In many cases, auto insurance isn’t considered particularly cheap. But driving legally in most states requires having adequate insurance coverage and failing to do so can result in penalties, such as fines and license suspension.
While car insurance can cost you an average of $565 per year for minimum coverage, many drivers may still find it challenging to narrow down which companies offer the best rates. Because insurance rates are personalized and everything from your age, credit history, vehicle make and driving record can affect your premium, it becomes difficult to navigate the market for the right fit.
Comparing quotes from multiple companies is one of the best ways to find the cheapest car insurance available to you. But along with cost, it’s important to compare coverage options to make sure you aren’t underinsured. We evaluated the major auto insurance companies (by market share) based on coverage, discounts, customer service and satisfaction and third party ratings to find the cheapest rates. The table below provides an initial point of comparison of our top providers offering the most competitive rates.
Best cheap car insurance
|Insurance company||Average 6-month premium||Average annual premium|
|CSAA Insurance Group||$230||$460|
If you are an active or retired member of the military, USAA is a great place to find the best rates and coverage for auto insurance. Available across the country, with some of the lowest rates for both minimum and full coverage, USAA ranks highly in its 2020 J.D. Power Score in customer satisfaction for auto claims (though it is technically rank ineligible due to eligibility restrictions. In addition to the usual coverage options, USAA offers some additional features like accident forgiveness and rideshare coverage.
With USAA membership, you can get a discount if all members of the family sign up. Additional discounts are available for bundling multiple policies, having more than one vehicle, taking a defensive driving course, having a new car, vehicle storage, length of membership and garaging your car on a military base.
Although only available in 12 states and Washington D.C., Erie consistently performs well with both prices and customer service. Not only does Erie have the cheapest average minimum coverage rates, it also offers plenty of optional coverages and features that make its price point even more worthwhile.
Options like accident forgiveness, glass repair, locksmith service, rideshare coverage, rental reimbursement, travel expenses and pet injury coverage are available, in addition to the standard coverage options. Erie also has a unique Rate Lock feature that allows the policyholder to lock in their premium and coverage until they add or remove a driver or a vehicle or change their primary residence.
The affordability of rates combined with discounts like having multiple safety features installed makes Erie one of our top considerations for those on a budget.
Geico is offered in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., has an AM Best financial strength rating of an A++ (Superior), and ranked highest within the 2020 J.D. Power study for auto insurers in the north-central and northwest regions of the United States. In addition to competitive rates and high ratings for financial strength and customer service, Geico’s mobile app makes it easy to ask questions to a virtual assistant, call roadside assistance, pay bills and download documents. By going virtual and cutting out insurance agents and offices, Geico keeps its car insurance pricing competitively low.
Beyond that, a variety of incentives make Geico an excellent choice for car insurance. It offers rideshare insurance in select states, accident forgiveness coverage, and several discounts for anti-theft devices, good drivers, good students, military, having multiple policies, prepayment and vehicle safety equipment.
If you prefer working with a local agent over using digital tools, Auto-Owners has independent representatives in each of the 26 states it serves. Ranked number one in Central U.S. for overall customer satisfaction, Auto-Owners has been in business for over 100 years and offers numerous policies, discounts and some of the cheapest rates for minimum coverage. Auto-Owners also has add-ons such as GAP insurance, rental car insurance, identity theft protection, cell phone replacement and rekeying of locks.
In addition to standard auto insurance discounts offered discounts for paperless billing and teen driver monitoring are available, which are less common in the industry. Bundling your policies and paying your premiums on time for three years straight are yet even more ways to leverage additional savings with Auto-Owners.
The oldest mutual auto insurance company in the U.S., Amica has been in business for over a century and its car insurance rates are still among the cheapest. Aside from the basic liability and bodily injury coverage, Amica also offers a range of additional options such as personal injury protection, collision and comprehensive coverage, roadside assistance, glass coverage, free lock replacement, no depreciation for a totaled new vehicle and up to $1000 in bail bonds.
Amica also allows customers in all U.S. states (not including Hawaii), to save money with the help of standard discounts for bundling policies, being claim-free, insuring more than one vehicle, being a homeowner or being a good student. The provider also rewards loyalty and legacy, so policyholders can get a price cut if they have been a customer for over two years or if their parents had a policy with the company for five years.
CSAA Insurance Group
If you are an AAA member and live in one of California State Auto Association (CSAA) service areas such as Northern California, Arizona or Nevada, you can enjoy the benefits of its auto insurance. CSAA’s insurance has three tiers of membership, all of which have emergency fuel delivery, battery service and locksmith reimbursement (of varying amounts) as standard.
Advantages of signing a policy with CSAA outside of its generally low premiums also extend past auto coverages. Members also receive identity theft monitoring, discounts on a wide range of experiences from hotels to movie theaters and exclusive travel perks.
Though it only provides insurance to drivers in 19 states, Country Financial ranks above average in the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study within the North Central region for overall customer satisfaction. The provider also has an A+ (Superior) financial strength rating from AM Best, which means policyholders can feel confident in knowing that they do not have to trade off claim payouts for affordable coverage. To add to this, with additional coverage, Country Financial will cover the expense of a brand new replacement of the car model you own in the case that it suffers extensive damage in a covered loss.
Country Financial’s array of available discounts make it especially appealing for those looking for simple ways to save on their premiums. Planning on getting married within the year? Country Financial offers up to a 25% discount for engaged couples who have all of their vehicles insured under a Country Financial policy. K-12 teachers and first responders may also qualify for special occupational discounts.
Mercury insurance covers drivers in 11 states including California, Georgia and New Jersey. For three consecutive years between 2017 and 2019, the company also earned a spot on Forbes’ annual Best Mid-Sized Employers list.
