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Finder's car insurance team spends thousands of hours researching policies and analyzing hundreds of thousands of quotes from nearly every car insurance company to give you unbiased, expert reviews of each company's features, benefits and drawbacks complete with sample quotes and our expert ratings.
How do I compare car insurance?
Make sure you’re comparing equivalent features to get the strongest insurance rates.
- Balance the best coverage with the cheapest rates. Consider all the factors like discounts you qualify for, how easy it is to make a claim or whether preferred perks cost extra.
- Compare apples to apples. Check for the same perks, coverage, deductible and pay schedule across companies.
- Get multiple quotes. Consider at least two or three of the cheapest quotes, including quotes from national companies, local providers or specialized insurers.
- Get online quotes for an idea of features and costs. These give an estimate of how much you’ll pay, plus included features, perks and discounts. Then, you can sign up online or get in touch with an agent.
- Watch for exclusions. Read the fine print on your car insurance quote to avoid claim caveats or cancellation fees.
- Check ratings and reviews. Use sites like J.D. Power, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot to see a company’s customer service and claims ratings.
- Classic or custom car? Try specialized insurers. Not all insurers cover all specialty or luxury vehicles. You can find companies that specialize in vintage, custom or commercial car policies.
How much does car insurance cost?
The average cost of car insurance is $1,300 a year or $108 a month, but rates vary depending on your car’s make, model and year, driving record, location, age, credit score and other factors.
For example, expect higher insurance rates if you live in a high-claims area, like a big city or an area with a high rate of uninsured drivers or car theft.
Paying for your car insurance policy
You typically pay your premiums monthly, yearly or every six months. Insurance companies may accept electronic transfers, credit cards or checks.
You might score discounts for paying for your policy annually, setting up autopay or getting bills online.
Deductible vs. premium explained
Your premium is what you pay every month to keep your policy and coverage. The deductible is what you pay in an accident before you can get a claim payout.
Car insurance quotes
If lowering your car insurance premium is your main priority, switching car insurance could be one of the best ways to save. Compare auto insurance quotes with sample rates from insurers for California drivers.
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How does umbrella insurance work?
Umbrella insurance is liability coverage that protects you and family members living in your household over and above your existing liability insurance, like home or car liability coverage. Think of it as an extra safety net that pays for medical bills if you injure someone or pays to repair or replace someone’s belongings that you damage. Umbrella liability insurance also pays for legal fees if someone takes you to court and expenses go beyond your other liability insurance.
Say you needed to make a claim on your car, home, renters, boat or other personal liability insurance. Umbrella coverage kicks in with extra liability coverage if the damage exceeds the maximum limits on your current policies or if you don’t have an existing policy that covers the liability.
Umbrella insurance covers a wide range of scenarios involving liability:
- Damage from a car accident that’s your fault exceeds your auto insurance limits.
- Another child’s parents sue you when your child starts a fight.
- A worker gets injured on your property and wants compensation for medical bills beyond your home insurance limits.
- You’re sued for a social media message or review you posted.
- Someone gets hurt at your home while enjoying your playground, trampoline or pool.
- You hurt someone while skiing or hunting.
Umbrella liability insurance in action
Who needs umbrella insurance?
You might need an umbrella policy if you:
- Have a high net worth or high-value asset.
- Are a target for lawsuits, like a CEO or public figure.
- Hire others to work at your home, like gardeners or contractors.
- Have an aggressive dog or a dog with a history of biting.
- Are a landlord or own property on homesharing sites.
- Volunteer or work with children or animals.
- Carpool with others or are a rideshare driver.
- Need worldwide auto liability coverage.
You might not need umbrella coverage if you:
- Have high car or home insurance limits.
- Own few assets.
- Don’t work with, commute or hire other people.
How much umbrella liability insurance do I need?
To find how much umbrella insurance you need, review your net worth, home value, retirement plans and investments and total your assets together. Then, see if your current car, home or renters liability limits meet or go beyond the dollar value of your assets. The rule of thumb is to buy enough umbrella insurance coverage to equal your net worth.
However, consult a financial adviser if you have significant assets, like a net worth over $500,000. The general rule is based on how liability lawsuits often use your current assets or insurance coverage to settle the case. However, a personal financial adviser can help you understand whether your finances warrant more or less coverage than other people.
Umbrella policies range from $500,000 to $5 million in coverage. However, you also need a minimum amount of liability coverage on your home and auto policies to qualify, such as $300,000 bodily injury liability and $100,000 of property damage liability on your auto insurance policy.
How to calculate how much you need
For example, say your home is worth $400,000, your cars are worth $50,000, and your savings and retirement are worth $250,000. Your net worth totals $700,000 minus any debts you have. An umbrella policy of $1 million should fully protect all your assets if you’re sued, even in a worst-case scenario.
How much does umbrella insurance cost?
A $1 million umbrella policy typically costs between $150 and $300 each year, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Those rates may seem lower than a typical car or home insurance policy because umbrella coverage works in addition to your home and auto policies. Your risk of maxing out the coverage is lower with this policy.
Does it have a deductible?
Umbrella insurance doesn’t have a deductible, but it might come with a self-insured retention amount. This functions similarly to a deductible in that you may have to pay out of pocket but differs in that the self-retention amount doesn’t reduce your claims payout.
The general rule of thumb is that self-insured retention only applies if the umbrella policy covers you for something that your underlying insurance doesn’t. Otherwise, your underlying policies have their own deductible, so you won’t be hit twice.
Is it tax-deductible?
