Published: May 16, 2022Updated: August 15, 2022

Compare Auto Insurance Quotes

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The best way to find cheap car insurance is to shop around. Each company determines its prices differently, so companies might offer different rates for the same driver. We’ll walk you through everything you need to know to compare options accurately and get the biggest bang for your buck.

Why Compare Auto Insurance Rates?

The biggest reason to compare auto insurance quotes is to save money. In 2019, Americans spent an average of $1,070 annual on auto insurance.1 If you shop around and find a good deal, you might be able to pay less. Conversely, you might pay more if you live in a state where insurance rates are high or if providers consider you a risky driver, which also makes finding affordable rates important.

When insurance companies determine your premiums, they account for factors like your age, ZIP code, driving history, vehicle, annual mileage, and even your marital status. Each company weighs factors differently, and they’re secretive about their processes. Quotes also vary based on market trends.

The bottom line is that what one company offers you might differ significantly from another. This variability is why you need to shop around to find your best personal rates.

compare auto insurance quotes

How to Compare Car Insurance Quotes

  1. Choose Your Liability Coverages.
    Liability coverage pays for the treatment of injuries and property damage that the other party sustains if you cause an accident. Each state has its own requirements, but you’ll probably want to purchase coverage beyond the minimum.After a serious accident, bills for injuries and damages can quickly add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you’re at fault for the accident, even partially, you could be on the hook for that money. Increasing your liability coverage will protect your assets.
     
    Liability coverage is typically denoted as a series of three numbers, like 50/100/50. The numbers represent coverage for bodily injury per person, total bodily injuries, and total property damage. They are represented in $1,000 increments. So 50/100/50 is $50,000, $100,000, and $50,000 of liability coverage in each category, respectively.
     
    Some states require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (UIM) and medical payments/personal injury protection, too. Even if your state doesn’t require these coverages, it’s a good idea to purchase them anyway.
  2.  

  3. Decide if You Want to Purchase Additional Coverages.
    Full coverage includes liability, collision and comprehensive, uninsured/underinsured motorist (UIM), and medical payments coverages. If you can afford it, it’s wise to purchase all of these coverages. Collision, comprehensive, UIM, and medical payments will pay for your damages, while liability pays for the other party’s.
     
    Collision and comprehensive coverage are an especially good idea if you haven’t paid off your car yet. If something happens to your car, you’re still responsible for making your monthly payments, and these coverages will help you pay off the vehicle after an incident.
     
    Consider whether your circumstances warrant additional coverages, like new car replacement, rental reimbursement, or gap insurance.
  4.  

  5. Collect and Compare Quotes.
    When shopping for auto insurance, get quotes from at least three companies. You can usually start a quote online and finalize it with an agent on the phone. To find the best rates, compare regional providers with bigger ones (e.g., GEICO, Allstate, or State Farm).
     
    Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples. The quotes should be for the same coverages, limits, deductibles, drivers, and cars, and should include all eligible discounts.

How Often Do You Shop for Car Insurance?

You can get an auto insurance quote whenever you want to, regardless of where you are in your policy cycle. However, if you want to switch to a new provider before your current policy is up, you will likely incur fees. Fees tend to be higher if you cancel your insurance soon after buying the policy. To find the best deal, shop around every time your policy is up for renewal, which is usually every six to 12 months.

SUGGESTION

If your current provider charges fees for canceling your policy mid-term, calculate whether your savings warrant switching early, or if you should wait until the end of your policy’s term.

Shopping for auto insurance takes time, so if you’re happy with your policy, keep it and avoid the hassle.

It’s a good time to shop for quotes if you experience a big life change, like moving to a new city, adding a teen driver to your policy, buying a new car, or getting married.

Quote vs. Policy Rate

An auto insurance quote is different from a policy rate. A quote is an estimate of an auto insurance policy’s cost, based on the information you provided the insurance company and your chosen coverages, limits, and deductibles. A policy rate is the amount you’ll actually pay for insurance. If you provide incomplete information, even by mistake, or if you change your requested coverage, your policy rate may change.

