Stop overpaying: How to get and find cheap car insurance | finder.com

How to get cheap car insurance

Cut costs not corners to save on your car insurance premiums.

Car insurance is an essential investment for every driver, offering important financial protection in the event of accidents, fire, theft and more. It can seem pricey, but it’s still cheaper than paying out of pocket for damage and medical bills when an accident happens. Depending on what you’re looking for, you can get a good rate on cheap, bare-bones coverage or full coverage at a great price. Compare deals and coverage to save more on your policy.

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What kind of coverage do I need?

When you’re hunting around for the lowest price car insurance, you’ll see a lot of options with big differences in price. When you’re comparing whether to add certain kinds of coverage, consider both the minimum state requirement and whether any optional coverage is worth it for you.

Liability claims, for example, could total much more than the bare minimum if you crash into someone’s garage or a car full of passengers. If you’re looking for the cheapest coverage, it pays to play around with maximum coverage and monthly payments. An extra $5 a month could cover you for extra hundreds of thousands in coverage.

But for an older car that’s worth less than your annual premium, consider cutting comprehensive and umbrella coverage.

CoverageAnnual costCoverage detailsRequiredWorth it?
Collision$300Damage to your carNoYes
Comprehensive$135Non-accident damage like theft & weatherNoOnly for newer cars or high risk areas
Property damage liability$1,000 – $2,000At fault damage to propertyYesYes
Personal injury protection$50 – 100Your post-accident injuries regardless of faultYes in 15 statesYes
Bodily injury liability$1,000 – $2,000At fault post-accident injuries to othersYesYes
Uninsured motorist5% of annual premiumDamages caused by uninsured driverYes in 22 statesYes
Umbrella$150 – $300Damages above and beyond other coverageNoOnly for high value assets
Medical payments$50 – 100Post-accident injuries for you & passengersNoOnly as health insurance supplement
Gap insurance$20 – $30Damages if car is stolen or totaledNoOnly for loans over car value

Compare basic car insurance options from top brands and apply securely online

Details Features
Liberty Mutual Car Insurance
Liberty Mutual Car Insurance
Car insurance through Liberty Mutual will give coverage options for almost any situation.
  • Multi-car discount
  • Bundle discount for combining auto and home policies
  • New vehicle discount
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Esurance
Esurance
Esurance offers a modern online and mobile experience that helps you take your insurance on the go.
  • CoverageMyWay® helps you make smarter choices
  • Gain peace of mind with 24/7 claims service
  • Manage your policy on the go with Esurance Mobile
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Allstate Auto Insurance
Allstate Auto Insurance
With a range of coverage options at affordable prices, Allstate auto insurance can be personalized to your needs as a driver.
  • Reward System for Safe Drivers
  • Bumper-to-Bumper Basics® Tool
  • Comprehensive Tools to Design a Customized Insurance Plan
Get Quote More info

What factors go into car insurance premiums?

There are some factors that have a big effect on your premiums no matter where you get your car insurance.

  • Your age. Young drivers are riskier and pay higher premiums than older drivers.
  • Male or female. Women make fewer car insurance claims than men overall, and generally have get lower premiums.
  • Where you live. Less densely populated places have fewer accidents and so get lower premiums. More densely populated spots, particularly ones at a higher risk of incidents such as theft, will result in higher premiums.
  • Your job. Truckers, delivery drivers, taxi drivers, travelling salesmen and anyone else who’s always on the road will pay higher premiums. More time driving puts you at higher risk of an accident.
  • Vehicle size. Larger vehicles tend to be safer in a crash, and get reduced premiums compared to smaller vehicles.
  • Engine power. Stronger engines raise premiums.
  • Age of your car. Older cars tend to be less valuable and therefore cheaper to insure. The catch is that they are often more expensive to repair due to scarcity of parts. This means that when you have an accident in an older car, there’s a chance that the damage will cost more to repair than the car itself is worth.
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How do I get the cheapest car insurance?

Save money on your car insurance by making smart decisions. Each of these tips can affect your premiums.

