How do you know when it’s time to move on and find a new auto insurance company? You may be surprised to learn that your reliable insurance company is very outdated. Do they offer a number of perks including safe driving programs, low mileage rewards, or add-ons including roadside assistance?
Or are you struggling to make your insurance payments, which seem to jump higher every year?
If you feel like you’re no longer getting your money’s worth or the coverage you need, or you simply can no longer afford the coverage you have, then you’ve come to the right place.
Our guide includes the top leading, affordable auto insurance companies in the country. They offer excellent rewards programs, flexible plans, and a number of extras, and perks that you may not be getting with your old insurance company. But most importantly, they offer the best rates.
What are the Best Auto Insurance Rates?
Auto insurance rates are constantly changing. Maybe you’re happy with your auto insurance company for the most part, but you’re not sure if you’re getting a decent rate. So, what are the best auto insurance rates? Knowing whether or not you’re getting the best rate is important for your financial well-being. And learning more about rates and how you can tell if you’re actually getting a deal can help you save a lot of money in future premiums.
If you’re not sure whether or not you’re getting a good deal, the first step is talking with your auto insurance agent. If they’re honest, they’ll be able to tell you exactly what’s affecting your rate.
You might be in the best tier in every aspect, however, the majority of drivers have some room for improvement. The professional opinion of your agent will help you to pinpoint your pitfalls.
An insurance agent may tell you the following:
- You have a mid-range credit score that could be improved in order to lower auto insurance costs.
- You’ll see lower ratings once a traffic violation falls off at your next renewal.
- Switching to a bundle insurance coverage package for home owner’s or renter’s insurance could help you save big on auto insurance.
- Your late monthly auto insurance payments are costing you an extra ten to twenty dollars each month.
- You have a good driving history and you’re doing everything right, but your age is affecting your rate.
Regardless of what your agent says about your current rates, it can help to put things into perspective, giving you a better understanding of what goes into determining your monthly bill. You can easily overpay thousands of dollars a year if you’re mindlessly paying out hundreds of dollars for auto insurance coverage without even knowing why you’re paying the rate you do.
Get Several Quotes
The insurance carrier you choose can have an impact on how much you pay a year for coverage. An insurance carrier will base their rates on claims paid out and what their target market is. Shopping around and checking out your options by getting a number of quotes will help you to determine if you’re paying a competitive rate.
It’s important to get quotes that are similar to the type of coverage you have now, otherwise you won’t be able to accurately compare rates.
Once you’ve gotten quotes from a few different companies you can compare prices and coverage. This will allow you to immediately determine which company offers the best rate.
Comparing Rates with Friends and Family
Considering car insurance is made up of so many variables, comparing insurance rates with friends and family isn’t usually recommended. More commonly, you can compare insurance providers with friends and family to determine which company offers the best service as opposed to a better rate. This can give you a better idea regarding how reliable and stabile a particular carrier is, especially if a family member has been with that company for several years.
Compare Auto Insurance Rates: Leaders in the Industry
Just like every other service, to get the best price for auto insurance will mean doing your research to find the right company that can meet your coverage needs and one that works with your budget.
Getting the best auto insurance rates will depend on your background and the type of coverage you want. If you’re trying to find the best rates for minimum liability coverage, the right insurance will be different than the best choice for drivers who want full coverage.
We’ve checked out some of the leading companies in the industry and looked at how they rated with drivers in terms of customer service, perks, and policy benefits. We’ve shopped around, so you don’t have to. Our guide is designed to help you find an insurance company that will work with your coverage needs, budget, and driving record.
Yes, you recognize the name from the popular commercials that feature a lovable, talking gecko, but this auto insurance company actually offers well-rounded packages and some of the cheapest insurance rates around. They also offer excellent twenty-four-hour customer service as well.
Based on our findings, Geico offers one of the largest selections of discounts on pretty much everything ranging from emergency deployment for active military, and multi-car policies. They also offer even more savings for federal employees.
Their online quote system is very easy to use and provides site visitors with a couple of plan options that they can edit in order to fit their particular needs.
