Keep an eye on your credit score: Maintaining a solid credit score is recommended no matter what, but it’s especially important when your score is being referenced to develop your auto insurance policy. Just as you investigate a car’s accident history before purchasing, insurers are investigating your payment history before doing business with you. The higher the risk, the higher the policy costs.
At The Zebra, we know better than most just what a pain buying car insurance can be. We also know that students suffer from higher-than-average policy rates. Talk about a double-whammy. That’s why, this year, we’ve decided to continue The Zebra’s annual scholarship with the goal of helping to alleviate the financial pressures of college-bound students in Virginia, while also getting an insider view of the Old Dominion State.

Large insurance companies analyze a huge amount of customers’ personal data (like social media posts, credit scores, and even your web shopping habits). Then, they churn the data through a proprietary algorithm that estimates how likely you are to shop around or just renew your existing policy each year. By doing so, they can increase your premium just enough to raise their profit margins without attracting your attention and prompting you to shop for a new policy.
Choose from one of our three mileage plans -1,000, 3,000, or 6,000 miles- to tailor your policy to your needs. For example, say you plan to attend a number of car shows this year but only manage to make it to one. No problem. We offer rollover miles from one year’s policy to the next. We understand plans change and we don’t feel you should lose miles just because you didn’t use them.
Despite not being open to everyone, USAA has a 6 percent market share when it comes to car insurance. It also offers several other services, including banking and investment services, as well as a full line of insurance products. Because USAA works primary with military service members and their families, it has expertise related to specialized situations, like getting a VA home loan or insuring a car while you’re deployed overseas. USAA can also help members navigate moves and real-estate transactions, which are often a part of military life. USAA isn’t publicly traded, so profits go to its members in the form of discounts and dividends.
Progressive car insurance discounts include driver tracking (Progressive was the first insurance company to offer this discount) and multi-policy discounts. Progressive also has a “name your price” feature, where you tell them how much you want to pay each month, what kind of car you have, and a little about yourself, and they tell you how much coverage you can get for that monthly premium. It is an interesting way to shop for car insurance and lets you keep your budget at the forefront of your shopping, though you might be surprised to see the amount of coverage you’re able to buy.
Farmers began as an insurance company providing coverage to rural farmers’ vehicles. Since then it has evolved to become the seventh largest insurance company in the country. It’s hard to find an insurance company that offers more products than Farmers. It offers basic auto insurance, pet insurance, and even investment products among a variety of other insurance products. Farmers employs nearly 21,000 people, which allow it to underwrite over 19 million policies across 50 states.

Because most forms of insurance are regulated at the state level, state legislation influences car insurance premiums. For instance, in Michigan, a no-fault state, state law requires an unlimited amount of Personal Injury Protection coverage, a requirement that increases the cost of car insurance. Although each state legislates insurance differently, auto insurance prices may vary on a zip code-by-zip code basis. Below is an analysis of the cheapest and most expensive states for car insurance (from The Zebra's State of Insurance study).


On average, an at-fault property damage accident with a claims payout exceeding $2,000 will raise your premium by an average of $726 per year. Over three years, that adds up to $2,178! If you’re thinking of filing a claim, consider the overall cost of the claim versus what the claim would cost to pay out of pocket. Compare this $2,178 penalty — plus your deductible — to the out-of-pocket expense. While this is nice information to know before filing a claim, it won’t help if you’ve already filed a claim. If you have an at-fault accident on your insurance history, consider Nationwide or Farmers.
Products underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies. Not all Nationwide affiliated companies are mutual companies, and not all Nationwide members are insured by a mutual company. Subject to underwriting guidelines, review, and approval. Products and discounts not available to all persons in all states. Nationwide Investment Services Corporation, member FINRA. Home Office: One Nationwide Plaza, Columbus, OH. Nationwide, the Nationwide N and Eagle, and other marks displayed on this page are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, unless otherwise disclosed. © 2018 Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
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