The cheapest car insurance companies of 2021

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In many cases, auto insurance is not 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 multiple factors from your age, credit history, vehicle make and driving record can affect your premium, it may become 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 is important to compare coverage options to make sure you are not underinsured. We evaluated the major auto insurance companies (by market share) based on average annual premiums, coverage options and discounts to find the cheapest rates. Because many people value both cost and quality of service equally, we considered third-party customer satisfaction ratings from two 2020 J.D. Power studies — for auto claims and overall auto insurance — in our assessments. The table below provides an initial point of comparison of the top providers offering the most competitive rates.

Cheap car insurance companies

Insurance company Average 6-month premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for minimum coverage
Auto-Owners $191 $382
USAA $192 $384
Amica $192 $384
Erie $205 $409
Geico $217 $433
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Auto-Owners

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 third out of 24 providers for claims 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.

Learn more: Auto-Owners Insurance Review

USAA

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 scores highly in customer satisfaction for auto claims. With 890 out of 1,000 points, the military-dedicated provider earns more than any other company surveyed (though it is technically rank ineligible due to membership 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. As a new savings feature, USAA’s SafePilot app allows policyholders to save up to 30% on premiums during policy renewal by tracking their safe driving habits throughout the term. 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.

Learn more: USAA Insurance Review

Amica

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.

Available to drivers nationwide (though currently unavailable in Hawaii), Amica allows policyholders to save money with the help of common discounts for bundling policies, being claims-free, insuring more than one vehicle, being a homeowner or being a good student. The provider also rewards loyalty and legacy, so policyholders may earn additional savings if they have been a customer for over two years or if their parents had a policy with the company for five years.

Learn more: Amica Insurance Review

Erie

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.

Learn more: Erie Insurance Review

Geico

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 North Central and Northwest regions for overall auto insurance satisfaction. 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 to consider 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.

Learn more: Geico Insurance Review

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 for minimum coverage Average annual premium for minimum coverage
Union Mutual $61 $122
EMC Insurance $85 $170
Nodak Insurance Company $82 $164
American National $101 $201

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 there are typically fewer amounts of available discounts, 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, there are providers that have minimal spikes in comparison to other competitors.

Below are five popular providers pulled from our table above and each company’s average minimum coverage rates for one speeding ticket, accident or DUI.

Insurance company One speeding ticket One accident One DUI
USAA $458 $556 $698
Erie $419 $486 $733
Geico $507 $611 $949
Auto Owners $428 $480 $897
Amica $483 $501 $1,032
National average $633 $803 $993

Cheap car insurance rates by state

Several of the car insurance companies mentioned on this page offer competitive rates for different types of drivers. However, insurance experts recommend taking 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.

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How to find cheap car insurance

Saving money on car insurance is a 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 typically recommended by most insurers 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 program.

Although price is an important factor, you only get what you pay for, and it could cost you more out of pocket in the long run if you purchase too low coverage amounts up front. It may also be worth noting that isn’t is not 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. To help avoid being left financially responsible for a claim while still seeking affordable coverage, you might consider popular providers with lower premiums on average and extensive discounts for which you qualify.

Journey to car ownership for low-income families

Frequently asked questions

Who has the cheapest car insurance?

Car insurance rates can vary from one person to another depending on factors like location, age and driving record. Shopping around and comparing quotes based on your personal needs is usually the best way to find the most affordable car insurance for you. Many of the providers mentioned above offer affordable coverage for various types of drivers.

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.

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 coverages that meet 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.