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How Bankrate picked the cheapest insurers

To find the best car insurance providers for your wallet, we analyzed companies based on average premium data obtained from Quadrant Information Services, J.D. Power auto claims satisfaction score, AM Best financial strength ratings. We combined this information with data that includes coverage options and digital resources to assign each carrier a proprietary Bankrate Score. The higher the Bankrate Score, on a scale of 0.0 to 5.0, the higher a company scored across all categories.

To make it onto our list of cheapest car insurance companies, an insurance provider had to meet the following criteria:

We also analyzed data from several super-regional insurance companies that may only offer auto insurance in a select number of markets. Due to their lower volume of annual premiums written, some of these smaller carriers may not be rated by J.D. Power or AM Best. Thus, these two factors had no bearing on their Bankrate Scores.

Cheapest car insurance companies for January 2022

Insurance company Best for Average annual premium for minimum coverage Bankrate Score
Auto-Owners Network of local agents $382 4.5
USAA Military-focused coverage $384 5.0
Amica Claims service $405 4.4
Erie Steady rates $409 4.6
Geico Variety of discounts $433 4.7

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Auto-Owners

Auto Owners

Best car insurance company for providing local agents

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4.5 Bankrate Score
JD Power: 878/1,000AM Best: A++
$382 for min coverage

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  • Why Auto-Owners made our list: Auto-Owners has the lowest average minimum coverage premium on our list and also offers numerous add-on options to help you personalize your coverage.
  • Why Auto-Owners may be best for providing local independent agents: Auto-Owners sells its policies exclusively through a network of independent agents in the 26 states it serves. Working with a local agent may help you choose coverage types and limits appropriate for you and your geographic area.

How to get started: If you would like to get a quote from Auto-Owners, you will need to contact an independent agent in your area that represents the company.
Learn more: Auto-Owners insurance review.

USAA

USAA

Best car insurance company for military-focused coverage

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5 Bankrate Score
JD Power: 909/1,000AM Best: A++
$384 for min coverage

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  • Why USAA made our list: In addition to its low average minimum coverage rate, USAA, the fifth-largest auto insurer in the U.S. by market share according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), consistently receives high customer satisfaction scores from J.D. Power, although the company isn’t eligible for official ranking due to its eligibility restrictions.
  • Why USAA may be best for military-focused coverage: USAA sells its coverage exclusively to active-duty military, veterans and qualifying family members, allowing the company to offer military-focused coverage options and discounts.

How to get started: USAA offers online quotes, or you can call 800-531-8722 to speak with a company representative to get a quote.
Learn more: USAA Insurance review.

Amica

Amica

Best car insurance company for claims service

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4.4 Bankrate Score
JD Power: 895/1,000AM Best: A+
$405 for min coverage

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  • Why Amica made our list: With a low average minimum coverage premium and high claims and customer satisfaction scores, Amica could be a great option for those looking for cheap coverage and solid service.
  • Why Amica may be best for claims service: Amica is rated near the top of J.D. Power’s claims satisfaction study. Auto claims can be filed in numerous ways, including through an online account, via Amica’s online chat feature, by phone or on the Amica mobile app.

How to get started: To get a quote from Amica, you can visit the Amica website or call 800-242-6422. The carrier operates local offices across the U.S., but they are currently closed to walk-in traffic due to COVID-19 safety protocols.
Learn more: Amica insurance review.

Erie

Erie

Best car insurance company for steady rates

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4.6 Bankrate Score
JD Power: 901/1,000AM Best: A+
$409 for min coverage

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  • Why Erie made our list: With its low average minimum coverage premium and exclusive Rate Lock feature, Erie may be a great option for policyholders looking to lock in their savings for multiple years.
  • Why Erie may be best for steady rates: Erie’s Rate Lock program allows you to keep your auto insurance premium steady; the company advises that your price will only change if you make adjustments to your policy, like adding or removing a driver or vehicle.

How to get started: If you’d like to get a quote from Erie, you can do so on the Erie website by calling 800-458-0811 or visiting a local independent agent who represents the company in its operating territories.
Learn more: Erie insurance review.

Geico

Geico

Best car insurance company for discounts

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4.7 Bankrate Score
JD Power: 881/1,000AM Best: A++
$433 for min coverage

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  • Why Geico made our list: With nationwide availability, low average rates and a wide variety of discounts, Geico, the second-largest U.S. auto insurer by market share, might help you save money no matter where you live.
  • Why Geico may be best for discounts: Geico offers more savings opportunities than most carriers; 16 distinct discounts are listed on the carrier’s website.

How to get started: Getting a quote with Geico is fairly easy. You can get a Geico quote online by phone at 800-207-7847 or in the Geico mobile app. Geico also has a network of local agents across the U.S.
Learn more: Geico insurance review.

