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

How to get and find cheap car insurance

Want to cut costs but not corners? Learn how to save on your car insurance and access discounts for February 2018.

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, there’s an affordable option for you. Whether you want bare-bones cover for dirt cheap, or full coverage at a great price, there’s something for everyone. Compare deals and coverage to save more on your policy.

Rates last updated February 19th, 2018
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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
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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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What kind of coverage do you need?

When you’re hunting around for the lowest price car insurance, you’ll see a lot of options with big differences in price, including:

  • Liability. (Between $1,000 and $2,000 a year).

    When drivers talk about auto insurance, they’re usually referring to liability coverage. This is the insurance that covers you if you’re at fault in an accident and need to pay for the resulting costs. All states except New Hampshire, Iowa and Virginia require you to have at least liability insurance. Expect to pay between $1,000 and $2,000 a year.

  • Property damage liability. (Between $1,000 and $2,000 a year).

    Will help you pay costs that result from any damages you cause to someone else’s property. These costs may include vehicle repairs, repairs for damage to buildings, houses or fences, lost income from business closures, legal fees from property damage claims. Property damage liability doesn’t pay for your own car repair costs. For that, you’ll need collision coverage.

  • Collision (Around $290 a year).

    If you’re at fault in an accident, your liability insurance kicks in and pays for the other driver’s costs. For your own vehicle repairs, you’ll need collision coverage. Collision coverage pays for costs if your vehicle is damaged.

  • Comprehensive (Average of $134 a year).

    Insures against damages that aren’t within your control, such as natural disasters, terrorism, explosions and fire, glass damage, falling objects, vandalism, damage from animals and theft. Unlike liability insurance, you’re not required to have comprehensive coverage regardless of the state you live in.

  • Medical payments (Less than $100 a year).

    Helps you with your medical costs resulting from a car accident — no matter who’s at fault. It covers you and your passengers pays for such expenses like ambulance fees, surgery, funerals, dental care, prosthetic limbs and hospital visits. Medical payments coverage will also protect your when you’re walking or riding your bike.

  • Gap Insurance (Between $20 or $30 a year until your loan is paid off).

    This covers you if your car is stolen or totaled and you owe more on a loan than your car is worth.

  • Personal Injury protection (PIP) (Around $600 per year).

    If you’re involved in a car accident, PIP pays for the medical services you may need afterward including ambulance rides, nursing care, prosthetics, lost income, childcare and funeral services. PIP will apply regardless of who’s at fault in an accident.

  • Bodily injury liability (Between $1,000 and $2,000 a year).

    Your insurer will help you pay costs that result from any injuries you cause to another person. These may include immediate medical aid, legal help, health care, funerals and pain and suffering. Bodily injury liability coverage doesn’t pay for your own medical costs. For that, you’ll use your own health insurance, medical payments coverage or personal injury protection.

  • Umbrella(Between $150 and $300 a year).

    Protects you beyond the coverage offered by your basic insurance. It’s especially recommended for individuals with significant assets — those who stand to lose a lot from getting sued. It will pay for what you owe beyond what’s covered by your home, auto or renters insurance.

  • Uninsured or underinsured motorist (Around 5% of what your auto insurance costs yearly).

    This covers you if you have an accident, and the person who is at-fault doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for the damages to your car. You can choose to have bodily injury (UMBI) or property damage (UMPD) coverage.


How to get lower 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 to 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’s 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.

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

  • High power cars. Cars with greater horsepower go faster 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 are more likely to cause injuries in a car accident.
  • 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.

Compare insurance prices by the exact brand and model

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How much cover 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? The type of car insurance you should get depends on a few factors:

  • 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 cover 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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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.
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How to can I make sure my claim gets paid?

Here are a few things to remember to help make your claims process go more smoothly:

  • Be honest. You may think that withholding any negative marks on your record will help you save on your car insurance. But car insurance companies share information and will find out about any past claims and your driving record. Failure to disclose relevant details could lead to your claims being reduced or rejected, even if you’ve paid your premiums.
  • Keep a record. When you’re involved in any incident that may lead to a claim, keep as many records of the incident as you can. Obtain the details (name, contact information, driver’s licence number, registration, insurance policy details) of all other drivers involved in the incident, and make sure to get details from witnesses as well. Take photos of the accident scene if it’s safe to do so, and record information about the make, model and damage of the other vehicles involved.
  • Don’t admit guilt. Don’t attempt to settle a claim on the roadside by yourself, and do not admit any fault. Provide as much information as you can and let the insurance companies work out who is to blame.
  • Contact your insurer. If you’ve been involved in an accident, report it to your insurer as soon as you can. Once everyone is safe and you’ve contacted the police or ambulance, contact your insurer.
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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.
  • Is it 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.
  • A 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.
  • Shopp 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.

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