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.
Naturally, insurance companies use your driving past as an indicator of how you will drive in the future. It can be difficult to find affordable car insurance if you have a checkered driving history. While it’s very unlikely you will find an insurance company that won’t increase your premium after an at-fault accident or other violation, the degree of the rate increase will vary by company. Let’s compare rate increases for some common violations across major insurance companies.
How it works: Once I launched the quoting tool for auto insurance, I was greeted by a large-print brag that “Drivers Pay As Low As $29.32/Month for Car Insurance.” When I began filling in my vehicle information, the site offered to save me time by looking up the information for me—a frightening reminder of how much of our personal information is available online. The contact information fields were accompanied by text stating that “we respect your privacy” and “NO SPAM, privacy guaranteed.”
NerdWallet averaged rates for 30-year-old men and women for 10 ZIP codes in each state and Washington, D.C., from the largest insurers in each state. “Good drivers” had no moving violations on record and credit in the “good” tier as reported to each insurer. For the other two driver profiles, we changed the credit tier to “poor” or added one at-fault accident, keeping everything else the same. Sample drivers had the following coverage limits:
In virtually all states, drivers are required by law to have mandatory liability insurance coverage. This is done as a way to ensure that the driver can cover the cost of damages to other people or property in the unfortunate event of an accident. Some states implement a “proof of financial responsibility” requirement, which is a little more flexible.

In most states, a DUI is the most costly violation you can receive. Moreover, in states like California, it will stay on your insurance record for 10 years! Based on our analysis of the most popular car insurance companies, this would set you back an average of $12,491 in insurance rate increases during that 10-year period. To limit your costs, do your due diligence and shop around: State Farm and Liberty Mutual are the cheapest insurance options after a DUI — so consider starting there.
There are two other methods that come immediately to mind. First, you could pay your premiums annually or semi-annually. Some car insurers offer anywhere from a 3% to 10% discount for doing so. The other thing you can consider is increasing your deductible. That's the amount of money you pay out of pocket before insurance kicks in, so you'd pay more in case of an accident, but your monthly premium would be lower.
If you opt for the minimum required coverage in Virginia, prepare to pay an average of $385 annually. This is more affordable than the U.S. average by 41%. If you opt for better coverage, you can select a policy with comprehensive and collision coverage, protecting against costs incurred by car collisions, theft and vandalism, or weather incidents. It's worth noting that better coverage has a price: in Virginia, a comprehensive policy with a $1,000 deductible costs $792, 105% more than liability-only coverage. For a comprehensive policy with a $500 deductible, expect to pay 135% more than you would for a basic liability-only policy.
Yes, we have to include some legalese down here. Read it larger on our legal page. Policygenius Inc. (“Policygenius”) is a licensed independent insurance broker. Policygenius does not underwrite any insurance policy described on this website. The information provided on this site has been developed by Policygenius for general informational and educational purposes. We do our best efforts to ensure that this information is up-to-date and accurate. Any insurance policy premium quotes or ranges displayed are non-binding. The final insurance policy premium for any policy is determined by the underwriting insurance company following application. Savings are estimated by comparing the highest and lowest price for a shopper in a given health class. For example: for a 30-year old non-smoker male in South Carolina with excellent health and a preferred plus health class, comparing quotes for a $500,000, 20-year term life policy, the price difference between the lowest and highest quotes is 60%. For that same shopper in New York, the price difference is 40%. Rates are subject to change and are valid as of 2/17/17.
Results: The final page offered five quotes ranging from $141 per month to $215 per month, and three links to other websites that I could use to get additional quotes. Unlike the other comparison websites, the quotes weren’t in any order (the others sorted their results from smallest to largest). Each quote included a company rating, policy features and a button that would either take you to the company’s website or allow you to compare it with another company. A list of options on the left side of the page allowed me to check off the features that I wanted to include, and eliminated companies not offering those features.
Car insurance rates vary greatly depending on age. Your risk profile as a driver will change throughout your life, so you may be eligible for discounts at some points in your life while other times you may see your car insurance premium increase. This is why you want to keep shopping for car insurance throughout your life so you ensure the best value.
This is a $10.00 fee that is applied to your account for a reinstatement related to non-pay cancellations. For example, if you miss your payment due date, and cannot pay before the cancellation date on your non-pay cancellation notice, a $10.00 fee will be applied to your account if and only if you decide to reinstate your policy. Elephant will never charge you a reinstatement fee if your policy has been canceled in error.
Look into being a nominated driver on your parents’ insurance. Their rates might go up, but it could be less than keeping your solo policy. And because married drivers tend to file fewer claims, you’ll often get a discount on your premium just for getting engaged or married. Married couples can also save by combining their insurance on one policy to save money.

If you’ve read plenty of insurance company reviews and still can’t decide, it might help to get several quotes to compare. Depending on where you live and other factors, one company could offer a much better deal on auto insurance than the rest. In this scenario – where one company is much cheaper over all – you should figure out why the price is so affordable. Are you comparing apples to apples?


The trade-off between large insurance companies and small ones typically involves giving up competitive rates for an improved customer experience. When using a small insurance company for your auto insurance, you’ll likely communicate exclusively with one insurance agent. While you generally lose a personal connection when selecting a large national insurance company, the large auto insurance companies tend to have more financial stability. In fact, the top insurance companies in the country underwrite and pay out billions of dollars per year. Additionally, the large insurance companies are able to leverage their resources to offer drivers lower insurance rates.


The amount of coverage required by law varies from state to state. If you are a cautious person, you might opt for a more expensive policy with better coverage. If you have a lot of assets, experts recommend that you get enough liability coverage to protect them; otherwise, the other party involved in an accident could sue and attempt to collect on those assets.
Travelers is more than 160 years old, making it one of the oldest insurance companies operating today. In fact, Travelers issued its first auto insurance policy in 1897, before the Ford Model-T was invented. The company has over 30,000 employees and 13,500 independent agents and brokers in multiple countries—including the United States, Canada, and Brazil.
You can sometimes get auto insurance quotes on lead generation sites, but expect them to be far less reliable than quotes from comparison sites. Using lead generation sites most likely means that you’ll end up wandering from one auto insurance website to another in pursuit of the best rate, which rather defeats the purpose of using a quote-generating site at all.

Coverage limits play a huge role in how much your auto insurance premiums cost, but so will your deductible. Since you’ll be required to pay your deductible in full to access your insurance benefits after an accident, it’s important to make sure your deductible is affordable enough you can cover it with your savings. The right auto policy for your needs will have the right combination of healthy coverage limits with an annual deductible you can actually afford.

Liability coverage is legally required in Virginia and pays for injury and lost wages that you cause to another driver or their passengers as well as damage to the other driver’s vehicle in the event that you are considered “at fault” in an accident. The coverage limits are determined by each individual state and normally split into three categories. In Virginia, the minimum is listed as 25/50/20 and explained below:
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).

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 Texas, while also getting an insider view of the Lone Star State.
Many well-known insurers – including State Farm, Progressive, Farmers, Safeco, GEICO, and Esurance – as well as specialty carriers (many of which underwrite for the aforementioned companies) like Hagerty, J.C. Taylor, Condon Skelly, Grundy, and American National, offer coverage for collectible vehicles. A good place to start your search for the right provider is with your existing auto insurance carrier, who may be able to kick in a discount for insuring multiple vehicles.
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