Unfortunately, they don’t offer a driving habit discount, which is something more and more leading auto insurance companies are doing. With this type of discount, drivers are given a device that’s plugged into their car that monitors their driving habits including hard braking, speeding, and daily mileage. After a determined period of time, this information is analyzed, and the driver will receive a discount on their insurance based on safe driving habits. This is a great discount program, which is why we were disappointed that Geico doesn’t offer it.
Currently, Geico is also one of the biggest insurance companies in America and they’re known for their excellent liability coverage that’s offered at an affordable price.
Geico comes highly recommended because they offer premium rates below the national average, excellent customer service, and fifteen discount options.
In addition to basic auto insurance coverage, Geico also offers the following services:
Mechanical breakdown: This coverage covers repairs involving all mechanical parts for cars up to fifteen months old, with less than fifteen thousand miles. However, it does not cover the cost of repairs that are associated with normal wear and tear. This coverage features a two-hundred-and-fifty-dollar deductible. Coverage is renewable for up to one hundred thousand miles or seven years. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cover tune-ups or other types of regular maintenance.
Roadside assistance: For just fourteen dollars a year Geico provides emergency roadside assistance, which will come in handy if you lock yourself out of your vehicle, need a tow, run out of gas, or have a dead battery.
Repair Xpress: If your car ends up in the shop as the result of a claim, this coverage can make your life a lot easier. A claim adjuster will meet up with you to answer any questions and explain the repair process. Geico will pay for a rental car to pick you up directly from the repair shop if you have rental reimbursement in your policy.
Ridesharing: If you drive for companies such as Lyft or Uber, Geico’s ridesharing insurance will allow you to have one policy that will cover both ridesharing and personal use. This hybrid insurance can easily replace your existing auto insurance.
You can learn more about the different types of policies and rewards programs available directly on the Geico website, where you can also get a free quote, make a payment, or submit a claim.
The Geico mobile app is full service. On the app, you can check out billing details, view your policy, pay your bill, access your auto insurance ID card, or even submit a new claim. You can also use the app to chat with your agent.
Geico’s virtual assistant named Kate, is a new feature you’ll find on their mobile app. The VA can provide specific policy information, answer any questions you may have and it’s compatible with both Android and iPhone.
- Mobile app
- Virtual assistant
- A wide variety of plans to choose from
- Fifteen discount options available
- Flexible policies
- Around the clock customer service
- Lacks a driver monitoring program
Nationwide is another company that currently offers some of the lowest rates around and better than average customer satisfaction. They also feature some great programs that are designed to help drivers save money.
Nationwide’s prices are well below those of its competitors. However, like most auto insurance companies, their rates will depend on many factors, such as your driving record and credit history.
Their vanishing deductible program is very unique. Each year you’re with the company and you’re accident-free, the deductible is lowered by one hundred dollars, for a max discount of five hundred dollars. So, if you begin your relationship with Nationwide with a five-hundred-dollar deductible and don’t have any accidents for five years, the sixth year you’ll have the same policy with no deductible.
In addition to their deductible program, they also offer rewards in the form of policy discounts. These discounts are offered for having an anti-theft device in your vehicle, being a good student, or purchasing an insurance bundle. They also offer the Smart Ride program which offers drivers a discount for safe driving habits. Of course, you’ll need to have a device installed in your vehicle which will monitor your mileage, driving habits, speed, and more.
Currently, Nationwide offers three tiers of coverage. Drivers can choose from basic, standard, or premium coverage. When you request a quote, they’ll automatically provide a quote for each tier.
- If you choose basic coverage, you’ll get the following:
- Bodily injury liability totaling $40,000 per accident and $20,000 per person.
- Standard uninsured motorist coverage
- $10,000 per accident for property damage liability
- Medical payment coverage at $1,000
With Nationwide’s standard coverage, the collision and comprehensive coverage are bumped up a notch.
- $100,000 per accident and $50,000 bodily injury per person
- $50,000 property damage liability per person
- $500 deductible per occurrence with comprehensive coverage
- $500 deductible with collision coverage
- Rental reimbursement
- Roadside assistance
- Vanishing deductible
With premium coverage, members will get the following:
- $300,000 per accident and $100,000 per person for bodily injury
- $100,000 per accident with property damage liability
- $500 deductible per occurrence with comprehensive coverage
- $500 deductible for collision coverage
- Rental reimbursement
- Roadside assistance
- Vanishing deductibles
- Medical payment coverage of $2,000
Nationwide will also allow members to piece together their own coverage plan, which is a big plus for drivers looking for a more flexible coverage plan.
