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If you’re looking to put some money back into your wallet (and maybe offset gas prices) your car insurance bill might be one place to look. We evaluated rates nationwide to find the best cheap car insurance among large companies.
Related: Best Car Insurance Companies
Forbes Advisor’s analysis of 10 large insurers found the cheapest car insurance at USAA and Geico. USAA’s average annual rate for good drivers of $1,141 per year is 27% cheaper than the national average of all companies evaluated. Geico’s average yearly rate for good drivers was also pretty cheap, coming in at $1,182. That is 25% lower than the national average of $1,569.
While USAA often has the cheapest car insurance for a variety of driver types, eligibility is limited to military members, veterans and their families.
USAA has highly competitive auto insurance rates for motorists with many types of driving records, making it a good company for multiple driver profiles. Note that you must be a military member, veteran or military family member to be eligible for USAA insurance.
Read more: USAA Car Insurance Review
Geico has very competitive car insurance rates for a variety of drivers, which makes it worth a look if you want cheap auto insurance. Its low auto insurance complaint level is another good reason to consider Geico.
Read more: Geico Car Insurance Review
State Farm’s highly competitive car insurance rates for different driver types and its low complaint level make it worth checking out.
Read more: State Farm Car Insurance Review
Higher than the industry average
Erie has good rates for drivers with an accident or speeding ticket on their records, along with good coverage offerings. Erie also allowed motorists to lock in a rate, which can help you keep cheap car insurance.
Read more: Erie Car Insurance Review
Travelers Insurance has overall decent rates for many types of drivers. The company also has various optional offerings that can give you better insurance protection, making it a good choice to look at when comparison shopping for car insurance quotes.
Read more: Travelers Car Insurance Review
|Company||Average annual rates for good drivers||% savings compared to average|
|State Farm||$1,402||11% cheaper|
|Company||Average annual rates for good drivers||Savings compared to average|
|State Farm||$1,402||$167 cheaper|
These rates are based on good drivers with a clean driving record, meaning no at-fault accidents or traffic violations. USAA offers the lowest average rates for good drivers, but it is open to only military members, veterans and their families.
|Company||Average annual rates for drivers with a speeding ticket||Savings compared to average|
|State Farm||$1,607||$308 cheaper|
A speeding ticket will mean an insurance increase of about 24%, based on nationwide averages. Our analysis found the cheapest car insurance from Geico, Erie and State Farm, with USAA a top choice for people with a military affiliation.
|Company||Average annual rates after accident with injuries||Savings compared to average|
|State Farm||$1,713||$546 cheaper|
Expect your car insurance rates to go up at renewal time if you have caused an accident, especially one that injured someone else. Nationally, the average rate goes up 47%, which translates to paying about $735 more per year compared to a driver with a clean record.
USAA offers good rates to military members and veterans. For other drivers, State Farm and Erie had the cheapest car insurance in our analysis. Erie is a regional insurer that serves 12 states.
|Company||Average annual rates for a driver with one DUI||Savings compared to average|
|State Farm||$1,942||$681 cheaper|
Among the likely consequences after a DUI conviction is a higher auto insurance rate. Car insurance companies usually pull motor vehicle records before your policy renewal time to check for tickets and convictions, and then apply increases based on your record.
A DUI conviction leads to an average increase of more than $1,000 a year. Even with a DUI conviction, you can shop around for cheap car insurance. State Farm, Travelers and Erie had the best rates in our analysis, with USAA another possible good option for military members and veterans who qualify.
|Company||Average annual rates for drivers with poor credit||Savings compared to average|
Having poor credit can be one of the biggest hurdles to getting cheap car insurance quotes—even if you have an excellent driving record. Poor credit can cause higher auto insurance rates than even having a DUI or at-fault accident on your record.
Average rates go up more than 80% for drivers with poor credit compared to those with good credit.
With potentially exorbitant rates, it’s especially important to shop around. Geico and Travelers had the cheapest car insurance for drivers with poor credit, among the companies we analyzed. USAA is a good bet for military members and veterans.