There are several reasons quotes differ from policy rates:

  • You provide a make, model, and year for the vehicle but do not provide a vehicle identification number (VIN), maybe because you haven’t purchased the car yet.
  • You don’t provide details about accidents, even minor ones.
  • You forget details about driving history, for you or other drivers on the policy.
  • The quote didn’t include taxes and fees; some companies charge a policy issue fee.2

How to Choose an Insurance Company

When choosing from among the multitude of auto insurance companies, price is a key factor, but not the only one to consider. According to the Insurance Information Institute, these five factors are the most important when picking an insurance provider.

  1. Licensing: Not all companies operate in every state, and it’s important to pick one that is licensed in your state. That way, if there’s a problem, your state insurance department can help. If you’re unsure whether a company is licensed in your state, ask an agent or contact your state’s insurance department.
  2. Price: Auto insurance is a significant monthly expense, so it makes sense to pick the most affordable option. Not sure if you’re getting a good deal? Your state insurance department may publish a guide on what insurers charge in various parts of your state, so look that up if it’s available.
  3. Service: An insurance representative should be able to answer your questions thoroughly and promptly, and you should be able to easily change your policy or file a claim. Consider whether the company offers services like a mobile app or perks such as accident forgiveness. To learn more about a company’s customer service, check out J.D. Power’s recent study of the best auto insurance providers for customer satisfaction — https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2021-us-auto-insurance-study. You can also find out if a company has a history of consumer complaints at https://content.naic.org/cis_consumer_information.htm.
  4. Financial solidity: Look up the company’s ratings from an independent agency like A.M. Best3 and Moody’s4 to ensure it is financially sound. If you need to file a claim, you want to know the company is on firm financial footing.
  5. Comfort: You should feel confident in your insurance purchase. If something about a provider makes you uneasy, investigate further and consider choosing a different company.5

How to Get Free Car Insurance Quotes

  1. Gather information. You’ll need the following personal information for everyone on the policy:
    • Name
    • ZIP code
    • Date of birth
    • Occupation
    • Driver’s license information
    • Marital status
    • Vehicle information
      • Mileage
      • Make, model, and year
      • VIN (OK not to have this if you haven’t purchased the vehicle yet)
    • Name of your current auto insurance provider and how long you’ve been with them, if applicable
    • What you pay per month for your current insurance
    • Whether you own a home
    • Whether you want to bundle home and auto.
    • DUIs and at-fault accidents in the past five years
    • Tickets, if you’ve had two or more in the past five years
    • Driving courses you’ve taken in the past five years
    • The total number of vehicles you own
    • Your amounts of coverage (find out the coverage required in your state, and any supplemental coverage you would like)
    • Your credit range, whether excellent, good, fair, or poor
  2. Collect quotes directly from providers. Most companies let you start online, then finalize your quote on the phone with an agent. The quote you receive from an agent will be more accurate than the one you complete yourself online. An agent can also answer any questions you have about the company or policy. Agents who work exclusively with one insurance carrier (e.g., a GEICO agent) are known as captive agents. You can collect quotes by working directly with multiple captive agents.
  3. Work with an independent agent or broker. Alternatively, you can work with an independent agent or broker. Independent agents and brokers work with multiple insurance companies, so they can offer you a range of options. Independent agents work on commission, so they’re incentivized to offer good customer service, but they also might sell you a more expensive policy. Brokers charge a fee and must disclose their commission rates so you’ll know how much they’re making from your business. If you have a DUI, SR-22, speeding tickets, a history of accidents, or fall into another high-risk category, consider working with a specialty agency. These agencies can help you find a nonstandard insurance company that specializes in policies for high-risk drivers.

GOOD TO KNOW

In many states, when you request a quote, auto insurance companies will check your credit score — but it’s a soft check, so it won’t hurt your credit.

At AutoInsurance.com, we comb through the market to help you find the best insurance, offering free quotes for policies that suit your needs. Call 866-480-0667 and we’ll shop all of the auto insurance companies in your area to find the best coverage for you.

What Is the Cheapest Car Insurance?

