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There’s just no way around it: Car insurance is something you need. Your state car insurance regulations probably require you to have some sort of insurance coverage, your car financing or leasing company probably requires coverage, and let’s face it, you probably don’t want to have to come up with thousands of dollars for vehicle repairs, property repairs, or medical costs in the event of an accident.

In brief, you buy a car insurance policy from an auto insurance company. You pay them annual premiums, and if you have an accident, you make a claim that covers your financial losses that occurred because of the accident. Read How Car Insurance Works and How Much Car Insurance Do I Need? for more information.

Getting a good deal on car insurance is all about finding the balance between the coverage you want and annual premiums that fit your budget. We have found the cheapest car insurance companies to help you find the right car insurance company for your budget.

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Cheapest Car Insurance Companies

  1. USAA is the cheapest car insurance company on our list, with the lowest average national rates of $2,537. USAA also has the cheapest auto insurance rates for various demographic profiles, ranging from 17-year-old males to 60-year-old females.
  2. Geico is the second-cheapest auto insurance company, with average annual rates of $3,215. Geico’s rates for teen drivers are especially low, and Geico’s average rates are low for drivers with one accident on their record.
  3. State Farm is the third-cheapest car insurance company, with national average rates of $3,260. That’s well below the norm for the 10 car insurance companies on our list.
  4. American Family has the fourth cheapest national average car insurance rates, at $3,443 per year.
  5. Nationwide has car insurance rates that are just behind American Family at $3,450 per year and right around the average annual rate for companies on our list. Though it’s midpack when it comes to rates for all drivers on average, Nationwide charges the cheapest average rates for drivers with poor credit.
  6. Progressive car insurance rates are, on average, the sixth highest of the 10 companies on this list and run about $4,035 per year. However, their rates for some groups, like 60-year-old-married females, are competitive.
  7. Farmers car insurance rates tend to be more expensive than much of the competition, especially for drivers with one accident on their record. The average annual rate for all Farmers customers is $4,194.
  8. Travelers car insurance rates are among the most expensive of the 10 companies on this list, at $4,434 per year on average. They are especially expensive for teen drivers and drivers with poor credit.
  9. Allstate average car insurance rates are so high, you may not feel like you’re in good hands. At $4,887 on average per year, Allstate rates are higher than the norm for all the driver profiles we studied.
  10. Liberty Mutual has the most expensive car insurance rates of all the companies we studied, with an average annual rate of $6,073 for all customers. Often, the difference between Liberty Mutual and cheaper companies is staggering. For example, Liberty Mutual charges an average rate of $13,718 per year for 17-year-old male drivers. USAA charges $5,385 and Geico charges $6,278. On average, Liberty Mutual charges drivers with poor credit $8,802 per year. Allstate, the next most-expensive company for that group, charges $6,490.

How We Found the Cheapest Car Insurance Companies

At U.S. News, we’re all about helping people make life’s important decisions. Our college rankings, launched in 1983, set the standard in educational rankings. Our ranking in other fields, like healthcare, civic areas, and the automotive sphere, help people and thought leaders make choices that make lives better. Now we’re continuing to empower you with the information you need to make the right choices for your life with our Cheapest Car Insurance Rankings.

For extra information on car insurance rates, U.S. News also worked with Quadrant Information Services to provide a report of average insurance rates in all 50 states from the 10 largest national car insurance companies. The rates are based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 17, 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 2018 Honda Civic, 2018 Toyota RAV4, 2018 Ford-F-150, 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford-F-150, with annual mileage of 6,000 and 12,000. Three car insurance coverage levels were used, as were credit tiers of good, fair, and poor. Clean driving records and records with one accident, one speeding violation, and one DUI were also used in the calculations. The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only. Individual rates will differ.

How Much Is Car Insurance?

Car insurance rates vary depending on your situation, but average rates from the companies we surveyed ran as low as $1,449 per year for a 60-year-old married female with USAA to $13,718 per year for a 17-year-old male with Liberty Mutual. The average annual rate for all drivers charged by the 10 companies in our study was $3,915, though USAA had the cheapest average annual rate at $2,537 and Liberty Mutual had the most expensive at $6,073. Note that these rates are for comparative purposes only. Your rates may differ, and you may be able to find cheaper insurance through a company not included in our study.

