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What you need to know in 60 seconds
Car insurance typically costs $1,000 - $1,300 or more depending on your driving record and demographics.
Each state has different insurance requirements for liability, underinsured and personal injury protection coverage.
Add collision and comprehensive coverage for better protection.
Save on car insurance by driving safely, bundling insurance and finding other discounts.
Drive less than 30 miles a day? Save on the coverage you need with pay-per-mile insurance from Metromile. Get a low monthly rate then pay just a few cents per mile. Available in AZ, CA, IL, NJ, OR, PA, VA and WA.
Why trust us? Our writers and editors thoroughly research the car insurance options we compare on this site. You’ll read only unbiased, third-party opinions. While we make money from our partner insurance providers to expand our content and our company, we maintain high editorial standards to ensure the information you see on finder.com is accurate and objective.
How much does car insurance cost?
The average cost of car insurance is $1,065 per year, or $89 a month. Your car’s make and model and the year you bought it are the biggest factors in your insurance rates. Compare car insurance quotes by your car’s make and model to get the most accurate rates.
How do I get insurance estimates?
Use car insurance comparison sites to get rates and calculate how much you’ll pay based on your vehicle and driver factors. Get rate estimates from different insurers to compare the best plans for you.
Get the cheapest insurance for your car
10 tips for getting cheap car insurance
No one wants to overpay for car insurance. And it’s hard to compare policies to get enough coverage at the right price. The best way to save is by shopping around. In a study done in New York, the average driver can save up to $625 by switching car insurance.
Different people can pay drastically different prices for car insurance even at the same company. Compare car insurance companies that can offer you the best deal for you individually, not across the board. You can also compare local insurance companies, which tend to have higher customer satisfaction rates than their big-name counterparts and could potentially have lower rates.
Some insurers offer discounts to drivers for a variety of reasons such as having a clean record, paying an annual premium all at once or being a safe driver for a certain period of time. If the insurance company you’re with offers more than just auto insurance, consider bundling all your insurance through them, like home and car insurance. Most companies offer a group discount, even if it’s just for more than one car.
Make sure you are getting the appropriate coverage for the car you’ve driving. Consider skipping collision or comprehensive coverage for an old car. The value of your car determines your maximum payout if it’s stolen or totaled, meaning these policies are not very useful for older vehicles.
A higher deductible means lower premiums, your monthly or annual price. But if you get in an accident, you will have to pay more than if your deductibles were lower. For example, if you have a $500 deductible on a $2,000 accident, you’d pay $500 before your insurance company covers the other $1,500. With a $1,000 deductible, you’re paying $1,000 and your insurer covers the remaining $1,000.
If you drive under a certain amount of miles every year, you can tell your insurance company and possibly qualify for a low mileage discount. This is a common discount that many drivers actually qualify for but are not aware of. If you only use your car for occasional short trips, you can sign up for a usage-based insurance program that determines your rates based on how much you drive.
These two are surefire ways to make your premium go through the roof. If you live in a high risk area or are prone to getting in accidents, look into a provider that offers accident forgiveness, where your first accident won’t make your premiums go up.
If you have a less than stellar driving record, sign up for a defensive driving class. Most insurers will give you a discount on your premiums. Your local DMV can point you in the right direction.
Look into being a nominated driver on your parents’ insurance. Their rates might go up, but it could be less than keeping your solo policy. And because married drivers tend to file fewer claims, you’ll often get a discount on your premium just for getting engaged or married. Married couples can also save by combining their insurance on one policy to save money.
Most auto insurance companies take your credit history into account for your pricing, unless you live in CA, MA or Hawaii. The reasoning behind it? Research actually shows that people with a higher credit score tend to make fewer claims.
Newer, cheaper cars tend to be cheaper to insure. Luxury cars have a higher sticker price and tend to cost more for as long as you use it. It’s worth buying a cheaper car, especially if you’re a young driver. If you haven’t purchased a car yet or are getting ready to shop for a different car, compare insurance prices for car models you’re interested in. The insurance price differences might surprise you.
What factors affect my insurance rates?