How much do different factors affect your chances of getting cheap car insurance? In our analysis of rates from 10 large insurers, poor credit was the highest hurdle to cheap car insurance rates. A DUI conviction and causing an accident that injured someone else also lead to higher rates.
Whatever your situation, you can look for a better deal by comparing car insurance quotes. Even drivers with excellent records need to do some shopping around to find the best rates.
Here’s a look at average annual rates for different types of drivers.
|Type of driver||Average annual rates|
|One accident causing injury||$2,304|
|One speeding ticket||$1,947|
Ideally, you’ll find cheap car insurance from a company with good customer service.
Most of the companies in our analysis have complaint levels that are lower than the industry average. Complaint numbers from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (below) show a company’s level of complaint relative to its size of business, with complaint numbers above 1.0 being higher than the industry average.
Erie had complaint levels higher than the industry average in 2020. Auto insurance complaints tend to center around claim denials, delays and unsatisfactory settlement offers.
In Forbes Advisor’s ratings of the best car insurance companies, Geico, Nationwide, Travelers and USAA came out on top, when weighing rates, coverage options, complaints and collision claims.
|State||Cheapest company||Average annual rate|
|Louisiana||Louisiana Farm Bureau||$2,438|
|Mississippi||Direct General Insurance||$1,026|
|Nebraska||Farmers Mutual of Nebraska||$1,368|
|New Jersey||Plymouth Rock||$1,208|
|South Carolina||American National||$721|
|Texas||Texas Farm Bureau||$1,035|
The easiest and best way to find the cheapest car insurance coverage is to shop around. Determine your coverage needs and then comparison shop for those exact coverages, limits and deductibles so you’ll find prices for comparable policies.
It’s no good to find a cheap auto insurance policy only to realize the price is low because it contains minimum coverage levels or high deductibles.
Cutting coverage is one way to get cheaper auto insurance, but it can leave you open to repair bills and lawsuits against you. Instead, try these tips for getting cheap car insurance.
Comparison shopping is the best way to potentially save hundreds of dollars a year. Even if you have strikes against you, such as an accident or moving violation, you can still shop around for cheap auto insurance rates. Because of the wide variation in pricing, the company that offered you a good rate for a clean record may not be the cheapest when your driving record changes. That’s why it’s key to compare car insurance quotes from different insurers.
It’s good to review your policy regularly to make sure your current coverage, limits and deductibles still are best for your current situation.
Do you have optional coverages on your vehicle you don’t use or want, such as roadside assistance or rental reimbursement insurance? If so, take them off to get cheaper car insurance.
Your deductible is what’s subtracted from a settlement check if you make a collision or comprehensive insurance claim. If you can afford a higher deductible in the event of a claim, raise it so your collision and comprehensive coverages are cheaper. For example, if you have a $250 deductible, you can raise it to $500 or $1,000 and save.
Car insurance rates can vary dramatically because each company has its own way of weighing factors that affect car insurance rates, such as your driving record, claims history and credit. Insurance companies also differ on what discounts they offer.
To get cheap car insurance with discounts, keep in mind auto insurance discounts as you comparison shop for a policy. Online car insurance quoting forms ask questions that help insurance companies determine discount eligibility. Speaking to an insurance agent can also help because they can check to see if you qualify for discounts.
Here are some tips on how to get cheaper car insurance with discounts:
Even if you don’t want to switch companies, it’s smart to make sure you’re getting all the car insurance discounts available. Ask your insurance agent for a discount review. For example, if you’ve recently abandoned a long daily commute, you may be in a lower mileage tier that results in savings.
If you insure your car and also have another policy from the same company, you can usually save. One of the best discounts you can get is when you bundle auto and home insurance. You can also get a discount for bundling auto and renters insurance or auto and condo insurance.
If you can pay your policy in full, you’ll likely receive a discount. If you can’t pay in full, see if you can get a discount by setting up electronic payment transfers for your monthly insurance bill. Also, some insurance companies offer a small discount for going paperless or even getting an online quote and buying a policy online.
