The Best Cheap Auto Insurance

To find the best cheap auto insurance, we analyzed 36 nationwide providers for policies that offer plenty of discounts without skimping on coverage. Four providers stood out, but the one that’s ‘cheapest’ depends on you, your car, and your driving record. To find your best price, you’ll have to compare quotes from our top picks. Use our quote tool above to get started.

The 4 Best Cheap Auto Insurance Companies

  • Travelers — Best for Discounts
  • Progressive — Best for "High-Risk" Drivers
  • Allstate — Best for New Drivers
  • State Farm — Best for Uber & Lyft Drivers

Travelers — Best for Discounts

Pros Lots of driver discounts

Impressive supplemental coverage
Cons Customer satisfaction scores leave room for improvement

Why we chose it

Lots of driver discounts

If you’re looking for the cheapest auto insurer, we suggest you start with Travelers. It offers the highest number of discounts among our top picks, and its deductions are primarily based on you, the driver.

For example, Travelers awards drovers a 2–3% discount for using an electronic funds transfer to pay your bill — if you’re already paying your bill online, setting up a recurring payment directly from your bank account allows you to easily earn this discount while also being rewarded for paying each bill on time. These are simple ways to save that almost anyone can benefit from.

Impressive supplemental coverage

In addition to the basics, Travelers includes hard-to-find options for accident forgiveness, GAP insurance (that covers the difference in price between the value of your wrecked vehicle and the amount still owed on its loan), and ridesharing coverage.

The choices Travelers is missing — like pet injury protection — are usually only offered by one major provider, so we let those slide. This isn’t a guarantee that the company will have everything you’re looking for, but by offering a wide range of available coverage, it provides more opportunities to protect the things that matter most.

Points to consider

Claims satisfaction scores leave room for improvement

If there’s a notable downside to Travelers, its claims satisfaction: the company scored 851/1000, seven points below the industry average, in the 2017 J.D. Power claims satisfaction survey. Common complaints include long waits for claims resolution and difficulty contesting settlements. While everyone’s experience will vary, Travelers is less likely to impress in terms of customer service.

Progressive — Best for "High-Risk" Drivers

Pros Discounts geared toward high-risk drivers

Usage-based insurance option
Cons Fewer supplemental coverage options

Why we chose it

Discounts for the risky driver

Though Progressive may not have the highest number of discounts, it offers an impressive range. You’ll receive effortless deductions for things like opting for paperless billing, making monthly payments on time, and signing a new policy early. The company offers deductions we didn’t find with any other provider, including one for drivers under 18, who will likely face some of the highest rates of any demographic. Progressive also boasts a safe driver discount that averages 31% savings, though this likely won’t benefit those riskier drivers, it’s incentive to improve.

Usage-based insurance option

Traditionally, insurance companies determine your rate using personal information and accident history. The “riskier” you are to insure, the higher your premium. But progressive also offers an alternative based on your actual driving habits.

The program, called Snapshot, uses a telematic device in your car to send driving data to the company. It’ll note things like how quickly you brake and accelerate, how often and far you drive, and if you use your phone while driving. This way, the risk of insuring you can be more accurately weight against your habits and the miles you drive. For infrequent drivers or city-dwellers who don’t rely on their cars to get around, this can be another opportunity to see significant savings on auto insurance.

Points to consider

Fewer supplemental coverage options

While Progressive covers the basics with its standard coverage, we found it lacking in supplemental additions. Ridesharing coverage, accident forgiveness, and new car replacement are all noticeable absences. Popular additions like personal injury, umbrella, and property protection aren’t offered either. If you think you may want any of these options, you’ll want to look at a provider with more comprehensive coverage, such as Travelers or Allstate.

