Best Budget Auto Insurance

How we picked the insurers to evaluate:

NerdWallet started with a list of the nation’s 125 largest auto insurance companies (by premiums written), compiled by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners using 2019 market share data. These companies collectively account for 98.8% of the market for private passenger auto insurance in the United States, according to the NAIC.

We then narrowed the list to include only insurers that sell policies in a majority of states, that do not restrict availability based on membership criteria (such as military service) and for which pricing data was available for at least 20 states from Quadrant Information Services. Other, smaller companies that did not meet this data threshold may be cheaper for many consumers.

Some of the providers are NerdWallet partners, but this did not influence our selection of the winner.

How we chose the winner:

To determine which widely available insurer had the cheapest rates, we analyzed average rates in several ways:

  • By state. Within each state and Washington, D.C., we ranked companies by their average rates for full coverage policies for a 2017 Toyota Camry LE for a driver with no incidents on record and good credit.
  • By age group. We averaged rates for the same driver profile across all states where we had rate information for the given insurer. We checked rates in 1-year increments for drivers ages 16-25 and then in 5-year increments to age 80.
  • By direct comparison. As a final check, we also averaged rates for this profile across the five states where all of the widely available companies were represented. These five states were Arizona, Illinois, Nevada, Oregon and Utah.

We then selected the insurer that most frequently had the cheapest average rate among the companies that met the "widely available" criteria.

How we verified our data:

NerdWallet gets insurance pricing data from Quadrant Information Services. Information about where insurers are available to consumers is verified through data supplied by insurance companies to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.