15 Tips and Ideas for Cutting Car Insurance Costs

How much is car insurance?

The average cost of car insurance is $1,655 per year for full coverage, according to 2022 rate data. But because auto insurance premiums are based on more than a dozen individual rating factors, the actual cost may vary for every driver.

Here are some key facts about car insurance rates:

Bankrate insight New York, Louisiana and Florida are the three most expensive states for car insurance on average. USAA, Nationwide and Erie offer some of the cheapest full coverage car insurance, but do not operate in every state. Having a severe infraction like a DUI on your motor vehicle record could increase your car insurance premium by 88% on average. Teen male drivers may pay $807 more for car insurance on average compared to teen female drivers.

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Car Insurance Calculator: Credit Score

Credit score is used to determine rates in all states except Hawaii, Massachusetts, California, and Michigan. Insurance providers use credit scores to determine a driver’s risk level. The lower the credit score, the more likely a person is deemed to file a claim in the future.

Policy premiums go down significantly the better your credit history is. Aside from the rate, you might also face surcharges for poor credit or be forced to pay for the entire policy in full.

Credit Rating Annual Car Insurance Cost Monthly Car Insurance Cost
Good $1,711 $143
Fair $2,102 $175
Poor $3,191 $266

Top Companies For Car Insurance Quotes

When you want the best price for coverage, we recommend using a car insurance estimator to compare rates. If you’re not sure which providers to get quotes from, we recommend checking out USAA and Geico.

USAA: Best For Military

Not only does USAA maintain an A++ financial rating from AM Best, but it regularly scores at the top of J.D. Power studies including the 2021 U.S. Auto Insurance StudySM, 2021 U.S. Insurance Shopping StudySM, and the 2021 U.S. Auto Claims Satisfaction StudySM. The downside to USAA is that the policies are only available to military personnel, veterans, and their family members.

If you qualify, you can sign up for liability protections, comprehensive and collision insurance, and these add-on coverages:

  • Roadside assistance: This additional plan covers emergency towing, gas delivery, flat tire repair, and lockout services.
  • Accident forgiveness: In select states, USAA will not raise your rates after one accident with this coverage.
  • Rental reimbursement: You can receive money toward a rental vehicle during a covered claim.
  • Other financial products: USAA offers more than just car insurance. You can find additional insurance products for your motorcycle, home, boat, pet, life, and more.

Customers can’t say enough good things about USAA. Here’s one example: 

“They have always done the right thing by me, even when it wasn’t in USAA’s best interest. I have long said that if you have to be in an accident, pray the other driver has USAA insurance.”

– Matt H. via the Better Business Bureau (BBB)

To learn more, read our full USAA car insurance review.

Geico: Best Overall

Another highly recommended insurer is Geico. The company regularly offers some of the lowest rates while also providing exceptional customer service. As we look at the three studies performed by J.D. Power, we once again see good results for Geico.

The company also has an A+ rating from the BBB, which is no small feat. Sure, there are complaints from customers, but you will find that with any provider you choose.

What you can expect from Geico is a standard list of insurance coverage options, along with these optional plans:

  • Roadside assistance: Receive the help required for towing, fuel delivery, jump-starts, flat tires, lockouts, and more.
  • Rental car coverage: If you need a vehicle while yours is in the shop for a covered repair, Geico provides a specified amount of reimbursement for your transportation requirements.
  • Accident forgiveness: Your current rate remains in place after an at-fault accident with this coverage.
  • Glass coverage: You can choose full glass protection that covers automotive glass damage after road debris hits it, a storm occurs, or other incidents.
  • Protection for belongings: If your car is broken into, you can receive extra compensation for anything that was stolen from inside.

It also doesn’t take much effort to find positive customer reviews from existing Geico policyholders. 

“I’ve been a customer of Geico for close to 20 years. My kids have had a few accidents and they have been extremely professional and I have zero complaints about the claims they handled. Their service has been outstanding.”

– Kenneth A. via BBB

To learn more, read our full Geico car insurance review.

Additional factors that affect car insurance rates

In addition to your state requirements, vehicle type, age (except in Hawaii and Massachusetts), driving record and gender (in most states), several other common rating factors will impact your auto insurance premium.

    • Your car insurance coverage options have a significant effect on your rate. If you select higher liability limits, choose lower deductible levels or add endorsements, your rates will likely be higher.