However, their basic coverage plan is somewhat of a letdown considering they only offer bare-boned coverage, which won’t be enough for most drivers. While at first glance, the basic coverage plan may look appealing, you’ll need to go with at least their standard package if you want to be adequately covered.
Over time, once Nationwide adds in their discounts, purchasing a higher tier of coverage can work out to cost about the same as their basic coverage plan in the end.
- Several discount programs to choose from
- Reasonable insurance rates
- Great customer service
- No mobile app
- No online chat feature
One of the best-known auto insurance companies in the industry, State Farm offers reasonable rates and excellent customer service. They offer the same type of discounts and plans offered by most auto insurance companies and they have earned a solid rep in the industry for their reliability, and flexible programs.
One thing many consumers won’t like is the fact that they have to give away personal information online if they want to get a quote. The information you provide is used to pull up your driving record in order to provide you with the best, most reasonable quote possible. While all insurance companies ask for this information in order to determine your rate, they also offer a rough estimate quote first.
State Farm offers some great policies for commuter cars, classic cars, multiple vehicles, good student, good driver, and their Drive and Save program.
Drive and Save
The Drive and Save program is another type of monitoring program in which the driver plugs a device into their SYNC or On-Star system. Your driving habits are recorded, and your insurance rates will be adjusted each month based on the results.
State Farm also has an app. The app allows you to view your insurance card, get quotes on insurance, manage your account, contact your agent, or check on a claim. The app is compatible with both Android and iPhones.
Choosing a Policy
We’ve found that this auto insurance company seems to put a greater emphasis on its agents to sell policies when compared to Progressive or Geico who primarily offer policies directly online, allowing you to pick and choose without having to speak with an agent. So, even if you begin a quote online, it ends up in an agent’s lap, so you’ll have to speak with them on the phone or in person to get your policy.
This process usually only takes about ten minutes, especially if you know what you need and want.
State Farm offers three coverage options that range from basic coverage to premium coverage, however, you can customize your policy. Once you’ve chosen the best policy for you, the quote is sent to an agent who will contact you in order to finalize it.
Steer Clear Program for Young Drivers
Their Steer Clear program is designed for drivers under the age of twenty-five and drivers who have less than three years of driving experience. This program helps the driver to brush up on their driver education. Members who complete the program will get a fifteen percent discount off their premium. Drivers under the age of nineteen will have to watch a safety DVD and complete twenty supervised trips with a driver over the age of twenty-five. Drivers between the ages of nineteen and twenty-four are only required to complete five supervised trips in addition to watching the safety video. Drivers who do not have an accident or any violations during each trip can qualify for the fifteen percent discount.
- Several discounts available
- Reasonable rates
- Mobile app
You will not be able to get a quote without providing personal information such as your SSN or driver’s license number.
While not our top choice, Progressive is an auto insurance company worth considering because they offer fair customer service and reasonable rates. Aside from Geico, Progressive is probably one of the best know auto insurance companies around. They offer average rates, but their customer satisfaction rating is actually lower than the other auto insurance companies we reviewed.
When it comes to getting a quote, Progressive first compares the same type of plans offered by competitors, which can help you to determine which company will offer you the best rates. But you may want to double check the rates of other companies because we found that this comparison tool isn’t always the most accurate.
Name Your Price
Their Name Your Price program allows drivers to type in the price they want to pay for auto insurance. Progressive will provide you with a sample plan, clearly stating what’s missing in terms of what you’re looking for in a program based on desired coverage and pricing. This gives drivers a more realistic look at the plans available and what you can expect regarding coverage and service based on your budget.
Like our other top choices, Progressive also offers some great discounts. But most of their discounts have more to do with signing up for multiple policies. However, their Snapshot program is a notable exception. With the Snapshot program, you must install a device in your vehicle, so it can track your driving habits for a period of seventy-five days. This device can track more than just driving activity, it can actually take note of bad driving habits.
Progressive allows new members to try this device for free for thirty days before switching insurance companies.
Depending on the state you live in, they also offer a number of add-on options that you can choose from, including the following:
- Roadside assistance: This will come in handy if you lock yourself out of your vehicle, run out of gas, or need a tow.