The make, model, trim, age and value of your car
How many miles you drive
Your car’s safety features and anti-theft devices
Where you keep your car
Your coverage levels and deductible
Your age, marital status and location
Your driving record and payment record
Your gender (except in HI, MA, MT, NC and PA)
Your credit score (except in CA, HI and MA)
Whether you rent, lease or own your vehicle
Did you know?
If you want cheaper car insurance, you have to show insurers you’re a low risk driver. You can get the cheapest rates for having a safer car, parking in a garage, not driving much, paying premiums on time and avoiding accidents and claims.
Shopping for and comparing your auto insurance quotes every six to 12 months can save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime.
Compare auto insurance quotes to find the best deal
If lowering your car insurance premium is your main priority, switching car insurance could be one of the best ways to save. Compare how much price differs between insurers with sample auto insurance rates for California drivers.
To get these quotes, we compared rates for the same driver profile averaged across all California zip codes.
26-30 years old
2017 Toyota Camry LE
State minimum requirements
$15,000 property damage
How to shop for auto insurance
Ever wonder why insurance quotes are different for every provider? You might not be comparing equivalent rates. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples to get the best insurance quotes.
Does the quote include discounts? To get your business, many providers quote lowest possible price. It might, say, include a hefty 25% car insurance discount for buying online. Other insurers might offer the same discount but not include it in your quote.
How much information did you provide? Anonymous car insurance quotes aren’t as accurate as quotes that factor in your age, address and driving history. Generally, the more information you provide, the more accurate your quote.
Is the coverage equivalent? Two comprehensive policies can include different coverage and perks, which can lead to significant price differences.
Do you need a special type of insurance? Driving for business, rideshare drivers and adding on coverage can all affect your premiums.
Car insurance rates across the US can vary a lot based on where you live. The national average is $1,300 per year, but drivers in Maine pay only about $864, while drivers in Michigan see premiums averaging $2,394. Shopping for car insurance starts with finding your state minimum required coverage and then adding extra coverage you’d like. Compare auto insurance rates by state and even by ZIP code.
Basically, car insurance covers damage to your car in an accident in exchange for regular payments to a car insurer. You can choose certain kinds of damage you’ll be protected for, such as getting in a collision with another driver or getting a tow if your car dies. Start your car insurance search by understanding the types of coverage you can choose.
Start by researching your state minimum requirements and then add on coverage you need from there. Bodily injury and property damage liability insurance is required in most states and covers you if you’re at fault in an accident and need to pay for the damages.
When you’re shopping for car insurance, you’ll see these numbers written like 50/100/25, which means $50,000 individual bodily injury liability, $100,000 total bodily injury liability and $25,000 property damage liability.
Some states also require uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, which protects you when another driver causes an accident and doesn’t have enough insurance to pay for all your costs.
Once you’ve met your state minimums, you can decide if you need additional coverage, like collision, comprehensive or roadside assistance.
What are the basic kinds of coverage?
Bodily injury liability
Covers costs from injuries you cause another person in an accident.
What does comprehensive coverage protect me against?
Collision and liability coverage protect you in an accident, and comprehensive covers you for everything else. Adding comprehensive coverage can give you a lot more protection for a small additional increase to your premiums.
Hitting a pole
Hail & storms
Hit and run
When should I switch car insurance?
You just got your insurance bill and your rates have gone up again, or you’re still waiting for that claim payout from an accident months ago. Sometimes car insurance companies drop the ball, so you’re thinking of finding someone with better support and prices.
Cancelling insurance is easier when you’ve just had what’s called a life change event. You might be able to shop around for a better rate if you’ve just celebrated one of these milestones.
You’ve just had a birthday
You’ve changed cars or drivers
You got married or moved in with your partner
You moved to a different address
You graduated high school or college
Your driving record has changed
Your credit score has improved
Your policy is about to be up for renewal
What’s the most important factor when switching car insurance?
According to a 2019 multiple choice poll conducted on finder.com that received 4,866 responses, price was the most important factor for people when switching or canceling policies. Here’s a breakdown of the data:
Why do you want to cancel your policy?
70% (3,391 responses)
Other (car was sold, broken down, no longer used, etc.)
