: Collision coverage pays for your car’s damages up to its actual cash value (ACV). You can use it when someone hits your car or if the other party’s liability coverage isn’t high enough to cover your damages.

What if the other party lacks insurance or their limits aren’t high enough?

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM): You’ll use UM or UIM if the other driver who caused the accident was driving without insurance or driving with insufficient insurance.

Finally, what if your car is damaged from something other than a collision?

  • Comprehensive coverage: Comprehensive coverage will pay for repairs or replacements due to auto theft, vandalism, or inclement weather, including natural disasters.

Together, these coverages comprise full coverage car insurance, which we recommend. Your agent might also tell you about add-ons like roadside assistance, rental car coverage, gap insurance, or new car replacement. Insurance companies offer many coverage types, so be patient and take the time to go through all of your options.

Fault System

Your state’s fault system will affect your car insurance rate too. What’s the difference between  at fault and no fault?

  • At fault: The driver who caused the accident is responsible for their and the other party’s bodily injuries and property damages.
  • No fault: Each party is responsible for their own injuries, regardless of who caused the accident. However, the at-fault party is still responsible for all property damage.

The majority of states have at-fault systems, but some states have no fault, and others let you choose between the two.

State Fault system
Alabama At fault
Alaska At fault
Arizona At fault
Arkansas No fault
California At fault
Colorado At fault
Connecticut At fault
Delaware No fault
District of Columbia At fault
Florida No fault
Georgia At fault
Hawaii No fault
Idaho At fault
Illinois At fault
Indiana At fault
Iowa At fault
Kansas No fault
Kentucky Optional
Louisiana At fault
Maine At fault
Maryland At fault
Massachusetts No fault
Michigan At fault
Minnesota No fault
Mississippi At fault
Missouri At fault
Montana At fault
Nebraska At fault
Nevada At fault
New Hampshire At fault
New Jersey Optional
New Mexico At fault
New York No fault
North Carolina At fault
North Dakota No fault
Ohio At fault
Oklahoma At fault
Oregon At fault (but requires PIP)
Pennsylvania Optional
Rhode Island At fault
South Carolina At fault
South Dakota At fault
Tennessee At fault
Texas No fault
Utah No fault
Vermont At fault
Virginia At fault
Washington At fault
West Virginia At fault
Wisconsin At fault
Wyoming At fault

Car Insurance Tips

We’re letting you in on the secrets to getting a trustworthy insurance policy for less.

Compare Quotes

Never accept a first offer. Instead, compare quotes from multiple insurance companies to see which one can give you the lowest rate.

Improve Your Credit Score

In every state except Massachusetts, Michigan, Hawaii, and California, a good credit score can get you low rates on car insurance and vice versa. People with good credit are statistically less likely to file claims, which makes them less of a financial risk to insurance companies.


Live in the Bay State? Learn more about Massachusetts’ auto insurance laws.

Bundle Multiple Policies

To improve your credit score, pay bills on time, use your credit cards, and limit the number of credit lines you open during a brief period of time.

Bundle Multiple Policies

If you want multiple types of insurance policies, like a home and auto insurance bundle, use the same provider to unlock discounts.

Drive Safely

Unless it falls under an accident forgiveness policy, getting into an accident will raise your car insurance rates, even if the crash wasn’t your fault. Your best bet to keep rates low is driving safely, which includes the following measures:

  • Avoid driving distractions, like talking on the phone, texting, or browsing social media.
  • Get enough sleep and avoid drowsy driving.
  • Adhere to speed limits.
  • Leave space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Stay level-headed and avoid road rage.
  • Scan your surroundings constantly.

Although you can’t control other drivers’ actions, controlling your own greatly reduces your risk of collisions.

Increase Your Deductible

One surefire way to lower your premiums is to increase the size of your deductible — in other words, the amount you owe on collision and comprehensive claims before your insurance company will contribute. However, make sure you can actually afford to pay a higher deductible if your car sustains physical damage, whether from a collision, inclement weather, auto theft, or vandalism. If you can’t pay your deductible, your coverage won’t matter, and you’ll be forced to repair or, worse, replace your car out of pocket.

