When you’re ready to hit the road, a reliable car is only part of the equation — insurance coverage is also essential.
If you’re looking for the best cheap car insurance deal, you should start by taking stock of your own situation. Are you a new or teen driver? Are you an older adult? Are you currently serving (or have you previously served) in the military? What does your driving history look like? Do you want car insurance coverage that includes injury liability and property damage liability coverage? What about roadside assistance, accident forgiveness and uninsured motorist coverage? The answers to these questions will ultimately affect which insurance provider can offer you the best and cheapest car insurance quote.
You also need to be crystal clear on what your insurance covers. Yes, cheap car insurance does exist, but an inexpensive policy is only worth it if there’s adequate minimum coverage. Further, the cheapest car insurance for one driver may not be the cheapest for another since many insurance companies offer rate discounts and plans for specific situations.
All that said, there are some affordable car insurance policies out there that offer good coverage at a low rate. Keep reading to learn more about the best cheap car insurance companies.
Read more: Best life insurance companies for 2021
Age, credit score and driving history can all factor into the auto insurance premium you’ll have to pay.
Root Insurance Company
Five things to keep in mind when looking for cheap car insurance
Saving money is important, but so is having a policy with the liability coverage and comprehensive coverage you need. If a specific auto insurance policy is insufficient for you, it doesn’t matter how little minimum coverage costs. Being under-insured is almost as bad as being an uninsured motorist.Try to identify which factors may ultimately affect your insurance rate, such as your age, driving record and credit score. Keeping these details in mind will help guide you in your search.It’s important to get an auto insurance quote from many different providers (factoring in the discounts they offer) and weigh those prices against the quality of the coverage options being offered.If you can work with an insurance company you already use for other insurance coverage, or an insurer that offers special benefits to employees at your place of business, you can potentially save even more money on your auto insurance policy.You may be able to save money on your insurance premium by cutting some coverage, but it’s safer to keep all the liability coverage and comprehensive coverage you may need — and it’s possibly even cheaper in the long run, in the event of a problem.
Below, you’ll find more advice from industry experts about finding the best deal on your car insurance. But first, here is a list of the best insurers offering auto insurance coverage options for various categories of driver. We’ll update this list periodically.
Geico’s advertising presence has made it one of the most recognizable brands in auto insurance, and this insurance provider’s prices and customer service have made it one of the most beloved. Across every category, the car insurance company is routinely ranked for having some of the best coverage options with the best rates available to drivers.
Geico famously tells drivers that they could save 15% or more by switching to the carrier, but how does it provide such savings? The answer comes with the company’s comprehensive discounts. As a Geico policyholder, you could get discounts based on your car’s safety equipment (airbags, antilock brakes, antitheft systems), your driving habits (good driver, seat belt use), your employer (federal employee, military and some individual employers) and courses you take (defensive driving, driver’s education course).
As this list continues, we’ll be naming our best cheap car insurance picks in a variety of other categories. Regardless of which category applies to you, though, you should get a car insurance policy quote from Geico before making your decision. The company’s prices — and services — are always competitive.
The United Services Automobile Association is the only company offering car insurance prices that routinely beat out Geico’s. The catch is that in order to be eligible for a policy with USAA, you need to be either a US service member, a veteran or a close family member.
Needless to say, that disqualifies most people — but if you are eligible for auto insurance with USAA, it’s strongly recommended that you check out the provider. Not only do customers switching to USAA save an average of $707 per year on their auto insurance coverage, but the company has been named the “most beloved financial brand on Earth,” with 64% of USAA members describing themselves as “very satisfied.”
USAA also has a host of car insurance discounts available, so most drivers who are able to get insurance with the company will likely be able to save even more money. Discounts include money back for safe driving, taking driving courses, insuring multiple vehicles, continuing a family membership and storing a car on a military base.
Geico does have a specific product (and help hotline) for military service members and veterans, but USAA policies are generally cheaper.
Most insurers charge extra to cover teen and older adult drivers. Members of these age groups are more likely to be injured in auto accidents, so carriers see them as more of a risk to insure than other drivers. As a result, teens and older adults may need to look a little harder at coverage options in order to find a cheap auto insurance company that suits their needs at a reasonable insurance cost.
Progressive makes insuring teen drivers easier (and cheaper) than many of its competitors do. In addition to being completely transparent about the differences between taking out a new policy for a teen and adding one to an existing policy, the company offers many discounts to younger drivers. There’s a discount simply for having a driver 18 or younger on your account, as well as one for adding another car to it. Additionally, teen drivers can save by maintaining a B or better average and, as part of the Snapshot program, driving safely.
Those Snapshot savings also benefit drivers aged 75 and above, whom Progressive acknowledges are more expensive to insure. As part of the Snapshot program, Progressive customers download the Snapshot app (or use a plug-in device) that monitors their driving habits. People who drive safely or use their cars infrequently (as many older adults do) are eligible for savings to the tune of an average of $145 a year.
The General Automobile Insurance Services has been serving customers for over 50 years and, like Geico, has gained note from a series of TV commercials and a catchy slogan. In addition to car insurance, The General offers life insurance policies through parent company American Family Insurance.
