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Compare Auto Insurance Companies
Don’t spend more than you need on your auto insurance – but make sure to cover the relevant things for you. Compare top auto insurance providers to get the best insurance for your needs.
Products that appear on this page are from companies from which this website receives compensation. This may impact how and where products appear on this site (including, for example, the order in which they appear). We do not compare all providers in the market. Any information provided can be updated and may include additional terms.
Direct Auto Insurance
The Hartford’s AARP
For many of us, our cars are a vital element of our day to day lives. They are not only important for commuting to work, but also for social activities. So, auto insurance is an essential expense.
However, you don’t need to be stuck paying increasing premiums. Here we’ll explore how to compare auto insurance and get the best rates for your vehicle.
Why Should I Compare Auto Insurance Quotes Online?
The internet has revolutionized a number of aspects of our day to day lives, and auto insurance is no exception. There are a number of reasons to compare your auto insurance quotes online, but the most obvious is convenience.
You can obtain quotes at any hour of the day or night in the comfort of your own home. You can simply fill in the questionnaire and get multiple quotes to compare. This is not only a great time saver, but it also allows you to perform side by side comparisons.
One of the most challenging aspects of comparing insurance products is knowing what factors to compare. After all, every provider and policy is different. However, online brokers provide an overview of each product, so you can compare them.
This will allow you to compare coverage, deductibles, and other important factors before you make a final decision. You may even discover smaller insurance providers who you may have overlooked but who can offer you a great deal.
Why is Auto Insurance More Expensive for Teen Drivers and Senior Citizens?
Auto insurance premiums are calculated based on risk. Insurers assess the likelihood that you will need to use the coverage. They consider statistics and incidents based on your demographic group.
Teen drivers will have little or no driving experience. They are also more likely to be involved in an accident or behave irresponsibly behind the wheel. This is reflected in their insurance costs.
As you get older and gain more driving experience, the cost of your auto insurance will drop. Unfortunately, it starts to creep back up again for seniors. Although seniors are typically the safest drivers, obeying speed limits, driving fewer miles, and with more driving insurance, they are more likely to suffer an injury if they are involved in a crash. This represents a higher risk for the insurer, hence the higher premiums.
Of course, you can offset this more expensive coverage in a number of ways. Many parents choose to put their teens on their own policy. This allows the teen to benefit from their parent’s years of driving experience.
All age groups can also take defensive driving courses to save on their insurance. Many insurers offer up to a 10% discount on coverage after completing a course.
There are many factors affecting the cost of auto insurance. This is particularly significant for younger drivers. In this chart using data from The Zebra, you can see the dramatic difference in the average cost of minimum and full coverage for a 20 year old driver.
You can also see the difference incidents such as a one at fault crash, DUI or poor credit can impact the cost.
Top Factors That Impact Your Car Insurance Rates
As we touched on above, there are numerous factors that can impact your car insurance costs. While each provider will have its own parameters, some of the top factors include:
- Your Age: Mature drivers are likely to have fewer accidents, so this is reflected in insurance rates. Typically insurers will charge more if drivers below the age of 25 are included on the policy.
- Gender: Statistically, men tend to get into more accidents, have more DUIs and more serious accidents compared to men. So, typically, women will pay less for auto insurance compared to their male counterparts.
- Your Vehicle: The cost of your vehicle is an important factor in the cost of insuring it. However, the value is not the only factor. Insurers will also consider the cost of repairs, the likelihood of theft, the safety record of the vehicle, and its engine size. Often vehicles with high safety standards qualify for discounts on premiums.
- Driving Record: The better your driving record, typically, the lower your premiums. So, if you have had accidents or serious violations, you are going to pay more compared to someone with a clean driving record. This is another reason why new drivers typically pay more, as they have no insurance history.
Most drivers are aware that crashes can have an impact on insurance costs. In this chart using The Zebra data, you can see that an at fault crash increases the average cost of minimum coverage from $565 to $884. The price increase is even more significant if you have full coverage. You can expect to pay as much as 50% more on average.