Allstate — Best for New Drivers

Pros Best-in-class resources

Discounts for students
Cons Customer satisfaction scores leave room for improvement

Why we chose it

Best-in-class resources

If you’re new to auto insurance, or don’t totally understand the details of your policy — you can find a guide for that on Allstate’s website. There are articles, videos, and infographics that can clearly detail how to read your policy, how to compare rates, and tips for saving money. Even if you don’t end up signing with Allstate, we still recommend checking out its website for the resources alone. If you’re a customer, you can use its online portal to file a claim, adjust your coverage, alter your deductibles, and add new drivers and vehicles.

Discounts for students

While Allstate doesn’t boast the most discounts, the ones it does offer will benefit families with student drivers — especially if you’ve outfitted your student’s care with safety features like an anti-theft device or anti-lock brakes.

What’s more, if one of the drivers on your policy is under 25 and a full-time student with good grades, has completed the insurer’s teenSMART driver education program or is attending school within 100 miles of where they store their car, they’ll qualify for Allstate’s “smart student” discount. Because younger drivers are riskier to insure, a price break like this is usually hard to come by.

Points to consider

Customer satisfaction scores leave room for improvement

Amidst our favorite insurers, Allstate ranked on the lower end when of customer satisfaction with 833/1000 according to J.D. Power — nine points below the industry average. According to the survey, potential customers mentioned that Allstate’s representatives were less helpful than its competition and that its quotes were often more expensive. Your policy price will depend on many factors, and it's still worth pulling a quote, but be sure to inquire with other insurers too.

State Farm — Best for Uber & Lyft Drivers

Pros Rideshare coverage

Impressive claims satisfaction ratings
Cons Fewer discounts

Why we chose it

Rideshare coverage

Rideshare businesses like Uber and Lyft are becoming more popular, and drivers need unique coverage to insure their vehicle. Historically, rideshare employees would have to acquire a separate, commercial policy. With State Farm, however, you can make sure you’re covered around the clock. Just note that this relatively new option is limited to 42 states right now — but that number is quickly growing.

Available in the following states

AL, AZ, AR, CA, CO, CT, DE, FL, GA, ID, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MS, MO, MT, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, NV, OH, OK, OR, PA, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WV, WI, WY.

Impressive claims satisfaction ratings

Arguably, the most important part of an insurers customer service is its claims processing experience. If you aren’t satisfied with how your claims are handled and resolved, you’ll be less inclined to file a claim and utilize the insurance you pay a lot of money for. We’re happy to report that State Farm scored 865/1000 in the 2017 J.D. Power customer satisfaction survey, a solid seven points above the industry average. And with about 18,000 agents across the country, we’re confident State Farm can live up to its score.

Points to consider

Fewer discounts

When it comes to finding the cheapest auto insurer, State Farm may not top your list; it offers the fewest discounts out of our top four picks. You’ll find discounts for having multiple policies and some safety features like airbags and antilock brakes; however, if you have young or elderly drivers on your policy, own a home, or are insuring a new car, you may want to start elsewhere.

Luckily, its general lack of discounts doesn’t mean you’re premiums will be more expensive. Many factors that contribute to your rate — and that’s why comparing quotes is so important.

How to maximize your car insurance savings

Don’t skimp on the basics

While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest, most bare-bones policy, there is certain coverage that’s not worth cutting, no matter the savings. We consulted the experts — a mix of insurance agents and accident attorneys — to find six basic coverage types that every auto policy should have. As you look for an affordable policy, keeps these necessities in mind:

Bodily injury liability

Bodily injury liability pays the expenses stemming from injuries you might cause in an accident. Medical treatment isn’t cheap — it’s essential to protect your assets in case a doctor’s visit is added to your insurance costs.

Collision

Collision covers damages that may result from colliding with another car, object, or from flipping your vehicle. This coverage is particularly important since these are the accidents most likely to occur in everyday life.

Comprehensive

Comprehensive protects against theft or damage that isn’t from a collision with another car or object. That means things like earthquakes, fires, vandalism, and damage caused by animals. If you’re in an area with high rates of such environmental factors, it’s important to protect yourself with comprehensive coverage — you’re likely paying more in your premium for them as is.

Personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payment

Personal injury protection (PIP) or medical payment are similar to bodily injury liability but instead covers the costs of injuries to yourself and any passengers in your vehicle. You certainly don’t want to be underinsured when it comes to your own medical attention — choosing PIP helps protect you from financial damages that might come as a result of physical ones.

Property damage liability

Property damage liability pays for damage to other people’s property that you might cause in an accident. That includes other vehicles, buildings, telephone poles, fences, and any other property; chances are an accident you’re in will affect more than just your vehicle.

Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM)

Uninsured/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) protects you against the costs of being in an accident with uninsured or underinsured motorists, or hit and run drivers. It’s frustrating to have to pay for another motorist’s insurance negligence, but if you don’t have UM/UIM coverage, you’ll probably be forced to pay far more than just your premium.

Dig into discount opportunities

Knowing which discounts you’re eligible for (and which companies offer them) will help you find the best rate for your plan. That’s why we pulled together a list of the deductions offered by each of our top picks.

= Offered by Travelers
= Offered by Progressive
= Offered by Allstate
= Offered by State Farm
Driver discounts
  • Multi-Policy discounts are available to customers who bundle their insurance plans: if your insurer also offers home or life protection, you’ll be able to save by keeping all your policies with the same provider.
  • Safe Driver discounts are among the most common in the industry. These reward good driving records — if you haven’t had an accident in the last several years, you’ll likely be rewarded with your premium.
  • Good Student discounts provide savings for student drivers who maintain a solid GPA at school — generally around a B average or higher.
  • Multi-Car discounts are offered for insuring multiple vehicles under the same plan.
  • Driver Training lowers your premium if you’ve taken or enroll in a driver safety program. These courses teach responsible driving habits and decrease your risk of being in an accident.
  • EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer), Paid in Full, and Good Payer deductions reward responsible premium payments and are a low-hassle way to save money on your insurance.
  • Early Quote or Early Signing discounts are another simple way to save. Companies like their customers to sign new policies early — this commitment gives them the security of knowing you aren’t leaving for another provider — and they’ll often be willing to reward you accordingly.
  • Student Away at School is a discount for families with students who only need coverage when they’re home on breaks and holidays.
  • Continuous Insurance deductions are offered to customers who don’t allow their coverage to lapse.
  • Home Ownership rewards customers who have purchased property. Having your own home demonstrates stability to providers, so they’ll view you as a lower risk to insure. This gives them an incentive to offer you a lower rate in exchange for your business.
  • Affiliate Programs reward drivers who are members of an insurer’s affiliate program. Such affiliates earn commission based on referrals that drive business to the provider.
  • Paperless discounts are among the easiest to qualify for. All it takes is switching your communication method to email to see a deduction in your monthly premium.
  • Drivers under 18 is a deduction for young drivers. This is almost unheard-of among auto insurers, since teenagers are among the most likely demographic to be involved in an accident.
Vehicle discounts
  • Anti-lock Brakes is a discount for qualifying vehicles. If your car comes equipped with anti-lock brakes — brakes that prevent locking up and thus avoid skidding — you may be able to save on your insurance costs.
  • New Car discounts are available to customers with newer vehicles — this is generally because such cars are equipped with the latest safety features that will keep you safer on the road.
  • Anti-theft Device discounts work much the same as those for anti-lock brakes. This deduction is available to owners of vehicles with technology to reduce the risk of theft, including extra locks and electronic tracking systems.
  • Airbags are a standard safety feature in all cars, but the location of these bags — and their subsequent savings — varies by vehicle. Cars with full-front seat airbags will likely see greater discounts than those with only driver-side airbags.
  • Daytime Lights increase visibility for yourself and other drivers. Insurers like GEICO and State Farm are more than happy to reward you for adding another degree of precaution.
  • Usage-based discounts are offered for installing devices in your vehicle that will monitor driving habits and behaviors, like your speed of acceleration and the frequency at which you brake abruptly. If you’re a cautious driver who doesn’t spend much time behind the wheel, you may be able to save significant amounts by opting for one of these plans.
  • Hybrid/Electric Vehicle discounts reward you for thinking of the environment with your vehicle.

