Shopping around for car insurance can be time-consuming and frustrating — but you can find big savings if you make the effort. Car insurance rates can depend on your driving record, your age, your gender, your credit score, your vehicle make and model, the miles on your car, where you live and other factors. But if you know the kind of coverage you need before you shop, you can avoid getting more insurance than you need, which drives up your costs.
The most basic auto insurance policies cover your liability for damage and loss of personal property caused by your vehicle, as well as injuries to people involved in an accident. Other types of coverage you may want but don’t necessarily need include comprehensive coverage and collision insurance. Comprehensive insurance covers your car in case of non-accident events such as theft, fire or flooding. Collision insurance covers damage to your own car if you are at fault in an accident. You can also choose to add extra features, such as roadside assistance or towing.
As you shop around gathering quotes, make sure to ask about potential discounts. Some companies may include discounts for being a good driver or a good student; for bundling your auto coverage with your homeowner’s or other insurance policies; for putting multiple cars on the same policy; and for taking safe driving courses. If you drive less than 10,000 miles per year, you may also be able to find usage-based insurance plans that save you money. Finally, you might consider a plan with a higher deductible; your premiums will be lower, although if you have an accident, you’ll have to pay more out of your own pocket.
If you want brand recognition with your auto insurance but don’t want to overpay, here are some full-service companies that offer cheap rates:
- Geico, the nation’s second-largest car insurance company, boasts some of the lowest rates in the industry, as well as discounts across the board.
- Esurance, which is owned by Allstate, offers some discounts in addition to the typical lineup. There are discounts for paying your premium in one lump sum, for being a homeowner or a renter, for graduating from certain colleges, for shopping online, for buying emergency roadside assistance and more. You can get discounts just for signing up or switching from another insurer.
- 21st Century Insurance, a subsidiary of Farmers Insurance Group, offers some of the cheapest rates and discounts for homeowners, good students, multipolicy holders, mature drivers, “green” cars and vehicles with anti-theft and safety features.
- Liberty Mutual provides all the usual discounts as well as some company-specific ones, including for new graduates, newlyweds, those who’ve just moved and the newly retired.
The biggest-name auto insurers generally will cost more if you don’t find discounts. The best thing to do is comparison shop, taking discount variables into account as you go. You can find a range of auto insurance quotes using NerdWallet’s comparison tool.
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