Drivers who are proactive on their policies may be eligible for multiple discounts when insured under Mercury. Signing a policy digitally, paying in full and activating auto pay are all ways to save on your premium with the provider. Mercury also features a miles-based insurance program called RealDrive that can save drivers an initial 5% with opportunities for additional savings dependent on how far you drive your car.
State Farm is the largest auto insurance provider in the U.S. by market share and is licensed in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.. The provider ranks highly in customer satisfaction across several regions surveyed in the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study. In the Mid-Atlantic region, State Farm is rated as the top provider. Part of its popularity may be due to State Farm’s branded savings features that are built into its user-friendly apps.
Two discounts offered through State Farm — Drive Safe & Save and Steer Clear — can each be found in its own mobile app. Drivers can save up to 30% and 20% per discount, respectively, but either using their smartphones to track driving habits or completing a required course. For those with vehicles made in 1993 or older, having factory-installed safety features like airbags can save you up to 40% on your medical payments coverage.
Progressive holds the number three spot for insurance industry market share and provides insurance in all U.S. states and Washington, D.C.. With a strong AM Best financial strength rating of A+ (Superior) and high ranks in the 2020 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study, Progressive is able to offer policyholders an auto insurance experience that is both straightforward and more affordable. The Name Your Price Tool can even jumpstart your search for affordable coverage through Progressive by helping you find options within your price point.
In addition to some loyalty discounts, the insurer also allows drivers who hold a Progressive policy an opportunity to save extra for good driving. Maintaining a ticket and accident-free driving record for at least five years while covered under the provider will prevent your premiums from rising due to an accident. Signing up for the Snapshot Program also helps further tailor your rates to your driving habits, where you can save more the safer you drive.
Cheapest car insurance rates from smaller companies
Some drivers may find it useful to consider companies with a smaller market share as the premiums offered may be even less than those offered by larger insurers.
|Small insurance company||Average 6-month premium||Average annual premium|
|Nodak Insurance Co.||$82||$165|
It is possible that some of the above-mentioned companies sound familiar while others do not. Due to less advertising and overhead costs, many are able to offer premiums at competitive rates alongside nationally branded car insurance companies. Though fewer amounts of available discounts can be expected, smaller insurance companies may also offer more savings for loyalty and keeping a policy with them for several years.
Cheap car insurance by driving history
Although maintaining a clean driving record is the best way to keep your car insurance premiums low, accidents happen. While rate increases for at-fault accidents are generally unavoidable even if you do not carry collision and comprehensive coverage, there are providers that have minimal spikes in comparison to other competitors.
Below are five popular providers pulled from our table above and each’s associated minimum coverage rates for one speeding ticket, accident or DUI.
Average minimum coverage rates by driving history
|Insurance company||One speeding ticket||One accident||One DUI|
Cheap car insurance rates by state
Several of the providers mentioned on this page offer competitive rates for different types of drivers. However, it is always recommended to take your location and state requirements into account before fully committing to a provider to ensure your policy meets your pocket’s needs as well as your own. Click on your state in the table below to learn more about the cheapest car insurance in your area.
How to find cheap car insurance
Saving money on car insurance is a big priority for many, but more often than not, the cheapest coverage is also the least amount of protection. Each state will have its own minimum insurance requirements for bodily injury and liability protection, though full coverage is always recommended to offer the most amount of coverage for both your vehicle and yourself.
Aside from choosing particular coverage amounts, you may also want to consider non-traditional insurance providers or programs. For example, Cure is a small provider that serves drivers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania with lower than average credit scores. Instead of using poor credit history as a determining factor, it provides rates by prioritizing your driving history. Clearcover is another alternative provider with limited state availability, but it is able to offer competitive rates by operating as a digital-first company. Other alternatives include finding usage-based car insurance programs through popular providers like Progressive’s Snapshot or Geico’s DriveEasy.
Although price is an important factor, you only get what you pay for, and it could cost you in the long run. It isn’t uncommon to have cheap insurance with a high deductible, or coverage that comes with low limits. In all these cases, the policyholder will need to pay the excess amount out of their own pockets, as necessary. Therefore, instead of aiming for the lowest premium, it is recommended to look for the most affordable coverage options that provide the protection you need.
Frequently asked questions
Who has the cheapest car insurance?
Based on our analysis, Erie insurance has the cheapest auto insurance at $360 per year for minimum coverage and $1,207 per year for full coverage, followed by Geico. Since these rates can vary from one person to another, shopping around and comparing quotes is the best way to find the most affordable car insurance for you.
Is the minimum required insurance in my state enough coverage?
While your state may only legally require you to carry a minimum of liability coverage and bodily injury coverage, it is recommended that you opt for additional coverages to offer fuller protection in the case of an accident. Figuring out exactly how much coverage you need can be tricky, but it can be helpful to understand what comprehensive and collision coverage are as a starter.
Collision coverage helps pay for damage caused to your vehicle in an accident. Comprehensive coverage chips in for vehicle damage resulting from non-collision events such as theft, falling objects and storms.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze rates for all ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Quoted rates are based on a 40-year-old male and female driver with a clean driving record, good credit and minimum coverage limits.
To determine minimum coverage limits, Bankrate used minimum coverages that meet each state’s requirements. Our sample drivers own a 2018 Honda Accord, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.
These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes may be different.
Rates are determined based on 2020 Quadrant Information Services data.
Why trust us
Bankrate demystifies the insurance industry by making it easier to find insurance information. Regardless of where you are in your journey, Bankrate helps you make informed decisions.
We use two key sets of customer priorities to evaluate insurance carriers and help you decide what to consider:
First: we evaluated customer satisfaction and complaints, financial strength and stability and overall costs based on average rates quoted to real drivers.
Second: we evaluated customer experience by assessing each provider’s customer service options through online capabilities and agent accessibility.