How Bankrate picked the cheapest insurers

We want to help you find a cheap car insurance company without cutting corners when it comes to your coverage or a provider’s level of service. We analyzed our carriers using four criteria: average minimum coverage premium, J.D. Power claims satisfaction score, AM Best financial strength rating and proprietary Bankrate Scores. The higher the Bankrate Score, on a scale of 0.0 to 5.0, the more highly a company ranked in various rating categories.

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

These metrics applied to the larger insurers that we reviewed. We also analyzed data from regional insurance companies. Due to their lower level of annual premiums written, smaller carriers may not be rated by J.D. Power or AM Best. Thus, these two factors had no bearing on their Bankrate Scores.

Cheap car insurance companies for November 2021

Insurance company Best for Average annual premium for minimum coverage Bankrate Score
Auto-Owners Providing local agents $382 4.5
USAA Military-focused coverage $384 5.0
Amica Claims service $405 4.5
Erie Steady rates $409 4.6
Geico Discounts $433 4.3

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Auto-Owners: Best for providing local agents

  • 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 about Auto-Owners by reading our review.

USAA: Best for military-focused coverage

  • Why USAA made our list: In addition to its low average minimum coverage rate, USAA 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 and retired military members 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 about USAA by reading our review.

Amica: Best for claims service

  • 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.

Erie: Best for steady rates

  • 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 about Erie by reading our review.

Geico: Best for discounts

  • Why Geico made our list: With nationwide availability, low average rates and a wide variety of discounts, Geico 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 about Geico by reading our review.

Finding cheap car insurance by state

Each state has its own insurance regulations, which affect the coverage 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. When shopping for auto coverage, the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) recommends getting quotes from at least three carriers so you can compare premiums and coverages. The table below showcases the cheapest minimum coverage companies in each state, based on Bankrate’s research.

USAA offers cheaper average premiums for minimum coverage in many states than the company we listed, but we have left the company off this list 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.

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

Driving history matters

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, although several carriers now offer accident forgiveness programs for your first at-fault accident. Multiple incidents on your driving record might mean that you will have to search for high-risk or non-standard coverage, which comes with a cost.

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. Drivers with accidents on their MVR may want to consider full coverage because of the increased risk of vehicle damage. Because of this, we have included each company’s average monthly rates for full coverage car insurance, rather than minimum coverage, for a driver with a clean record and after one speeding ticket, at-fault accident or a DUI conviction.

Average monthly full coverage premium by driving history

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

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.

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 insurer brands might not sound as familiar as the larger companies, getting quotes from these lesser-known insurance providers might help you find a lower premium if they offer car insurance coverage in your area.

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What you need to know about shopping cheap car insurance companies

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 agents recommend that you purchase higher than 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.

Tips for getting a cheaper auto insurance rate

Finding the cheapest insurance can take a bit of research, but it’s worth the effort. First, shop around and get quotes from several different companies. Premiums can vary by hundreds of dollars or more between companies, so comparing rates could help you significantly lower your premium. Once you find a cheap 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. Car insurance agents don’t recommend that you lower your coverage limits or raise your deductibles to save money, but understanding your unique needs could help you avoid buying options you probably won’t use. Next, make sure you take advantage of all of the discounts that you qualify for. Finally, you may want to reevaluate your policy every few years, or if a major life event occurs, to ensure the coverage types, limits, discounts and policy features still work for your needs.

What are the benefits of low-cost car insurance?

Finding and buying cheap insurance can benefit you in many ways. First, you might find a bit of breathing room in your budget. Car insurance is a required expense for vehicle owners in most states, and no one wants to spend more than they have to. If your budget is tight, cheap car insurance could be a way to get the financial protection you need without breaking the bank. And cheap insurance doesn’t have to mean that you are forgoing valuable coverage or buying your policy from a company that isn’t trustworthy. You can absolutely find cheap insurance rates from large and small insurance providers that get excellent reviews and ratings.

What are the drawbacks of cheap car insurance?

Cheap car insurance is a great way to protect your finances and your budget, but you may need to do more research to find the lowest-priced option that works best for you. And it probably doesn’t come as a surprise that more coverage generally means a higher premium, so cheap car insurance might mean you are buying lower limits than you’d like. But that isn’t a given. You can find cheap car insurance — even cheap full coverage — without cutting back on your coverage limits. You may need to spend a bit more time researching companies and gathering quotes from multiple providers.

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. 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.

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. If you are unsure how much coverage you need, consider speaking with a licensed insurance agent before purchasing an auto policy.

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.