If you’ve ever compared car insurance rates, you know how many options are available. Depending on a variety of individual rating factors, certain companies will price your auto insurance policy differently. You could end up paying more by choosing the wrong company or failing to compare car insurance quotes from a diverse collection of companies.
Your auto insurance rates depend on your track record as a driver, as well as your age, your credit, your vehicle, and your location. Insurance companies’ weighting of these attributes is reflected in your premium. For example, having a limited driving history or a poor credit score can raise your rates dramatically.
Our analysis of major rating factors shows how premiums shift from company to company.
Car insurance rates for teenage drivers
If you have teenage dependents — or if you’re a teen driver yourself — you know insurance is expensive. In many cases, adding a teen to your car insurance plan can nearly double your premium. Of the most popular car insurance companies in the US, State Farm, GEICO, and USAA are the cheapest coverage options for teen drivers.
Car insurance comparison: young adult drivers
The age of 25 is a turning point for car insurance savings. But no matter how much you save, you’re probably still paying more than you’d like. In order to find the cheapest car insurance for 25-year-olds, we created a default user profile and gathered rates from eight popular auto insurance companies.
USAA is the cheapest car insurance company for 25-year-old drivers, with GEICO being a bit more expensive. Although Liberty Mutual and State Farm are the more expensive options for older drivers, they could end up being affordable insurers for drivers with violations on their records (read on for more info).
Car insurance for seniors
Between the ages of 30 and 60, car insurance rates don’t fluctuate much based only on age. As you reach your late 50s and 60s, age becomes a more important determinant of your rate. For a typical senior-aged married couple without children drivers, GEICO and USAA offer the cheapest rates, all other metrics constant.
At-fault accidents and car insurance rates
On average, an at-fault property damage accident will raise your premium by an average of $767 per year. Because most insurance providers will charge you for three years after an accident, this $767 increase equates to more than $2,301 in total fees. If you’re thinking of filing a claim, consider the overall cost of the claim versus what the claim would cost to pay out-of-pocket. Compare this $2,301 penalty — plus your deductible (if applicable) — to the out-of-pocket expense. While this is nice information to know before filing a claim, it won’t help if you’ve already filed a claim.
If you have an at-fault accident on your insurance history, consider USAA or State Farm.
Insurance cost comparison after a DUI conviction
In many states, a DUI is the most costly violation you can receive. In fact, in California, a DUI offense can stay on your insurance record for as long as 10 years. Based on our analysis of the most popular car insurance companies, this could set you back an average of $1,200 per year in insurance rate increases during that 10-year period. To limit costs, do your due diligence and compare rates. State Farm and USAA are the cheapest insurance options after a DUI — consider starting your comparison process with those providers.
Auto insurance rate comparison: with a reckless driving citation
Like a DUI, a reckless driving ticket can raise your car insurance rates. If you’ve received a reckless driving citation, your best bets for cheap car insurance are USAA and State Farm, despite the latter being one of the more pricey insurance companies if you don’t have a violation. This shows the importance of comparing car insurance rates: your driving profile will be handled differently by every carrier.
Comparing car insurance premiums with very poor credit:
If you have very poor credit, the cheapest car insurance company is Nationwide. With this insurer, your premium could be $350 less than the average among major companies. Compared to drivers at the highest credit level, drivers with bad credit pay over $1,500 more per year for auto insurance. If you pay off a loan or otherwise improve your credit score, you should shop around for car insurance as your premium should change. This insurance benefit is yet another reason to keep your credit score up!
Six-month car insurance cost for fair credit
With rates $240 less than the group average, USAA offers the cheapest insurance for drivers with “fair” credit scores. Even so, a fair credit score will result in elevated rates. While the average premium for fair credit drivers is $891, that’s $257 more than those with “great” credit are paying, with all other metrics consistent.
Six-month car insurance rates with good credit
As a driver gets into the higher credit tiers, car insurance rates get a little more competitive between companies. Although a driver with a credit score between 670-739 is still paying $100-plus more than a driver in the absolute highest credit tier, it’s possible to cut insurance costs by selecting USAA as your car insurance provider.
Six-month premium with very good credit
Between “very good” and “great” credit, there’s an average of $116 in annual premium difference. For our user profile, USAA and GEICO are the cheapest for this credit level. On average, these companies charge between $85 and $158 per month for auto insurance.
Six-month insurance premium comparison with excellent credit
For drivers in the top credit tier, USAA remains the cheapest car insurance company. At $159 less per year than the group average, USAA auto insurance typically costs a driver with exceptional credit $950 per year — about $79 per month.
Compare car insurance rates by location
Your location can have a huge impact on your insurance premium. Like many industries in the US, car insurance is regulated at the state level and is dictated by each state’s regulations. If you live in an area prone to floods, hurricanes, or wildfires, your rates could be more expensive: insurance companies compensate for these risks with higher premiums.
If you live in an area with unusual state regulations or heightened risk of weather-related claims, shopping for car insurance options will be vital. Not every car insurance company offers policies in every state, which can make pricing less competitive. If you live in a storm-prone state such as Louisiana or Florida, you might find it harder to get a competitive rate.
What’s the best way to compare car insurance quotes online?
The best way to compare auto insurance quotes online is to use an insurance comparison site such as The Zebra. The site makes insurance less complicated, allowing consumers to find the rates and information they need to make an informed decision on their insurance.
How can you find car insurance quotes from multiple companies at once?
It’s easy to compare auto insurance quotes from multiple companies simultaneously by using an insurance comparison site like The Zebra. The Zebra is an independent insurance quote comparison site that strives to act as a trusted partner for everyday insurance consumers.
What factors go into car insurance rates?
Auto insurance rates depend on an array of factors, including a driver’s age, credit score, vehicle type, and location (among others). An easy way to compare car insurance rates is to use The Zebra to gather personalized pricing from more than 100 leading insurance companies.
What information do you need to compare auto insurance rates?
To make the process of getting car insurance quotes as quick and painless as possible, be sure to have the following information on hand:
- Date of birth
- Vehicle storage location
- Drivers license number
- Driving and insurance history
- VIN of the vehicle to be insured
How to compare car insurance rates
Now that you understand what contributes to car insurance rates, let’s talk about how to shop for car insurance. Unless you want to spend a significant amount of time talking to an insurance agent, make sure you have the following information ready when you begin your car insurance shopping process.
- Personal information of anyone on the policy, including date of birth, driver’s license number, and address (if different from your own)
- Driving history of all drivers on the policy
- Insurance history of all drivers on the policy
- Vehicle information of all vehicles on the policy including VIN
- Payment: if you’re getting a policy for the first time, it’s likely the insurance company will require a down payment before the policy is bound (accepted).
- While you might want to finish shopping for car insurance as quickly as possible, it’s important to do your due diligence and find the right company. At the end of the day, car insurance is designed to protect and benefit you. If you were to be injured or have your car totaled in an accident, your insurer’s customer service and claims satisfaction would be vital.
We’ve listed America’s best auto insurance companies, according to J.D. Power Customer Satisfaction Surveys, with corresponding average annual premiums.