10% (469 responses)
9% (432 responses)
9% (230 responses)
5% (253 responses)
2% (91 responses)
How to cancel car insurance the easy way
Switching insurance can take some time to find the right company and get your old policy canceled, but many companies let you simply mail in your cancellation notice and don’t even charge a fee.
Find a new provider. Compare car insurance plans side by side to find the best insurance for you. Consider price and discounts but also what features you need in a policy and how much coverage you want.
Set up your new policy. Plan for your new policy to start on the same day your old policy is canceled. You’ll receive a letter of confirmation from your new insurer, and then you’re safe to cancel your old policy.
Cancel your old policy. Check your car insurance policy details to find out any fees or refunds you might be facing. Mail in your notice or cancel by phone, app, email or online account. Your new insurer can also help you with this step. You should get written confirmation from your old provider that your insurance has been canceled.
The deductible is the charge you are required to pay on every claim. So, for example, if the rear and front of your car have been damaged in two separate situations, you are required to make two claims, which means you will need to pay a deductible for each claim. The total amount you have to pay depends on the conditions of the claim.
Yes, depending on the coverage type. For example, you might have a $250 collision deductible but a $500 comprehensive deductible.
The amount covered represents the maximum sum an insurance company will pay for the damage or loss of your vehicle, minus any applicable deductions, unless otherwise stated in the policy. This amount includes the entire value of the vehicle, including alterations and accessories and also includes GST.
You have the option of paying your premiums every month or on an annual basis, and sometimes on a six-month basis. In some cases, paying monthly will raise the total amount you pay each year. You can save by paying for your policy annually.
If the insurance company is willing to renew your policy, in most cases you’ll receive notice a minimum of 14 days before the expiration date of your policy. The notice generally includes how much you have to pay as well as when you have to pay by. If you pay your premiums every month, you won’t have to do anything as the company will simply continue to draw payment for your account on the same date every month. However, if you pay your premium as an annual lump sum, you should talk to your insurance company to see how you can make the payment.
If your renewal doesn’t contain the correct information, you have to get in touch with your insurer. You have to make sure that all your information is updated and accurate and if you don’t take action to inform your insurer about any changes to your circumstances that you are fully aware are relevant to your policy, you might end up with a reduced payout on a claim or no payout at all. Your policy might be canceled and if fraud is suspected, the insurance company may simply act as if the policy had never existed.
In most cases, a car insurance policy can be canceled by calling or emailing the insurance company or by sending in a written cancellation.
Generally, your insurance company will be able to help with getting your vehicle repaired. Depending on the insurer, you will be sent to one of their assessment centers or recommended repairers, or the repairer of your own choice. In either case, an assessment will be performed and repairs will be organized.
Generally, legal advisors will tell you to contact your insurance company if you receive any letters making demands from any other person involved in the event, even if it’s from their insurer or legal representative. If contact is initiated verbally, inform the other party who your insurance company is and let them know that the insurer will be handling the claim. At no point should you admit that you were to blame for the damage or accident and you should certainly not make any promises regarding covering their expenses. Write down as much information as possible on the other party, including their name, place of residence, telephone number and vehicle information. Then get in touch with the insurance company to let your provider know what has occurred and get help with the process.
No, some providers only cover certain kinds of cars or vehicle use. If you aren’t sure whether your vehicle is eligible, it’s best to contact the insurance company directly and see what it says.
Some insurance companies will not provide coverage for vehicles such as:
Classic and vintage cars
Commuter buses that can carry more than 12 passengers
Vehicles that are damaged
Vehicles that were formerly ambulances or taxis
Privately imported vehicles
Vans built for special purposes like fire rescue vans
There are also some limitations in terms of what the vehicle will be used for. Many insurance companies will not provide coverage or will require a different kind of coverage if the vehicle is used:
As a courtesy car
For the transportation of inflammable liquids, explosives, chemicals, dangerous goods
In time trials
In a racing competition or rally
For taxi services
For hire services
As a demo vehicle
Coverage and exclusions
While this varies from insurer to insurer, generally a learner driver will be covered by a car insurance policy as long as there is an instructing passenger in the front seat who is a fully licensed regular driver. In most cases, you don’t have to pay an additional premium but if the learner driver has an accident, you might have to pay an age or inexperience deductible or both. Of course, they must abide by the terms and conditions of the policy as well. If you drive while pregnant, it won’t affect your policy unless you’ve been advised to refrain from driving or that your pregnancy could negatively affect your capacity to drive. To ensure you are fully able to drive, it is a good idea to consult your doctor.
