Find the Best Cheap Car Insurance

Auto Insurance, Insurance
Find the Best Car Insurance

Whether you’re buying only liability insurance or a full coverage car insurance policy, the thought of cheap car insurance is enticing. And there’s no better way to find the best deal than by shopping around and comparing quotes.

To help you find the cheapest car insurance, NerdWallet did a car insurance comparison of rates for incident-free drivers from the five largest auto insurers across the 12 most populous states in the country.

Here’s how the big guys stack up.

In this article

Car insurance rates among the largest companies
Why you should consider smaller insurers, too
Tips to help all drivers save
Cheapest car insurance by state


» COMPARE: Auto insurance rates

Rankings: Car insurance rates among the five largest companies

1. Geico


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For the general population, Geico offers the cheapest car insurance quotes on average nationwide. NerdWallet found an average rate of $1,297 a year in our study.

Geico also provides a variety of easy-to-score discounts that can cut costs. Motorists who’ve gone five years without an accident qualify for the company’s good driver discount. There are also opportunities to save by insuring multiple vehicles, driving a car with air bags, always wearing seat belts and taking advantage of various other discounts.

2. State Farm


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State Farm ranks second for pricing among the four largest companies, but with an average quote of $2,296 per year, nearly $1,000 per year higher than Geico. The good news is drivers have ample opportunity to trim their costs, especially if they have a clean driving record. Among other savings opportunities, State Farm offers four separate discounts that deal with safe and accident-free driving.

State Farm is the nation’s leading car insurance provider in terms of market share, offering a vast array of insurance products and financial services in every state plus Washington, D.C.

3. Progressive


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Progressive returned an average quote of $2,821 per year, which comes out to $235 a month. That’s $525 a year higher than State Farm and more than double the cost of Geico.

Progressive may appeal to drivers looking for a paper- and agent-free experience. You can manage your policy entirely online. Starting a quote online and signing policy documents electronically are also two ways to qualify for discounts, along with things like bundling auto and home insurance and insuring multiple cars.

4. Allstate


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Of the four largest insurers, Allstate had the highest average annual quote for good drivers at $3,182, or roughly $265 per month. Although ponying up that kind of cash is a lot to ask, the company has solid finances and relatively few complaints from policyholders. Allstate holds an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from A.M. Best and has a customer complaint ratio of 0.77, better than the industry median of 1.00, according to data compiled by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.

Among other discounts, Allstate offers price breaks for safe driving, including savings once you’ve gone accident- and violation-free for three years, and again for five years.

» COMPARE: Car insurance quotes

USAA: Best for those with military ties


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Get a quote Open only to active military members, veterans and their families.

You may already recognize USAA for its highly rated customer service. But the company has more to offer than a friendly bedside manner — it also notched the cheapest car insurance rates in our study, at $918 a year. USAA offers several discounts to help you save more, including for going more than five years with a clean record and for taking an approved defensive driving course.

USAA is open to active and retired military members and their families, and offers car insurance and other insurance products in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Metromile: Best for low-mileage drivers


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NerdWallet tested rates for low-mileage drivers (5,000 miles a year) in six of the seven states where Metromile is available, and the company ranked as the cheapest option in five of them. Among those states, Metromile’s average quote was just $763 a year, which translates to roughly $64 a month.

Most insurers ask you to estimate your annual mileage when getting a quote. But Metromile tracks your mileage using a telematics device and charges you only for the miles you drive, plus a low base rate. The company is ideal for city-dwellers who have a car but frequently get around using other means, such as public transit or a bicycle, or for those who don’t commute and use their car mainly for errands and recreation.

Metromile is available in California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington.

Check out smaller insurers, too

Finding cheap car insurance doesn’t mean you have to stick with large, national insurance companies. Regional and small insurers may beat the lowest offers from the big guys. For example:

Tips for anyone to get cheap car insurance

No matter who your auto insurance company is, here are tips for saving on your policy:

  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 it and you might get a low-mileage discount.
  2. Rethink your insurance limits and deductibles. Don’t strip away your coverage just for the sake of a lower price. But consider accepting a higher deductible on collision and comprehensive if it makes sense. Raising deductibles means you would owe more out of pocket if you had to file a comprehensive or collision claim. If you rarely drive or are financially comfortable with that risk, though, it’s a surefire way to get cheaper car insurance.
  3. Cash in on major life changes. Certain life events could translate to cheaper car insurance. For instance, many companies offer a lower rate for married couples or domestic partners. Or perhaps you moved to a new city with stellar public transportation. If you’re commuting by train instead of car, your risk for accidents will go down — and your rates just might, too.

NerdWallet’s comparison tool makes it easy to see quotes from top companies side by side and possibly save hundreds on your rates.

Cheapest car insurance by state

Wondering who’s the most likely to offer cheap auto insurance where you live? NerdWallet looked at rates for 30-year-old good drivers from the largest insurers in each state. Find your state in the list below:

 

Alabama
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Geico
Alaska
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Geico
  • State Farm
Arizona
Arkansas
California
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Allstate
Colorado
  • Geico
  • State Farm
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
Connecticut
Delaware
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Nationwide
District of Columbia
Florida
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Geico
  • State Farm
Georgia
  • Geico
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Erie
  • Geico
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
  • Safeco
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
Missouri
Montana
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • State Farm
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
  • State Farm
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
Oregon
Pennsylvania
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Erie
  • Geico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
  • USAA (only available to active military members, veterans and their families)
  • Geico
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming

To recap:

Cheap car insurance options

InsurerCheapest forAverage price
MetromileLow-mileage drivers$64/month
USAADrivers with a military connection$77/month
GeicoGeneral population$108/month

Alex Glenn is a staff writer for NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: aglenn@nerdwallet.com.

This article has been updated. It originally published Dec. 8, 2015.


METHODOLOGY

NerdWallet averaged rates for 30-year-old men and women with no incidents on record across the 12 most populous states in the country in 10 ZIP codes per state and from the largest insurers in each state. Sample drivers had 100/300/50 liability insurance limits, 100/300 uninsured motorist coverage limits and collision and comprehensive with a $1,000 deductible. Where needed, minimum required amounts of personal injury protection were added. We used a 2012 Toyota Camry in all cases. These are sample rates generated through Quadrant Information Services. Your own rates will be different.