Cheapest car insurance companies in 2021

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Finding the cheapest auto insurance company can be a great way to lower your monthly expenses. Auto-Owners and USAA offer the cheapest minimum coverage car insurance on our list, with affordable rates at $382 and $384 per year, respectively.

In the U.S., the average cost of minimum coverage car insurance is $565 per year, while full coverage costs $1,674 per year, on average. Choosing an auto insurer that offers the cheapest insurance coverage for your situation can help you feel more in control of your finances.

Bankrate Insight
  • Auto-Owners offers the cheapest average minimum coverage from a major insurer at $382 per year.
  • You can expect to pay about $35 per month for minimum coverage based on the major auto insurers Bankrate reviewed.
  • Smaller providers, such as Union Mutual and EMC, offer competitive rates at $15 per month for minimum coverage.
  • USAA and Erie offer the cheapest monthly rates for full coverage car insurance on our list if you have a DUI conviction.

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What is the cheapest car insurance company?

Auto-Owners offers the cheapest average auto insurance rates, based on our analysis of minimum coverage premiums obtained from Quadrant Information Services. USAA, Amica, Erie and Geico round out the top five cheapest companies on our list.

To decide which cheap car insurance companies to feature, Bankrate’s insurance editorial team evaluated each company based on quoted average premiums, coverage options, discounts, policy features and third-party rankings for customer satisfaction from J.D. Power and financial strength from AM Best. We combined these metrics into a Bankrate Score. The companies each received a score on a scale of 0.0 to 5.0. The higher the Bankrate Score, the more highly a company ranked in various rating categories.

Insurance company Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average monthly premium (rounded to the nearest dollar) Bankrate Score
Auto-Owners $382 $32 4.6
USAA $384 $32 4.8
Amica $405 $34 4.6
Erie $409 $34 4.4
Geico $433 $36 4.6

Auto-Owners

If you prefer working with a local agent over using a mobile app, Auto-Owners has independent representatives in the 26 states it serves. The company ranks near the top of the 2020 J.D. Power U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study, indicating that its customers are generally very satisfied with its claims process. Auto-Owners offers numerous policy add-ons as well, so you can build a policy that fits your needs. However, Auto-Owners isn’t available nationally, so it may not be an option in your area.

Learn more: Auto-Owners Insurance review

USAA

If you are active or retired military or an immediate family member of someone who is, USAA is a great company to consider for cheap auto insurance rates and good coverage. The major insurer routinely receives exceptional customer satisfaction feedback from J.D. Power, although it is not officially ranked due to its eligibility restrictions. USAA has military-focused discounts like savings for storing your car while you are deployed and garaging your car on a military base, as well as a few endorsements, including accident forgiveness and ridesharing coverage, to help you tailor your policy to your needs. Although USAA is available nationwide, it isn’t an option for all drivers. If you aren’t eligible, you’ll have to look elsewhere for cheap coverage.

Learn more: USAA Insurance review

Amica

Amica combines low auto insurance rates with exceptional customer satisfaction. One of the company’s most unique features is its dividend policies, which allow you to recoup some of your premium each year. Amica also offers several optional endorsements to help round out your policy, including roadside assistance, rental reimbursement and accident forgiveness. The company also offers a variety of discounts, including savings for homeowners, good student discounts and defensive drivers. But if you like to handle your insurance digitally, Amica might not be the best choice. The company received a below-average score in the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Insurance Digital Experience Study in the Service category, which could indicate that current clients do not find the company’s digital service to be helpful.

Learn more: Amica Insurance review

Erie

Although only available in 12 states and Washington D.C., Erie consistently performs well with its prices and customer service. Options like accident forgiveness, 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, although your rate will change if you make certain updates to your policy, like adding a new vehicle or driver. Just like Auto-Owners, Erie is a regional provider. If you live in a state where coverage isn’t offered, the company won’t be an option for auto insurance.

Learn more: Erie Insurance review

Geico

With one of the largest menu of discounts in the industry, it is no surprise that Geico made our list of affordable auto insurance carriers. You may save for being a federal employee, military member, good student, safe driver or a member of certain organizations. Geico might also be a great choice for you if you like to handle your insurance digitally. The company earned the top spot in the 2021 J.D. Power U.S. Insurance Digital Experience Study for the Service category. However, if you want a well-rounded policy, Geico might not be the best fit. The company only offers a few endorsement options, so you might not be able to add coverage options to fit your needs.

