The Cheapest Car Insurance for October 2021

NerdWallet compared 2021 rates across the country from Allstate, Geico and more to find the cheapest car insurance.
Kayda NormanOct 1, 2021

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If you’re looking for the cheapest car insurance, you’ve come to the right place. NerdWallet analyzed rates from auto insurers across the country to find cheap car insurance for a variety of drivers.

The cheapest car insurance will likely be the minimum coverage required in your state, so we focused our rate analysis on those minimums. In many states, this is liability insurance only, which covers property damage and medical bills for others due to accidents you cause.

Another alternative is full coverage, but it can cost over $1,000 more a year on average than an annual minimum policy. That’s because it comes with additional coverage like uninsured/underinsured motorist protection and comprehensive and collision insurance.

Nerdy tip: If you have a car loan or lease, your lender will likely require you to buy comprehensive and collision coverage. These coverage types pay out if your car is stolen or damaged in an accident you cause, among other scenarios.

If you need more than a bare-bones policy, see our analysis of the best cheap full coverage insurance. If you’re simply looking for the cheapest possible auto insurance, we've listed providers of affordable minimum coverage below.

The cheapest car insurance

Geico is the cheapest major car insurance company in the nation, according to NerdWallet’s most recent analysis of minimum coverage rates. Geico’s average annual rate was $380, or about $32 per month. It also earned a 5-star rating from NerdWallet.

Here are the cheapest annual auto insurance rates for six of the largest auto insurers in the United States. We also included average rates for some smaller companies. These rates are for only state-mandated minimum coverage. Our “good driver” profile is a 40-year-old with no moving violations and credit in the “good” tier.

These rates are just benchmarks — the cheapest auto insurance for you may be different.

Cheapest car insurance from the largest companies

Company

Average annual rate

Average monthly rate

1. Geico

$380

$32

2. State Farm

$550

$46

3. Progressive

$577

$48

4. Farmers

$656

$55

5. Allstate

$759

$63

USAA*

$419

$35

*USAA is available only to military, veterans and their families.

Cheap car insurance from smaller companies

Finding affordable car insurance doesn’t mean you have to stick with large insurance companies. Secura, a smaller insurer that offers coverage in seven states, has even cheaper car insurance rates than Geico.

While availability can be limited, regional and small insurers may beat the cheapest auto insurance prices from larger carriers. Plus, they often have great customer service.

Company

Average annual rate

Average monthly rate

1. Secura

$287

$24

2. MMG

$309

$26

3. Hastings Mutual

$419

$35

4. Mutual of Enumclaw

$469

$39

5. Central Insurance

$491

$41

We chose these companies because of their low rates and availability in multiple states. But there may be more affordable car insurance options where you live. For example, many Farm Bureau insurance companies are available only in a single state and were often among the cheapest in our analysis.

Cheapest car insurance by state

What counts as cheap auto insurance will be different depending on where you live, as rates vary widely from state to state.

To give you a better idea for price comparisons, we found the cheapest car insurance company on average in each state and Washington, D.C.

But state averages can tell you only so much. Even within a state, minimum-required car insurance rates can differ.

Cheap car insurance after an accident or DUI

Depending on your driving record, the most affordable car insurance company varies. The tables below show average auto insurance rates from the largest companies for drivers after an accident or DUI.

We found that Geico has the lowest average rate for good drivers and drivers with one at-fault accident. Progressive is cheapest, on average, for drivers with a DUI.

Cheapest car insurance after an accident

Company

Average annual rate after one at-fault accident

1. Geico

$611

2. State Farm

$735

3. Progressive

$936

4. Farmers

$1,011

5. Allstate

$1,134

USAA*

$633

*USAA is available only to military, veterans and their families.

Cheapest car insurance after a DUI

Company

Average annual rate after one DUI

1. Progressive

$712

2. Geico

$911

3. Farmers

$968

4. State Farm

$1,028

5. Allstate

$1,325

USAA*

$695

*USAA is available only to military, veterans and their families.

Looking for even cheaper auto insurance? Try a smaller insurer. Drivers with one at-fault accident or a recent DUI can find the most affordable auto insurance rates with MMG and other smaller insurers.

Rates vary depending on many personal factors. Be sure to compare car insurance quotes from at least three insurers to find the cheapest auto insurance for you.

Cheap auto insurance for poor credit

Your driving record isn’t the only factor that can increase your rates. Many insurers also use credit-based insurance scores to help calculate car insurance rates. This can make it harder to get cheap car insurance with poor credit in many states.

A credit-based score includes the same factors as a regular credit score, such as debt and payment history, but weighs them differently. California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan and Washington don’t allow insurers to use credit when determining car insurance rates.

Credit can have a shocking impact on insurance costs. Large insurers charge drivers with poor credit over $376 more per year on average than drivers with good credit.

If you’re looking for affordable car insurance from a large company, Geico might be a good place to start. Based on our analysis, the company has the lowest average rates for good drivers with poor credit. Among the smaller companies we have data for, Hastings Mutual has the most affordable car insurance on average.

Still, you should always shop around to get the cheapest car insurance rates, no matter your credit history.

Cheap car insurance from large insurers for drivers with poor credit

Company

Average annual rate for drivers with poor credit

1. Geico

$380

2. State Farm

$550

3. Progressive

$577

4. Farmers

$656

5. Allstate

$759

USAA*

$419

*USAA is available only to military, veterans and their families.

Cheap car insurance from smaller companies for drivers with poor credit

Company

Average annual rate for drivers with poor credit

1. Hastings Mutual

$193

2. Secura

$287

3. MMG

$309

4. Mutual of Enumclaw

$469

5. Central Insurance

$491

Cheap car insurance for new drivers

If you’re a new driver, you may have difficulty getting cheap car insurance. That’s because auto insurers view drivers without a recent driving history as riskier to insure. This includes those with a new license, a lapse in car insurance, immigrants and visitors to the U.S.