- How Frequently You Drive: The more you’re driving your car, the more chances of an accident. So, if you rack up the miles, driving long distances, or commuting to work, you will pay more than someone who drives occasionally.
- Your Location: Insurers will also base your quote on your location. Urban drivers typically pay higher premiums due to the higher rates of accidents, theft, and vandalism. If you don’t live in a rural area or small town, you can offset the increased cost by parking your vehicle in a secure garage or installing anti theft features.
- The Amount and Type of Coverage: The basic insurance limits, deductible amounts, and types of policy will all impact how much you’ll pay.
- Your Credit: Like your credit score, there is an insurance score that is a statistical tool predicting the likelihood of filing claims and the likely costs of these claims.
How to Review Your Existing Car Insurance Policy?
Before you can compare auto insurance, you need to have a complete understanding of your existing policy. There are a number of aspects of your policy that you need to review, so you can make an informed decision about which insurer offers the best options.
Every insurer needs to provide a certificate of insurance. This details the key features of your policy and coverage. This makes it easier to review your existing policy and compare it with new quotes.
- Your Liability Limits: Liability limits can vary between policies or insurers. Many people set and forget their liability limits when they first get insurance and rarely consider it. So, it is important to review the limits of your existing policy to see how they compare with other policies.
- Your Deductible: Reviewing your car insurance policy is a good opportunity to revisit your deductible. Higher deductibles lower insurance costs, but they will increase the amount you’ll need to pay in the event of a claim. So, think carefully about the level of deductible you can manage.
- Vehicle Value: Another factor that insurers consider to determine your insurance premiums is your vehicle value. However, it is important to check your vehicle value when you review your policy. There is no point in paying extra on your premiums because of an overinflated vehicle value.
- Your Personal Details: It is also important to check your personal details to ensure they are correct. You may have skimmed the policy details when you first received the paperwork, but even a small error could be increasing your insurance costs.
Once you have reviewed your existing policy, you will have the key features that are important to you in a new policy. You can then obtain quotes and compare like for like to determine which offers the best value.
What Information Do You Need to Compare Auto Insurance Rates?
While obtaining online auto insurance quotes online is convenient, you will still need to gather some paperwork and information. It is important that you can provide correct information to obtain accurate quotes. If you estimate answers to questions, you may find that your actual insurance cost is higher than the initial quote.
The information you will need includes:
- Your Basic Personal Information: You will typically need to provide your name, birthdate, address with zip code, and occupation.
- Your Current Auto Insurer: If you currently have auto insurance, you may need to provide your provider details.
- Driver’s License Details: You will need to provide driver’s license details for yourself and anyone else you want to be included in the policy.
- Vehicle Information: Insurers need accurate vehicle information to determine your quote. In many cases, you can use the VIN number to provide all the basic vehicle information. You can then confirm the current and annual mileage, any additional safety features, and whether you lease or own the vehicle.
- Your Driving Habits: In addition to your annual mileage, you will also need to confirm how often you use the vehicle, whether you drive for pleasure, commuting, or even driving for a rideshare company.
- Driver History: Insurers will check your driving history before they issue a policy. So, it is important to be upfront to obtain an accurate quote. You will need to disclose tickets, driving violations, or accidents for you and all drivers on your policy over the last five years.
- Your Preferred Coverage: Finally, you will need to decide what coverage you need. You can simply look at the coverage on your existing policy, or determine your preferred coverage. This will enable you to obtain a like for like quote that meets your needs.
How Do I Compare Car Insurance Plans?
Once you have your insurance quotes, it is important to take a little time to properly compare the plans. With all the legal and technical jargon, reading through the small print of each quote may seem daunting. Fortunately, it involves just a few basic steps.
- Gather Your Quotes: It is difficult to compare insurance products if you don’t have the information in front of you. Don’t assume that you’ll remember all the pertinent points for each quote. Using online comparison sites makes comparing quotes easy, but you can always print out each quote, so you can lay them side by side to make your comparison.