  • Choose the right policy for you. When choosing a policy, consider how much you drive and what your risks are. If your car is garaged most of the time you won’t necessarily need to worry about unexpected damages that are covered by comprehensive insurance. On the other hand, if you carpool to work and often drive with passengers, bodily injury coverage is a good idea.
  • Look at all your options. For the best prices, always play the market and request new quotes from your current insurer. A lot of companies give better deals to new customers in order to lure them away from competitors. Take advantage of this by switching car insurance instead of renewing, or asking for a new customer price from your current insurer. Always look for a better deal.
  • Try a higher deductible. If you’re a safe driver, consider raising your deductible. This is an amount you have to pay when making a claim, and it can be anywhere from several hundred to several thousand dollars. Most insurers will offer much lower premiums if you get a higher deductible.
  • Look for a no-claims bonus. For every year you don’t make a claim on your policy, your insurer may offer you a discount or cash back.
  • Nominate your drivers. If you have the chance to nominate drivers on your policy, it might be worth doing. Nominating fewer drivers and, if possible, drivers over 25 years old and with good driving records will keep the cost of your premiums down.
  • Get a car alarm. The more secure your car is, the cheaper it is to insure. Alarm systems and immobilizers deter thieves, making your car less of a risk to cover.
  • Be a safe driver. Take a defensive driving course to get a safe driver discount and some new skills, especially if you are a younger driver.
  • Keep a clean driving history. This isn’t always possible, of course, but keeping your claims history and traffic infringements to a minimum will help keep your premiums lower.
  • Park in a garage overnight. Cars that are kept in locked garages overnight are far cheaper to insure than those that are left out on the street.
  • Look for more discounts. It always pays to keep an eye out for discounts. Buying car insurance online, for example, can get you up to 20% off with some providers, while bundling policy such as home and life insurance from the same insurer can save you money.
  • Shop around and compare quotes. Don’t just sign up for the first policy you come across. Compare the features and benefits of several policies before obtaining multiple quotes. Then see how each policy stacks up against the competition in both price and quality.
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What are the cheapest cars to insure?

Among the ways to lower your insurance rate is to pick a car that is less expensive to cover. There are many factors that car insurance companies consider, one being the kinds of car you drive. Here is what they look at when determining your rates:

  • Safety. Cars that are considered safe tend to cost less to insure, primarily because they hold up well in an accident, decreasing claims. Volkswagens and Toyotas are some of the safest cars on the road.
  • Fuel economy. Car insurance may give you a break on your rates if you drive cars that require less gasoline, or none at all. The Chevy Bolt and BMW i3 are two cars that run on only electricity. The Prius and the Chevy Malibu are two cars with good fuel efficiency.
  • Car crash statistics. Insurance companies look at crash statistics and consider the level of risk before they insure any car. Vehicles like sedans and minivans tend not to be involved in as many crashes as some other vehicles.
  • The car’s worth. High-end luxury cars are are more expensive to repair and replace after they’ve been in an accident, causing higher premiums. Insurance companies will also look at the likely hood of your car being stolen.
  • Size and type of engine. The more powerful the engine (ie, the higher the horsepower) the more you’ll pay for your car insurance. Diesels engines also cost more to repair, so insuring a diesel vehicle will be more expensive.
  • Difficulty to repair or replace. The more it costs to repair your car after an accident, the more risk it presents to an insurer. This is often a drawback when making claims on imported or luxury vehicles.
  • Certain makes and models. Some makes and models are statistically involved in more accidents than others. So even if you haven’t been involved in an accident, the fact that you’re driving that type of car means you’re more of a risk and you’ll get higher premiums.

On the other hand, some cars will consistently cost more to insure.

  • Sports cars and high performance vehicles. This is a red flag for insurers, as they assume it will typically be driven faster than a standard car r and therefore face a higher risk of being more severely damaged.
  • Soft tops or convertibles. Vehicles with soft tops are easier to break into than conventional cars, and they tend to need repairs at some point, so they represent a substantial risk to the insurer.
  • Modified cars. Cars that have added features like more horsepower or tinted windows are generally more expensive to cover.
  • Age of your car. Spare parts can be much harder to track down for older cars.
  • Diesel cars. Diesel cars often cost more to repair than cars that need gasoline.
  • High-theft vehicle. Some types of cars are targeted more often by thieves, because they’re relatively easy to steal or strip for parts. Based on statistics alone, this could slightly elevate your rates.

Compare insurance prices by make and model

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How much coverage do I need?

You don’t want to find yourself underinsured, particularly if you depend on your car and you can’t afford to repair it yourself. The cheapest car insurance isn’t always the right one for your needs, even if saving money is your number one priority. Consider how you’d pay for your car if it was stolen or totaled in an accident. Could you afford a new car without insurance?

