A large part of an insurance premium depends on the type of car you drive. Is it a Corvette? Lamborghini? Maybe a Ferrari? Or perhaps you drive a Chevy Volt? Each car will impact the base cost of your monthly insurance mainly for the replacement value of the vehicle. In fact, some states and auto insurance companies will not cover certain vehicles. Also, high theft risk cars cost more to cover as well. Hummers, for example, are more costly than other SUVs and one of the determining aspects is the Hummer is stolen more often than other models. Either way, your premium may be higher due to one of those situations. Since you probably won't be going out and buying a new car just to lower your auto insurance, it's good to know what else can affect the costs of a new policy.
If the insurance company is willing to renew your policy, in most cases you’ll receive notice a minimum of 14 days before the expiration date of your policy. The notice generally includes how much you have to pay as well as when you have to pay by. If you pay your premiums every month, you won’t have to do anything as the company will simply continue to draw payment for your account on the same date every month. However, if you pay your premium as an annual lump sum, you should talk to your insurance company to see how you can make the payment.
Some insurers offer discounts to drivers for a variety of reasons such as having a clean record, paying an annual premium all at once or being a safe driver for a certain period of time. If the insurance company you’re with offers more than just auto insurance, consider bundling all your insurance through them, like home and car insurance. Most companies offer a group discount, even if it’s just for more than one car.
A higher deductible means lower premiums, your monthly or annual price. But if you get in an accident, you will have to pay more than if your deductibles were lower. For example, if you have a $500 deductible on a $2,000 accident, you’d pay $500 before your insurance company covers the other $1,500. With a $1,000 deductible, you’re paying $1,000 and your insurer covers the remaining $1,000.
Some insurance companies offer certain benefits for your teenagers if you’re an existing customer. If your child wants to insure their vehicle with the same insurance company, they might receive a rating for every year they’ve been driving while licensed and haven’t made a claim. Check with your insurance company as some offer additional perks such as free one-day skilled drivers courses, which are meant to help them with their driving skills and offer discounts after completing the course.
Whenever possible, it’s best to purchase more than the state minimum coverage. Car accidents are expensive, especially if someone is injured. If you end up with $50,000 in medical bills and you only have the state minimum coverage, your insurance company will only pay for half — the rest must come out of your own pocket. A good rule of thumb is to purchase as much insurance as you can afford.
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.
It’s important to consider how your previous auto insurance record reflects on your car insurance quotes. Gaps in insurance — or periods spent with bare minimum coverage — can increase your quote, as insurance companies see you as financially unstable and more risky to insure. A lengthy insurance history with high limits and fewer claims can lead to cheap car insurance quotes.
No matter whether you buy liability coverage or full coverage for your vehicle, you need to pick a deductible that meets you needs. Consumer Reports suggests choosing a higher deductible if you want to save on monthly premiums, but setting a lower deductible if you want to avoid a large out-of-pocket expense in the event of a car accident. “If you have a good driving record and haven’t had an at-fault accident in years, or ever, opting for a higher deductible on collision coverage might be a good bet,” writes Consumer Reports. Just remember to keep that much cash on hand in case you need it.
We found Progressive was the most affordable car insurance rates after a recent accident compared to the many auto insurance companies we surveyed. From the $1,241 average we state above, rates increased by 29% after an at-fault accident. While that may still seem high, it was the smallest rate increase we saw of any company including Erie, State Farm, GEICO and American Family.
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.
Drivers with good driving records typically enjoy lower car insurance costs than drivers with histories of speeding tickets, at-fault accidents, or DUI citations. Texas drivers without a recent moving violation save just 4% on their car insurance premiums, on average — compared to the national average of 17%. 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%.
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If you have a clean driving record — no at-fault accidents, speeding tickets, DUIs, or other recent citations — you'll probably enjoy relatively cheap car insurance rates. Conversely, a bad driving record will cause your costs to skyrocket: car insurance premiums typically increase by 31% after a DUI, 26% after an at-fault accident, and 15% after a speeding ticket in Tennessee. The post-citation penalties assessed by car insurance companies in Tennessee are slightly more forgiving than nationwide averages. If you have a clean driving history, be sure to inquire about your insurance company's safe driver discount.
What changes between each state’s auto insurance requirements is how much of each type of coverage is needed. Both bodily injury and property damage liability coverage is required in almost every state, and some states require personal injury protection and uninsured motorist coverage as well. Each state also has its own minimum liability limits, presented as bodily injury limit for a single person, bodily injury limit on the entire accident, and property damage limit.
Over the past 80 years Nationwide Insurance® has grown from a small auto insurance company to one of the largest and strongest insurance and financial services companies in the world. You can’t say that about most cheap car insurance companies. The key to our growth has been simple: helping customers protect what’s most important to them while providing outstanding customer service.
Since most people choose one of these large insurers, NerdWallet compared quotes from the five largest auto companies in ZIP codes across the country. Rates are for policies that include minimum coverage required in each state, plus collision and comprehensive coverage. Our “good driver” profile is a 30-year-old with no moving violations and credit in the “good” tier. Use the tabs to see rates for drivers with credit in the “poor” tier and those with one at-fault accident as reported to the insurer.