- Check the Quotes are Like For Like: It is important to check the type of coverage you need and ensure all the quotes meet your requirements. There is no point in comparing a basic liability only policy with a quote for comprehensive coverage and assuming the cheaper option is best. So, make sure that all your quotes provide the coverage you need.
- Check the Deductibles: The amount of your deductible can have a significant impact on your overall insurance cost. So, you need to check the quote has the same deductible for the same type of insurance. If a quote is more attractive, you will need to decide if you are willing to risk paying a higher deductible in the event of a claim.
- Assess Eligible Discounts: Finally, you should check if the quotes include discounts offered that you qualify for. The discounts can vary across insurers, but it is common to be offered discounts for vehicles with anti theft or safety features, safe drivers, or even good students. You may also qualify for a discount if you bundle your insurance policies.
Why is it Difficult to Compare Auto Insurance?
The main difficulty of comparing auto insurance is that your circumstances are unique and different insurers may handle it in different ways. There is no standard format for insurance quotes that allow you to easily compare boxes.
You will also need to think about what is most important to you. So, if one quote is cheaper, but has less coverage or a higher deductible, you will need to decide if you are willing to make the compromise.
Another difficulty is that many people find reading through all the legal and insurance terminology challenging. Fortunately, you can overcome this by focusing on specific parameters as we detailed above. This will allow you to scan the quote and pick out the important points of comparison.
If you’re still having difficulty comparing auto insurance, you may appreciate online auto insurance brokers. These sites typically allow you to complete one form with your information and will present you with several product options. This is usually in the format of a table, so you can scan the quote details quickly. You can then click for further information, if you want to learn more.
Why Is There No “Cheapest Car Insurance Company”?
Life would be so simple if you could just visit the cheapest car insurance company and know you’ve got the best deal. Unfortunately, insurance does not work this way. As we touched on above, your circumstances and requirements for auto insurance are unique. This means that the cheapest company for your friend may not offer the best options for you.
Many insurance providers focus on different areas, targeting a different audience. So, some companies specialize in providing coverage for seniors, while others may offer preferential rates for young drivers, women, or other groups.
Another consideration is that many companies offer loyalty bonuses and bundle deals. So, you may find that a quote for company A is expensive, but if you already have home insurance with this company, a discount makes it far more competitive.
Remember that every insurer has its own set of risk parameters and statistics. So, while one company may penalize you for not having five years of driving experience, another company may find that three years is sufficient. Another example is the number of speeding tickets or other traffic violations a company considers an unacceptable risk.
This is why it is crucial to compare auto insurance. You cannot make assumptions that one company is the cheapest or the best without checking an individual quote. You may even find that the company you use for your home insurance or life insurance does not offer the best auto insurance deal. So, take a little time to check out your options before you agree to coverage.
How Do I Get the Lowest Car Insurance Rates?
For many people, it appears that car insurance rates continue to get higher and higher every year. Fortunately, there are some ways that you can cut auto insurance costs to get a better deal.
- Consider Insuring Multiple Vehicles or Drivers: Insurance companies can offer bulk rates if you insure several vehicles or drivers with that company. This can be a great option if you are in a higher risk group, such as under 25. While you may pay more for insurance, you will typically get a better deal than insuring a single vehicle.
- Stay Safe: Of course, this is a long term approach, but bear in mind that every ticket or traffic violation will increase your insurance costs in the future. So try to adopt a safe driving mindset; watch your speed, drive defensively and avoid in car distractions. You could save as much as 23% for having a safe driving record.
- Defensive Driving Courses: Following on from the previous point, completing a defensive driving course is likely to attract a discount on your auto insurance. It must be an accredited course, and this can vary by state. So, it is worth checking with your insurer before you sign up for a class.
- Increase Your Deductible: Most insurers allow you to choose a deductible, so think about increasing your deductible a little to bring down your annual premium. Just remember that you will need to pay this amount in the event of a claim, so don’t choose a deductible that you will be unable to cover.
- Think About Your Vehicle: While you may love your massive SUV, you need to consider that it will be costing more for your auto insurance. If you want to dramatically reduce your insurance costs, consider switching to a smaller vehicle.
