8 Ways To Get The Cheapest Car Insurance Possible
Most of us need car insurance, yet few of us fully understand it.
Dozens of car insurance companies, including large players and regional insurers, are vying for your business. Many offer an eye-glazing assortment of policy options, making it hard to compare policies and figure out what s the best and cheapest car insurance.
Here are eight things you can do to ensure you get good coverage at the best possible rate.
1. Don t assume any one company is the cheapest
Some companies spend a lot of money on commercials that try to convince you they offer the lowest car insurance rates. But prices that different people pay for the same coverage by the same company can vary widely. No single insurer can claim to be the low-price leader for everyone. The insurance company that s cheapest for one person in one place might be the most expensive option for a driver in another state.
The only way to ensure you re getting the best deal is to shop around.
There are some savings at stake: A NerdWallet analysis found that good drivers could be missing out on $416 a year on average by not comparing insurance prices.
Our study also found that 38% of Americans who have car insurance haven t compared insurance costs in at least three years, if ever.
COMPARE: NerdWallet s car insurance comparison tool
2. Don t ignore local and regional insurers
Just four companies control nearly half the nation s auto insurance business: Allstate, Geico, Progressive and State Farm. But smaller, regional insurers such as Auto-Owners Insurance and Erie Insurance often have higher customer satisfaction ratings than the big names and they may have lower rates, too.
3. Check for discounts
Insurers provide a variety of discounts, including price breaks for customers who:
- Bundle car insurance with other policies, such as homeowners insurance
- Insure multiple cars with one policy
- Have a clean driving record
- Pay their entire annual or six-month premium at once
- Agree to receive documents online
- Own a car with certain anti-theft or safety features
- Are members of particular professional organizations or affiliate groups
Don t be swayed, however, by a long list of possible discounts. Compare your final prices from multiple insurers.
4. Pay your bills on time
Your credit score is a significant factor in the car insurance quotes you receive except in California, Hawaii and Massachusetts, which don t allow insurers to consider credit when setting rates. Insurance companies say customers credit has been shown to correlate with their chances of filing claims.
A NerdWallet analysis found that having poor credit can boost people s car insurance rates by hundreds of dollars a year compared with having good credit.
5. Consider insurance costs when buying a car
You probably already pay attention to factors such as fuel efficiency and repair costs when picking a car to buy, but you should also consider insurance premiums. A NerdWallet analysis of the cheapest cars to insure among top-selling vehicles found the lowest rates are for the Honda CR-V, Subaru Outback and Jeep Cherokee.
6. Skip collision and comprehensive coverage for an older car
Collision coverage pays to repair the damage your vehicle after an accident with another car or an object such as a fence. Comprehensive coverage pays to repair vehicle damage from weather, animal crashes, floods, fire and vandalism. It also covers car theft. But the maximum payout under either policy is limited by the value of the car if it s totaled or stolen. If your car is older and has a low market value, it may not make sense to shell out for these types of coverage.
If you buy comprehensive and collision coverage, you can save money by opting for higher deductibles. (There is no deductible on liability insurance, which pays for the damage you cause others in an accident.)
8. Consider usage-based or pay-per-mile insurance
If you re a safe driver who doesn t log many miles, consider a usage-based insurance program such as Allstate s Drivewise, Progressive s Snapshot or State Farm s Drive Safe Save. By signing up for these programs, you let your insurer track your driving in exchange for possible discounts based on how much you drive, when you drive and how well you drive.