Best cheap car insurance in Columbus
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The average driver in Columbus, Ohio pays $1,385 per year for their full coverage car insurance, or about $115 a month. For state-mandated minimum coverage, the average is $387 per year. Although these rates are far below the national average of $2,014 for full coverage and $622 for minimum coverage, many drivers may still be looking for ways to save on their premium in the Discovery City.
Based on our assessment of average premiums, coverage options, discounts and other factors that may matter most to Columbus drivers, the city’s best cheap car insurance companies include Geico, USAA, State Farm, Nationwide and Auto-Owners.
Best cheap car insurance companies in Columbus
Using data provided by Quadrant Information Services, Bankrate’s insurance editorial team determined that Geico, USAA and State Farm offer some of the most affordable average car insurance rates in Columbus. However, we understand that for many drivers, price isn’t the only factor that determines the best car insurance company.
To determine the top carriers, we also looked at coverage options, available discounts, digital tools and third-party scores, like those from the 2022 J.D. Power Auto Insurance Study. Using these metrics and more, we assigned each carrier a Bankrate Score out of 5 points. We hope that the Scores and average rates below will allow you to quickly assess carriers to determine which may be able to meet your needs and budget.
|Insurance company||Bankrate Score||J.D. Power score (North Central region)||Average annual premium for full coverage||Average annual premium for minimum coverage|
*USAA is not officially ranked by J.D. Power due to eligibility restrictions.
Geico offers some of the lowest average rates for Columbus drivers. These rates, coupled with a robust list of discounts, may make it an ideal option for drivers on a budget. Potential savings are available for students, active-duty military and veterans, federal employees, and employee or membership groups. Geico scored above the North Central industry average in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction study and has robust digital tools, but it does not have as many endorsements as some competitors, which may be an issue for drivers looking for specialized coverage options.
Learn more: Geico Insurance review
USAA only writes policies for active-duty military members, veterans and their eligible family members. If you qualify for coverage, USAA may be a great carrier for low rates, excellent customer service and military-focused discounts. For example, USAA policyholders may save if they garage their vehicle on base or if their vehicle is driven less while they’re deployed. You may be able to build a more robust policy with endorsements for roadside assistance and rental car reimbursement. Although USAA earned a high score from J.D. Power for customer satisfaction, it does not have local offices, so it may not be the best choice if you want to work with an in-person agent.
Learn more: USAA Insurance review
If you like doing your business face-to-face with a knowledgeable agent, State Farm may be worth considering. The company is the largest in the U.S. by market share and has nearly 30 agents in Columbus itself, with many more in the suburbs. State Farm offers a handful of optional coverage types, including emergency road service, ridesharing and car rental coverage. In addition to low average rates, State Farm policyholders may save even more with potential discounts for bundling, safe driving, enrolling in a telematics program and more.
Learn more: State Farm Insurance review
Nationwide may be a good carrier for drivers who value endorsements and discounts over customer service. The Columbus-based company’s potential endorsements include vanishing deductible, accident forgiveness and classic car coverage. You might find low rates by qualifying for some of Nationwide’s 10 advertised discounts, but the carrier scored well below average in the North Central region of J.D. Power’s study, so it may be worthwhile to speak with existing customers about their experience.
Learn more: Nationwide Insurance review
Auto-Owners is a regional carrier writing car insurance policies in 26 states, including Ohio. Although it comes in just below the North Central segment average in J.D. Power’s study, as a regional carrier, Auto-Owners may be more familiar with the coverage needs of Columbus drivers. The carrier has a long list of potential endorsements including gap insurance, roadside assistance and additional expense coverage. Homeowners who bundle their home and auto insurance with Auto-Owners may be able to simplify their billing with a single deductible for both. Although its list of discounts rivals most large carriers, Auto-Owners does not have the same robust digital tools as many national insurance companies.
Learn more: Auto-Owners Insurance review
How to get and keep the cheapest car insurance in Columbus
The average cost of car insurance in Columbus is higher than the Ohio average, so many drivers may be looking for ways to save without sacrificing the coverage they need. These strategies may help you find and keep cheap car insurance in Ohio.
- Shop around and compare quotes. Carriers weigh rating factors differently, so one may offer significantly lower rates than another based on your circumstances. Comparing quotes from a few different carriers may help you identify the cheapest company for you, but you will likely want to be sure you are requesting quotes for the same coverage types and levels from each to get an apples-to-apples comparison.
- Look for new discount opportunities before your policy renews. You likely qualify for at least a couple discounts with your insurance company, but as your circumstances change, you may qualify for more. It may benefit you to check and see whether you’re eligible for additional discounts when your policy renews. For example, if you recently purchased a home, you may be eligible for a bundling discount if you carry a homeowners insurance policy with the same carrier as your auto insurance.
Frequently asked questions
The best car insurance company is different for every driver. For example, if saving money is your highest priority, the best company for you might be different from the best option for someone who values excellent customer service. Making a list of what features you value in a car insurance company and comparing rates from carriers that meet these criteria may be the best way to identify the best Ohio car insurance company for you.
The average driver in Columbus, Ohio pays $1,385 per year for full coverage insurance and $387 per year for minimum coverage insurance. However, keep in mind that every driver pays a different rate based on more than a dozen individual rating factors. In Ohio, these include age, gender, ZIP code, credit-based insurance score, make and model of your vehicle, claims history and more.
Drivers in Columbus are required to carry at least 25/50/25 personal liability coverage and they must be offered uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, though this may be declined in writing. However, most insurance professionals recommend carrying more than minimum coverage if you can afford to do so. Full coverage, for example, which includes comprehensive and collision coverage, offers financial protection for your own vehicle in the event of an accident or other covered incident. If you lease or finance your car, you may be interested in gap insurance, which pays out to cover the difference between what you owe on your vehicle and what it’s worth if it is totaled or stolen and nonrecoverable.
Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 2023 rates for ZIP codes and carriers in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. Rates are weighted based on the population density in each geographic region. 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 2021 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.
Our 2023 Bankrate Score considers variables our insurance editorial team determined impacts policyholders’ experiences with an insurance company. These rating factors include a robust assessment of each company’s product availability, financial strength ratings, online capabilities and customer and claims support accessibility. Each factor was added to a category, and these categories were weighted in a tiered approach to analyze how companies perform in key customer-impacting categories.
Like our previous Bankrate Scores, each category was assigned a metric to determine performance, and the weighted sum adds up to a company’s total Bankrate Score — out of 5 points. This year, our 2023 scoring model provides a more comprehensive view, indicating when companies excel across several key areas and better highlighting where they fall short.
- Tier 1 (Cost & ratings): To determine how well auto and home insurance companies satisfy these priorities, 2023 quoted premiums from Quadrant Information Services (if available), as well as any of the latest third-party agency ratings from J.D. Power, AM Best and the NAIC, were analyzed.
- Tier 2 (Coverage & savings): We assessed companies’ coverage options and availability to help policyholders find a provider that balances cost with coverage. Additionally, we evaluated each company’s discount options listed on its website.
- Tier 3 (Support): To encompass the many ways an auto insurance company can support policyholders, we analyzed avenues of customer accessibility along with community support. This analysis incorporated additional financial strength ratings from S&P and Moody’s and factored a company’s corporate sustainability efforts.