- Shop Around: Finally, following the overall theme of this article, be sure to shop around at renewal time. Take some time to compare quotes and assess which insurer offers the best deal.
Why Do Car Insurance Rates Vary By State?
It can be very frustrating to speak to a friend or family member in another state and find that their car insurance rates are much cheaper than yours. This can lead you to wonder why car insurance rates vary by state.
There is a simple answer to this. Each state has its own auto insurance laws, which can lead to dramatic differences in costs for consumers.
Another reason for the differences is that location is a chief factor for insurers determining a quote. Zip codes are assigned different risk levels by insurers based on the severity, cost, or the sheer number of car insurance claims in the area. The insurers use these statistics to gauge how likely an incident will happen to drivers in this zip code.
So, if you live in a state that has a higher population density, the fact that there are more people per square mile will increase the chances of being involved in a collision. Additionally, there is a greater chance that more vehicles will be involved in the incident and that it will be more severe.
A higher population density also tends to lead to more cases of vandalism or theft. All of these factors contribute to higher insurance costs in that state compared to one with fewer people.
What Information Do I Need to Provide to Get a Reliable Quote?
We have touched on what details you need to provide to obtain an auto insurance quote. So, the key to getting a reliable quote is not the information you provide, but rather the accuracy of your information.
Insurers will use the details you provide to generate a quote, but they will verify the information before issuing a policy. So, if you declare that you have had one speeding ticket, but you’ve actually had three, your quote will be underestimated, and you’ll pay more to get the policy.
For this reason, it is important to gather your paperwork before you start researching quotes. Don’t guess the answers to questions; answer as accurately as possible to get a reliable quote.
Which States Have the Lowest Car Insurance Rates?
According to the Zebra research, Maine has the lowest car insurance rates, with an average of $935 per year. Other states that offer the lowest car insurance rates include North Carolina, Virgnia, New Hampshire and Hawaii. The list of top ten least expensive car insurance states is filled out with Ohio, Idaho, Vermont, and Indiana.
However, it is important to consider that your zip code and circumstances will have a significant impact on your insurance rates even within these states. So, if you have little or no driving history, drive a larger vehicle, or are in a higher risk group, you may pay more compared to a safe driver in a more expensive state.
Typically, the states with the most inexpensive car insurance rates have lower population densities and less costly lawsuits and accidents. This chart showing The Zebra data on the average annual premium costs, shows that the state of Maine offers the least costly car insurance. This is closely followed by North Carolina and Virginia.
However, there is only a 25% difference in cost between Maine and the 10th least expensive state, Indiana. This is a different trend compared to the most expensive car insurance states, where the cost can be significantly different.
Which States Have the Highest Car Insurance Rates?
Michigan continues to be the state with the highest car insurance rate. This state has an average premium of over $3,000 per year. This is significantly higher than the second-highest state Louisiana, which is cheaper on average by $800. The top five list of highest car insurance rate states is completed by Florida, Kentucky and Rhode Island.
Your home state can have a significant impact on your car insurance rates. This can be attributed to high density populations, higher numbers of uninsured drivers, the costs of lawsuits and even unique insurance schemes.
In this chart created with data from The Zebra shows the ten most expensive states for car insurance. It shows Michigan continues to have the highest average annual premiums. The average cost of insurance is significantly more in Michigan compared to the second most expensive state, Louisiana.
There are a number of reasons why these states have particularly high rates. The most common factors are high density populations, high numbers of costly lawsuits, and high numbers of uninsured drivers. All of these things dramatically drive up the cost of premiums.
As with the cheapest insurance rate states, your individual circumstances will impact your overall auto insurance cost.
What is Collision Insurance?
Collision insurance reimburses you for the damage sustained to your personal vehicle due to your fault. It is often added to basic auto coverage to protect you in the event of collision damage. However, you will not have protection against vandalism, theft, or damage due to another driver.
The primary difference between comprehensive and collision coverage is down to driver control. Collision insurance covers events in your control or if another vehicle collides with you. Comprehensive coverage provides protection against events out of your control, such as inclement weather, carjacking, or even a spooked deer.
