The Best Cheap Car Insurance for April 2021

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

Kayda NormanApril 16, 2021
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One of the best ways to get cheap car insurance is by comparing car insurance quotes for similar coverage to find the lowest price. But don’t sacrifice service just to get the cheapest rates. The best cheap auto insurance companies provide affordable rates without giving up quality customer service.

Geico is the cheapest major car insurance company in the nation, according to NerdWallet’s most recent rate analysis. Geico’s annual rate for minimum-required insurance was $380, or about $32 per month, on average, across the nation. As a five-star company, it is also among the best carriers in the nation.

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

Nerdy tip: If you have a car loan or lease, your lender will likely require you to buy comprehensive and collision insurance, which covers you in case your car is stolen, damaged or totaled, no matter who (or what) was at fault.

Looking for more than a bare-bones policy, but still want to find cheap car insurance? Our full coverage analysis breaks down the best cheap full coverage insurance.

What is the cheapest car insurance company?

Geico has the cheapest car insurance rates on average out of the largest auto insurers in the nation. But 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 lowest car insurance prices from larger carriers, and often have great customer service.

Here are annual car insurance rates for six of the largest auto insurers in the United States, and yearly average rates and state availability for some smaller companies. These rates are just benchmarks — the cheapest auto insurer for you may be different.

Cheapest car insurance companies

Company

Average annual rate

Cheap car insurance rates from the largest companies

Allstate

$759

Farmers

$656

Geico

$380

Progressive

$577

State Farm

$550

USAA*

$419

Cheap car insurance rates from smaller companies

Secura

$287

MMG

$309

Hastings Mutual

$419

Mutual of Enumclaw

$469

Central Insurance

$491

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

These rates are for minimum coverage, which includes only state-mandated coverage. Our “good driver” profile is a 40-year-old with no moving violations and credit in the “good” tier.

AZ, CO, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MI, MN, MO, ND, WI.

ME, NH, PA, VA, VT.

IA, IL, IN, MI, OH, WI.

AZ, ID, MT, OR, UT, WA, WY.

AZ, CO, CT, GA, ID, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, MI, NC, NH, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI.

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, there are many Farm Bureau insurance companies available only in a single state — and they were often among the cheapest in our state-by-state analysis this year.

The best cheap car insurance

Auto-Owners has the most affordable car insurance rates, on average, among companies we analyzed, but it’s available in only 26 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 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 premium per year.

Company

Average insurance premium

Stars awarded

$378

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

$380

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

3. NJM

$458

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

4. Erie

$466

5.0

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 

10. Auto Club So-Cal (AAA)

$587

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

11. Chubb

$606

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

$615

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

$656

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

$670

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

$759

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

$419

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

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

Find the cheapest car insurance in your state

Cheap auto insurance doesn’t mean the same thing everywhere. Rates vary widely from one state to the next.

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., to help you narrow down your options.

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

Cheapest car insurance rates for accidents and DUIs

Depending on your driving record, the most affordable car insurance company varies. The table below shows average auto insurance rates for additional driver profiles from the largest companies.

Company

One at-fault accident

One DUI

Large companies’ average annual rates

Allstate

$1,134

$1,325

Farmers

$1,011

$968

Geico

$611

$911

Progressive

$936

$712

State Farm

$735

$1,028

USAA*

$633

$695

Cheap car insurance from small companies

Secura

$454

$770

MMG

$388

$510

Hastings Mutual

$722

$2,525

Mutual of Enumclaw

$748

$813

Central Insurance

$680

$1,539

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

Although 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.

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, so compare car insurance quotes from at least three insurers to find the best rates for you.

Cheap auto insurance rates for drivers with 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 — making it hard to get cheap car insurance with poor credit in many states. This 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 premiums. Out of the large insurers, drivers with poor credit pay over $376 more per year, on average, than drivers with good credit for minimum-required insurance.

If you’re looking for the most affordable car insurance rates and have poor credit, Geico might be a good place to start if you want a large company. Based on our analysis, the company has the lowest average rates for good drivers with poor credit.

Among smaller companies we have data for, Hastings Mutual has the most affordable car insurance, on average, for good drivers with poor credit. Still, shopping around is always the best way to get the cheapest car insurance rates, no matter your credit history.

Company

Drivers with poor credit

Additional premium for poor credit

Average annual rates from large companies

Allstate

$759

$275

Farmers

$656

$203

Geico

$380

$150

Progressive

$577

$732

State Farm

$550

$607

USAA*

$419

$288

Cheap car insurance rates from smaller companies

Secura

$287

$204

MMG

$309

$267

Hastings Mutual

$193

$86

Mutual of Enumclaw

$469

$209

Central Insurance

$491

$672

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

Minimum coverage car insurance: Cheapest of the cheap

If you’re looking for the cheapest car insurance, period, you’ll likely want to avoid full coverage insurance, which can cost over $1,000 more than minimum coverage annually.

Full coverage generally includes a combination of coverages: Liability insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist protection and comprehensive and collision insurance.

If you have a car loan or lease your lender will likely require you buy comprehensive and collision coverage. These coverage types will pay out if your car is stolen or damaged from an accident you cause, fire, theft or flood, among other scenarios.

Still, the cost difference between buying minimum-required car insurance and additional coverage is enough to make many drivers go basic. Excluding USAA and smaller insurers, Geico was the cheapest car insurance company in our analysis for both liability insurance and full coverage. Allstate had the largest average price difference between minimum-required insurance and fuller coverage policies.

Company

Average annual rate for minimum coverage

Annual cost difference between minimum and full coverage

Car insurance rates from the largest companies

Allstate

$759

$1,622

Farmers

$656

$1,174

Geico

$380

$888

Progressive

$577

$985

State Farm

$550

$941

USAA*

$419

$751

Cheap car insurance rates from smaller companies

Secura

$287

$536

MMG

$309

$530

Hastings Mutual

$419

$491

Mutual of Enumclaw

$469

$613

Central Insurance

$491

$599

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

How to get cheap car insurance quotes

If you’re looking for the cheapest car insurance you can get, it’s essential to shop around with 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.

No matter who your insurer is, these tips could help you get more affordable car insurance:

  1. Look for discounts — even ask for them. There could be discounts 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. Ask for all available discounts when you’re trying to get cheap car insurance quotes.

  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 cheaper insurance. But for older cars, you can drop comprehensive and collision coverage, which 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 just after the three- and five-year anniversaries of any accidents, tickets or moving violations, after which they may be dropped from your driving record.

Frequently asked questions

Shopping around for car insurance quotes is the best way to find cheap rates. While you should always ask about discounts, the best way to keep your rates low is by having good credit and a clean driving record.

Minimum car insurance is likely the most affordable coverage you can buy. Out of six large insurers, drivers pay over $1,000 more annually for full coverage compared with drivers who opt for minimum coverage, on average. Minimum car insurance requirements vary by state.

Teens and young drivers have some of the highest car insurance rates, on average. As you gain experience, rates decrease and drop significantly by around age 25, on average, according to a separate NerdWallet analysis for young drivers. Generally, rates continue to drop and 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. However, rates vary widely based on a person’s gender, car make and model, location and other factors. 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.