Every little bit of savings can add up to the cheapest car insurance policy possible, so don’t be shy about asking about discounts that can benefit your bottom line.
The type of car insurance you should buy depends on your state’s requirements and your specific situation. Insurance is not a one-size-fits-all product. Evaluate the coverage and limits that work best for you..
How much car insurance you need will be different if you have a new, financed car and want the best policy possible versus if you have an older car and want just the required basics to be drive legally. Here are the primary types of car insurance and limit information:
Bodily injury and property damage liability are the foundation of an auto insurance policy and mandated in most states. These pay for damage and injuries to others if you cause an auto accident. Most states require a minimum amount of liability car insurance, but it’s wise to get higher limits if your budget allows.
Limits of at least $100,000 for bodily injury per person, $300,000 per accident and $100,000 for property damage (100/300/100) is a solid liability foundation.
Uninsured and underinsured motorist insurance is required in some states and optional in others. Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage pays for your medical expenses if you’re hit by someone who doesn’t carry liability insurance. Underinsured motorist (UIM) insurance pays if the at-fault driver doesn’t carry enough liability insurance to cover your medical bills.
Limits for UM typically match your liability coverage limits.
Required in some states and optional in others, personal injury protection insurance is often part of a no-fault insurance system. In no-fault states you’re required to make most injury claims on your own car insurance first, regardless of fault.
Medical payments coverage is similar in that it pays for your injuries from an auto accident and is required in a few states. If your state requires PIP or MedPay, you must get at least the minimums mandated. If optional, you can skip these for cheaper car insurance, especially if you have decent health care coverage that would pay for car accident injuries.
Collision and comprehensive insurance are not required by state laws but usually mandated by financing companies if you have a car loan or lease. This coverage is often a good idea unless you drive a car of little value. They are two separate coverage types often sold together. The limit for either coverage type is the value of your totaled car at the time of the incident.
To find the cheapest car insurance companies, we averaged rates nationwide from 10 large insurers using data from Quadrant Information Services, a provider of insurance data and analytics. Rates are based on a 30-year-old female driver with a clean record insuring a Toyota RAV4 with $100,000 in bodily injury liability coverage per person, $300,000 per accident and $100,000 in property damage liability, uninsured motorist coverage, and any other coverage required in the state. Average rates also include collision and comprehensive with a $500 deductible.
For good drivers, Erie, Geico and State Farm generally have the cheapest car insurance, based on our analysis of average rates.
USAA also has very competitive rates but is available only to military members, veterans and their families.
An insurance policy with only the minimum coverage required in your state would be the cheapest type of car insurance. Most states require a minimum level of liability car insurance. Some states also require minimum levels of uninsured motorist coverage and other types of coverage.
If you live in a state with a no-fault insurance system, you’ll also have to buy PIP insurance.
At some point, as your vehicle gets older, paying for collision and comprehensive coverage no longer makes sense. That’s because the maximum payout would be the value of the car if it’s totaled or stolen, minus your deductible. If your car is worth very little, you’re paying for coverage that may result in only a small insurance check.
But if you would be in a financial jam if your car were totaled, stolen or extensively damaged by a problem covered by the collision and comprehensive insurance, keeping them makes sense.
Putting a teen behind the wheel is an expensive proposition. Our analysis found an average increase of $2,189 a year to add a teen driver to a car insurance policy. Your prices will vary, but you can expect your rates to double, at least.
This is an excellent time to shop around. Insurers have different rate increases for adding a teen driver, but compare the total bill for the parents and teen. And adding a teen driver to a parent’s policy is usually cheaper than putting them on their own policy.
If your goal is the cheapest car insurance quotes possible, you’re likely looking to buy only the minimum insurance required in your state. Shop around multiple companies and compare car insurance quotes for the minimum required.
Also consider your vehicle: It could be pushing up your rates. Cars, such as certain Tesla models, often have expensive rates because their owners are more likely to make insurance claims. Our analysis of the most and least expensive cars to insure can point you toward vehicles that can snag cheaper car insurance.