Pay for small repairs yourself

Unless your plan includes some form of accident forgiveness, filing claims of any size will cause your premium to go up. For small repairs, the price to fix it may be less than the increase in your premium — a chipped windshield, for example, can often be repaired for under $100, while a subsequent increase of just 10% on your premium could run you well over that amount in annual insurance costs. Since repairs are a one-time expense, it may end up saving you money over time to sweat the small stuff yourself.

Rate check every two years

A 2013 study by Earnix found that 48% of larger insurers determine premiums based on how much they think customers will be willing to pay. This practice, known as price optimization, is estimated by mining personal data, such as your internet activity and credit score, to determine your likelihood of switching companies if your premium goes up.

The good news: When mining your data, insurance companies see how often you get quotes from other insurers. If you’re shopping around on a regular basis, your provider views you as a more volatile customer and is less likely to increase your rate.

Getting quotes every couple years will help keep your insurer focused on retaining your business — and can help you find a better deal from other providers too.

Cheap Auto Insurance FAQ

How much does auto insurance cost?

On average, auto insurance can cost between $99 and $250 per month. But it all depends on factors from your personal profile like age, driving history, credit score, vehicle type and number of vehicles. If you’d like to lower your monthly rate further, consider opting for a higher deductible. However, this means you’ll be paying more out-of-pocket when there’s an accident. Experts recommend choosing a deductible amount that you can afford to pay off in the event that you get into an accident. Some people chose to open a separate savings account for this purpose.

How much does auto insurance increase after an accident?

According to a study done by InsuranceQuotes and Quadrant Information Services, drivers saw an increase average of 44 percent after they filed a claim (worth $2,000 or more). That’s nearly doubling your insurance prices just for actually using it. The study found that increases will range by state, depending on the local regulations that affect how insurers set a premium. In California, the average rate increase is 63 percent while in Maryland it’s only 21 percent. If you have a minor repair with a cost that’s close to your deductible, it may not be worth filing a claim. But don’t hesitate to use your insurance when you need it most, that’s what it’s for after all.

Can you drive a new car without insurance?

Technically, it is illegal to drive a car without insurance, and you’ll want to notify your insurer of the car as soon as possible. If you know you’re about to purchase a car, you should get quotes for auto insurance first. If you already have a policy with another vehicle, that coverage will extend to your car for anywhere between four and 30 days, depending on your policy.

What is the cheapest auto insurance company?

The cheapest auto insurance company for you depends on where you live, what type of car you drive, your driving record, and other factors. Travelers is our top pick for number and variety of discounts. For “high-risk” drivers, we recommend Progressive; for new drivers, we like Allstate.

How do I lower my rate?

The simplest way to lower your monthly rate is to raise your deductible. You’ll have to pay more out of pocket if you ever file a claim, but that can be worth it depending on your driving record and your saving habits. You can also look at the discounts your insurer offers and make adjustments to qualify for me. Things like adding safety features, opting for an ebill, or taking a safety course are all simple actions that qualify as discounts for some companies.

The Best Cheap Auto Insurance: Summed Up

Travelers
Progressive
Allstate
State Farm
Best For
Discounts
"High-Risk" Drivers
New Drivers
Uber & Lyft Drivers
A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating
A++
A+
A+
A++
J.D. Customer Satisfaction Score
851/1000
853/1000
864/1000
865/1000
Number of Supplemental Coverages
14
10
12
8
Number of Discounts
16
12
11
10
Online Claim Filing
24/7 Support

More In-Depth Auto Insurance Reviews

Auto insurance is a complex business, and you’ll want to know everything you can about your insurer. Luckily, we’ve been doing this for a while. Check out our in-depth auto insurance reviews below for more information about individual insurers, but be sure to keep your eyes peeled — we’ll be making updates to these reviews soon to maintain consistency with our latest research.