The Best Cheap Auto Insurance Companies
To find the best cheap auto insurance, we compared quotes from 36 nationwide providers. Four providers stood out, but your cheapest option depends on your car, your driving record, and other personal details. To find your own best provider, you can compare quotes from our top picks using the quote tool above.
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 and Lyft Drivers
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Ranked by Premium: The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies
Quadrant car insurance rate data as of 07/01/2019.
These rates are a sample set meant only for general comparison. Your own premium will vary. Learn how we tested rates for the cheapest car insurance companies below. USAA is only available to current and former military members, and their families.
The best cheap auto insurance companies combine low average annual premiums with great service and product offerings for their customers. Many of these providers have been recognized year after year for their service, while maintaining average premiums that are below average market rates.
Best for Discounts: Travelers Insurance
Lots of driver discounts
Impressive supplemental coverage
Average claims satisfaction scores
If you’re looking for the cheapest auto insurer, we suggest you start with Travelers. It offers lots of discounts including important mainstays like multi-policy and multi-car, and its deductions are primarily based on you, the driver. When it comes to coverage, 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.
Travelers scored three points below the industry average (865 out of 1,000) in the 2019 J.D. Power claims satisfaction survey. That’s better than Allstate but still “about average,” according to J.D. Power. While everyone’s experience will vary, Travelers is less likely than companies like State Farm to impress in terms of customer service. Common complaints include long waits for claims resolution and difficulty contesting settlements.
Best for “High-Risk” Drivers: Progressive
Discounts geared toward “high-risk” drivers
Usage-based insurance option
Fewer supplemental coverage options
Progressive offers an impressive range of discounts and 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. Traditionally, insurance companies determine your rate using personal information and accident history, 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.
Progressive didn’t do so well, though, when it came to customer satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction Study. While this doesn’t automatically mean you’ll have a negative claims experience, newer drivers with less experience with car insurance and those who value top-notch customer service might consider State Farm which scored above average in the same study.
Best for New Drivers: Allstate
Discounts for students
Below-average customer satisfaction score
While Allstate doesn’t boast the most discounts, the ones it offers will benefit families with student drivers. If one of the drivers on your policy qualifies for Allstate’s “good student” discount, you can receive a price break that’s usually hard to come by for younger and therefore riskier drivers. Among our favorite insurers, Allstate ranked on the lower end when it came to customer satisfaction. According to the J.D. Power survey, potential customers mentioned that Allstate’s representatives were less helpful than its competition and that its car insurance quotes were often more expensive.
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. 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.
Best for Uber and Lyft Drivers: State Farm
Impressive claims satisfaction ratings
Rideshare businesses like Uber and Lyft are becoming more popular and drivers need unique coverage to insure their vehicle. With State Farm, you can make sure you’re covered whenever you drive, but this relatively new option can vary by state. When it comes to finding the cheapest auto insurer, State Farm may not top your list. It offers fewer discounts than our other top picks, but its general lack of discounts doesn’t mean that your premiums will be more expensive. Many factors contribute to your rate — and that’s why comparing car insurance quotes is so important.
Arguably, the most important part of an insurer’s customer service is its claims processing experience. We’re happy to report that State Farm scored 878 out of 1,000 in the 2019 J.D. Power claims satisfaction survey, which is ten points above the industry average. And with 19,000 agents across the country, we’re confident that State Farm can live up to its score.
4 Tips For Finding Cheap Auto Insurance
Don’t skimp on the basics
While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest, most bare-bones policy, remember that you’re spending money on your premium for protection – so make sure you’re protected by comparing rates and coverages. Liability, collision, comprehensive, PIP, and uninsured motorist are coverages that we recommend every auto policy should have. But that doesn’t mean you can’t save in other areas.
Raising your deductible or choosing a usage-based car insurance policy can lower your premium without compromising protection. We also created our guide to auto insurance coverage levels to help you understand which coverages you need to keep and which you may be able to skip based on your needs.
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.
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 save you money over time to sweat the small stuff yourself.
Compare rates from different carriers every two years
Some insurance providers are turning to optimization techniques to determine what rates the company will charge. 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 few years will help keep your insurer focused on retaining your business — and can help you find a better deal from other providers, too.
Average Auto Insurance Premiums by State:
These rates are a sample set meant only for general comparison. Your own premium will vary. Learn how we tested rates for the cheapest car insurance companies by state below.
Insurance rates from state to state vary for a variety of reasons. Three of the key contributing factors to this are population density, minimum liability requirements and cost of living. Regarding population density, the argument goes that with more people in a given area, there is a higher chance of an accident taking place. Thus, more populated states such as New York end up on the more expensive end of this list while less populated states like Alaska end up on the cheaper end.
State differences in minimum liability requirements can contribute to major swings in insurance premiums, as well. Michigan, for example, has historically required all drivers to carry unlimited Personal Injury Protection (PIP), which drives up the price of insurance. PIP is expensive on its own and even more so when it is unlimited, contributing to Michigan’s spot as the country’s most expensive state for car insurance.
Finally, the cost of living goes hand in hand with population density. Cities with a high population density have less available space per person as more people move there. This makes real estate and everything else more expensive. More people on the roads can also lead to more accidents, which drives up the cost of insurance. This helps explain why states like New York, Maryland, and California all ended up on the top 10 list of states with the most expensive car insurance rates.
10 States with the Cheapest Car Insurance Rates
North Carolina: $996
10 States with the Most Expensive Car Insurance Rates
Rhode Island: $2,172
New York: $2,534
Average Auto Insurance Premiums by Age:
These rates are a sample set meant only for general comparison. Your own premium will vary. Learn how we tested rates for the cheapest car insurance rates by age below.
