ValuePenguin works with trusted national car insurers to help you find your best rate quickly, simply and easily — for free.
- Save money. Comparison shopping is the best way to find the cheapest rates.
- It's free and easy. Get car insurance quotes in just a few minutes with no cost or hassle.
- Find an insurer you trust. We partner with the country's leading insurers, so you can be confident you'll be protected when it counts.
- Get customized results. Know that your online quote matches your unique driver profile and history.
- Shop with confidence. ValuePenguin respects your privacy, and we take extra precautions to ensure your information remains secure.
How do car insurance quotes work?
Most insurers allow shoppers to get free car insurance quotes online. When calculating quotes, insurers try to predict how likely you are to make a claim based on what they know about you. Let's break down a few of the variables that insurance companies use to estimate your quotes.
Car insurance quotes by company
Car insurers charge different prices for coverage, and you might find a drastically lower quote at one company compared to another.
This is the most important reason to compare auto insurance quotes when shopping. For example, a driver could get a quote costing $109 per month from one company and $196 per month from another for the same full coverage policy.
How location affects vehicle insurance quotes
Car insurance is regulated at the state level, so auto insurance quotes often vary drastically depending on where you live.
And accidents are more likely to happen in dense, urban areas, so drivers in large cities often get higher quotes than people in rural communities.
Nearly every state has some minimum coverage requirements for drivers to legally operate on the road. However, requirements vary drastically from state to state.
Most states require some form of bodily injury and property damage liability insurance, though the actual coverage limits required can differ. The higher the coverage limits required, the more expensive the policy.
Some states require some form of uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage or personal injury protection (PIP), whose limits can also vary and add to policy costs considerably.
Insurers price premiums based on the risk or likelihood of claim filings in an area. Typically, denser urban areas with narrower roads and more vehicles experience a higher frequency of car accidents and, in turn, claim filings.
Drivers in densely populated areas are likely to pay more for car insurance than those in less dense areas. Rhode Island, for example, is one of the only states with more than 1,000 residents per square mile, and it is in the top 10 for most expensive auto insurance quotes.
Local risk profiles
Because auto insurance is regulated at the state level, states often function as distinct insurance markets with different carriers operating depending on the state.
Insurance companies all have their own proprietary mechanisms to assess risk, bundle coverage types and price auto insurance quotes, so some insurers cost more than others. The rates available to drivers depend on the insurers operating in their state.
Some states may statistically have more high-risk profiles than others. If a state, a city or even a particular neighborhood demonstrates a consistently high frequency of accidents and claim filings, insurers will increase quotes accordingly.
How coverage affects auto insurance quotes
When purchasing auto insurance, the more coverage you buy, the higher your bill will be, but you'll also get more protection in case of a crash.
The two most common types of car insurance policy are:
- A minimum coverage policy, which meets the minimum legal requirements for car insurance in any given state.
- A full coverage policy typically adds comprehensive and collision coverage and therefore costs more. Full coverage, however, provides protection for damage to your car, even if you're responsible for the crash.
How gender impacts car insurance quotes
Annual rates are based on a full coverage policy.
Car insurance is typically more expensive for men than women, especially for younger drivers.
Differences in quotes are typically larger among new drivers in their teens, and often the gap in price between men and women narrows significantly throughout their early 20s to mid-20s.
Quote disparities are largely due to how insurers evaluate risk, as historical data has shown that young men engage in risky driving behavior more often than young women.
How age affects car insurance quotes
Car insurers typically charge young people much more for car insurance than older, more experienced drivers.
Your age is one of the key determining factors when it comes to how much you'll pay for insurance.
Auto insurance quotes are usually most costly for younger and new drivers who have less experience on the road. Quotes typically level off around 30 years old and increase slightly much later in life when drivers become seniors, particularly after age 70.
How vehicle type affects auto insurance quotes
Car insurance quotes can vary substantially depending on the type of vehicle you drive.
In general, car models that are newer, more expensive, faster and less safe have higher insurance costs. But every insurer weighs each of these factors differently.
Among the country's top-selling vehicles, which range from pickup trucks and SUVs to sedans, the Mazda CX-5 and Ford Ranger have some of the cheapest full coverage car insurance rates.
How credit scores impact car insurance quotes
Annual insurance rate
Insurance companies have found that credit scores help indicate how likely drivers are to file claims, so a better credit score can mean lower rates.
Our analysis found that for full coverage policies, drivers with very good credit receive quotes that are 51% less expensive than quotes for those with poor credit.
Some states — California, Michigan, Massachusetts and Hawaii — have banned the practice of using credit scores to determine insurance quotes. In these states, your credit score will not influence your auto quote. A few other states are considering adopting similar legislation.
How marital status affects auto insurance quotes
Annual insurance rate
Married drivers typically pay less for auto insurance than single people.
Insurers tend to view married drivers as more financially stable and risk-averse and therefore charge them lower rates than single drivers.