Some insurance companies take things a step further than simply handling your claim. Some insurers offer a valet service whereby they take care of all the details and, if your car can be driven safely, they will even deliver it to where it needs to go. Generally, such perks are only available for comprehensive policies.
Some insurance companies offer certain benefits for your teenagers if you’re an existing customer. If your child wants to insure their vehicle with the same insurance company, they might receive a rating for every year they’ve been driving while licensed and haven’t made a claim. Check with your insurance company as some offer additional perks such as free one-day skilled drivers courses, which are meant to help them with their driving skills and offer discounts after completing the course.
To change any information pertaining to the registration of your car or the regular driver, you have to contact the insurance company. You will need to give them the number of your policy and/or the registration number of your vehicle, as well as your mailing address, which must coincide with the address on our policy, and your birth date when submitting your request. Some details you will have to provide them with when changing the details of a regular driver include:
How often the driver will now be driving the car
What they will be using the car for
Their name, gender and date of birth
How long they have held their license for
Accident and claims history for the past 3 years and details of the accident including dates and fault assigned
Whether or not the driver has had their license suspended or canceled and any details.
If you intend to alter your vehicle in any way that makes it different from the standard model, which includes adding non-standard accessories, you will have to contact the insurance company. You will have to provide your insurer with a list of the alterations and accessories along with their monetary value. You also have the option to remove alterations and accessories from your policy by contacting the insurance company.
Some insurance companies will provide their customers with a hire car for a limited period of time if their vehicle has been stolen. There is also the possibility of pre-purchasing a ‘discount hire car benefit’ or ‘comprehensive hire car benefit’, which will ensure you have access to a hire car while your vehicle is being repaired from damage caused in an accident.
Most insurance companies will not cover tools of trade under a car insurance policy, meaning that you will have to seek the services of a specialist insurer. In terms of trailers, some companies will offer a limited degree of coverage for accidental damage caused to your trailer while it was connected to your vehicle.
Most car insurance policies only provide coverage while your vehicle is being driven in the US. If you’re overseas, the policy doesn’t cover the vehicle or the personal liability of the driver.
In some cases, the damage to a vehicle is so severe that it’s not economical or safe to attempt to repair it. If the insurer feels this is the situation, your vehicle will be declared a write-off and you will receive the amount covered or the agreed value. If you have comprehensive insurance, some policies allow for the replacement of your car with a new vehicle and coverage of on-road costs, if your original vehicle was declared a write-off after being stolen or damaged within the first two years of its first registration.
Some insurance policies will provide coverage for your vehicle if you are driving off-road but you do have to take some precautions to make sure your car is safe.
There are certain restrictions when it comes to the type of coverage a car insurance policy offers. While these vary between insurance companies some of them include:
You are not covered if the accident was caused by a fault with your vehicle that you were aware of and chose to ignore;
You are not covered if your car was damaged during a race, trial, test, competition or similar arena;
You are not covered if your car was lost or damaged with intent either by you or a person acting on your behalf;
You are not covered for any further loss or damage caused to your vehicle if you drive it after it has been in an accident.
Car insurance is a very important way to protect your asset and stay out of debt, so be sure you know what your policy covers, and how it works in the event of an accident.
Yes, getting car insurance quotes online is a great way to get a quick estimate of how much you’ll pay. It’s a great option if you’re trying to budget for insurance costs with a new or new-to-you car, or if you want to get a feel for prices before you settle with a provider.
You can always sign up online with the best rate you find, or you can get in touch with an agent or broker to help you decide if you want more customized help.
As the car insurance publisher for finder.com, Roslyn McKenna is driven to help people get a great deal on car insurance so they can enjoy the ride. Roslyn has put her Bachelor of Arts in Writing and Communications to good use by covering topics ranging from finance to insurance. As a former blog manager for PetSafe, she has a love for everything furry and nerdy. When she’s not researching car insurance discounts to share with readers, she’s busy planning her next trip with latte in hand and cat in lap.
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