Most states require you to carry a minimum of third party liability or personal property insurance insurance to cover you if you damage anyone’s property in an accident. To work out whether third party insurance alone is enough, or if you need a full coverage policy, try asking yourself the following questions:

  • How much coverage do you need? Comprehensive, third party property, and third party fire and theft car insurance policies all offer different types of protection. You should know what type of insurance you’re looking for before comparing policies.
  • How old is your car? If it’s an old car and only worth a couple of thousand dollars, it’s most likely not worth paying for comprehensive or collision insurance. Your total coverage amount should be enough to completely replace your car in the event of a total loss. You should also know whether agreed value or market value is preferable for you.
  • How often do you drive? The more you drive, the greater your risk of having an accident, so the more important collision insurance becomes.
  • Where do you park it? If you live in a high-crime area and you park your car on the street, you may want comprehensive insurance. Consider installing car security for lower premiums.
  • Are you a younger driver? If you’re under 25, you’ll pay more for your insurance, so you may want to consider insuring through your parents or someone else.
  • Has your car been modified? If you own a classic car or you like to drive a modified car, you may want to look for a specialty insurer to avoid paying much higher premiums.
  • Do you use it for business or private use only? If you travel for work or do a job that requires you to be in your car a lot, you’re going to pay more. Because you’re on the road so much, you’re at greater risk for accidents.
  • How much deductible can you afford to pay? Increasing your deductible will lower your premiums, but you need to be careful that you don’t increase it too much, as you’ll need to come up with the money if you make a claim. Think of this amount as the damage threshold which determines whether or not you’ll be making a claim if something happens. You will often have options to choose your own deductible, but should try to stick to the amount that you’ve decided works for you.
  • Is your car your pride and joy? If your car is an expensive asset like a classic or performance car, you may want to provide extra coverage.
  • How much can you spend? Your income will certainly determine how much you can spend on car insurance. Basic coverage is usually more than $1,000 per year, but if you find you can afford more, work out how much you’re willing to pay in premiums and how much you are able to pay for repairs or replacements, and get a policy that balances the two needs.
  • Do you know what type of coverage you need? Look at what’s covered under each type of policy and decide which one is right for you. Only pay for the cover you’re likely to need, and resist adding optional extras unless you’ve decided you need them.
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How to balance cheap car insurance with the best car insurance

The cheapest car insurance you can find isn’t necessarily the best car insurance for you for several reasons.

Less coverage means less protection. Your state’s minimum requirements are a good place to start, but in a major accident, you might be glad you increased your coverage. Available limits can seem incredibly high in a typical fender bender or minor crash, but consider bigger incidents that could pile up into the thousands. You’ll be left to pay for damages after your insurance coverage tops out.

Consider a few scenarios that could cost far more than a basic policy.

  • Multi-car pileup where you’re hit from behind and knocked into another car
  • Living in a no-fault state where your damages comes out of your insurance regardless of fault
  • Uninsured motorist damages to your car
  • Hitting a traffic pole that falls onto someone else’s house
  • Injured passengers in either car with extensive medical costs
  • Totaled car that still has outstanding loan payments
  • Legal damages and fees from lawsuit

What’s the cheapest car insurance for drivers under 25?

If you’re a driver under the age of 25, and you’re looking for the cheap car insurance you may have trouble. Younger and less experienced drivers pay more for car insurance than older drivers. Insurance companies see people who are under 25 as a greater risk, and charge more for premiums. However, there are ways that young drivers looking for cheap car insurance can save money.

  • Choose your car wisely. If you’re trying to save money, stay away from the high-powered, luxury and convertible cars. They not only will cost more, but they are more expensive to cover. Choose a safer and less expensive car.
  • Build a safe driving record. The better your record, the cheaper your insurance. Consider filing a claim for only major accidents if you can cover the costs of a minor accident yourself, as a no claims history keeps future premiums down.
  • Take a driving course. Taking a defensive driving course will help convince insurers that you’re responsible on the roads.
  • Beware paying in installments. If the annual cost of your car insurance is too much to pay all at once, many insurers will let you to pay your premium in installments throughout the year. While it may save you from paying a lump sum, it typically costs more overall.

What’s the cheapest car insurance for people who don’t drive much?

If you’re someone who doesn’t drive often — you live in a city and take public transportation or are retired and no longer commute — a low-mileage discount is an option offered by some car insurers that reward drivers with lower premiums if they travel less than the average 15,000 miles a year.

If you think you qualify for this cover, it could be a good way to reduce your premiums. Here are some ways to cut down on your miles and qualify for a low mileage discount.

  • Carpool several times a week
  • Catch the train or bus to work
  • Plan your errands for one trip per day instead of taking lots of little trips
  • Take the most direct route to your destination
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How can I save money without losing necessary coverage?

Price is important, but it’s not everything. The best move is to find the coverage you want first, and then try to reduce your premiums from there. There are many ways you can go about this.