- Gap insurance: Progressive will pay up to twenty-five percent above the value of your vehicle in the event it’s totaled, to cover a lease or loan balance.
- Equipment value and custom parts: This package add-on will cover the cost to replace or fix custom accessories you add to your vehicle.
- Protection for pets: This is automatically added to your plan if you pay for collision coverage. It will cover the cost of vet bills in the event that your pet is injured in an accident.
- Low rates
- Safe driving program
- Quote comparison tool is not always accurate
- Not the greatest customer service
Compare Auto Insurance Rates Before You Sign Up
We looked at some of the leading auto insurance companies to learn how their rates stacked up for high-risk drivers with a poor driving history and low credit rating. The rates we used are sampled from select cities all over the U.S. This means the actual quote you may get can differ based on what part of the country you live in and your credit history.
If you’re searching for the best auto insurance rates, finding the best deal definitely requires some patience. Auto rates often vary from company to company, so it can really pay off to compare as many estimates as possible.
But we’ve done the heavy lifting for you, to make this process a little easier. We looked at rates from the largest insurers in the country and found the lowest rates for different types of drivers.
We’ve included the best rates for:
- Young drivers
- Drivers with a good record
- Those with a single at-fault on their driving record
- Retired drivers
- Low-mileage drivers
Best Rates for Good Drivers
- For drivers with no moving violations, DUIs, or at-faults
Price: $1200 Annually
Esurance currently offers the lowest rates for good drivers, with a cost of around one hundred dollars a month, followed by Geico. If you have no crashes or violations on your record, then you should search for cheap auto insurance companies that offer a rewards program for responsible driving. This type of perk can determine which insurance company will offer the cheapest coverage for you, based on driving history.
Lowest Rates for Young Drivers
- For drivers under the age of thirty
Price: $500 Annually
Price: $700 Annually
Drivers under the age of thirty often need less coverage compared to older drivers who have families. Geico currently offers the lowest rates, with Nationwide coming in at a close second.
Coverage for Drivers with One At-Fault
Price: $1800 Annually
Price: $2,400 Annually
Causing a car accident can make your premium skyrocket. The lowest average rates for this category caused an increase of $600 more a year.
Lowest Rates for Retired Drivers
- For drivers in their late sixties who no longer use their vehicle for commuting purposes.
Price: $1000 Annually
Price: $1,245 Annually
Taking their reduced annual mileage into consideration, retired drivers will find lower rates compared to drivers who use their vehicles for their daily commute. Geico offers the best rates in this category, with Progressive not far behind. Retired drivers can potentially save even more each year if they look for auto insurance companies that offer discounts for drivers over the age of fifty-five.
Best Rates for Low Mileage Drivers
- Drivers who drive less than five thousand miles annually
Price: $1000 Annually
Whether you carpool to work, work from home, or prefer to use public transportation if you don’t spend much time in your car you can take advantage of companies that offer cheaper rates for low mileage drivers.
- Veterans or active military and their immediate family
Price: $890 Annually
This is a company that’s not available to the general public. They offer impressively low rates for active military, veterans, and their immediate family.
The Importance of Shopping Around
As you can see, different factors can have a major impact on annual auto insurance costs. But often, many drivers fail to take advantage of discounts and rewards programs that can ultimately save them hundreds of dollars a year. If you have a decent driving record, but you’re still paying high annual fees take a look at the type of discounts and good driving programs offered by your insurance. Not every company offers these types of good driving incentives, and if your auto insurance company doesn’t, it’s probably time to make the switch to a company that does.
Minimum Insurance Requirements in Most States
How good of a driver are you really? While it may seem wise at the time to pay as little as possible for auto insurance, so you can save a few hundred dollars a year, in the end, lower rates can still cost you big.
Minimum insurance requirements can vary from state to state. Commonly, most states will require drivers to have the following coverage:
- $5k-property damage liability
- $15k-bodily injury liability per person
- 30K-bodily injury liability per accident
Liability coverage will pay for other injured parties or property damage bills in the event you’re at fault. Most experts will recommend getting more than just the bare minimum insurance requirements if you want to avoid having to pay out of pocket to cover all of the expenses.
