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Which car insurance is best for good drivers?

Updated Jan 12, 2024
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Key takeaways

  • Being involved in at-fault accidents or convicted of moving violations can affect your car insurance rates and ability to qualify for a good driver discount.
  • Car insurance companies have proprietary methods for calculating premiums, so shopping around with multiple carriers can ensure you find the cheapest car insurance policy.
  • If you feel that you have optimized your car insurance policy for all discounts and savings opportunities, consider participating in a telematics program to potentially save even more.

Car insurance companies value good drivers, as they are less likely to exhibit risky driving behaviors and more likely to remain claims-free. Because of the lower risk they present, good drivers are also more likely to experience better rates across carriers. A driver with a clean driving record pays $2,014 annually on average for full coverage. This is significantly less than rates for a driver with incidents on their record, which increases the average by upward of $400. Bankrate’s insurance editorial team, which consists of industry experts and licensed property and casualty agents, has assessed rates for good drivers from multiple top insurers and provided strategies to help drivers maintain optimal rates.

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Car insurance for good drivers

Good drivers are more likely to find low car insurance rates when shopping around due to their low risk level. Car insurance companies analyze several individual rating factors to help determine rates. These can include a driver’s ZIP code, age, gender and credit history (in most states), as well as the type of vehicle being insured and annual mileage. Each insurance company uses its own rating algorithm that determines how heavily each factor is weighted, but driving record is generally the most heavily considered factor across carriers.

Whether a driver has moving violations on their motor vehicle record is critical information in determining risk level. Having multiple at-fault accidents or a history of tickets can be a disqualification for most good driver discounts and even add a surcharge on the policy, depending on the incident and how recently it took place. To get a sense of how beneficial a clean driving record is, the table below compares average rates — gathered from Quadrant Information Services — for a clean driving record against rates following an incident:

Average annual full coverage car insurance premiums by driving record

Clean driving record Speeding ticket Caused an accident DUI
Total $2,014 $2,427 $2,854 $3,901
Male* $2,020 $2,436 $2,864 $3,913
Female* $2,008 $2,419 $2,844 $3,889

*Some states do not allow gender to be used as a rating factor when calculating insurance premiums.

Cheapest car insurance companies for good drivers

Requesting an insurance quote from more than one carrier can help you find the best car insurance company for the rate and coverage levels you desire. Because each car insurance company has its own method for calculating auto insurance rates, premiums for the same driver and vehicle can vary from company to company.

To provide a starting point for safe drivers seeking reliable coverage at a competitive rate, Bankrate analyzed car insurance companies across the nation using various key metrics such as J.D. Power customer satisfaction scores, third-party financial strength ratings from agencies like AM Best, and each company’s coverage options, discounts, digital accessibility and national availability. We compiled these data points into a Bankrate Score, which is a tool for drivers to quickly see how well a provider performed across these categories. The closer a company scored to 5 — the highest possible score — the more competitive we feel it is in the market.

Average annual full coverage car insurance premiums by company

Bankrate Score Clean driving record Speeding ticket Accident DUI
Amica 4.6 $1,467 $1,788 $1,742 $3,934
Progressive 4.4 $1,642 $2,140 $2,638 $2,156
Geico 4.4 $1,353 $1,658 $1,988 $3,351
State Farm 4.3 $1,480 $1,704 $1,878 N/A
USAA* 4.2 $1,361 $1,652 $1,971 $2,620
Nationwide 4.0 $1,422 $1,684 $1,852 $2,634
Erie Insurance 4.0 $1,356 $1,476 $1,607 $2,356
The Hartford 3.9 $2,104 $3,009 $3,857 $5,901
Allstate 3.9 $2,630 $3,123 $3,397 $3,817

*USAA is only available to military, veterans and eligible family members.

How good drivers can save on car insurance

There are many ways for good drivers to save money on car insurance beyond having a clean driving record. While some of the most popular strategies are listed below, each car insurance company offers different opportunities to save, so it doesn’t hurt to speak with a licensed agent to gain further insight when requesting quotes.

  • Discounts: Some discounts are offered by most car insurance companies, such as the good driver discount and good student discount, but the qualifications and savings amount can vary. One of the most significant discounts not related to driving record is the multiple policy discount, which you may qualify for if you bundle your home (or renters) insurance and auto insurance with the same company. Older drivers may want to inquire about defensive driving discounts, which may be earned after taking a state-approved course.
  • Telematics programs: Even though purchasing car insurance is already a personalized process, there are some limitations. With usage-based telematics programs, it’s possible to earn discounts and rewards specifically for your own safe driving habits and practices. Examples include Nationwide’s SmartRide, Progressive’s Snapshot, USAA’s SafePilot and Allstate’s Drivewise.
  • Shop around: As seen in the table above, average premiums vary for each carrier, even if the driver, vehicle and policy information are the same. Recent major life events, such as marriage, purchasing a new home or even having a new teen driver, are great opportunities to shop around and see if a different carrier is right for you.

Frequently asked questions

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and the following full coverage limits:

  • $100,000 bodily injury liability per person
  • $300,000 bodily injury liability per accident
  • $50,000 property damage liability per accident
  • $100,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per person
  • $300,000 uninsured motorist bodily injury per accident
  • $500 collision deductible
  • $500 comprehensive deductible

To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverage that meets each state’s requirements. Our base profile drivers own a 2021 Toyota Camry, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should only be used for comparative purposes.

Incidents: Rates were calculated by evaluating our base profile with the following incidents applied: clean record (base), at-fault accident, single speeding ticket, single DUI conviction and lapse in coverage.

Bankrate Scores

Our 2024 Bankrate Score considers variables our insurance editorial team determined impacts policyholders’ experiences with an insurance company. These rating factors include a robust assessment of each company’s product availability, financial strength ratings, online capabilities and customer and claims support accessibility. Each factor was added to a category, and these categories were weighted in a tiered approach to analyze how companies perform in key customer-impacting categories.

Each category was assigned a metric to determine performance, and the weighted sum adds up to a company’s total Bankrate Score — out of 5 points. Our scoring model provides a comprehensive view, indicating when companies excel across several key areas and highlight where they fall short.

  • Tier 1 (Cost & ratings): To determine how well auto and home insurance companies satisfy these priorities, 2023 quoted premiums from Quadrant Information Services (if available), as well as any of the latest third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, Demotech and the NAIC, were analyzed.
  • Tier 2 (Coverage & savings): We assessed companies’ coverage options and availability to help policyholders find a provider that balances cost with coverage. Additionally, we evaluated each company’s discount options listed on its website.
  • Tier 3 (Support): To encompass the many ways an auto insurance company can support policyholders, we analyzed avenues of customer accessibility along with community support. This analysis incorporated additional financial strength ratings from S&P and Moody’s and factored a company’s corporate sustainability efforts.
Written by
Mariah Posey
Editor, Insurance

Mariah Posey is an auto, home and life insurance editor and writer for Bankrate.com. She aims to make the insurance journey as convenient as possible by simplifying industry lingo and implementing thoughtful content design to provide readers clear answers to their questions.

Edited by Editor, Insurance