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.

Progressive Home Advantage® policies are placed through Progressive Specialty Insurance Agency, Inc. with affiliated and third-party insurers who are solely responsible for claims, and pay PSIA commission for policies sold. Prices, coverages, privacy policies, and PSIA's commission vary among these insurers. How you buy (phone, online, mobile, or independent agent/broker) determines which insurers are available to you. Click here for a list of the insurers or contact us for more information about PSIA's commission. Discounts not available in all states and situations.

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.


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.

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.
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?
Remember, price is just one piece of the car insurance policy puzzle. You also want to make sure you feel good about the insurer you’re doing business with. Do they have a good track record when it comes to paying out claims? Are they known for their customer service? Are they financially solvent? Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to get answers to these questions. In fact, sometimes, some important signifiers will be included with your auto insurance quote. The big stats to check when vetting an insurance company include:

Plus, there are hundreds of car insurance companies. What are the chances that the one company you selected is the cheapest car insurance for you? Unless you are comparing prices, you won’t know how much you could be saving. In one comparison, a woman in Texas got prices that ranged from $77 a month to $300. That’s over $2,600 in savings every year from switching car insurance companies.
Finally, remember how insurance companies make money? There’s a slight chance that, through mismanagement or a sudden influx of claims, your car insurance company could be unable to meet its financial obligations. That means that they wouldn't be able to pay out your claim, or the insurance company could go out of business – leaving you uninsured and vulnerable. Make sure any car insurance company you buy from is in good fiscal health, so you don’t get left out in the cold.
One note on price: Not all insurers will quote based on what you’ll pay each month. Some might list the annual or even semi-annual cost of a policy. (Why? Who knows? Insurance will never get accused of being easy.) Point is, here, too, you’ll want to be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. (Prices vary widely enough where it’s easy to get confused on the actual price.) That way, you know what insurer is truly offering the best price.
The Zebra didn’t allow me to customize coverage preferences, forcing me to choose one of four pre-assembled packages. It also didn’t list which companies allowed which discounts, making their earlier list of pre-qualified discounts less useful. On the right side of the page, the site provided an “Insurability Score” listing the factors that insurance companies use to set rates and grading the information I’d provided during the quoting process, which could help drivers looking to improve their rates in the future.
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.

Gap insurance is another type of coverage you may want. Because new cars tend to lose value quickly, many drivers owe more money on their cars than the car is worth. That means that if an accident totals the car, they’ll only get the value of their car, not the amount they owe, and they’re on the hook for the difference. If you owe more on your car than it’s worth, gap insurance can protect you in case of total loss. Some lenders and lease companies also require you have this kind of coverage.
We’ve developed four lists comprised of the cheapest cars or trucks to insure, to fit the needs of car shoppers in the market for a crossover or SUV, a minivan or sedan, a hybrid or all-electric vehicle, a vehicle for you or a teen. The lists were created based on Mercury’s price for full coverage - liability, comprehensive and collision. Other factors, such as a driver’s experience and accident history, can push the rate up or down, but were not included in any of the rate calculations. Each list begins with the cheapest vehicle to insure.
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