States such as Oregon have a lower than average property damage minimum, but if you total another driver’s car, this type of damage will often easily exceed the minimum coverage amount, so you’ll have to pay the difference out of pocket.
How to Get the Lowest Auto Insurance Rates
When you’re shopping for auto insurance, what you’re really looking for are the best auto insurance rates. Temptation usually comes in the form of choosing lower amounts of coverage in order to reduce your rates, or by raising your deductibles. Obviously, these are major factors that can affect insurance costs.
However, auto insurance rates can also be affected by many other factors, some of which you can’t control, and some that you can. Knowing what affects your rates can help you make an informed decision when buying insurance, and it can also help you to determine exactly what you need to do to lower your expenses.
Geographical location, marital status, age, and credit score can affect your rates in several ways.
Gender: Often, young men are charged a higher rate compared to young women because, statistically speaking, male teens are more likely to get into an accident. Yet, older men are much less likely to have an accident than older women, so they often get better rates.
Marital status: Compared to single people, married people have fewer accidents, so married couples often enjoy lower rates. How much insurance rates decrease when you get married can also depend on your past driving history.
Geographic location: The majority of accidents occur close to home, and because of this, where you live can have a major impact on your rates. Densely populated areas translate to more cars and a higher risk of theft and accidents.
Credit score: Your credit score can have a huge impact on your auto insurance rates. Many major insurance companies will take your credit score into account when determining insurance rates. While there isn’t a specific credit score that pinpoints exactly when a company will flag you as a high-risk auto insurance qualifier, generally speaking, a lower score means a much higher premium.
There are several ways you can boost your credit to get a better insurance rate. Your first step will be to get a print out of your credit report from the three main credit bureaus and take note of any accounts in collections that you can dispute. Cleaning up your credit doesn’t happen overnight, but in less than a year, if you follow the proper steps, you can significantly boost your credit rating, which, in turn, will lower your auto insurance rates.
If you’re desperately trying to pay down your debt, you can learn simple and easy ways to do so by reading our DIY guide on credit repair. You can find more information here.
You can also find helpful information in our article on why use a credit card, which will give you important pointers regarding credit card use and how opening up a new line of credit can boost your credit score and lower your auto insurance rates.
The Type of Car You Drive Can Affect Your Auto Insurance Premium
Yes, it’s true, the type of car you drive can also affect your rates since there are certain types of cars that are more likely to be stolen. Others lack important safety features that can help to prevent accidents, and some types are very costly to repair.
Additionally, vehicles that have a higher safety rating can equal a lower insurance rate. Safety features including traction control, automatic seatbelts and airbags can make a car much safer, earning a vehicle a higher safety rating.
Size of Vehicle
Larger vehicles are usually much safer than smaller vehicles in an accident. Large vehicles with a decent safety rating will have a lower premium than a small compact car that has a similar safety rating.
Some vehicles are more attractive to thieves compared to others. A particular vehicle that has made it to the top ten list of vehicles most likely to be stolen will have a higher premium compared to a vehicle that isn’t a likely target. However, adding anti-theft features can always help to lower your premium.
Your driving record will be the most important factor in determining insurance costs.
If you’ve received a lot of tickets, made insurance claims in the past, and have been in a car accident, then the auto insurance company will consider you more likely to make another claim compared to a driver who doesn’t have any blemishes on their driving record. If you have a terrible driving history an insurance company may even refuse to insure you at all.
Over time, these types of blemishes become less important. If it’s been several years since your last accident or ticket, you can make an effort to be a more careful driver in order to avoid any future problems. In time, this will pay off. Most non-injury accidents and tickets will stop affecting your insurance rates after a few years. An injury accident can affect your rate for up to five years. If you have a DUI on your record, this can affect your rates for up to a decade. There are many major auto insurance companies that will not insure someone who has had a DUI within the past few years.
Where You’re Headed
Some auto insurance companies can raise the rate based on the distance you drive, what you use your car for, and when and where you drive. A car used for daily commutes to and from work will acquire a lot of mileage each year. The more a driver is on the road, the more likely they are to get into an accident. If you don’t use your car to commute to work or don’t drive much, you may be able to get a discount on your insurance. Keeping your car stored in your garage or another type of secure location can also lower your rates even further.