Finding cheap car insurance by state

In many states, USAA offers the cheapest minimum coverage premiums, but we didn’t include the company in our state table since its eligibility is restricted to the military community. Taking that into consideration, Geico offers the cheapest average minimum coverage car insurance in more states than any other provider we assessed.

While the following rate information may be useful for the sake of comparison, the cheapest car insurance depends on your individual circumstances, and each state has different insurance regulations. When shopping for auto coverage, the Triple-I recommends getting quotes from a mix of at least three national and regional carriers so you can compare premiums and coverage types.

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 American National $207
Connecticut Geico $427
Delaware Travelers $447
Florida Geico $841
Georgia State Farm $486
Hawaii Geico $319
Idaho State Farm $246
Illinois Pekin $230
Indiana Pekin $216
Iowa Western National $165
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 West Bend $380
Mississippi State Farm $337
Missouri Missouri Farm Bureau $335
Montana QBE $220
Nebraska EMC $170
Nevada Geico $400
New Hampshire MMG $208
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 Oregon Mutual $414
Pennsylvania Penn National $217
Rhode Island State Farm $329
South Carolina American National $227
South Dakota Farmers Mutual of Nebraska $172
Tennessee Geico $220
Texas Geico $391
Utah Geico $322
Vermont Union Mutual $122
Virginia Geico $309
Washington PEMCO $314
Washington, D.C. Erie $438
West Virginia Nationwide $288
Wisconsin Erie $218
Wyoming Geico $189

Cheapest car insurance companies by driving record

Although maintaining a clean motor vehicle record (MVR) is one of the best ways to keep your car insurance premiums low, accidents happen. Many car insurance companies will surcharge your policy for at-fault accidents, tickets and DUI convictions. After multiple incidents, insurance companies may consider you a high-risk driver, which comes at a cost. Drivers with multiple incidents on their MVR may want to consider full coverage because of the increased risk of vehicle damage. Below, we listed each company’s average annual 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.

Average annual full coverage premium by driving history

Insurance company Clean driving record One speeding ticket One at-fault accident One DUI
USAA $1,225 $1,463 $1,742 $2,177
Erie $1,233 $,283 $1,398 $2,067
Auto-Owners $1,351 $1,673 $1,625 $2,543
Amica $1,378 $1,689 $1,665 $3,139
Geico $1,405 $1,734 $1,971 $3,064
National average $1,674 $2,062 $2,311 $3,139

Cheapest car insurance companies by credit tier

In every state except California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan, car insurance companies are permitted to use your credit-based insurance score as a rating factor. While your exact rate depends on several personal characteristics, the following averages may help you determine approximately how much you’d pay with different carriers for car insurance based on your credit tier.

Average annual full coverage car insurance premium by credit tier

Insurance company Average rate with poor credit Average rate with average credit Average rate with good credit Average rate with excellent credit
USAA $2,2705 $1,277 $1,225 $1,030
Erie $2,707 $1,403 $1,233 993
Amica $1,978 $1,505 $1,405 $1,312
Geico $2,751 $1,528 $1,351 $1,073
Auto-Owners $2,125 $1,478 $1,378 $1,350

Cheapest car insurance companies for new drivers

Adolescent drivers between the ages of 16 and 19 are three times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than drivers over age 20. High crash statistics make teen drivers more expensive to insure. However, several companies offer competitive student discounts that can help reduce your premium. To find cheap car insurance for teens, you may want to get quotes from some of the cheapest auto insurance companies on the market. Here is a sample of average rates from a few companies for a 16-year-old added to their parents’ policy (reflects added cost to an existing policy and not total cost of coverage).

Average annual full coverage car additional insurance premium for 16-year-old included on their parents’ existing policy

Insurance company Average annual full coverage premium for 16-year-old males Average annual full coverage premium for 16-year-old females Overall average annual full coverage premium for 16-year-old drivers
Nationwide $1,362 $1,100 $1,231
Erie $1,531 $1,178 $1,355
The Hartford $1,946 $1,898 $1,922
Geico $2,234 $1,785 $2,009

Cheap car insurance from smaller insurance companies

Although large companies sometimes offer more discount programs and options, you might want to get an insurance quote from regional companies with smaller market shares in your search for cheap coverage. A smaller insurer can also help you find affordable car insurance, offer high customer satisfaction ratings and be financially strong. These five regional carriers offer the cheapest minimum car insurance, according to Bankrate’s analysis.

Average full coverage car insurance premium from smaller insurance companies

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

Although smaller insurance brands might not sound as familiar as the larger companies, getting quotes from these lesser-known insurance providers might offer cheap insurance coverage in your area.

Getting started

Auto insurance helps provide you and your family with financial peace of mind. 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 and leave you financially vulnerable to a significant loss, according to Triple-I. Many insurance professionals recommend that you purchase higher than required state minimum liability limits if you can afford to so that you have a greater level of protection. Keeping your coverage needs in mind while looking for a cheap auto insurance policy can help you protect your financial well-being. Here are some ways to find the best cheap car insurance for you.