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Though the average rate for all drivers in our study was $3,915, drivers with different profiles will pay different rates. The average annual rate for 17-year-old drivers in our study was $8,293 per year – that’s $4,378 more than the average for all drivers. On the other hand, 60-year-old married drivers in our study had an average annual rate of $2,275, which is $1,640 less than the average rate for all drivers.

Your driving record influences your car insurance rates. Drivers with a clean driving record pay $3,123 per year in car insurance premiums on average. Drivers with one speeding ticket pay $3,669, and drivers with one accident pay $4,100. Drivers with one DUI conviction pay on average $4,919 per year for car insurance. It pays to drive safely.

Credit scores also play a role in your car insurance rates. According to the data, drivers with good credit scores pay $3,166 per year on average for car insurance, while having a fair credit scores drives car insurance rates up to $3,686. Drivers with poor credit scores have average annual car insurance rates of $5,150.

The kind of car insurance coverage you choose affects your rates as well. Drivers who have bare-bones, low car insurance coverage pay $3,754 per year on average, while drivers with medium coverage pay $3,961. Drivers with high coverage pay $4,143 on average. While it may be tempting to save some money on your car insurance premiums by opting for lower coverage, not having enough coverage for your situation can be a costly mistake if you have to make a claim. Read How Much Car Insurance Do I Need? to find the right car insurance coverage for your situation.

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Cheapest Car Insurance for Teens

Teen drivers are among the most expensive to insure. That’s because inexperienced drivers are at high risk for an accident. In fact, car crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers, and in 2016, teens accounted for $13.6 billion in medical costs related to traffic accidents. That amount doesn’t take property damage or damage to cars into account. Because teens are likely to cost insurance companies money in the form of paying claims, being a teen or having a teen on your car insurance policy is likely to raise your rates quite a bit.

Among all car insurance companies in our study, the average annual auto insurance rate for a 17-year-old driver, male or female, is $8,293. If you break out 17-year-old drivers by gender, females get charged $7,559 per year on average for car insurance, and males get charged $9,027.

Car insurance rates for teens can vary widely by company, however.

The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for Teens

Company Average Annual Rate for Single 17-Year-Old Females
USAA $4,807.54
Geico $5,653.55
Nationwide $5,756.37
State Farm $5,953.88
American Family $5,996.50
Farmers $8,521.97
Progressive $8,689.95
Allstate $9,282.19
Travelers $9,307.32
Liberty Mutual $11,621.01
Company Average Annual Rate for Single 17-Year-Old Males
USAA $5,385.61
Geico $6,278.96
Nationwide $7,175.31
State Farm $7,324.34
American Family $8,130.50
Farmers $9,144.04
Progressive $9,625.49
Allstate $10,642.53
Travelers $12,850.91
Liberty Mutual $13,718.69

 

Cheapest Car Insurance for Good Drivers

Being a safe, experienced driver with no accidents or citations on your record is the best way to get cheap car insurance. Safe drivers are the kinds of clients car insurance companies want to have on their books because safe drivers are unlikely to make a car insurance claim.

Good Driver
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As a result, they get charged lower rates than drivers with speeding tickets or accidents in their recent past.

Cheapest Car Insurance for Good Drivers

Company Average Annual Rate
USAA $1,933.68
Geico $2,145.96
American Family $2,693.61
Nationwide $2,746.18
State Farm $2,821.18
Progressive $3,393.09
Travelers $3,447.69
Farmers $3,460.60
Allstate $3,819.90
Liberty Mutual $4,774.30

For drivers with clean records, USAA charges the least, but Geico isn’t too far behind. From the chart you can see that even for good drivers, there are some big differences in how much individual car insurance companies charge for coverage.

When you look at drivers with one speeding ticket, you see that rates start to increase. That’s because drivers who speed are more likely to have an accident.

Cheapest Car Insurance for People With a Speeding Ticket

Company Average Annual Rate
USAA $2,193.25
Geico $2,645.43
American Family $3,025.74
Nationwide $3,113.68
State Farm $3,186.01
Progressive $4,002.28
Farmers $4,079.01
Travelers $4,260.80
Allstate $4,483.51
Liberty Mutual $5,701.26

When a driver has an accident, their rates go up even more. Even though USAA is still the cheapest company for people who have had one accident, they charge those drivers about $600 more on average per year than drivers with a clean record.