Open road

  • Nominate drivers. If you need to add drivers to your car insurance policy, it’s best to limit the number of drivers and be sure they have good driving records. Restricting the number of people driving your car can result in a lower premiums, restricting the age of the drivers can as well. If your kids are under 25, it will cost a lot more to include them in your policy.
  • Drive less. If you don’t drive much, you may want to see if you can apply for the low mileage discount option. Consider pay-as-you-go policies that are calculated depending on how much you drive.
  • Improve security and safety features. If you have features like anti-Iock brakes, automatic seat belts, airbags and daytime headlights you can get lower premiums. Adding security to your vehicle such as an alarm will reduce your premiums, as does keeping it in a locked garage overnight rather than on the street.
  • Lower your deductible. Increasing your deductible reduces your premiums because you’re agreeing to pay more in the event that you make a claim.
  • Get discounts. Research any discounts you could qualify for including loyalty discounts, multi-car discounts or multi-policy discounts.
  • Qualify for a no claims discount. Looking for a provider with a no claims bonus discount can help you save more. Some insurers will even recognize no claims bonuses held with other insurers so you can take this discount with you.
  • Go green. Some insurers will offer discounts for driving hybrids, electric vehicles or standard cars with especially excellent gas mileage.
  • Swap to agreed or market value. You’ll save money if you insure your car for market value instead of agreed value. You want this if your car is not a classic, modified or high-end car. Agreed value coverage will cost more, but if you have a more expensive car, or you’ve improved it by adding features, this could save you money in the case of an accident.
  • Share a policy with your partner. There are a number of factors to consider, the biggest being driving history. If only one of you has a clean record, that person will probably pay less for coverage than the other. If both of you have a clean driving history, insure it under a female name if possible, as women are statistically safer drivers and typically get lower premiums.
  • Change how you pay. Some insurance brand will provide you with a discount for signing up or paying for your insurance online or paying your premiums annually instead of monthly.
  • Keep a clean driving record. Your driving record and the history of the claims you’ve lodged are used to determine how much of a risk you pose to the insurance company. The higher the risk level, the more you’ll have to pay. Conversely, if you have a good driving record and haven’t lodged many claims or none at all, there’s a good chance you’ll get a better deal on your premiums.
  • Know how your vehicle make and model will affect your premiums. The type of car you drive will also impact your insurance premiums. The insurer will determine how much it would cost them to repair your car, including the cost of replacing parts, so the more expensive it is to fix, the more you might pay. You can’t help the car you drive now, but it could pay to keep this in mind the next time you’re car shopping.
  • Find out how where you live may impact what you pay. The area you live in also has an effect on the size of your premiums. If you live in an area where a lot of accidents, thefts or vandalism happen, you’ll find that your premiums will be higher. To save money, you could try keeping your car in a secure area, preferably one that’s under cover and away from the street.
  • Compare policies. Shopping around for car insurance is essential. You need to check out the different policies available from different insurance companies and what they offer
  • Maintain your car. Maintaining your car is important so make sure to take your vehicle for a check-up and have it serviced on a regular basis. Any deterioration could negatively impact the value of the car and lead to problems when you make a claim. Your car insurance policy will probably not cover you for damage caused by old age and improper maintenance.
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Cheap car insurance traps

  • Automatically renewed cover. This might be easy, but it’s not cheap. Insurers offer better deals to new customers than they do to existing ones, so don’t blindly renew your policy each year. Always check quotes from multiple providers, including your current one. If your insurer quotes you a lower new customer price than you’re currently paying, try asking for a discount. Premiums are always changing, so getting the cheapest car insurance means always looking at other options.
  • Not knowing how your cover works. Check the fine print on your policy before signing up, and ask yourself if you know exactly what’s covered, what’s an optional extra and what’s not covered.
  • Making too many claims. Before you make a claim, remember that your claims history will influence the future cost of your premiums, and you may have a high excess to pay. If the accident wasn’t too severe, the excess alone might cost more than the damage and it might not be worth being hit with increased premiums.
  • Too good to be true. Price is obviously an important factor when shopping for cheap car insurance, but don’t just choose a policy based on price alone. Compare the features, benefits and limits of several policies on the market. If you find much cheaper car insurance from one insurer, look for the catch.
  • High deductible. You can save money by selecting a higher deductible in return for cheaper premiums, but if your deductible is too high it may make it too expensive for you to lodge a claim. A good excess is high but affordable.
  • Letting others drive your car. If you have a policy that lets you nominate specific drivers or drivers above a certain age, don’t let an excluded driver take the wheel. They are usually not covered at all in the event of an incident.
  • Shop around. You never know what cover is available until you get out there and look for it. Compare as many car insurance policies as you can to find one that covers everything you need at the cheapest price.

Bottom line

If you want cheap car insurance for your vehicle, you’ll need to compare the options available from a range of insurers. From liability coverage to full coverage, there are a wealth of policies and providers to choose from. The right policy at the right price is out there — you’ve just got to go and find it.

Get your personalized auto quote

Use our magical comparison tool to find providers with the best rates in your area.

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