What to expect when applying for cheap car insurance

When applying for cheap auto insurance, keep in mind that the following personal factors typically affect your rates.

  • Age: In every state except Hawaii, car insurance companies may use age as a factor in determining your car insurance premiums. Younger drivers tend to pay more for their car insurance.
  • Gender: Gender may be used as a rating factor in every state except California, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina and Pennsylvania. On average, men pay slightly higher car insurance rates than women, since they statistically have higher accident frequency and severity, and car insurance companies view them as riskier to insure.
  • Credit score: Most insurance companies use a credit-based insurance score to help calculate your car insurance premium. Statistically, drivers with lower credit scores are more likely to file claims. As a result, their car insurance premiums are usually higher than drivers with good credit scores. Car insurance companies in California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and Michigan are prohibited from using credit as a rating factor.
  • Vehicle make and model: Since vehicles have different safety ratings, crash statistics and prices for replacement parts and labor, your vehicle type affects your car insurance premium.
  • Claims history: If you’ve filed car insurance claims in the past, insurance companies view you as higher risk and more likely to file claims in the future.
  • Driving history: One of the best ways to lower your car insurance premium is to keep a clean driving history. If you already have marks on your motor vehicle record, you may want to enroll in a usage-based telematics program that tracks you driving in real-time and offers potential discounts for safe driving.
  • ZIP code: Different ZIP codes have different crash statistics, weather patterns and costs of living. As a result, your address affects the price you pay for car insurance, except in California and Michigan, where insurance companies are not allowed to use your ZIP code when calculating your premium.

Does age affect car insurance rates?

Your age plays a significant role in car insurance rates in all states except Hawaii, which bans the use of age as a rating factor. Due to their inexperience and higher accident frequency, younger drivers tend to pay higher premiums, with 18-year-olds paying the highest average rates amongst drivers of any age group. Average rates are at their lowest for drivers in their 60s but can begin to creep up again as drivers reach and surpass 70 years old because of a statistical increase in accident frequency.

Average annual full coverage car insurance premium by age and gender

Age Average rate for males Average rate for females
16-year-old* $2,783 $2,280
17-year-old* $2,612 $2,141
18-year-old $5,650 $4,844
19-year-old $4,487 $3,807
20-year-old $4,098 $3,492
21-year-old $3,166 $2,769
22-year-old $2,913 $2,578
23-year-old $2,733 $2,446
24-year-old $2,590 $2,332
25-year-old $2,183 $2,038
30-year-old $1,869 $1,832
35-year-old $1,813 $1,790
40-year-old $1,648 $1,701
50-year-old $1,601 $1,591
60-year-old $1,552 $1,537
70-year-old $1,701 $1,670

*16-year-old and 17-year-old rates are for teens added to their parents’ policy and reflect the added cost rather than the total cost for the policy.

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, 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. Additionally, if you have a loan or lease on your vehicle, you will most likely be required to carry full coverage as a condition of your finance or lease agreement, which includes collision and comprehensive coverages. If you are unsure how much coverage you need, consider speaking with a licensed insurance agent before purchasing an auto policy.

Other factors to watch out for

Premiums can vary by hundreds of dollars between companies, so comparing rates could help you significantly lower your premium. Once you find an affordable car insurance quote you’d like to proceed with, you can contact the company or an agent to buy the policy. Next, make sure you understand your coverage needs. Insurance agents typically don’t recommend that you lower your coverage limits or raise your deductibles to save money, but understanding your unique needs could help you figure out what coverage options, limits and deductibles make sense for you. Next, make sure you take advantage of all the discounts available to you. Finally, you may want to reevaluate your policy and shop your coverage every few years, especially if a major life event occurs, to ensure the coverage types, limits, discounts and policy features still work for your needs and you are getting the best price on coverage. If not, consider car insurance companies.

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Frequently asked questions

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 and customer experience in addition to analysis of quoted annual premiums from Quadrant Information Services, spanning all 50 states and Washington, D.C. We know it is important for drivers to be confident their financial protection covers the likeliest risks, is priced competitively and is provided by a financially-sound company with a history of positive customer support.

To determine how well the best car insurance companies satisfy these priorities, third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best, S&P, NAIC, and Moodys had the most impact on the companies’ Bankrate Scores. As price is a common consideration for drivers, we analyzed quoted premiums based on 40-year-old male and female drivers with a 2019 Toyota Camry. This profile, assessed across more than 35,000 ZIP codes in the U.S., provided a basis on which drivers may compare each provider.

While coverage options, insurer availability, affordability and customer experience are often the top priorities, Bankrate also analyzed each insurer’s online and mobile resources for policy management and claims handling. Insurance is rapidly evolving to keep pace with our digital world, so these aspects also carried weight in determining Bankrate Scores.