Cheapest Car Insurance for People With One Accident

Company Average Annual Rate
USAA $2,516.24
Geico $3,192.77
State Farm $3,396.01
Nationwide $3,396.95
American Family $3,722.75
Travelers $4,289.74
Farmers $4,518.73
Progressive $4,777.04
Allstate $4,987.68
Liberty Mutual $6,204.78

Finally, having a citation for driving while under the influence will really raise insurance rates because people who drive while intoxicated are at such a high risk for causing an accident.

Cheapest Car Insurance for People With One DUI

Company Average Annual Rate
USAA $3,506.03
State Farm $3,636.80
Progressive $3,969.65
American Family $4,330.24
Nationwide $4,543.20
Farmers $4,718.75
Geico $4,875.87
Travelers $5,741.40
Allstate $6,260.73
Liberty Mutual $7,613.48

 

Cheapest Car Insurance for People With Bad Credit

Your credit rating affects your car insurance rate as well because insurance companies see people with bad credit as more of a risk. Drivers with good credit pay $3,166 per year on average in car insurance premiums.

Bad Credit
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Drivers with fair credit pay $3,686 on average. Drivers with poor credit, however, pay a whopping $5,150 per year on average – roughly $1,400 more than drivers with good credit.

Cheapest Car Insurance for People With Bad Credit

Company Average Annual Rate
USAA $3,690.73
Nationwide $4,083.29
Geico $4,259.50
American Family $4,467.98
Progressive $4,737.64
Farmers $4,864.14
State Farm $4,951.20
Travelers $5,160.22
Allstate $6,490.65
Liberty Mutual $8,802.22

 

Cheapest Car Insurance Coverage

If you want the cheapest car insurance coverage, you can choose to only get the bare minimum of insurance that you’re required to by law. If you lease or finance your car, your leasing company or lender may also require that you have certain types of coverage. Beyond those minimums, however, the amount of insurance coverage you get is up to you, and it’s tempting to save on monthly premiums by skimping on insurance coverage.

Cheapest Companies for Low Coverage Car Insurance

Company Average Annual Rate
USAA $2,404.11
Geico $3,001.91
State Farm $3,055.40
American Family $3,368.49
Nationwide $3,394.83
Progressive $3,737.13
Farmers $3,922.47
Travelers $4,223.63
Allstate $4,628.03
Liberty Mutual $5,805.75

However, before you go for the least amount of car insurance you can get away with, know that opting for low insurance coverage may not save you that much. On average, low insurance premiums cost $3,754 per year. Medium coverage costs $3,961, and high coverage costs $4,143. Going for low coverage instead of high coverage only saves you $389 per year on average.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for Medium Coverage

Company Average Annual Rate
USAA $2,539.87
Geico $3,213.97
State Farm $3,269.80
Nationwide $3,449.80
American Family $3,544.37
Progressive $4,018.46
Farmers $4,166.22
Travelers $4,462.02
Allstate $4,896.81
Liberty Mutual $6,058.57

Saving nearly $400 a year is nothing to sneeze at, especially if you’re on a tight budget. With the potential costs of a car accident, however, that short-term savings can cost you quite a bit if you have an accident. Say, for example, you get a low coverage policy that only offers $15,000 in coverage for medical costs, and you’re at fault for an accident that injures someone and results in $30,000 worth of medical bills. Once your insurance pays out the $15,000, you can be sued for the rest of the money. That can result in the loss of assets, like your house or savings. When choosing insurance coverage, think about the assets you’ll want to protect in the event of an accident, not just your monthly premiums. Learn the answer to How Much Car Insurance Do I Need? and learn more about the different types of car insurance.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies for High Coverage

Company Average Annual Rate
USAA $2,667.92
American Family $3,416.40
Geico $3,429.14
State Farm $3,454.80
Nationwide $3,505.37
Progressive $4,350.96
Farmers $4,494.13
Travelers $4,619.07
Allstate $5,139.02
Liberty Mutual $6,356.04

 

Why Does Car Insurance Cost So Much?

Car insurance costs so much because car accidents cost so much. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2010, the most recent year with available data, motor vehicle crashes in the U.S. cost the economy $242 billion in lost productivity, health care costs, emergency services, legal costs, and property damages. A good chunk of those costs is paid for by insurance companies. To stay in business, insurers need to take in more in premiums than they pay out in claims. That’s how car insurance works.