    • If you’ve had continuous car insurance for the length of time you’ve been a licensed driver, you may pay lower rates. Lapses in your insurance coverage (unless you did not own a car during that time) can be an indication of high-risk behavior and may increase your premium.

    • The more you drive, the more likely you are to get into an accident. Policyholders who drive fewer miles a year often qualify for lower rates (although this mileage designation varies by company).

Frequently asked questions

The average cost of minimum coverage car insurance in the United States is $785 per year, or $65 per month. However, your rates will vary based on where you live, what kind of car you have and your driving history.

The best way to calculate the cost of auto insurance is to use our online car insurance calculator, which will help you estimate how much you’ll pay for car insurance based on your location, car and how much coverage you need.

At the very minimum, you need enough car insurance to meet the minimum legal requirements in your state. However, we usually recommend buying additional coverage if you drive a lot, have a newer car or are paying off a car loan or lease.

How much you should spend on insurance depends on what coverages you need, where you live and your driving history. The average price of car insurance nationwide is $785 per year for a minimum coverage policy.

Almost every state requires liability insurance, which pays for bodily injuries to other people and property damage. Many states require personal injury protection as well, which pays for your own injuries in a crash. We also recommend comprehensive and collision coverage if your car is worth more than $2,000 or if you would have trouble replacing it if it was destroyed.

Our recommendations for car insurance

Whether you want to get basic liability coverage or full coverage, USAA, Geico and State Farm tend to be affordable options for many drivers.

Factors that influence car insurance estimates

Since car insurance exists to pay for damages that you might cause in an accident, companies determine your risk of an accident based on many factors. These include: 

  • Driving history: Recent accidents, speeding tickets and traffic violations directly affect your auto insurance rates.
  • Age: Teen drivers have less experience on the road and can pay double or triple what middle-aged drivers pay. This is why many stay on their parents’ insurance plans for some time.
  • Location: Densely populated areas have higher rates of accidents, vandalism and theft, so insurance costs more in these areas.
  • Vehicle: Safer cars cost less to insure, while expensive and high-tech vehicles cost more to insure.
  • Other drivers in your household: As you list drivers in your household on your policy, your car insurance premiums can change depending on who is covered and excluded.
  • Mileage: If you are a low-mileage driver, you can usually save money on your car insurance.
  • Credit history: All states except California, Hawaii and Massachusetts allow companies to use credit-based insurance scores to predict risk. The lower your score, the higher your car insurance estimates.
  • Deductible: A high deductible will lower your car insurance policy rates and vice versa.
  • Discounts: All insurance companies offer at least a few discounts, and some discounts may be better for your situation than others.

What factors are used to calculate your car insurance cost?

Insurance companies calculate your car insurance rate based on a number of factors. For instance, age and accident history are used to determine your “riskiness” as a driver. If you are a young person or a driver with an accident history, your auto insurance estimates will be costlier than those of someone older or someone who has a clean driving record.

Factor How does it impact your insurance rate? Your age Younger drivers tend to pay more, especially teens.Driving history You’ll likely pay more if you have a recent at-fault accident or driving infraction, like a DUI.The year, make and model of your car Cars that are older, slower and cheaper and have more safety features tend to be cheaper to insure.Marital status and number of dependents Married people often see a slight discount, but you’ll pay much more if your teenage son or daughter is on your policy.Your annual mileagePeople who drive less tend to see lower rates.Show All Rows

How Root calculates car insurance rates vs. others

Every car insurance company determines their rates differently. This means your estimate will vary across different websites as you shop around and use their calculators. Any quote you opt to receive will also vary for the same reason. 

Not to mention, most car insurance companies will use their calculator to get you in the door and then hit you with a quote that is based heavily on factors out of your control such as your demographics. This means your premium could be negatively impacted because of a factor like your age or credit score. 

At Root, we do things differently.  

We base your rate primarily on your driving behavior, not your credit history. Put simply—the better you drive, the more you could save. 

Skip the Auto Insurance Calculator and Get a Quote

car insurance coverage There isn’t a one-size-fits-all car insurance policy. Your car insurance coverage needs are unique to you. It’s also true that not all insurers’ car insurance calculators are the same and many insurers calculate rates differently.At The Hartford, we’re the only national auto and home insurance program endorsed by AARP.®1 We offer more than great rates. You’ll also have extra benefits for AARP members and access to a customer service team dedicated to making your life easier.Get a free quote today from the AARP Auto Insurance Program from The Hartford and find out how we can help protect you and your loved ones on the road.

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