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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  found the cheapest car insurance companies to help you find the right car insurance company for your budget.

Cheapest Car Insurance Companies

  1. USAA is the cheapest car insurance company on our list, with a study rate of $895. USAA presents the cheapest auto insurance study rates for various demographic profiles used in our study, ranging from 25-year-old men to 60-year-old women.

  2. Geico is the second-cheapest auto insurance company based on a study rate of $1,063. Geico’s representative rates for our 25-year-old driver profiles in our study are significantly lower than much of the competition, as are their study rates for driver profiles with one accident on their record.

  3. Travelers comes in third in our ranking of the cheapest car insurance companies, with a representative rate of $1,212. For most of our driver profiles, Travelers stays firmly as the third-cheapest option, though in a few instances, it drops to fourth behind State Farm.

  4. State Farm is the four-cheapest car insurance company in our analysis, with a study rate of $1,260. That’s well below the average among the nine major car insurance companies on our list.

  5. Progressive's car insurance representative rates are the fifth lowest of the companies on this list and come to $1,308 per year based on the driver profiles used in the study. Progressive’s rates in our study for some profiles, such as the 60-year-olds, are quite competitive.

  6. American Family has the sixth-cheapest car insurance rates in our study, at $1,326 per year based on the driver profiles we used. Notably, American Family's representative rate is the first one to be higher than the national average of $1,323 – though not by much.

  7. Nationwide is the seventh-cheapest car insurance company, according to our analysis. There's quite a jump in the study rates between American Family and Nationwide (about $200), with this company's study rate clocking in at $1,530. Though it’s more expensive than most rivals overall, we found that Nationwide charges among the cheapest study rates for driver profiles with poor credit. 

  8. Farmers car insurance rates in our analysis are quite a bit above average, at $1,538. That makes Farmers the second-most expensive insurance company, according to our study.

  9. Allstate had rates in our study coming to $1,778 per year based on our driver profiles. That's about $450 higher than the national average rate in our analysis, and almost $900 higher than the representative rates from the cheapest company in our study, USAA.

It's important to note that not all of these companies are available nationwide. In fact, only USAA, Geico, State Farm, and Allstate are available in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. American Family and Travelers are only available in 19 and 24 states, respectively. Farmers is available in 31 states, Nationwide is available in 43, and Progressive in 48.

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. 

Our Study Rates

For this study, U.S. News 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. Quadrant obtained rate data provided by car insurers to state regulators, based on profiles for both male and female drivers aged 25, 35, and 60. Vehicles used include the 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. 

To get the study rates shown here, we computed a simple average of all driver profiles and profile combinations for a given company or risk pool. The rates shown here are for comparative purposes only and should not be considered “average” rates available by individual insurers. Individual rates will differ.

How Much Is Car Insurance?

Car insurance rates vary depending on your situation, but the average annual representative rate from the nine companies in our study was $1,323. We got this rate by creating baseline driver profiles for all the insurers. These profiles covered men and women aged 25, 35, and 60 years old, with a good credit score, a clean driving record, a medium level of insurance coverage, and 12,000 miles of driving each year. The vehicles used include the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford-F-150.

Though the average study rate for all the baseline driver profiles and all the companies in our study was $1,323, driver profiles with different ages will pay different rates. The average annual rate for 25-year-old driver profiles in our study was $1,508 per year – that’s $185 more than the average for the baseline driver profiles. On the other hand, the 60-year-old married driver profiles in our study had an average annual representative rate of $1,171, which is $152 less than the average for the baseline driver profiles.

Money
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Your driving record influences your car insurance rates. In our study, driver profiles with a clean driving record have a simple average representative rate of $1,323 per year in car insurance premiums. Driver profiles with one speeding ticket have an average of $1,619, and driver profiles with one accident have a study rate of $1,927 based on the data and simple averages used in our study. Driver profiles with one DUI conviction in our study had a simple average rate $2,362 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, driver profiles with good credit scores have a simple average representative rate of $1,306 per year for car insurance, while having a fair credit score drives the study rate up to $1,557. Driver profiles with poor credit scores have annual car insurance representative rates of $2,318 based on the data and methods of our study.

The kind of car insurance coverage you choose affects your rates as well. Driver profiles with bare-bones, low car insurance coverage saw study rates of $1,249 per year on average, while driver profiles with medium coverage had study rates of $1,323. Driver profiles with high coverage had study rates $1,387 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 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. As a result, they get charged lower rates than drivers with speeding tickets or accidents in their recent past. 

For drivers with clean records, USAA charges the least, but Geico isn’t too far behind. From the list, you can see that based on our data there are some big differences in the study rates from car insurance companies for our driving profiles with clean driving histories.

To find these representative rates, we made driving profiles with a clean record. These driving record representative profiles were based on 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females with 12,000 miles per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150. 

  1. USAA: $894.95
  2. Geico: $1,063.10
  3. Travelers: $1,211.84
  4. State Farm: $1,260.12
  5. Progressive: $1,308.37
  6. American Family: $1,325.99
  7. Nationwide: $1,529.58
  8. Farmers: $1,538.21
  9. Allstate: $1,777.66
Good Driver
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Cheapest Car Insurance for Drivers With a Speeding Ticket

When you look at driver profiles with one speeding ticket, you see that rates in our study start to increase. That’s because drivers who speed are more likely to have an accident. Once again, USAA is the cheapest option in our study, but this company's representative rates still rise by about $130 following a speeding ticket.