Because companies use different formulas to write auto insurance policies, the cheapest option for you depends on personal factors such as your age and ZIP code. GEICO, State Farm, and Progressive tend to offer cheap rates overall. GEICO’s average annual cost is around $350, State Farm’s is $452, and Progressive’s is $619. At $356, USAA is also a strong option, though it’s only available to military members, veterans, and their families.

If you have a poor driving record, like a history of speeding tickets or a DUI, State Farm is a particularly good option. If regional and smaller companies are available in your area, they also offer competitive rates. Some of the cheapest are Central Insurance at an average cost of $257 annually, MMG at $287, and Secura at $319.

To learn more, check out our article on how to find cheap car insurance companies.

Factors That Impact Car Insurance Quotes

Coverages, Limits, and Deductibles

A number of factors affect car insurance rates — primarily what coverages, limits, and deductibles you choose for your policy. The more you buy (whether on your own accord or because the state requires it), the more you’ll pay.

How much liability coverage should you buy?

Higher limits will save you money in the event of a serious accident, but they will cost you more in premiums, because the insurance company is obligated to pay more in the event of an accident to meet the higher limit. The difference between the maximum and minimum limits can add up to more than $1,000 each year in premiums. Similarly, a higher deductible means lower monthly payments, and vice versa.

Monthly costs also increase if you add these or other supplemental types of coverage:

  • Collision coverage for your property damage from an accident
  • Comprehensive coverage for non-collision claims like vandalism or theft
  • Rental reimbursement or transportation expense coverage
  • Gap coverage to pay off any remaining value on a financed car
  • New car replacement coverage
  • Towing and labor cost coverage
  • Ride-sharing coverage (for ride-share drivers)
  • Sound system coverage
  • Classic car insurance6

What You Drive

Insurance providers use data from customer claims and industry safety reports to rate a vehicle’s safety. Safer vehicles are less expensive to insure, and ones that are not as safe cost more to insure.

Companies also consider how susceptible a vehicle is to damage, occupant injury, and theft, as well as how much it costs to repair.

Driving a vehicle that offers greater protection to drivers and passengers and that tends to be less expensive to repair will lower your costs. In general, newer and flashier vehicles cost more to insure. You’ll pay more to insure a new sports car than an old minivan.

How Often or How Far You Drive

If you use your car for business or you commute long distances, you will pay more for auto insurance. You can lower your costs by driving less, taking public transportation, and shortening your commute. For example, instead of driving straight to work, you might drive to the station and take a train.

Low-mileage drivers may even have the option to pay per mile. If you choose this option, your insurance provider will track how many miles you drive and use your mileage to set your premium.

Where You Live and Park Your Car

Urban drivers tend to pay more for auto insurance because cities have higher rates of theft, accidents, and vandalism. For example, if you live in Michigan, you’ll pay more for insurance if you live in Ann Arbor or Detroit than you would living in a more rural area. Insurance companies consider parking on the street riskier than parking in a garage and may increase rates accordingly. Areas prone to extreme weather (e.g., floods, wildfires) like Texas or California also see higher insurance rates.

Driving Record

If you have a history of accidents, speeding tickets, reckless driving, or a DUI, you will pay more for auto insurance. On average, if you’re at fault for an accident that causes property damage, your premiums will increase by about $650 per year for three years — which will cost you almost $2,000 overall.

TIP

Before filing a claim, compare the potential increase in your premiums, plus your deductible, to the out-of-pocket expense. In some cases, it costs less to pay for the damages out of pocket.

Similarly, a DUI will set you back by an average of about $1,500 per year in raised insurance premiums. To find out how much that will cost overall, multiply the increase by the years a DUI stays on your record in your state. For example, in New York and California, a DUI stays on your record for 10 years, so a DUI could cost you a total of $15,000 in raised premiums.

Insurance History

A lapse is a period of time you didn’t carry auto insurance, regardless of whether or not you owned a car. If you have a lapse in your insurance coverage, your rates will increase. This includes situations such as if you owned a car previously, sold it, then purchased another car years later.

Credit History

Unfortunately, in most states insurance providers can and will charge you more for auto insurance if you have poor credit. The only states that ban this practice are Massachusetts, Hawaii, Michigan, and California.7

Age, Sex, and Marital Status

Insurance companies use demographics to determine your premiums. For example, collision rates are higher for drivers under age 25, especially single males, which is why this group pays more for insurance.

