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12 Hacks & Simple Strategies to Get the Cheapest Car Insurance

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Checked by
Shaun Fyffe
Insurance Author
Reviewed by
Maurice Draine
Former P&C Agent
Advertiser Disclosure: Some of the offers within the content are from companies where AutoInsureSavings.org may receive compensation. This does not influence our analysis of services or products. Our opinions are our own in good faith.

Want to know how to get the cheapest car insurance rates consistently?

Our guide will reveal the 12 hacks you need to know to start paying less on your premiums.

Here is a quick overview. If you need additional details, read below. 

Getting the Cheapest Car Insurance Coverage in 12 Steps

Finding Affordable Coverage - Quick Hits
AutoInsureSavings.orgMost policyholders forget to review their coverage policy every six months. Since many variables change, your rates can change too.
Other opportunities for policyholders are discounts and policy bundling if you own a home and car, for example. And you want to shop around at least once a year.
Decide if you need comprehensive and collision coverage. Improve your credit score, check coverage costs before buying a vehicle, and consider Pay-per-mile or Telematics.
Auto Insurers will consider several things such as your driving history, age, location, type of car, how often you drive, and your insurance credit score.

12 Expert Tips To Help You Find Cheap Car Insurance the Easy Way

Discover the 12 secrets you need to know to get the most affordable car insurance and compare rates!

The Average Auto Insurance Policy

Most car insurance policies include the following minimum coverage options.

— Liability insurance with coverage limits between $50,000 to $100,000 for bodily injury liability and $50,000 for property damage liability.

— Comprehensive and Collision coverage with a $500 deductible.

However, each state has its own requirements for minimum coverage and/or liability insurance a driver must carry.

Some states require uninsured motorist coverage, for example. 

1. Review Your Coverage Policy Every Six Months

You want to make sure you’re always paying the lowest monthly rate by reviewing your coverage every six months, according to TheBalance.com. 

Many people may think shopping for rates twice a year is too frequent. But, there are many reasons why you should check your policy regularly.

— State insurance laws change – When a state’s coverage requirements for bodily injury, collision, and liability coverage change, you’ll need to adjust your insurance policy accordingly.

— You maintain continuous coverage – If you keep your car insurance for at least six months without a lapse, you could qualify for loyalty or a low-risk driver discount.

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— Your vehicle depreciates – Newer cars can be more expensive to insure than older models. After six months to one year, you could save on your collision and comprehensive coverage.

— Violations fall from your record – Even one speeding ticket can significantly raise your car insurance rates. Once a moving violation is removed from your driving record in 3-5 years, your insurance rate could drop hundreds of dollars.

— Insurers change their rates frequently – According to The Insurance Information Institute, some carriers change their coverage rates as often as every month. And some carriers seldom ever change their rates.

Some auto insurers even raise their prices in the winter due to the risk of snow-related accidents.

Similarly, life changes, and a significant life event such as getting married, adding a teen driver to your coverage policies, or moving to a different location with fewer crime rates, can also impact your annual insurance premium. 

2. Check for Discounts

Different insurers offer various discounts you may not know about.

The details of these offers can vary widely, so it’s essential to talk to your agent to clarify how each program works.

Some of the discounts you’ll encounter include:

— Anti-Theft Discount – Save 5% to 25% on your comprehensive coverage with anti-theft devices like GPS or stolen vehicle recovery systems.

— Low Mileage – Many insurers offer discounts for driving less than 12,000 per year.

— Car Safety – Features on your car like daytime running lights, anti-lock brakes, and airbags could help you save up to 40% on personal injury protection.

— Defensive Driver – Good drivers can save 10% to 40% for driving incident-free for a specific amount of time.

— Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) – Some insurers offer discounts based on paying by automatic withdrawal each month. 

— Good Student – Students that maintain good grades can save between 8% and 30% on car insurance premiums. State Farm and Allstate offer the best car insurance option with this discount.

— Multi-Car Discount – Save 8% to 25% when you insure more than one vehicle with the same car insurance company.

— Multi-Policy Discount – If you purchase your auto, home, and life from the same company, you could save between 5% and 25% by bundling policies.

— New Car – You could get a 10% to 15% discount for having a car that’s less than three years old.

— Online Quote Discount – Getting a quote online could get you a 4% to 12% savings.

— Policy Start Discount – Say today is January 2nd, and you call up an insurance provider to buy an auto policy.

Instead of having a six-month policy with the new carrier start on January 2nd, pushing out the start date 5-7 days can give you a nice policy start discount.

From the carrier’s point of view, you are reassuring them that you already have current coverage and are not desperate for a policy.