If you have a personal umbrella policy, your premiums likely won’t be tax-deductible. However, if your umbrella policy is supplementing other business policies you have, your premiums may be tax-deductible.
What isn’t covered by umbrella insurance?
Watch out for some areas that your umbrella insurance doesn’t cover, including:
- Your car or home damage. Damage that happens to your home or car accident damage won’t be covered by this policy. You’ll need your car insurance coverage or your dwelling coverage on home insurance to cover these situations.
- Your injuries. If you get hurt, your own health insurance or the property owner’s liability insurance would cover medical bills.
- Your business. If you own a business and want extra liability protection, you’ll need a commercial umbrella liability policy.
- Family with their own policies. Your policy may not extend to your spouse, children or other household members if they have their own home or auto policies.
No one wants to overpay for insurance. The best way to save on car insurance is by shopping around.
- Start with multiple customized quotes.
- Hunt for discounts, like taking a defensive driver course.
- Get coverage to fit your car’s age, make and model.
- Skip coverage you don’t need, like towing for new cars.
- Raise your deductible if you have enough in savings.
- Try pay-per-mile insurance if you don’t drive much.
- Insure all cars under the same insurer.
- Drive a safe, low-risk car to get lower rates.
- Think twice about filing small claims to avoid rate increases.
- Shop around every year or after a big life change, like moving.
How to find the right auto insurance near you
Each state holds its own minimum car insurance requirements, and deciding on other coverages depends on how much you’re willing to pay out of pocket in the event of a claim.
- Start with your state’s minimum requirements for liability, underinsured driver and personal injury protection coverage.
- Decide whether to increase your liability maximums by totaling all of your financial assets and selecting a liability limit that equals that amount. If you’re responsible for an accident and don’t have enough liability coverage, you’ll have to pay the remaining dollar amount out of pocket.
- Decide if you want to add other coverages like roadside assistance, comprehensive coverage or collision coverage.
Car insurance costs by state
Car insurance rates can vary a lot based on your address in the US. The national average is $1,300 a year, but drivers in less populated states like Maine pay only $864, while Michigan drivers facing unique insurance laws see premiums around $2,394. Hover over each state of interest to see what average insurance rates are.
What car insurance coverage do I need?
In most states, each driver should have at least liability coverage and sometimes personal injury protection or uninsured driver coverage. The types and limits of car insurance coverage you need are different for every state.
When shopping for car insurance, you might see limits written like 25/50/25, which means $25,000 bodily injury liability and $50,000 bodily injury per accident and $25,000 property damage limit.
Bodily injury liability
Covers costs from injuries you cause another person in an accident.
Property damage liability
Covers damage you cause to someone else’s property in an accident.
Personal injury protection or medical payments
Covers medical services after an accident, regardless of fault.
Uninsured or underinsured motorist
Covers your own injury or car damage costs if the at-fault driver in an accident doesn’t have car insurance or doesn’t have enough coverage.
What is uninsured motorist coverage?
Uninsured motorist coverage can be valuable if you’re involved in an accident with another party who’s uninsured or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover all damages.
There are two types of uninsured motorist coverage.
- Uninsured motorist bodily injury (UMBI) coverage. UMBI covers your medical bills and other costs like lost wages. When buying this insurance, you’ll need to decide if you want split-limit or combined single-limit coverage.
- Uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) coverage. UMPD covers damage to your car. It may also cover expenses if your personal property is damaged, such as your house.
How do I get towing as part of my basic car insurance?
Many insurance providers don’t include roadside assistance as part of a bare-bones, liability-only plan. However, if you’re in an accident and your car is too badly damaged to drive, the at-fault driver’s liability insurance should cover towing your vehicle to the nearest repair shop.
Roadside assistance is typically considered an add-on, and it’s often only available if you have comprehensive and collision coverage. That means you’ll likely need more coverage than liability only to take advantage of your provider’s towing services.
If you’re driving a car that’s prone to breaking down, ask your provider about plans that include roadside assistance. Other options include joining an auto club like AAA. Although you’ll pay an annual membership fee, you’ll gain access to towing and other important roadside emergency features.
Ask an expert: Avoid these car insurance mistakes
Farmers Insurance, Licensed Insurance Agent
The biggest mistake I see people make is shopping for price.
When shopping for a car, a house or even a sweater, the average consumer understands they’re going to get what they pay for. If you want a Cadillac, you’re going to have to pay more than you would for a Ford.
If you want a brand-new 2,500-square-foot home, you expect to pay more than you would for a 20-year-old mobile home. When you shop for clothes, you pay more for new than you do at a thrift shop. Insurance is no different.
What factors affect my auto insurance quote?
Your insurance quote comparisons look different across several companies because insurers use info about you to determine your driving risk and set your quotes.
This info is based on factors like where you park and how many miles you drive, including 10 factors that affect your rates the most:
- Car model
- Driving history
- How much you drive
- Past claims
- Credit score
- Marital status
How do I read my quote?
A car insurance quote gives you an estimate of how much you’ll pay for car insurance with a particular insurer. Car insurance policies are usually rated for six- or 12-month periods.
You also might see your coverage limits written as 50/100/25. These numbers represent the dollar amount of coverage you have for physical damage and bodily injury liability:
- 50 = $50,000 for bodily injury liability per person involved in the accident
- 100 = $100,000 for bodily injuries total per accident
- 25 = $25,000 for physical damage liability per accident
When you decide on a company, the insurer will determine your rate after considering your motor vehicle record and the payment plan you want.
Compare insurance providers to find your best rate
Select up to four providers at once to compare your coverage options.
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