The cheapest car insurance, period, will likely carry the minimum coverage required in your state. In most states, this is liability insurance only, which covers property damage and medical bills for others due to accidents you cause. Some states also require uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage, which pay for your injuries or damage if an at-fault driver doesn’t have enough insurance.
J.D. Power and Consumer Reports give American Family strong ratings for customer service and claims: two factors that are incredibly important when it comes to insurance. But where AmFam really sets itself apart is in the discount department. The company offers generous savings opportunities for almost any driver — from price cuts for safe drivers, good students, and families, to discounts for vehicle safety features, policy bundling, paperless billing, and more. If AmFam is available in your area, try getting a quote to see whether these discounts can help you save on car insurance.
NerdWallet averaged rates for 40-year-old men and women for 20 ZIP codes in each state and Washington, D.C., from the largest insurers, up to 12 in each state. “Good drivers” had no moving violations on record and credit in the “good” tier as reported to each insurer. For the other two driver profiles, we changed the credit tier to “poor” or added one at-fault accident, keeping everything else the same. Sample drivers had the following coverage limits:
Professional and organizational discounts: If you belong to certain organizations, such as the AARP, or are a member of certain professions, you may be eligible for a discount. Check with your employer, professional organization, and any other group with which you enjoy membership; you can also ask the insurance company if any such discount is available.
Any car insurance comparison tool you look at should have your state’s minimum car insurance requirements pre-loaded into its options. States requiring PIP or medpay are generally referred to as “no-fault” states, meaning that when injuries occur, each driver in a crash makes a claim with their own insurance company to pay for them. Beyond the PIP or medpay limit, the at-fault driver’s liability insurance kicks in to cover the rest.
While it’s easy to get lured in by insurance providers offering extremely low auto insurance rates, try to remember that price is not the only factor to consider when you’re choosing a car insurance company—in fact, it’s probably not even the most important factor. In normal circumstances, the most noticeable aspect of your auto insurance policy is your premium payment, so it’s easy to focus solely on price. However, when something goes wrong—you get in an accident, your car is stolen, etc.—the other aspects of your insurance policy and the quality of your insurance company will suddenly become a lot more important. If you’ve chosen wisely, your car insurance carrier can make the claims process an easy and relatively pleasant experience; if not, your carrier can make an already miserable situation even worse.
It’s important to note that every company considers credit very differently, and even among insurers this factor fluctuates by state. For example, NerdWallet’s 2019 car insurance rate analysis indicates that while State Farm charges higher rates for poor credit in many states, it doesn’t seem to do so in Maine. Similar variations are true for many other companies as well.
Keep an eye on your credit score: Maintaining a solid credit score is recommended no matter what, but it’s especially important when your score is being referenced to develop your auto insurance policy. Just as you investigate a car’s accident history before purchasing, insurers in most states use a credit-based insurance score to help determine rates. The higher the risk, the higher the policy costs.
If you have poor credit and don’t live in one of the three exempt states, consider requesting an extraordinary life circumstances exemption. This exemption allows you to request insurance carriers not to use your credit score when calculating your rate. This is particularly helpful if you can show that your poor credit was caused by specific circumstances beyond your control, such as serious illness, divorce, unemployment, and similar life catastrophes. The insurance company will likely ask you to provide documentary proof, so make sure you can back up your claim.
How it works: Compare’s shopping process asked me to enter the same general information that other auto comparison websites did. Entering the information was fairly straightforward. Most of the fields were drop-down menus or pre-filled based on information I had submitted on previous pages. The questions were detailed, including some about my current policy limits that required retrieving my insurance documents to answer. I did like that Compare asked if I was willing to accept paperless documents and/or e-signing
DMV.org is a privately-owned site that helps drivers interact with their local Department of Motor Vehicles. This site is not an official government agency, but acts as a middleman between you and your local DMV; for example, a visitor may renew their vehicle registration or driver’s license on the site for an additional fee. The website is rated 4 out of 5, and has 5,830 user reviews on Trustpilot.
Liability auto insurance protects you from that worst case scenario by providing a cushion between your assets and the amount you’re on the hook for. For this reason, choosing the right auto liability limits is the most important part of your car insurance quote comparison. NerdWallet typically recommends having at least as much liability coverage as your net worth.
Hi Stephen – I think you’re doing the right thing – as long as the premium continues to be reasonable compared to the competition. Even though we obsess on low rates, quality of service matters. It does little good if you get the cheapest policy, then they stick you when you have a claim. With must auto claims there’s going to be a human error factor (especially with new drivers), and you can’t be with companies that will hold that against you to such a degree that it seems like they no longer want your business.
I have had Progressive for years and have never had any trouble. My car got plowed into by a deer, and Progressive was reasonable to deal with. Their rates are also about the best I can find. We bundle in our home insurance (through some licensed third party) and save even more! Our rates just actually went down this past 6-month period which was a pleasant surprise.
Personal injury protection coverage pays for any bodily injury-related medical bills that you and your passengers incur from a car accident, and usually will cover any lost wages as well. Twelve states require drivers to carry a minimum level of personal injury protection insurance. In other states, this coverage is strictly optional, but recommended. One of the biggest benefits of personal injury protection coverage is that it will pay the bills regardless of who is at fault in the accident; for that reason, it is also known as no-fault insurance.
How it works: The quoting process was similar to that of other comparison websites, although it offered me the option of connecting my Google or Facebook account to speed up the process. After I entered the requested information, the Zebra announced that it had matched me up with nine possible discounts, although it warned that not every insurance company offered all of these discounts.
The amount of coverage required by law varies from state to state. If you are a cautious person, you might opt for a more expensive policy with better coverage. If you have a lot of assets, experts recommend that you get enough liability coverage to protect them; otherwise, the other party involved in an accident could sue and attempt to collect on those assets.
In addition, while The General makes it easy to get a quote and streamlines the process of obtaining coverage, many drivers report a complicated claims process that often results in unsatisfactory payouts. This also holds true for repairs — customers have noted that The General often does its best to keep from paying for coverage it promised. If you’re at the end of the road when it comes to insurance options, The General may be able to provide you with a policy, but we wouldn’t recommend it for most drivers.