Across the U.S., single drivers on average tend to pay $83 more per year for full coverage auto insurance than married drivers. Mississippi has the biggest difference in rates, with single drivers paying 13% more per year than married drivers.
Married people can also generally save on insurance by sharing a policy and qualifying for multicar discounts.
How to get a free car insurance quote online or with an agent
Whether you choose to get a free quote online or through an agent, aim for at least three quotes from three different companies. The more quotes you get, the more options you have.
Getting an insurance quote online — called a direct quote — is probably the fastest and most convenient way to shop for auto insurance. Most of the national insurance companies will quote you a premium for your policy and even close the deal with you online.
Key steps to getting free auto insurance quotes online
1. Info needed for car insurance quotes
When requesting a quote or submitting a form for a free quote online, you'll need to have some personal information about you as a motorist on hand. This is a list of the information you'll commonly be asked for when inquiring about a quote:
- Social Security number
- Current insurance information
- Marital status
- The make, model and year of the car you drive
- Driver's license and license plate number
- Driving history (any claims, violations or accidents, and how much you drive per year)
2. Choose a policy and the appropriate coverage limits
The type of auto insurance policy you choose — minimum or full coverage — will affect your quote, so it helps to have a general idea of which coverages you'd like before getting one.
We typically recommend all drivers consider purchasing full coverage car insurance, particularly if their vehicle is worth more than $3,000. Additionally, some drivers may need special coverages that increase the price of their auto quote.
Consider any unique circumstances that will influence the policy type and coverage options you select when getting a quote. You should also try to determine ahead of time what limits you'll select for the following standard coverages:
- Bodily injury liability reimburses medical expenses, emergency services, compensation of lost income and even funeral expenses to another driver for accidents in which you are at fault.
- Property damage liability covers repair and replacement costs of damage to homes, storefronts, vehicles and other property for accidents in which you are at fault.
- Collision and comprehensive coverage pay for damage to your car inside and outside of a crash, respectively.
- Personal injury protection (PIP) offers reimbursement for your own medical expenses, regardless of who was at fault in an accident.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist offers reimbursement for your bodily injury or property damage expenses for accidents in which the at-fault driver is uninsured or underinsured.
3. Comparison shop to find your best rate
After you've gathered relevant personal and vehicle information and chosen your policy type and coverage selections, you're ready to get a quote. A quick and simple way to compare multiple car insurance quotes is to use our tool at the top of the page. You can start by entering your ZIP code.
As an alternative, many insurers offer their own free online quote tools you can access directly through their websites, or you might consider working with an insurance agent to help you with the process.
Should you get a quote online or with an agent?
You can get quotes in person, over the phone or online. Getting online quotes is typically the most convenient, but drivers who prefer a more personal touch may opt to work directly with an agent.
- You can also check quotes on the insurer's website for free. Some companies, such as Progressive, let you see competitors' rates side by side so you can find the best price for you.
- If you can't get a quote online, try calling an agent at the insurance company you're interested in. With agents, you can either get one company's quotes or quotes from multiple companies.
- Some insurers give you a discount for buying a policy online.
Bottom line: Getting quotes online can be more convenient for drivers, while calling up an agent offers a direct point of contact for your auto policy.
Frequently asked questions
What is a car insurance quote?
A car insurance quote is an estimate of the price an insurer will charge you for car insurance, based on the information you provide. It's a good approximation of what you can expect to pay, but your exact rate may change once your carrier has all the information it needs to set your price, such as your driving and credit history.
How do car insurance quotes work?
To get an insurance quote, you'll provide an insurer with information about yourself, including your address, your marital status, what car you own and your driving history. Then, you'll pick coverage options and the insurer will quote you a price for that amount of insurance, tailored to you.
Who has the cheapest online car insurance?
Everyone will pay a different amount for car insurance based on where they live, what car they own and their driving history. But among national insurers, we found that State Farm, Geico and Progressive offer the best rates on average, and they all offer easy online quotes.
How can I pay less for my car insurance?
The three most effective ways to reduce your car insurance bill are to shop around for multiple quotes, qualify for insurance discounts and adjust the amount of coverage you carry.
How much does a car insurance quote cost?
Getting an insurance quote should be free. Major insurers will provide you with quotes online at no cost, and ValuePenguin's free quote tool will provide you with affordable rates from multiple insurers.
How long does a car insurance quote take?
Getting an insurance quote generally takes about 15 minutes, though it may take more or less time depending on where you live, how many people you're insuring and how many vehicles are on your policy. After you get a quote, you can often set your policy to start the same day, depending on your state.
Our base driver was a 30-year-old male who drove a 2015 Honda Civic EX, and quotes were drawn from all available ZIP codes in each state. Standard rates and rate changes were for a driver profiled as having an average credit history and no prior traffic violations.
|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|
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, as your quotes may be different.