Learn more: Geico Insurance review

Cheapest car insurance rates from smaller companies

Although large companies might offer more discount programs, you might want to get a quote from companies with a smaller market share in your search for cheap coverage. Smaller insurers may offer more affordable car insurance and personalized coverage than larger, national insurers.

Insurance company Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average monthly premium (rounded to the nearest dollar)
Union Mutual $122 $10
EMC Insurance $170 $14
Nodak Insurance Company $164 $14
American National $201 $17

Due to less advertising and lower overhead costs, many smaller companies may offer more competitive premiums than their larger counterparts. Although these carriers might not sound as familiar as the larger companies, it could be worthwhile to get quotes from these lesser-known insurance providers.

Cheap car insurance by driving history

Although maintaining a clean driving record is one of the best ways to keep your car insurance premiums low, accidents happen. Most car insurance companies will surcharge your policy for at-fault accidents, tickets and DUI convictions. Multiple incidents on your driving record might mean that you will have to search for high-risk or non-standard coverage.

Because of the increase in perceived risk, auto insurers will typically charge more for high-risk drivers. However, getting quotes from several providers can still help you find the cheapest auto insurance company for your situation. We have included each company’s average monthly rates for full coverage car insurance for a driver with a clean record and after one speeding ticket, at-fault accident or a DUI conviction.

Insurance company Clean driving record One speeding ticket One at-fault accident One DUI
USAA $102 $122 $145 $181
Erie $103 $107 $117 $172
Geico $117 $145 $164 $255
Auto-Owners $113 $139 $135 $212
Amica $115 $141 $139 $290
National average $140 $172 $193 $262
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Cheap car insurance rates by state

Each state has its own insurance regulations, which affect the coverages you need to purchase and how much you will pay. And because each company has its own rating algorithm, the cheapest company for one driver might not be the cheapest for another. Getting quotes from several companies can help you compare premiums, but, on average, these are the cheapest companies in each state.

It is worth noting that, in many states, USAA offers cheaper average premiums for minimum coverage than the company we listed, but since eligibility is limited, we have left it off this list. Taking that into consideration, Geico offers the cheapest average minimum coverage car insurance in more states than any other provider on our list.

State Cheapest car insurance company Average annual minimum coverage premium
Alabama Geico $322
Alaska Geico $282
Arizona Geico $326
Arkansas Southern Farm Bureau $316
California Grange $520
Colorado Geico $283
Connecticut Geico $427
Delaware Travelers $447
Florida Geico $841
Georgia State Farm $486
Hawaii Geico $319
Idaho State Farm $246
Illinois Geico $267
Indiana Auto-Owners $292
Iowa Iowa Farm Bureau $212
Kansas Iowa Farm Bureau $325
Kentucky Westfield $361
Louisiana Geico $575
Maine Geico $156
Maryland Nationwide $553
Massachusetts Plymouth Rock $339
Michigan Progressive $683
Minnesota Auto-Owners $430
Mississippi State Farm $337
Missouri Progressive $425
Montana State Farm $248
Nebraska Iowa Farm Bureau $271
Nevada Geico $400
New Hampshire Amica $250
New Jersey NJM $370
New Mexico Geico $348
New York Main Street America $304
North Carolina Geico $260
North Dakota Nodak $164
Ohio Erie $259
Oklahoma Geico $272
Oregon Travelers $438
Pennsylvania Auto-Owners $272
Rhode Island Amica $512
South Carolina Geico $396
South Dakota Farmers Mutual of Nebraska $172
Tennessee Geico $220
Texas Geico $391
Utah Geico $322
Vermont Geico $211
Virginia Geico $309
Washington PEMCO $314
Washington, D.C. Erie $438
West Virginia Nationwide $288
Wisconsin Erie $218
Wyoming Geico $189

How to find cheap car insurance

Insurance helps protect your finances. Although your premium is an important factor, buying minimum coverage levels could cost you more in out-of-pocket expenses if you cause an accident. Keeping your coverage needs in mind while looking for a cheap auto insurance policy can help you protect your financial health. Here are some ways to find the best cheap car insurance for you:

  1. Shop around. Every company has its unique way of rating your policy, so the cost for the same coverage can vary between providers.
  2. Take advantage of discounts. Most companies offer auto insurance discounts to help lower your premium. Insurers that offer usage-based telematics programs or safe driving discounts may have a larger impact on reducing your rates.
  3. Understand your coverage needs. Full coverage car insurance provides more financial protection, but it may not be the right coverage for everyone. Licensed insurance agents don’t generally recommend buying less coverage just to save money, but knowing what coverage you need can help you only buy what applies to your situation. Speak with a licensed agent if you have questions about how much coverage is right for you.
  4. Consider your deductibles. If you have full coverage, you have comprehensive and collision coverage on your policy. Increasing one or both deductibles can lower your premium, but make sure you can afford to pay the deductible if you file a claim for damage to your vehicle.
  5. Reevaluate your auto insurance occasionally. Staying with the same company for several years can help you earn loyalty discounts. But if you have recently experienced a life event like buying a home, getting married or having a child, you might want to think about your coverage needs and shop around.