They love to see that. However, not all companies offer the policy start discount.

— Paperless – Small discounts may be available if you decide to receive your documents electronically instead of in the mail.

— Pay in Full – Some insurers will offer you a discount of up to 10% for paying in advance.

— Student Away at SchoolIf you have a student driver that is away at school and only drives occasionally, you could qualify for a discount.

Other discount programs may be available, depending on your vehicle, driving record, location, and specific circumstances.

If you are genuinely looking for cheap car insurance, be sure to ask about other discount opportunities. 

3. Compare Car Insurance Prices Online

You can compare insurance prices online to find local and national savings on coverage policies.

Using comparison shopping websites to find better rates can save you time, money, and the frustration of dealing with sales staff in person or on the phone.

Below are the cheapest car insurance companies with average rates.

Company*Full Coverage (Annually)Minimum Coverage (Annually)
Geico$1,012$354
USAA**$1,288$473
Nationwide$1,289$541
State Farm$1,327$497
Farmers$1,399$529
Liberty Mutual$1,401$587
Progressive$1,421$561

*Auto insurance rates are for a 40-year-old driver profile from various zip codes via Quadrant Information Services. Your rates may vary when you get quotes.

**USAA is for military members, their spouses, and family members.

Comparing quotes from multiple companies at a single location is a quick and convenient way to view personalized offers instantly.

Score savings by Zip Code on car insurance quotes with AutoInsureSavings

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✔ Personalized quotes in less than 2 minutes

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4. Improve Your Driving Habits

Improving your driving habits can help you avoid moving violations, accidents, and other potential issues that could raise your car insurance premiums. Safe driver habits you can establish to become a good driver and qualify for the cheapest car insurance are:

— Avoid Distractions – Talking on the phone, texting, eating, or other activities can take your attention away from the road.

— Stay Aware of Your Surroundings – Check your mirrors frequently and scan the road ahead for potential risks.

— Leave Distance Between Yourself and Other Drivers – As a rule of thumb, stay at least three to four seconds away from the car in front of you.

Taking a defensive driving course could help you acquire new skills for driving safer and, ultimately, saving money on your rates.

5. Comparison Shop for Different Car Insurance Companies

Different companies will offer different rates and savings options that impact your monthly payments. But the cheapest quote isn’t always the most affordable in the long run.

Selecting a company with a poor reputation or lousy customer service could cause more problems down the line.

Consumer reviews, customer satisfaction ratings, online user experience, and your state insurance department can provide more information about a company so you can choose the right insurer for your needs.

6. Bundle All of Your Policies

A multi-line discount or policy bundling can offer some of the most substantial savings.

Suppose you have multiple coverage types, such as a homeowner’s, business, car, RV, motorcycle, or life policy.

In that case, you could save money by purchasing all of your coverages from the same insurer.

Policy bundles are designed to attract long-term customers that are looking for the best rates for multiple insurances.

Having one insurer handle all of your policies also reduces the amount of time you spend sorting paperwork, paying bills, and communicating with customer service.

7. Decide If You Need Comprehensive and Collision Coverage

Comprehensive and collision aren’t required in every state, and in some cases, coverage could be unnecessary.

This optional coverage can cover the cost of specific damages to your vehicle.

For example, if an object falls on your car and breaks the windshield, the comprehensive part of your coverage could help pay for the replacement costs.

Protection is essential for many drivers, and if you need to keep “comp and collision,” there are still ways you can lower your rates.

For example, raising your deductible is a simple way to maintain comprehensive and collision while reducing your monthly premiums.

However, never raise your deductible to an amount you cannot afford to pay if you were to get into an accident and had to file a claim.

The carrier may not pay for your auto accident until you send them in your deductible.

Today, most carriers will send you a claims auto repair check and take out your deductible before sending the check to you.

However, the carrier still reserves the right to enforce you send funds first, and then they will cut the check on their end afterward.

You never really know.

Note: If you have a loan out for your auto, the lender will require you to have comprehensive and collision coverage on the vehicle until you no longer owe any money.

8. Consider PPM or Telematics

Pay-as-You-Drive Telematics (PAYD), Usage-Based Insurance (UBI), and Pay-Per-Mile (PPM) coverage are new types of coverage options based on your personal driving habits.

These insurance options use smart devices capable of monitoring driving patterns to help the insurer determine your rate.

Typically, this type of car insurance costs a few cents per mile.

You probably could consider it cheap car insurance. 

Many policies are available on a month-to-month basis and don’t require annual renewal like conventional coverage.

Progressive was one of the first carriers to offer Usage-Based Programs.

