Best cheap car insurance in Columbus

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In 2019, Columbus had the highest number of OVI, seat belt and distracted driving arrests in the state of Ohio. Drivers in Columbus are required to carry car insurance to protect themselves and other drivers in the event of an at-fault accident.

The average Columbus driver pays $1,265 for full coverage insurance and $398 for minimum coverage insurance. We identified a handful of insurance companies that offer cheap coverage in Columbus, plus good coverage options, discounts and customer service.

Best car insurance companies in Columbus

There are several Columbus insurance providers that receive high marks for price, coverage options, discounts, customer satisfaction and financial strength. The companies in the table below offer the best car insurance in Columbus:

Insurance company J.D. Power customer satisfaction score Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
Geico 851 / 100 $321 $877
Erie 846 / 100 $280 $1,073
USAA 897 / 100 $261 $880
Auto-Owners 845 / 100 $374 $1,163
Westfield 836 / 100 $425 $1,438

Geico

Geico is the cheapest car insurance company in Columbus for full coverage insurance, with an average premium of $877 per year. Geico’s car insurance coverage options are limited, but for drivers who are looking for the lowest price possible, Geico is the best choice. The company also offers a wide variety of discounts, including savings for military personnel, federal employees and employee/membership groups.

Erie

Erie stands out for its robust coverage options and generous discounts. Every full coverage policy comes with standard insurance, plus pet coverage, locksmith services, auto glass repair coverage, roadside assistance and personal items coverage. In addition, Erie offers a variety of discounts to help drivers lower their premium. Each new policy includes a rate lock guarantee and a free disappearing deductible program.

USAA

USAA is often considered to be the best insurance provider in the country, but coverage is only available for Columbus drivers who are active duty or retired military service members. USAA has highly-rated customer service, good claim handling, comprehensive coverage and a variety of discounts. According to the company, drivers save an average of $707 per year when they switch to USAA from another insurer.

Auto-Owners

Columbus drivers who are looking for great customer service should consider Auto-Owners. The company has below-average customer complaints per the NAIC Company Complaint Index. The only downside is that it lacks many of the digital features that other carriers have, like online quotes and online claims. Auto-Owners also has affordable rates, good discounts and a few endorsements for added protection.

Westfield

Westfield is an Ohio-based insurance company. The rates are more expensive, but the company is rated above-average by J.D. Power and has below-average complaints as reported in the NAIC Company Complaint Index. With Westfield, Columbus drivers get access to good customer service and several endorsement policies. Drivers need to work with an agent to get a quote, file a claim and make basic changes to their policy.

Cheapest car insurance in Columbus

Drivers in Columbus pay more for car insurance than the average driver in Ohio. The average full coverage insurance policy in Ohio costs $1,119 per year and the average minimum coverage insurance policy $321. However, drivers can get a below-average rate by choosing a cheap car insurance company:

Insurance company Average annual premium for minimum coverage Average annual premium for full coverage
USAA $261 $880
Erie $280 $1,073
Geico $321 $877
State Farm $335 $1,011
Progressive $351 $1,084

The providers in the table above have the cheapest rates in Columbus. However, each company has strengths and weaknesses. For instance, USAA has the cheapest liability-only policies, but coverage is only available to drivers in the military. Geico and State Farm have low rates, but the coverage is limited. Someone who is looking for comprehensive coverage should consider Progressive, instead.

These five companies each have excellent financial strength ratings, with a score of A+ or better from AM Best. However, their J.D. Power ratings vary. Geico, Erie and USAA are rated above average for the North Central region, whereas State Farm and Progressive are rated below average. Additionally, all five companies have above-average complaints in the NAIC Company Complaint Index.

Columbus insurance requirements

Every driver in Columbus who has a vehicle registered in the state of Ohio is required to carry car insurance. The minimum insurance requirements in Columbus are 25/50/25 personal liability insurance, which includes:

  • $25,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person
  • $50,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per accident
  • $25,000 in property damage liability coverage per accident

The cheapest insurance policy in Columbus is minimum coverage insurance. However, insurance companies recommend that most drivers purchase more coverage than what is required. If a driver causes an accident and their financial responsibility is greater than their policy’s limit, they have to pay the difference out-of-pocket.

Some drivers in Columbus are required to carry full coverage insurance, particularly if they have a leased or financed car. Many lenders will require drivers to have full coverage insurance until their loan is paid off, because it reduces the risk for the lending company.

Car insurance discounts in Columbus

Many drivers in Columbus are able to take advantage of discounts to get a cheaper car insurance premium. Here are some of the most common car insurance discounts in Columbus:
Good student: Students who get good grades in school or maintain a minimum GPA can usually get a discount on their insurance policy.

  • Claims-free: Drivers who have no insurance claims or accidents on their record within the past several years often qualify for a discount.
  • Pay in full: Drivers who pay their annual premium upfront and in full can save money on their insurance policy.
  • Safe vehicle: Most insurance companies give drivers a discount if their car has safety features like anti-lock brakes or an anti-theft system.
  • Homeowner: Homeowners often qualify for an insurance discount, especially if they bundle their home and auto insurance policy with the same provider.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company?

The best car insurance company is different for every driver. It depends on where the driver lives, what their budget is, how much coverage they need and what type of coverage they need. Some of the highest rated insurance companies are USAA, The Hartford, Erie, Amica, Nationwide and Progressive.

How much does car insurance in Columbus cost?

The average driver in Columbus pays $1,265 per year for full coverage insurance and $398 per year for minimum coverage insurance. But keep in mind that every driver pays a different rate based on factors like their age, credit score and claims history.

How much car insurance do I need in Columbus?

Drivers in Columbus are required to carry at least 25/50/25 personal liability coverage. Many drivers choose to purchase full coverage insurance for more protection in the event of an at-fault accident.

Methodology

Bankrate utilizes Quadrant Information Services to analyze 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 sample drivers own a 2018 Honda Accord, commute five days a week and drive 12,000 miles annually.

These are sample rates and should be used for comparative purposes only. Your quotes may be different.

Written by
Elizabeth Rivelli
Insurance Contributor
Elizabeth has two years of experience writing for insurance domains such as Bankrate.com, The Simple Dollar, Coverage.com and NextAdvisor, among others. In addition to auto insurance, Elizabeth regularly writes about home insurance, renters insurance and life insurance. She also covers industry trends and general insurance education.