The General acknowledges that not every driver can boast the cleanest record, and that mistakes — such as accidents and driving violations — happen behind the wheel. Still, the company endeavors to provide reasonable rates to drivers who may fall under the “nonstandard” label. It also extends the courtesy to drivers with lower credit scores, as well as those who have let their insurance lapse.
The General extends additional benefits to all customers. For instance, the company offers a “low down payment” option for its plans, as well as discounts based on your car’s safety equipment, your own driving record, and more. Whether you have a less-than-stellar driving history or not, The General is worth a look when getting auto insurance quotes.
Root Insurance Company
Root Insurance may be a fairly new player in the field, but its approach to insuring drivers may ultimately be a game-changer… and will certainly come in handy for drivers looking for the cheapest car insurance who have lower credit scores.
Root uses telematics (via an iPhone or Android app) to monitor your driving, and then gives you a discounted auto insurance rate based on how safely you drive. Your credit score never comes into play — instead, your driving ability is evaluated and you save money based on Root’s measurements.
People switching their coverage to Root can save up to an astonishing 52% on their auto insurance premiums. Root is able to provide such low rates because it only insures safe drivers. Would-be customers whose telematics aren’t up to standard during the test drive period will not be offered coverage.
Root is currently available in 36 states and coming soon in two more, so you may want to check its website and see if you’re eligible for coverage.
Cheap car insurance in 2021 compared
Best cheap car insurance…
Good driver, defensive driving, multivehicle
For servicemembers and veterans
Family discount, vehicle storage, military installation
For seniors and teens
Continuous insurance, teen driver, good student
For drivers with spotty records
Lump sum payment, antilock brakes, airbag
For drivers with low credit scores
Root Insurance Company
Good driving (applied after two to three weeks, larger than those offered by most competitors)
Beginning your cheap car insurance quest
As far as a starting point, Geico is typically the car insurance company recognized for having the cheapest car insurance in many cases, and the insurer is lauded for its customer service. “Geico offers some of the cheapest premiums around for full coverage, and you can even stack discounts for safe driving or multiple policies to snag extra savings,” says Sarah George, car insurance expert at Finder.com. “If you’re looking for the cheapest rates, Geico will likely offer low premiums for most drivers.”
It’s crucial to compare car insurance quotes, as George adds, “Liberty Mutual also contends with helpful options like new car replacement or a diminishing deductible fund, plus you can opt for personal service with a local agent.”
Your age ultimately plays a role in what you’re charged for insurance policy coverage. “We’ve found Progressive to be the cheaper option for drivers under 25,” says George. “Progressive is also known for its wide coverage and online tools that help you buy within your budget.” Not only is Progressive a recommended insurance provider for younger drivers, but it’s a top cheapest insurer choice for older adults as well.
For young drivers and older adults, Progressive is worth considering.
Drivers who have spotty histories (from things like a speeding ticket, at-fault accidents, or DUIs) may be deemed “nonstandard” and have difficulty getting the same auto insurance coverage rates as other drivers. A single $2,000 claim can raise your auto insurance rates by 41%, according to CBS News.
Most major companies will insure nonstandard drivers (again, at a higher car insurance rate), but there are also car insurance companies specifically dedicated to it. “Certain auto insurance companies specialize in higher-risk drivers,” says Joel Ohman, certified financial planner and founder of CarInsuranceComparison.com. “It becomes all the more important [for higher-risk drivers] to shop around and compare rates from many different car insurance companies.” Of these nonstandard auto insurance companies, one of the most popular is The General.
Root Insurance Company determines auto insurance premiums on driving habits.
Root Insurance Company
Some auto insurance companies classify drivers with low credit scores as nonstandard. If you have a lower credit score, you can look into a car insurance company that provides insurance coverage for nonstandard drivers, or you can work with an auto insurer that doesn’t check credit when giving you a policy. Root car insurance, for instance, bases your car insurance premium entirely on your driving habits, using telematic data.
How to lower your insurance rates
Finding an auto insurance company that can save you money is important, but there are things you can do on your own to ensure you save money on car insurance. You might be able to get a deal by bundling auto insurance with another form of coverage (such as homeowners insurance). You can also see if your place of business receives a group discount. In the long term, safe driving can also lower your premiums.
Consider bundling home and car insurance coverage with one company for lower premiums.
Root Insurance Company
It is also possible — though not necessarily recommended — to save money by omitting certain car insurance coverage options. “You should know, skipping coverage can put you at risk,” says Ross Martin, a licensed insurance agent with The Zebra. “However, if your goal is to save money, there are some coverages that you could get by without. While nearly every state requires liability insurance, other coverages are not always required. Depending on the state in which you live, you may not be required to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage, personal injury protection or [coverage for] medical payments to others.”
“The types of coverage you can skip depend a lot on your specific situation,” says George. “If you drive an old clunker that you could replace with a few hundred bucks, you might not want collision coverage.” Use your judgment and evaluate the risk to make an informed decision, just like with any other financial matter.
Written by Scott Fried for Roadshow.
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