For these rates, we used profiles with a single speeding ticket. The profiles covered males and females in the 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old age groups with a medium level of insurance coverage, a good credit score, and 12,000 miles of driving annually. The vehicles used in our study are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

  1. USAA: $1,027.98
  2. Geico: $1,356.17
  3. State Farm: $1,408.71
  4. American Family: $1,548.21
  5. Travelers: $1,672.66
  6. Progressive: $1,735.51
  7. Nationwide: $1,838.34
  8. Farmers: $1,907.63
  9. Allstate: $2,079.37

Cheapest Car Insurance for Drivers With an Accident

When a driver has an accident, their rates go up even more. Even though USAA is still the cheapest company for driver profiles with one accident, they charge those profiles about $320 more per year than driver profiles with a clean record. Across the range of companies, the increase in the average study rate for an accident was about $300.

Our profiles for this analysis have a single accident, and are based on 25-, 35-, and 60-year-old males and females with 12,000 miles per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. Vehicles used in the analysis are the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150. 

  1. USAA: $1,216.68
  2. State Farm: $1,501.96
  3. Geico: $1,691.06
  4. Travelers: $1,739.23
  5. American Family: $2,018.34
  6. Nationwide: $2,151.85
  7. Farmers: $2,214.72
  8. Progressive: $2,296.26
  9. Allstate: $2,514.37

Cheapest Car Insurance for Drivers With a DUI

Finally, our study showed that having a citation for driving while under the influence raises insurance representative rates significantly, because people who drive while intoxicated are at such a high risk for causing an accident. 

This driver profile really demonstrates how some companies penalize a DUI more than others. Even though Geico is the second-cheapest overall in our analysis, and remained one of the cheapest for nearly every profile, for the profile with a DUI, this insurer comes in as one of the most expensive. Even USAA lost its position as the cheapest option in our study to State Farm for this profile.

To find the average study rates for a profile with a DUI, we made profiles for males and females in each of the following ages: 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. The profiles have insurance coverage for 12,000 miles per year, a medium level of insurance coverage, and a good credit score. We used three vehicles for our driver profiles: the 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150.

  1. State Farm: $1,692.09
  2. USAA: $1,710.92
  3. Progressive: $1,757.01
  4. American Family: $2,206.08
  5. Farmers: $2,435.42
  6. Travelers: $2,511.64
  7. Geico: $2,805.50
  8. Allstate: $2,990.62
  9. Nationwide: $3,151.30

Cheapest Car Insurance for Drivers With Bad Credit

Your credit rating affects your car insurance rates because insurance companies see people with bad credit as more of a risk. In our study, driver profiles with good credit had an average study rate of $1,306 per year. Driver profiles with poor credit, however, had a study rate of $2,318 per year on average – roughly $1,000 more than driver profiles with good credit.

Nationwide penalized the profile with poor credit the least of all the companies in our study, with an increase in representative rates of about $580. State Farm, on the other hand, raised the study rates the most for the driver profile with poor credit, up by about $1,560.

Our study verified that credit score also affects car insurance rates using male and female driver profiles with ages of 25 years, 35 years, and 60 years. We created a profile for each level of credit score (good, fair, and poor) and assigned the profiles a clean driving record, a good credit score, a medium level of insurance coverage, and 12,000 miles of annual mileage. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 are the vehicles used in our analysis. 

  1. USAA: $1,825.94
  2. Geico: $1,853.45
  3. Travelers: $2,031.66
  4. Nationwide: $2,090.27
  5. American Family: $2,226.30
  6. Progressive: $2,347.35
  7. Farmers: $2,659.81
  8. State Farm: $2,815.36
  9. Allstate: $3,011.20

Cheapest Car Insurance Coverage

Bad Credit
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If you want the cheapest car insurance coverage, you can choose to only get the bare minimum insurance coverage required 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. 

Company

Low Coverage

Medium Coverage

High Coverage

Allstate

$1,678.31

$1,777.66

$1,876.14

American Family

$1,252.04

$1,325.99

$1,297.59

Farmers

$1,456.07

$1,538.21

$1,627.44

Geico

$984.70

$1,063.10

$1,146.20

Nationwide

$1,494.22

$1,529.58

$1,573.98

Progressive

$1,222.50

$1,308.37

$1,411.31

State Farm

$1,166.65

$1,260.12

$1,352.67

Travelers

$1,144.59

$1,211.84

$1,254.59

USAA

$842.63

$894.95

$946.02

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. According to our data, driver profiles with low insurance premiums had a study rate of $1,249 per year. Medium coverage profiles had a study rate of $1,323, and high coverage profiles had study rates of $1,387. Based on this data, going for low coverage instead of high coverage only saves $138 per year on average.

Saving nearly $150 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.

Most major insurers offer car insurance coverage in three general tiers: low, medium, and high (even if they don’t necessarily advertise it as such). We created identical profiles in our study to represent drivers, then found out how rates changed with the three levels of coverage. The profiles were assigned a clean driving record, a good credit score, and 12,000 miles of annual driving. We used both males and females with the ages of 25, 35, and 60. The 2015 Honda Civic, 2015 Toyota RAV4, and 2015 Ford F-150 are the vehicles used in our analysis. 

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 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 25-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 representative rate for driver profiles with a clean record in our study is roughly $300 less than the rate for drivers with one accident. 

Fixing your credit will do more than save you on interest rates, it can save you when it comes to your car insurance premiums. 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 Best Car Insurance Companies

Check out our full ranking of the Best Car Insurance Companies and learn about what real customers say about the nine largest insurers in the country.

Our Car Insurance Ranking:

  1. USAA
  2. Travelers
  3. State Farm
  4. Geico
  5. Farmers
  6. Nationwide
  7. Progressive
  8. Allstate
  9. American Family
Speed Limit Sign
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