As an example, if you’re driving in a storm and you swerve to avoid a falling tree and crash into a guard rail, your collision insurance would pay for the damage. However, if the tree fell onto your vehicle, you would be reimbursed under a comprehensive policy.
How Many Car Insurance Quotes Should I Compare?
Generally speaking, it is a good idea to get three car insurance quotes. This will allow you to obtain a fairly reliable average cost. You should immediately be able to see if all three quotes are similar, or if one is particularly high or low.
However, be aware that some insurance companies do perform a credit search to offer you a quote. If you’re worried about your credit score, multiple searches in a short period can impact your score.
However, you can get around this by using an online insurance quote service. Many of these services use a soft credit search to provide multiple quotes. This should not have any impact on your credit score or credit history.
Auto Insurance Terms You Should Know
As we touched on above, many people find the terminology in insurance paperwork to be overwhelming. But, if you want to get the best deal, you need to have a basic understanding of at least some of the common terms.
The auto insurance terms you should know include:
- Deductible: We have already used this term numerous times in this article. In simple terms, your deductible is the amount of out of pocket expenses you will have when you make a claim. So, if you have a $500 deductible on a $5,000 claim, your insurer will only cover $4,500.
- Declarations Page: This is the summary of coverage. It will detail the type of coverage, limitations, costs, and the actual vehicle that is covered. You can use the declarations page for your current policy to compare with new quotes.
- PIP: Personal Injury Protection is a basic coverage that is required in no fault states. The specific details are determined by your state, but generally, PIP covers lost wages, medical expenses, funeral costs, and essential services that you may not be able to complete due to your injuries.
- SR-22: This is also known as a CFR or Certificate of Financial Responsibility. It is essentially proof of insurance for those with a suspended driver’s license. If you’ve had a DUI or other severe violation, the DMV will inform you that you need to file an SR-22. Your insurer will need to file the paperwork, and you could be reclassified as a higher risk driver for at least three years.
- Gap Insurance: Most of us are aware that brand new vehicles immediately begin to depreciate. Gap insurance provides coverage for the difference between what you owe on your vehicle and the actual vehicle value. So, if your vehicle cost $50,000, but is only worth $40,000 after 6 months, you may still owe $45,000 on your loan. This means that if your car is totaled, a standard insurance policy would only pay out $40,000, and you would owe $5,000, creating a need for gap insurance.
How Does A Speeding Ticket Affect Auto Insurance
Speeding tickets are part of your driving record, and insurers will check your driving record to determine your risk level. There is a perception you are at a higher risk of making a claim or having an accident if you have violations on your driving record.
The more violations you have, the more likely that the costs of your auto insurance will increase. If you have speeding tickets, you may be considered to be in a higher risk group and be charged more, even if you have not made a claim.
Over a million drivers are arrested for a DUI each year in the US. This offense not only carries fines and other penalties, but it also impacts the cost of car insurance. In this chart using The Zebra data, you can see the cost of car insurance almost doubles after a DUI for both minimum coverage and full coverage. This means that you can expect to pay an average of over $3,100 compared to approximately $1,600 if you had a clean driving record.
In fact, if your insurer deems that you have too many risky behaviors such as a number of speeding tickets or other moving violations, they may choose not to renew your policy.
The amount of premium increase will depend on a number of factors. Your insurer may consider your previous driving record, if this was a first traffic offense, how many mph you were above the speed limit, and where the violation occurred.
In addition to potentially increasing your auto insurance costs, speeding tickets can impact your car insurance in a couple of other ways.
If you have multiple tickets, you may miss out on cost reductions in the long term. Typically, more driving experience will result in lower premiums. However, speeding tickets will create a poor driving record that could eliminate any of these benefits.
As we touched on above, if you have a record of traffic violations that insurers consider serious, you may lose standard coverage. You may be unable to find a traditional insurance company that will offer you coverage. In this scenario, you may need to resort to a state run risk plan or assigned risk plan. These are available in many states, but tend to be far less attractive compared to standard private insurance coverage.