The following chart shows the crash rates per 100,000 drivers by age group and sex.

Age group Crashes per 100,000 male drivers Crashes per 100,000 female drivers Crashes per 100,000 male or female drivers
16-20 11,990 10,432 11,221
21-24 9,705 7,773 8,751
25-34 7,656 6,023 6,838
35-44 6,303 4,751 5,521
45-54 5,532 3,936 4,729
55-64 4,602 3,039 3,807
65-74 3,636 2,420 3,010
Over 74 3,155 1,999 2,548
Total 6,106 4,511 5,3008

Overall, men pay more than women for auto insurance, except in these states, which ban gender pricing discrimination:

  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • Pennsylvania

Young drivers buying their first policy pay more than experienced drivers. Teens cost the most to insure, though students can get discounts with good grades, through some providers.9 Rates drop when drivers turn 25 and continue to decrease as they enter their fifties, before rising again for seniors.

Finally, married drivers pay slightly less for auto insurance, because studies find they tend to file fewer claims.

Discounts

Types of car insurance discounts
Insurance companies offer discounts in several categories. Discounts vary by company and state.

  • Driving habits:
    • Accident-free for three to five years
    • Safe driver (often requires the use of a Bluetooth tracker)
    • Low mileage
  • Driver status:
    • Good student (B average or higher)
    • Away-from-home student (child left a car at home when they went to college)
    • Membership to a professional/trade/alumni association
    • Military or federal employee
    • Senior
    • Homeowner
    • Auto insurance company employee
  • Payment:
    • Annual payment
    • Early quote (switching providers in advance of coverage expiration, usually by at least seven days)
    • Paid in full/good payer
    • Paperless/automatic billing
  • Policy:
    • Continuous insurance
    • Early signing (renewing policy or signing a new one before the previous policy ends)
    • Loyalty/length of membership
    • Bundling/multi-car/multi-person
  • Education:
  • Vehicle safety features:
    • Anti-theft
    • Anti-lock brakes
    • Passive restraint (automatic seatbelts or airbags)
    • Daytime running lights

Vehicle Financing

Whether you own, lease, or finance your vehicle affects how much you pay for auto insurance. If you lease or finance your vehicle, the lender might require you to purchase more coverage than you would otherwise, leading to higher bills. Many lenders require drivers to buy full coverage and gap or loan/lease insurance and to hold policies with low deductibles. That way, if something happens, they know you’ll be able to pay back the cost of the vehicle.

How to Choose the Right Coverage

In general, it’s best to purchase as much coverage as you can afford. You never know how much you need.

Type of coverage The minimum limit we recommend
Bodily injury liability coverage $500,000 (combined with property damage), or greater than your net worth
Property damage liability coverage $$500,000 (combined with property damage), or greater than your net worth
Comprehensive coverage Actual market value of your vehicle
Collision coverage Actual market value of your vehicle
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage $500,000, or greater than your net worth
Medical payments coverage $500,000, or greater than your net worth

All of these coverages come with a deductible, except for bodily injury and property damage liability. Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage pays for your property damages and medical costs if someone with insufficient or no insurance hits your car. It usually includes hit-and-runs and instances where you’re hit as a pedestrian. Medical payments coverage is for your medical costs after an accident, including treatment of injuries, legal expenses if you’re sued, and funeral costs.

Recap

To find the best auto insurance for you, compare quotes from at least three companies. The best quote is affordable, but still provides high-quality coverage.

