Compare the best prices for car insurance
State Farm, Farm Bureau and USAA are the three national insurers that offer the lowest prices on average, but what you'll pay may vary based on where you live, your driving history and more.
Factors that affect car insurance rates
The primary factor that affects car insurance rates is the amount of coverage you select. But beyond your elected coverage, many variables will affect your rates including your age, location, vehicle type, accident and traffic violation history, and credit score.
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Compare car insurance rates by state
Insurance is regulated on a state level, and comparing auto insurance rates by state can show how drastically state regulations affect the price of car insurance where you live. We compiled the average cost of car insurance for all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and found the cheapest insurer for each.
Compare car insurance rates by accident history
On average, insurance rates increase by 47% after an at-fault accident. However, not all insurers increase premiums by the same amount.
Drivers insured with Geico see the largest increase in rates after an accident, while State Farm tends to penalize drivers less.
Rate increase after an accident by state
Where you live also affects your car insurance rate after an accident. Drivers in Pennsylvania are fortunate: Their rates only go up by 17% after an accident, on average. Insurance rates in California double after an accident — the highest increase in the nation.
Compare car insurance rates by age
Age is a major factor when comparing car insurance rates. Younger drivers pay comparatively more for auto insurance than older drivers because insurance companies consider them to be the riskiest drivers.
Taking three specific ages as an example — 18, 25 and 30 — you can see how insurance rates change over the course of the average young adult's driving life.
- An 18-year-old driver pays an average of $6,777 per year for full coverage car insurance.
- The same driver at 25 years old pays $2,184 per year for car insurance, a decline of 68%.
- But as drivers reach adulthood, rates tend to level out. The same driver pays $1,922 per year at 30 years old, only 12% less than a 25-year-old but easily the lowest car insurance rate of this group.
Car insurance rates generally decline as you age but then spike again in your later years, as senior drivers pose a higher risk than middle-aged drivers.
Compare car insurance rates by credit score
Drivers with excellent credit pay about half as much for car insurance compared to those with poor credit.
Credit scores can be a key factor in determining your auto insurance quote. Insurance companies use a proprietary calculation — called a credit-based insurance score — to rate their customers. Policyholders with good credit scores tend to pay lower car insurance premiums, while those with poor credit scores tend to pay higher premiums, all else equal.
Annual insurance rates from select insurers for poor and excellent credit ratings
Very good credit
Rates are a national average of car insurance policies meeting minimum coverage requirements in all 50 states and Washington D.C.
State Farm provides the biggest discount for excellent credit profiles, decreasing its rates by 69%. On the other hand, Nationwide provides the smallest discount, only decreasing rates by 34% for drivers with an excellent credit history instead of a poor one.
Some states have outlawed the use of credit scores in determining insurance rates. If you live in one of these states, your rates will be the same regardless of your credit score.
Find Cheap Auto Insurance Quotes in Your Area
How to compare car insurance rates
Getting a car insurance quote has become a more straightforward process after the growth of online quote tools. But before quote shopping, you'll have to do some legwork to ensure you're making appropriate car insurance price comparisons. Make sure you take the following three steps when comparing auto insurance companies.
1. Collect relevant personal information before comparing rates
Online car insurance quote tools and insurance agents can provide you with a rate estimate, but the quotes you receive will only be as accurate as the information you provide. Make sure you have the following information about you and your vehicle before seeking out a quote:
- Full name
- Current insurer and your policy declaration page
- Driver's license number
- Equivalent information for any other drivers on the policy
- Year, make and model
- Vehicle information number (VIN)
- Date of purchase
Your driving history:
- Ticket and accident history
- Any license suspensions
2. Determine coverage levels before comparison shopping
The amount of car insurance coverage you choose to buy has a significant impact on the price you pay. Most states require drivers to carry a minimum amount of coverage. However, we recommend a full coverage policy for most drivers.
Car insurance policies can include the following types of coverage, along with optional coverages that are unique to each insurer:
Types of coverage:
When comparison shopping, you should make sure you select the same coverage limits from each insurer for an apples-to-apples comparison. In the cases of collision and comprehensive insurance — which don't have limits — make sure you select the same deductibles.
3. Collect and compare quotes
Once you have all your personal information and have decided on appropriate coverage limits, you can begin to shop for car insurance. Our insurance comparison tool is a quick way to compare cheap car insurance quotes.
You can also go to multiple insurer websites and use their quote tools to compare quotes from different companies. Our recommendations for the best and cheapest car insurance companies is a good place to start.
Note: Car insurance prices change over time. When collecting quotes, always save the reference number so you can get back to the quote later. Also, quotes generally expire after a few weeks, so if you find a good price, don't wait too long to buy coverage.
Frequently asked questions
How do I compare car insurance?
You can compare car insurance prices by using multiple online quote tools or by working with an insurance agent who will gather prices on your behalf. But the best way to compare car insurance rates is to use ValuePenguin's quoting tool.
Why should I compare auto insurance quotes online?
Every driver will get a different price for insurance based on where they live, what kind of car they own and their driving history, and they will find a different price at each insurer as well. The only way to find the best price for you is to get multiple quotes from different insurers, and doing so only takes a few minutes.
When should I compare car insurance?
Ideally, you should compare insurance on an annual basis to make sure you're always getting the best rate for you. But at the very least you should shop for quotes any time something about your life changes that could affect your rates. This includes buying a new car, moving, having a driver added to or removed from your policy, receiving a ticket or being involved in an accident.
Which auto insurance companies offer the cheapest quotes?
Insurers charge different rates for every driver, so there's no single best and cheapest insurer for everyone. Among major insurers, State Farm, Farm Bureau and USAA tend to have the best prices nationally.
What do I need to compare insurance quotes?
To compare insurance quotes, you'll need your home address, the make and model of your car and a record of any recent tickets or driving incidents. You may also want your Social Security or driver's license number and VIN for the most accurate quote.
How much should I be paying for car insurance?
On average, drivers across the country pay $875 per year for minimum coverage insurance and $1,954 per year for full coverage insurance. However, rates vary based on where you live, your driving record and your age.
We gathered rates across 50 states and Washington, D.C., for 37 insurance companies. To ensure some level of availability for our recommendations given differing state insurance markets, an insurer is only noted in the lists above if it is available in at least five states.
Our sample driver was a 30-year-old male with average credit who drove a 2015 Honda Civic EX, and rates used all available ZIP codes in each state.
We used the following limits for full coverage quotes:
Full coverage policy
|Bodily injury liability||$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident|
|Property damage liability||$25,000 per accident|
|Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury||$50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident|
|Comprehensive and collision||$500 deductible|
|Personal injury protection||Minimum when required by state|
- Our rates for minimum coverage policies represent the average cost of a policy that meets any state's minimum required auto insurance coverage.
- Rates by age were drawn solely from the 10 most populous states.
- ValuePenguin's analysis used insurance rate data from Quadrant Information Services. These rates were publicly sourced from insurer filings and should be used for comparative purposes only — your own quotes may be different.