Today, you can get telematics-based policy options from many insurers such as State Farm, Safeco, Travelers, Esurance, or MetroMile.

9. Check Average Rates When Buying a Car & Shop Around

Before purchasing a new or used vehicle, it’s critical to estimate average rates.

Owning the car could turn out to be more expensive than you originally anticipated. Some vehicle characteristics insurers take into consideration include:

— Retail Value – Comprehensive and collision coverage is often more expensive for luxury cars than standard vehicles.

— Replacement Parts – According to Consumer Reports, cars with parts made from superior, high-end, or rare materials can increase premiums due to the higher replacement costs.  

— Safety Test Results – Motor vehicles with excellent safety test results usually get the cheapest rates. 

— Safety Features – Safer cars tend to be involved in fewer collisions and accidents. 

— Driver Profiles – Insurers consider the typical driver of specific vehicles. Cars that attract safer drivers tend to get lower rates.

Some insurers offer discounts for purchasing a new car. For example, State Farm gives drivers up to 30% off during the first two years of ownership.

10. Improve Credit Scores

Car insurance companies in many states evaluate driver’s credit scores to determine rates.

Improving your credit score can help you get cheaper car insurance rates with your monthly premium. 

Paying bills on time, reducing debt, paying off student loans, and keeping credit card balances low are some ways to increase your credit score to maintain good credit.

Checking your credit report for any errors and avoiding high balances on credit cards is a good idea too.  

Even if your credit is poor, you can still find affordable car insurance rates.

Not all insurers base rates on your credit score, and not every state allows the practice.

CompanyPoor CreditGood Credit
Allstate$2,230$1,274
GEICO$2,311$1,177
State Farm$2,032$1,231
Liberty Mutual$2,218$1,278
Progressive$2,095$1,200
Farmers$2,411$1,395

11. Don’t Ignore Local and Regional Insurers

Make sure to check local and regional companies, which often have better rates than national insurers.

Many local carriers are dedicated to growing long-term relationships with customers and can offer competitive prices due to lower overhead expenses.

You’re also more likely to get the customized coverage and personalized service from a local company.

Smaller insurers are also an excellent choice for specialty coverage for classic cars, sports vehicles, and high-risk models.

12. Suspend Your Coverage for Unused Vehicles

If you have a car you aren’t driving, consider temporarily suspending coverage.

Similarly, you can also reduce your coverage limits, remove yourself as a driver, or cancel the policy altogether.

Reducing your policy limits will ensure that you don’t have a lapse on your record that could increase your future rates.

According to NerdWallet, suspending your coverage is a way to stop paying premiums without a coverage lapse.

However, most drivers with car loans are ineligible for this option.

By suspending coverage, your car also won’t have protection against damages caused while it’s in storage.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find the best and cheapest auto insurance rate?

Compare car insurance quotes from multiple insurers, and don’t forget that local and regional insurance companies can offer some of the best rates.

How do I find the cheapest auto insurance company for me?

Visit AutoInsureSavings.org to find the best car insurance quotes in your city instantly.

What is a clean driving record?

Having a clean driving record means you have no current traffic violations, accidents, unpaid tickets, or other penalties filed with the DMV.

How do rates with the cheapest car insurers change depending on my driver profile?

Changes to your driving record, credit history, location, age, marital status, homeownership, mileage, type of vehicle, and claims history can all impact your rates with the most affordable insurers.

How does AutoInsureSavings.org get you the cheapest car insurance?

AutoInsureSavings.org allows you to compare quotes from dozens of local and national auto insurance companies.

We also help you uncover the most relevant information and price comparisons you need to know to get the lowest rates.

The bottom line is you should always compare quotes with at least three to five insurers—preferably local, regional, and national companies. 

References

https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/driving-safety.html

iii.org

https://www.nerdwallet.com/

Maurice Draine

Maurice Draine

Maurice, a former licensed P&C insurance agent with a 4-year degree in journalism. He resides in Minneapolis and has worked as a technical writer for UnitedHealthcare and Wells Fargo, where he created Medicare-related policies and procedures for three years. He is also an editor for AutoInsureSavings.org.

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Advertiser Disclosure: All rates, insurance quotes, products and services are presented without warranty and guarantee. When evaluating insurance rates, verify directly with your current provider or insurance agent. Insurance quotes and offers are not binding, nor a guarantee of car insurance coverage. Some of the offers within the content are from companies where AutoInsureSavings.org may receive compensation. This does not influence our analysis of services or products. Our opinions are our own in good faith. We are an objective third-party resource for everything auto insurance.