Part of why car insurance quotes are so confusing is because car insurance itself is confusing. For starters, there are different types of coverage. Some are required by law; some are not. And the specifics vary by state. We’ve got a full explainer on how car insurance works right here. But, since it’s so crucial to understanding your quotes, here’s an overview of the major components of an auto insurance policy — and what they cover.

In today's economy, we know money can be tight. At Nationwide, you can choose whether you want to pay monthly, quarterly or semi-annually. You also can choose to pay by check, debit or credit card, through the mail, online or over the phone. We also offer paperless billing, which allows you to save money on postage by scheduling recurring automatic payments and may qualify you for our one-time Easy Pay sign-up discount.
American Family Insurance (sometimes shortened to AmFam) only has a 2 percent market share for car insurance, but that small slice still translates to the company underwriting $4.4 billion in policies. American Family originally offered insurance to farmers, but now its policies are available to anyone. American Family is the parent company of The General car insurance. While The General car insurance is sold primarily online, American Family insurance is sold mainly through local insurance agents, with support from American Family’s online resources and call center.

Drivers with good driving records typically enjoy lower car insurance costs than drivers with histories of speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, or DUI citations. Virginia drivers without a recent at-fault accident can save 33% on their car insurance premiums, on average — nearly matching the 32% US average. In addition to earning a cheaper premium for driving incident-free, you may qualify for a safe-driving bonus through your car insurance company. The amount of these discounts may vary, but they typically run between 5 and 10%.
We identified the auto insurance companies with the cheapest rates, but, as with anything, you want to be sure you are getting high quality service from your insurance company. Reliable car insurance companies are critical in ensuring a smooth customer-insurer relationship. There are a few factors we deemed most important to evaluate a company on which affect policy holders' satisfaction, such as, the average shopping experience, customer service, ability to resolve complaints, and quote filing process.
If you live in the South, Midwest, or Mid-Atlantic regions, Erie Insurance is worth your consideration. Erie has consistently received high marks from J.D. Power and Consumer Reports, but didn’t make it into my top four recommendations due to limited availability — it only serves residents in Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and certain parts of DC.
Compare major insurers' financial strength and claims satisfaction ratings to better predict the level of service you will receive. Claims satisfaction — assigned by J.D. Power — is rated on a scale of 2 to 5, with 5 being "among the best" and 2 being "the rest." Financial strength — calculated by A.M. Best and ranging from "Poor" to "Superior" — assesses an insurance company's financial strength and ability to satisfy its policy and contractual obligations.
During our research, we interacted with several independent agents who refused to give us a single detail about higher-priced plans. Despite our persistence, we were repeatedly asked, “Why would you want to consider something that costs more?” and we did not get the information we wanted. On the flip side, if your rates go up after committing to a policy, independent agents are best-suited to help you negotiate a lower price.
While most collectible automobile insurance policies are relatively similar, the way carriers classify different types of collectible vehicles, including some types they exclude coverage for, is important to understand. Although definitions, years and descriptions can vary from insurer to insurer and state to state, the most common collectible auto categories are below. We generally will use classic and collector car insurance interchangeably for the purposes of simplicity.
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.

Safeguarding your financial security is only one of the reasons it makes sense to purchase car insurance. And the more you know about auto insurance, the smarter the choices you'll make when it comes time to renew or buy that new policy. Spend a little time learning about car insurance; while you may never need to file a claim, if you do, you'll be very glad you did.
Disclaimer: NerdWallet strives to keep its information accurate and up to date. This information may be different than what you see when you visit a financial institution, service provider or specific product’s site. All financial products, shopping products and services are presented without warranty. When evaluating offers, please review the financial institution’s Terms and Conditions. Pre-qualified offers are not binding. If you find discrepancies with your credit score or information from your credit report, please contact TransUnion® directly.
If you own a car, car insurance is a required expense in 48 of the 50 states. A lack of diligence when shopping for your car insurance could lead to a hefty monthly bill, as well as headaches if you actually need to file a claim. We researched and explored quotes from over 128 companies in 2,700 cities to determine which insurers had the lowest costs, nationally and in each state. Our team also evaluated which companies had the best track record for customer service and the claims process.
Unfortunately, Liberty Mutual gave us our most expensive quote at $194 per month. It has a modest deductible range of $50 to $1,000, but there are no higher deductible options for those hoping to lower their premiums. One concession to this is the Deductible Fund endorsement, which lowers your collision deductible by $100 every year you go without an accident (up to $500). Liberty Mutual does also offer several discounts to bring premium costs down, including multi-policy, multi-car, safe driver, alternative energy, good student and new address discounts.
Nationwide's insurance professionals can quickly design a car insurance quote that meets your precise needs, even for those on a budget. Rather than going with the cheapest car insurance quote, make sure the company you choose provides flexible coverage and billing options. For instance, Nationwide allows members to pay monthly, quarterly or semi-annually online, through the mail or over the phone. It’s important to keep long-term flexibility in mind when deciding on an insurance carrier, not just go with the cheapest car insurance option.
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