Frequently asked questions

Who has the cheapest car insurance?

No single company offers the cheapest rates for everyone. Car insurance rates vary from one driver to another depending on factors like location, age (except in Hawaii) and driving record. Shopping around and comparing quotes based on your needs is usually the best way to find the most affordable car insurance for you. Many of the providers cited in this article offer affordable coverage for various types of drivers. Still, you may be able to find cheaper car insurance from providers not mentioned on our lists.

Is the minimum required insurance in my state enough coverage?

Your state’s minimum required levels of coverage are all you need to drive legally in your state, but most insurance experts recommend opting for additional coverage to offer more financial protection in case of an accident. Determining how much coverage you need involves a review of your broader financial picture. If you are not sure how much you need, consider speaking with a licensed insurance agent or licensed financial planner.

Does age affect car insurance rates?

Your ability to find cheap car insurance might depend on your age. Car insurance rates typically peak and drop at certain ages. Generally, premiums are more expensive the younger you are — especially for inexperienced teen drivers — and then begin decreasing between the ages of 25 and 60. However, senior-aged drivers may start to see rate increases around age 70 due to an increased likelihood of accidents and insured risk. Hawaii does not allow auto insurers to use age as a rating factor. It may be worth checking your state’s insurance regulations to see if your age could affect your premium.

State-sponsored options for low-income families

California
California Low-Cost Automobile program (CLCA)

  • Annual income must fall below $32,200 for 1 person or $43,550 for 2 people. You must have a valid California driver’s license, your car must be worth less than $25,000 and you need to have a clean driving record.
  • The CLCA program only offers liability and property damage coverage. Uninsured motorist and medical payments coverage is optional.

New Jersey
Special Automobile Insurance Policy (SAIP)

  • Drivers must have a valid New Jersey license and must be enrolled in federal Medicaid with hospitalization.
  • Unlike other plans, SAIP only covers emergency medical costs if you get into an accident. It does not include coverage for liability or vehicle damages.
  • Insurance from SAIP costs only $365 a year, which is significantly cheaper than private insurance at an average of $847 per year for the state.

Hawaii
Assistance to the Aged, Blind and Disabled program (AABD)

  • Available to Hawaii residents who are 65 or older and meet the Social Security Administration’s legal definition of disabled or blind.
  • Income must also fall below 34 percent of the 2006 federal poverty level, and you can’t be receiving aid that exceeds $2,000 for one person or $3,000 for a couple.

Maryland
Maryland’s automobile insurance fund AKA Maryland Auto Insurance

  • Offers vehicle liability insurance to drivers residing in Maryland who cannot obtain private liability coverage.
  • The Fund acts similarly to any private insurance company and must follow regulations by the Maryland Insurance Commissioner. It also covers certain claims with uninsured motorists or in the event of a hit-and-run.
  • Drivers must be rejected by at least two private insurance companies, have had their vehicle insurance cancelled or have not renewed vehicle insurance for reasons excluding nonpayment.
    To register a vehicle, the owner must follow the minimum state requirements for coverage.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2021 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 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 2019 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.

Incident: 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

Bankrate Scores primarily reflect a weighted rank of industry-standard ratings for financial strength (AM Best, S&P, Moody’s) and customer experience (J.D. Power, NAIC), in addition to average quoted rates from Quadrant Information Services. The J.D. Power studies utilized include its 2020 Auto Insurance Study and the 2020 Auto Claims Study. Our Bankrate editorial team’s extensive research and analysis provided a secondary assessment of each insurer’s online and mobile resources and policy management options, which also contributed to overall ratings.

Written by
Cate Deventer
Insurance Writer & Editor
Cate Deventer is a writer, editor and insurance professional with nearly a decade of experience in the insurance industry as a licensed insurance agent.
Edited by
Insurance Editor
Reviewed by
Mark Friedlander
Director of corporate communications, Insurance Information Institute