To get the cheapest car insurance, you’ll want to shop around and compare policies from a variety of companies each year. If you live with your family, it may be cheapest to stay on their policy until your driving history is more robust.

The best cheap car insurance

We looked at our highest-rated auto insurers to find the top companies that also offer cheap car insurance. Out of all these companies, Safety has the most affordable car insurance rates on average. However, it sells auto insurance in only three states. Geico has the cheapest rates on average among the nation’s largest insurers.

To find affordable car insurance companies, NerdWallet compared rates among the best car insurance companies in 2021 for which we have complete pricing data. We looked at average rates in every ZIP code in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Not all companies offer insurance in every state.

Although it’s one of the largest insurers in the country, Liberty Mutual is not included in our analysis because it does not provide rate data. USAA is often the cheapest, but it is available only to active military, veterans and their families. For this reason, we include its numbers in this article but don’t rank it.

Here are the best car insurance companies according to our 2021 reviews, ranked by average car insurance rate per year.

Company

Average annual rate

Stars awarded

$338

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

$378

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

$380

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

4. NJM

$458

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

5. Erie

$466

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

$489

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

$495

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

$526

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

$550

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

$577

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

$419

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

*USAA is available only to active military, veterans and their families.

How to get cheap car insurance

If you’re looking for the cheapest car insurance you can get, it’s essential to compare quotes from multiple insurers. You can use NerdWallet’s car insurance comparison tool to easily shop around for cheap auto insurance quotes online. You may find that you have the most affordable insurance already, but that can change, so check roughly once a year.

These tips could help you get lower car insurance rates:

  1. Ask for discounts. There could be savings you’re not taking advantage of. For instance, maybe you now work from home and are driving less than when you bought your policy. Mention that and you might get a low-mileage discount.

  2. Rethink your deductible. A higher collision and comprehensive deductible might make sense if you rarely drive or are comfortable with the financial risk. Raising your deductible means you’d owe more out of pocket if you had to file a comprehensive or collision claim. But it’s a surefire way to get cheaper car insurance.

  3. Know when to cut coverage. Don’t strip away coverage just for the sake of cheap auto insurance. But if you drive an older car, you can drop comprehensive and collision coverage. These coverage types pay out only up to your car’s current value, minus the deductible.

  4. Cash in on major life changes. Certain life events could translate to cheaper car insurance, so shop for quotes whenever something major changes in your life. For instance, many companies offer a lower rate for married couples or domestic partners. Or perhaps you moved to a suburb with lower accident and crime rates. Even if you moved to a more expensive area for car insurance, shopping around can help you get cheaper coverage.

  5. Revisit quotes after your driving record improves. Shop for cheap car insurance quotes online three to five years after any accidents, tickets or moving violations. They may be dropped from your driving record.

Frequently asked questions

Shopping around for car insurance quotes is the best way to find cheap auto insurance. Having good credit and a clean driving record can also keep your rates low. And be sure to ask about discounts you might be missing from your policy.

Teens and young drivers have some of the highest car insurance rates, on average. As you gain experience, rates decrease. According to a separate NerdWallet analysis for young drivers, rates drop significantly around age 25. Generally, rates continue to drop then start to rise again at age 70, with a more dramatic increase around age 75.

Geico has the cheapest auto insurance rates out of the nation’s largest insurance companies, on average. But rates vary widely based on factors like a person’s gender, the car they drive and their location. To find the cheapest price, compare car insurance rates with at least three insurers once a year.

Methodology

AUTO INSURANCE RATINGS

NerdWallet’s auto insurance ratings reward companies for customer-first features and practices. Ratings are based on weighted averages of scores in several categories, including financial strength, consumer complaints, website transparency and affordability. Using our editorial discretion, we also consider customer satisfaction surveys. These ratings are a guide, but we encourage you to shop around and compare several insurance quotes to find the best rate for you. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for any reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.

AVERAGE RATES

NerdWallet averaged rates based on public filings obtained by pricing analytics company Quadrant Information Services. We examined rates for 40-year-old men and women for all ZIP codes in any of the 50 states and Washington, D.C. Although it’s one of the largest insurers in the country, Liberty Mutual is not included in our rates analysis due to a lack of publicly available information.

In our analysis, “good drivers” had no moving violations on record; a “good driving” discount was included for this profile. Our “good” and “poor” credit rates are based on credit score approximations and do not account for proprietary scoring criteria used by insurance providers. These are average rates, and your rate will vary based on your personal details, state and insurance provider.

Sample drivers had the following coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability coverage per person.

  • $300,000 bodily injury liability coverage per crash.

  • $50,000 property damage liability coverage per crash.

  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per person.

  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury coverage per crash.

  • Collision coverage with $1,000 deductible.

  • Comprehensive coverage with $1,000 deductible.

In states where required, minimum additional coverages were added. We used the same assumptions for all other driver profiles, with the following exceptions:

  • For drivers with minimum coverage, we adjusted the numbers above to reflect only the minimum coverage required by law in the state.

  • We changed the credit tier from “good” to “poor” as reported to the insurer to see rates for drivers with poor credit. In states where credit isn’t taken into account, we only used rates for “good” credit.

  • For drivers with one at-fault crash, we added a single at-fault crash costing $10,000 in property damage.

  • For drivers with a DUI, we added a single drunken driving violation.

We used a 2018 Toyota Camry LE in all cases and assumed 12,000 annual miles driven.

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