Car Crash
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Car insurance companies set their rates based on a number of factors that basically boil down to how likely they think you are to make a claim. The ideal customer for a car insurance company is an experienced, safe driver who lives in an area with little congestion, crime, or risk of natural disaster, who drives a car that’s inexpensive to fix, and who doesn’t drive all that much. That customer is likely to pay premiums for years without ever having an expensive claim, and the insurance company will make a profit.

Because where you live can affect your risk of an accident, it’s something car insurance companies consider when calculating your rates. If you live in an area with a lot of crime and traffic, you can expect to pay more for insurance. Also, different states have different requirements for car insurance, which can drive up costs. Check out the guide to the cheapest car insurance for your state to learn more.

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Aside from where you live, who you are affects your car insurance rates. As you can see from the charts above, teens and drivers with DUIs or other accidents and traffic violations pay more for car insurance than safer, more experienced drivers. That’s simply because inexperience and a willingness to engage in unsafe behaviors behind the wheel are big red flags for insurance companies and indicate that you are at high risk for a crash.

The kind of coverage you opt for also affects how much auto insurance costs you. Low coverage insurance is the cheapest but may not provide the coverage you’d need after an accident. For example, collision car insurance and comprehensive car insurance are rarely required by law, so you can save some money on premiums by skipping them. However, if you get into a wreck, that means you won’t be covered for damage to your car. If your leasing company or lender doesn’t require GAP insurance, you can skip it, but if your car is totaled and you owe more on it than it’s worth, you’ll have to come up with the difference to pay off your loan.

The type of car you drive also affects your car insurance rates. Having a car that’s inexpensive and easy to repair can save you money because the car insurance company will have to pay less if it’s in an accident. For example, the 2018 Ford F-150 SuperCab in the Lariat trim costs $4,079 per year on average to insure, while a 2015 model of the same truck costs $3,815. A 2018 Toyota RAV4 costs $3,951 on average to insure, while the 2015 model costs $3,752. Going for a less expensive car, and an older, less valuable car, will save you money on insurance.

There is one exception to this: Sports cars cost more to insure because all that power is tough for drivers to resist, and insurers see them as at higher risk for being in an accident.

How to Save Money on Car Insurance

You probably can’t morph from a 17-year-old driver to a 60-year-old one (not right away, anyway), and you can’t suddenly get married (unless you find a willing partner) to save money on car insurance. You also probably can’t move from the suburbs of Boston to Iowa just to save money on your auto insurance premiums. However, you can take some steps to save on car insurance and get the cheapest car insurance possible.

Getting car insurance discounts can cut your auto insurance premiums down. Common car insurance discounts include good student discounts for teen drivers and college students, bundling discounts for multiple policies, paperless billing discounts, and good driver discounts. Learn more about car insurance discounts to save on your car insurance premiums.

Improving your driving record can save you a ton on car insurance. Take steps to be a safe driver. Respect the speed limit and always leave adequate following distance. Never drive while under the influence of any substance, and do not drive distracted by any device, particularly your phone. Any time you’re tempted to read that text message or email, remember that the average annual rate for drivers with a clean record is roughly $1,000 less than the rate for drivers with one accident.

Speed Limit Sign
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Fixing your credit will do more than save you on interest rates, it can save you when it comes to your car insurance premiums. On average, drivers with good credit pay $1,400 less per year in car insurance premiums than drivers with bad credit. Take steps to improve your credit, like refinancing your car loan, making all other debt payments on time, and paying down other outstanding debts. As your credit score rises, contact your insurance company or shop around and compare rates to start seeing savings.

The most important thing you can do to save on car insurance is to shop around. Get car insurance rate quotes and compare. As you can see from the cheapest car insurance rankings, there is a huge variation in what different companies charge. By getting multiple car insurance rate quotes, you’ll see which company can save you the most money.

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The Cheapest Car Insurance Companies

Company Average Annual Rate
USAA $2,537.30
Geico $3,215.01
State Farm $3,260.00
American Family $3,443.09
Nationwide $3,450.00
Progressive $4,035.52
Farmers $4,194.27
Travelers $4,434.91
Allstate $4,887.95
Liberty Mutual $6,073.45

 

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