With more years of driving experience under their belt, drivers learn and adopt safer driving habits, or at least that’s what conventional wisdom says. Insurance companies tend to say that too, with premiums tending to level out in middle age. This has to do with a lower risk of accidents occurring, which translates to a lower probability of claims being filed.
Average Auto Insurance Premiums by Credit Tier:
These rates are a sample set meant only for general comparison. Your own premium will vary. Learn how we tested rates for the cheapest car insurance rates by credit score below.
Another contributor to a driver’s car insurance rate is their credit score. Companies use credit scores as predictive tools in determining anticipated losses. Generally, companies assess that drivers with lower credit scores are also more likely to file claims, thus contributing to the higher premiums they pay relative to drivers with strong credit scores. Additionally, credit scores can be related to age. Younger drivers tend to have lower credit scores, so their insurance rates tend to be higher based on the factors of age and credit score.
How We Chose the Best Cheap Auto Insurance Companies
Basic coverage necessities
The best car insurance policy will fit like a tailored shirt, with just the right amount of flexibility to ensure that you can use it whenever, wherever. But the insurance agents and attorneys we spoke with all agreed: Some things aren’t worth sacrificing.
Based on their recommendations, we compiled a list of coverage options you should always look for — even if they aren’t included in standard auto policies. We consider bodily injury, collision, comprehensive, PIP, and property damage to be necessities. Opting for these will ensure that you have the minimum level of protection in an accident.
When building your policy, you may need to look beyond the basics. For example, protections like umbrella coverage — which pays liability costs higher than the limits of your standard auto policy — help provide an extra layer of financial security. Others, like pet injury — which helps with veterinary expenses stemming from an accident — are geared toward dog owners. No single insurer will offer coverage that’s perfect for everyone, so we preferred the ones that have plenty of options.
Once you’ve established the coverage you want, it doesn’t hurt to pick the most affordable car insurance plan, so we favored providers with a wide range of discounts.
You won’t qualify for every discount, since some depend on factors beyond your control, like your age or the safety features installed in your car. However, others are based on behaviors like switching to paperless billing or having multiple cars on your policy. We prioritized deductions like these since more drivers will be able to use them. To see a full list of the discounts every insurer offers, check out our savings guide below.
Cheap Auto Insurance FAQ
The cost of auto insurance 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.
According to a study done by InsuranceQuotes and Quadrant Information Services, drivers saw an increase average of 44% after they filed a claim (worth $2,000 or more) — meaning your premium could nearly double just for using your insurance. 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%, while in Maryland it’s only 21%. 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; after all, that’s what it’s for.
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.
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. For Uber and Lyft drivers, State Farm offers some of the most comprehensive coverage.
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 them. Things like adding safety features, opting for an e-bill, or taking a safety course are all simple actions that qualify as discounts for some companies.
Other Cheap Auto Insurance Companies to Consider
While the four companies above are most likely to be your cheapest options, there are a few other companies to consider depending on your needs. It’s always worth comparing car insurance quotes from our picks with a few additional options to see which strikes the best balance between coverage and price.
Why it’s worth considering
There’s a lot to like about Erie Insurance, especially given its cheap average annual premium of just $942. Erie was recognized as the highest-ranked auto insurance brand in the mid-atlantic by J.D. Power in its 2019 Auto Insurance Study. Moreover, Erie is a company you can rely on, having received an A+ rating for financial strength by A.M. Best, the largest company devoted to rating insurers’ financial strength.
Why we didn’t choose it
Though Erie Insurance has a lot to offer customers as one of the best cheap auto insurance companies, one of its shortfalls is its availability. Erie only operates in 12 states and Washington D.C., meaning most Americans won’t be able to take advantage of its services.
USAA Auto Insurance
Why it’s worth considering
If you’re an active or former military member — or related to one — we highly recommend considering USAA for car insurance. USAA provides exceptional customer service and timely, fair claims payments, as evidenced by top ratings in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction survey and Consumer Reports’ claims satisfaction study. USAA also earns some of the best possible financial scores: “A++” from A.M. Best, “AA+” from S&P Global, and “Aa1” from Moody’s. These ratings mean that USAA promises rock-solid backing for your policy, as well as a stable credit outlook in just about any economy.
Why we didn’t choose it
USAA only insures active or former members of the military and their families. We don’t list it as a top pick because most people aren’t eligible for coverage. However, if you do qualify for USAA car insurance, we suggest getting a quote — it’s likely to offer great service and be competitively priced.
American Family Auto Insurance
Why it’s worth considering
American Family receives great ratings for customer service and claims from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, but AmFam’s discounts are what make it competitive with our four picks. The company offers generous discounts for good students, safe drivers, families, vehicle safety features, multi-policy bundling, paperless billing, and more.
Why we didn’t choose it
American Family car insurance is only available in 19 states. We focused on companies that cover 40 states or more. If AmFam is available in your state, it’s worth taking a look:
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
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.
The Best Auto Insurance Companies by State
Every state offers a unique set of insurance providers, and there are plenty of circumstances that affect the policies and coverage available to you. We’ve reviewed the best car insurance options in every state using a methodology similar to the one for this review on nationwide providers.
We worked with Quadrant Information Services to provide data on auto insurance rates by company, state, age, and credit score. Quadrant makes this information available using rate data insurers are required to file with state Departments of Insurance. Rates are based on sample profiles created by Reviews.com for comparative purposes.