Install Safety Equipment

Vehicle safety equipment like airbags, anti-theft devices, and passive restraints could land you a discount, depending on your provider. Your car may already have equipment built in that can save you money.

Remove Coverages You Don’t Need

Minimum coverage is the cheapest form of car insurance, but we don’t recommend it. If you don’t have collision or comprehensive coverage and you suffer property damage that wasn’t another party’s fault, you’ll be financially responsible for repairs out of pocket. Instead, drop supplemental coverages you likely don’t need, like roadside assistance. That said, you could drop collision/comprehensive coverage if you have an older car with a low ACV, but keep in mind all future costs you might incur if you do.

Ask for Discounts

Insurance companies offer a wide variety of discounts, so ask your insurance agent directly for ways you can save. Something as simple as enrolling in automatic billing or paying your policy in full could cut costs.

Consider Usage-Based Insurance

If you’re a good driver or have low mileage, consider telematics or usage-based insurance (UBI). How does it work? Consider, for example, Allstate Drivewise, available in all states except New York. The Drivewise app monitors your driving over a 50-day period and uses that data to determine your insurance rate. It measures the following behaviors:

  • Sudden stops
  • Crashes
  • Phone use while driving (except in Michigan)
  • Speed and acceleration
  • Time of day

Based on the results, the best drivers can save up to 40 percent or more, depending on their state. Even if your driving is subpar, Drivewise can only decrease premiums, not increase them.

For low-mileage drivers, consider pay-per-mile insurance like Metromile or Root. Customers save an average of 47 percent with Metromile compared to their previous insurers, making it a great option for seniors, people who work from home, or individuals who use public transportation often.

Get Good Grades

The best auto insurance for students allows them to cash in on their good grades in the form of car insurance savings. Companies like Allstate, State Farm, and Direct Auto give lower rates to drivers with high GPAs, class rankings, and so on.

Take a Driving Class

Some insurance companies offer discounts if you take a defensive driving course. These courses make you a better driver, decreasing the likelihood of accidents and claims. That means you’ll be cheaper to insure, resulting in lower premiums.

Check Third-Party Ratings

Don’t just depend on an insurance company’s website or the words of an insurance broker. There are third parties that rate insurance companies on customer satisfaction (like J.D. Power, the NAIC’s Complaint Index Score, and the Better Business Bureau), as well as on financial strength, or a company’s ability to pay claims (AM Best, Moody’s, and Standard and Poors).

Choose a Safe Car

Cars with high safety ratings get lower car insurance rates, as they perform well in accidents in terms of protecting their passengers. Check safety ratings with the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety2 and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)3 when shopping for a car.

Get Rideshare Insurance

If you’re a rideshare driver, your personal car insurance won’t cover you while you’re working, and Uber and Lyft’s insurances don’t apply when you’re waiting to be matched with a rider or driving to pick them up. To fill in the gaps, get rideshare insurance. You may be able to obtain it from your existing company if your provider is State Farm, Esurance, or Progressive, among others.

File Claims Online

Most companies let you file claims online or even through their mobile app. Often, you can take pictures of your damages directly through the app, making the claims submission process seamless.

Use the Mobile App

Auto insurance apps let you submit claims, add coverages, and read FAQs all from the palm of your hand. Download your provider’s app to take advantage of convenient features.

Drive Less

Even if you don’t have pay-per-mile insurance, driving less than your estimated annual average mileage could get you a discount.


The average American drives between 10,000 and 12,000 miles per year.4

Read Your Policy Carefully

Many people make the mistake of not reading the fine print in their policies. Start with your policy declarations page, which summarizes your coverage. Pay attention to your coverages, limits, deductibles, and effective and expiration dates.


For a first-time buyer, getting car insurance might seem a bit overwhelming, but if you come armed with a basic understanding of how car insurance works, you’re more likely to walk away protected financially. Cost isn’t the only factor you should consider when it comes to choosing a car insurance company. Keep in mind the insurer’s financial strength and customer satisfaction ratings as well.


  1. 2019/2020 Auot Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2023, Jan).

  2. Vehicle ratings. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Highway Loss Data Institute. (2023).

  3. Ratings. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. (2023).

  4. What is good mileage for a used car? Progressive. (2023).