FAQs

You can compare car insurance quotes for teachers from several providers, including Horace Mann and Liberty Mutual. Horace Mann offers teachers the Educator Advantage package, which includes various benefits:

  • Reimbursement for a replacement vehicle if your new car is a total loss
  • Reimbursement of up to $35 in transportation costs if you feel you can’t safely drive yourself home
  • No deductible for collision or vandalism claims that occur on or near school property, or while you’re at a school-sponsored event
  • No deductible for collision claims with another vehicle insured by Horace Mann
  • Extra coverage if you purchase Emergency Road Service coverage
  • Liability coverage when transporting students in a vehicle insured by Horace Mann
  • Up to $1,000 in personal property coverage if teaching materials are stolen or damaged while in your car
  • Up to $1,000 for veterinary bills and expenses if your pet sustains an injury or dies as a result of injuries sustained in a covered accident

Liberty Mutual offers teachers discounted auto insurance with these benefits:

  • No deductible for a vandalism claim if your vehicle was on school property or you were at a school-related event
  • No deductible for a collision claim if the damage occurred while you were driving for school business
  • Up to $2,500 coverage per occurrence if your teaching materials or school-owned property is stolen or damaged while in your vehicle

RV insurance works similarly to car insurance, though you must purchase it as a separate policy. Like regular car insurance, most RV insurance includes liability, comprehensive and collision, and under/uninsured motorist coverages. RV insurance also offers add-ons that are unavailable with car insurance:

  • Personal property coverage for common RV items like furniture, satellite dishes, and camping supplies
  • Roadside assistance with higher limits to account for the vehicle’s larger size
  • Full-time RV coverage, if you’re using the RV as a full-time residence. This coverage works like homeowners’ insurance in that it covers injured visitors and items you keep in storage while traveling.

To find out how your car insurance compares, look up the average rates of auto insurance in your state by demographic. Age and ZIP code are two of the most important factors. On average, Americans pay $1,070.47 every year for auto insurance, but rates vary by state. The following chart details the average annual spending on car insurance in 2019 in each state, according to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

State Average spending on car insurance per year
Alabama $932.14
Alaska $991.09
Arizona $1,063.93
Arkansas $897.92
California $1,051.79
Colorado $1,174.87
Connecticut $1,237.55
District of Columbia $1,289.93
Delaware $1,440.58
Florida $1,414.17
Georgia $1,259.49
Hawaii $839.87
Idaho $738.10
Illinois $939.64
Indiana $777.05
Iowa $714.86
Kansas $818.99
Kentucky $935.61
Louisiana $1,557.22
Maine $696.37
Maryland $1,236.61
Massachusetts $1,182.69
Michigan $1,495.94
Minnesota $892.17
Mississippi $975.58
Missouri $929.91
Montana $834.86
Nebraska $807.30
Nevada $1,292.52
New Hampshire $864.35
New Jersey $1,395.53
New Mexico $932.67
New York $1,445.30
North Carolina $741.70
North Dakota $703.73
Ohio $802.72
Oklahoma $908.95
Oregon $990
Pennsylvania $992.33
Rhode Island $1,382.64
South Carolina $1,114.90
South Dakota $745.33
Tennessee $863.39
Texas $1,143.85
Utah $954.14
Vermont $785.37
Virginia $861.18
Washington $1,066.84
West Virginia $946.03
Wisconsin $767.42
Wyoming $776.22

Citations

  1. 2018/2019 Auto Insurance Database Report. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. (2022).
    https://content.naic.org/sites/default/files/publication-aut-pb-auto-insurance-database.pdf

  2. Find the Best Car Insurance Quotes & Rates. Geico. (2022).
    https://www.geico.com/auto-insurance/comparison/

  3. Rating Services Information Services. AM Best. (2022).
    https://web.ambest.com/

  4. Moody’s. (2022).
    https://www.moodys.com/

  5. Choosing an insurance company. Insurance Information Institute. (2022).
    https://www.iii.org/article/choosing-an-insurance-company

  6. Typical components of an auto insurance policy. Allstate. (2018).
    https://www.allstate.com/resources/car-insurance/types-of-car-insurance-coverage

  7. Which States Restrict the Use of Credit Scores in Determining Insurance Rates?. Experian. (2020, September 23).
    https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/which-states-prohibit-or-restrict-the-use-of-credit-based-insurance-scores/

  8. Traffic Safety Facts Annual Report Tables. NHTSA. (2021, May 25).
    https://cdan.nhtsa.gov/tsftables/tsfar.htm

  9. What affects car insurance premiums?. State Farm. (2022).
    https://www.statefarm.com/simple-insights/auto-and-vehicles/what-affects-car-insurance-premiums